Tuesday, May 08, 2007

You Know What? I'm Happy.

This review of the new Droopy collection reveals that the cartoons are uncut -- even "Droopy's Good Deed," which had a blackface gag cut from the print that was used on the laserdisc version.

Unfortunately, four of the cartoons suffer from over-use of digital video noise reduction (the review posts examples of shots where strings and other things are mistaken for scratches and erased). This is not good. But the set has to be considered recommendable anyway, and after the problems with the first two Tom & Jerry sets, it's good to see complete versions of MGM's (far funnier) Droopy cartoons.

Now we need a complete set of all Tex Avery's non-Droopy cartoons. Anyone?

P.S.: Droopy, of course, was Avery's only successful attempt to create a series character at MGM. Like most of his MGM characters, Droopy is something of a parody of studio cartoon characters; if Screwy Squirrel was a grotesque parody of Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck type characters (a "wacky" character who's basically disgusting with no redeeming qualities whatsoever), Droopy is like a spoof of cartoon heroes in general, a guy who does absolutely nothing, has no real characteristics, but always wins because "I'm the hero" and that's that. He is an appealing character in many ways, but Avery made the likable almost in spite of himself.

I think the innate likability of Bill Thompson's voice had a lot to do with making Droopy more amiable than most Avery characters; in the cartoons where Thompson wasn't available to do the voice (like "The Shooting of Dan McGoo," where Thompson does only Droopy's first line and a lesser voice actor does the rest), Droopy is fairly annoying -- which probably suited Avery just fine.

4 comments:

Marc said...

*sigh* Well, damn. Someday...SOMEday...we'll get a collection of MGM cartoons out of Warner Home Video that they manage not to screw up in some way or another. Well, at least they're uncut. Lots o' points for that.

PCUnfunny said...

Why the hell is DNVR used if it screws up the cartoon ?

J Lee said...

When used in extreme moderation, DNVR cleans up some of the dirtier part of the image. When used on animation like a power sprayer, it takes off the fine lines in the drawings.

Supposedly, Avery was the alternate voice in the earlier Droopy cartoons when Thompson wasn't available, while Daws Butler did his voice for Avery's last (non-Cinemascope remake) Droopy short. Tex fared a lot better with his imitation, but Thompson's voice did have a special enough quality so that the Disney folks ended up stealing it from Avery for two feature films and the Humphrey Bear series.

Anonymous said...

If TCM's Cartoon Alley is any indication, Avery's non-Droopy cartoons are going to be just as badly handled. They recently showed "The Cat That Hated People," and the DVNR effect was atrocious. One gag involving a star-filled sky was basically destroyed because the DVNR erased most of the stars!