Warner nearly singlehandedly invented the cartoon medium as we know it today with the advent of their various Bugs Bunny and associates cartoons. Ever since the early 1930’s these characters have become an indelible part of the American pop culture. Their images became an important part of the World War II effort and even helped to put a face on the issues of the Great Depression. They represent one of the richest histories in animation, second only to Walt Disney. There are some, I’m sure, that would argue they might even belong in front of Uncle Walt. When I was growing up in the 1970’s, I had no idea I was enjoying cartoons and characters that were already 40 years old. The truth is that my grandfather had been a fan of these same cartoons when he was a kid. Today the Warner cycle of Loony Tunes cartoons is over 70 years young. Things might have changed with the passing of Mel Blanc, who provided most of those familiar voices for much of that time, but Bugs and the gang are still out there and going strong.
Which brings us to Bugs Easter Funnies.
In the newer material we find that the Easter Bunny has taken ill and won’t be able to deliver the Easter eggs for this year. So the bunny calls Granny and asks if she can find a substitute. Granny immediately thinks of Bugs and heads over to Warner Studios to ask him if he’ll fill in for the Easter Bunny this year. Unfortunately, Bugs is busy filming shorts and can’t get out of his contract. Granny tries to see if any of the other Looney Tunes gang can help out.
That scenario is merely an excuse to bring out some pieces of classic shorts. The idea is we’re watching Bugs film these shorts. To excuse the non Bugs cartoons, we have Granny watching “audition tape” of the other characters to see who might be good enough to fill in. None of the shorts have anything to do with Easter, however.
The movie is presented in a broadcast full frame aspect ratio. You can clearly see many examples of print damage throughout the running time. Colors are actually pretty good, and the new and older material blends rather flawlessly. But there is all too much compression artifact and shifting levels of brightness. Pretty poor, I’m afraid. This doesn’t look as good as the recent collections of restored shorts. That’s really your best bet, not this presentation.
The mono audio track represents what the film likely offered on television for most of us at the time. It carries the dialog just fine, although there is some rather annoying higher frequency distortion. It’s all a little “cupboard’s bare” kind of presentation.
An interactive puzzle.
It seems that Easter is the one season that has never really had a great holiday television special. Don’t get me wrong. Many have tried. Even Peanuts hasn’t delivered on this one quite so well. Unfortunately, the same can be said for this Warner effort. It uses pieces of classic Warner Looney Tunes cartoons framed with some newer animation for the special. There must be a good Easter special out there, but you won’t have to waste any time looking. “That’s why I’m here, Pal.”