Friday, January 2, 2009

Looney Tunes New Years' Day Marathon: A Review and Some Stuff You Missed

As we reported before, Cartoon Network ran a 14-hour marathon of Warner Bros. cartoons on January 1, 2009. I will be sure to keep an eye out for a ratings report, as the ratings for this marathon may determine the future of Looney Tunes on CN (or on TV, period.) On a side-note, it's been reported by members of the Termite Terrace Trading Post that the Comcast Cable service has begun offering "Looney Tunes On Demand" as part of their free kids' programming. A good move, though I don't understand why Comcast, and not Time Warner's own cable service, gets to do the honors.

Anyway, my review of the marathon, followed by a special treat:
I honestly can't remember the last time I watched TV for NINE hours (sorry, no 6AM for me), voluntarily, and enjoyed it as much as I did today. Every cartoon they showed was a true classic, and there were many of them that I hadn't really watched in far too long. Someone at the Cartoon Network, (and God bless 'em whoever they are), really knew their classics (or did their homework to find out). There wasn't a bad cartoon in the bunch, period. The very best from Freleng, Clampett, Jones, McKimson, and even a dash of Davis and Tashlin. All the big ones: "Operation Rabbit", "Devil May Hare", "Birds Anonymous", "Hyde and Hare", "Rabbit Hood", "Hair-Raising Hare", "Ready, Set Zoom", "Louvre Come Back To Me". Then they went into the finale, And what a finale...the last hour was nothing but the best, entirely uncut...five Chuck Jones masterpieces and a Friz Freleng Bugs Bunny opus. I could read the list of titles 'til the cows (er, rabbits) came home, but I had forgotten just HOW good all of these were, and how much fun it was to just sit and watch them unfold on live television.

There were few edits here and there, a few bad prints, but there were several shorts with once-cut stuff replaced ("High Diving Hare"), and a few with improved print quality ("Wearing of the Grin"). There were only four cartoons that made me angry, in fact I was offended. I missed the final minute and a half or so of "Show Biz Bugs", only to find that I hadn't missed it, because it wasn't THERE. That's like showing "Old Yeller" without the ending. Sure, it's violent, grim and surprising, but cut it to make people feel better? You just don't DO that. "Scaredy Cat" was horribly mutilated, and not just the suicide gag this time...they ran that one through a woodchipper! "For Scent-Imental Reasons" was also butchered, to remove the Pepe-threatening-to-shoot-himself-while-Penelope's-behind-the-glass bit, but also a bit of Pepe's dialogue before he jumps out the window into the paint bucket....not sure why they felt the need for that. "Dripalong Daffy", too, had that ridiculous removal of Porky's final line. I seem to remember Cartoon Network saying Warner Bros. itself made that cut for some foreign market and fixing it around 2003 or so...but it reared its ugly head today.

Other than those four shorts, I didn't see anything tampered with. There were other edits, but nothing surprising. The only thing that would have made this marathon better would have been the remastered DVD prints of these shorts...but since I own all six volumes of those, I ain't complainin'.

There is no possible way this marathon could've missed in ratings. None whatsoever. Even if it did and we never see Looney Tunes on TV again, I want to thank CN for what they did today. Thanks, CN...I needed that!
As for the special treat, here are the four cartoons that Cartoon Network horribly butchered. "For Scent-Imental Reasons", "Dripalong Daffy", and "Scaredy Cat" can be found on DVD, uncut and remastered, on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 1. "Show Biz Bugs" can be found on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2. All four can be found on Youtube, and so I'd like to take a moment to show them to those of you who may not have noticed the edits. Buy the DVDs, you won't regret it!

"Scaredy Cat"

"For Scent-imental Reasons"

"Drip-Along Daffy"

"Show Biz Bugs"


Ricardo Cantoral said...

I am sure this got good numbers at the very least. I realistically hope for a weekday slot but un-realistically, I hope they do a primetime slot with the cartoons uncensored.

Anonymous said...

I did notice one other change from the originals: "The Old Grey Hare" didn't use the original "That's All Folks" title screen at the very end that shook after the dynamite exploded off screen. But cutting out the entire end bit of "Show Biz Bugs" infuriated me. I almost don't want to mention they left in other things like Bugs taking the sleeping pills in "Old Grey Hare" in case they decide to chop that out again as well.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember being so happy to watch TV. My whole family got involved in watching and we discussed it for the rest of the night. Quoting and laughing.

It was such a wonderful and refreshing start to the New Year and I'm sad it's over. Seeing them on TV again filled me with the hope that my guys will return to TV where they belong. I care not where. There just isn't anything on these days that could hold a candle to them.

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