Looney Tunes Golden Collection
The Looney Tunes Golden Collection is a yearly series of four-disc DVD box sets from Warner Bros.' home video unit Warner Home Video, each containing about 60 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated shorts. The series began in October 2003, with Warners following the lead established by Disney's Walt Disney Treasures DVD box sets by releasing their own animation for the collector's market.
The cartoons included on the set are uncut, unedited, and digitally restored and remastered from the original successive Technicolor film negatives (or, in the case of the black and white shorts, the original black and white negatives). However, some of the cartoons in these collections are derived from the "blue ribbon" reissues (altered from their original versions with their revised front-and-end credit sequences), as the original titles for these cartoons are presumably lost.
A handful of cartoons in the first two collections have also had digital video noise reduction (or DVNR) applied to them, which unintentionally erases or blurs some of the picture on certain scenes of the cartoons, which has caused controversy among some Looney Tunes fans. The most recent collections, however, has largely abandoned such noise reduction.
Beginning with Volume 3, a warning was printed on the packaging explaining that the collection is intended for adults and the content may not be suitable for children. That presumably goes along with Whoopi Goldberg's filmed introduction that explains the history of ethnic imagery that frequently appears in cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s.
The DVDs also feature several special features including interviews/documentaries of the people behind the cartoons such as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Ben Hardaway, Cal Dalton, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Carl Stalling, and Mel Blanc, pencil tests, and audio commentaries by animation historians Jerry Beck, Michael Barrier, Greg Ford.
- Volume 1 (released on October 28, 2003) contains a selection of cartoons from the 1940 to 1959 including Rabbit of Seville. It also contains a "prototype Bugs Bunny"cartoon, Elmer's Candid Camera. Volume 1 contains 56 cartoons, all of which were in color.
- Volume 2 (released on November 2, 2004) contains a broader selection of cartoons from the 1934 to 1958 including What's Opera, Doc? and I Love to Singa. Volume 2 contains 60 cartoons: 54 color and 6 black & white.
- Volume 3 (released on October 25, 2005) contains an even broader selection of cartoons, mostly from the 1935 to 1963 including such popular shorts as Robin Hood Daffy, Hillbilly Hare, and the Academy Award winner Birds Anonymous. Additional features include three Private Snafu cartoons, a 1963 television show pilot entitled Philbert, and two Harman-Ising era shorts: Sinkin' in the Bathtub (the first Looney Tunes short ever) and It's Got Me Again, the first WB cartoon nominated for an Academy Award (originally going to be Lady, Play Your Mandolin!, the first Merrie Melodie). Volume 3 contains 60 cartoons: 42 color and 18 black & white.
- Volume 4 (released on November 14, 2006) continues the broad range of cartoons, with selections ranging from 1936 to 1966 (the latest Looney Tunes cartoon yet). The set focuses not only on Bugs Bunny, but also on Speedy Gonzales and on obscure cats. There is also an entire disc dedicated to director Frank Tashlin. Volume 4 contains 60 cartoons: 52 color and 8 black & white.
- Volume 5 (Released on October 30, 2007) disc one features Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Disc two features fairy tale stories, Disc three features the work of director Bob Clampett, and disc four features Porky Pig and other classics. special features include the 2000 PBS documentary "Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens, a Life in Animation." Volume 5 contains 60 cartoons.
- Volume 6 (Released on October 21, 2008) features on disc one Looney Tunes All-Stars, disc two has wartime cartoons, Disc three has Bosko, Buddy, and Foxy, and disc 4 has requested cartoons. Special Features include a documentary profile of Mel Blanc, Commentaries by Greg Ford and others, some cartoons made by Freleng at MGM, and bonus cartoons such as "Hippety Hopper". In total, counting bonus cartoons, it has 76 cartoons.
While each Golden Collection provides a healthy dose of Bugs Bunny cartoons, additional focal points have varied in each year's release. Volume 1 primarily focused on cartoons by directors Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng from the 1950s. Volume 2 paid tribute with Bob Clampett and Tex Avery shorts from the 1940s. Volume 3 paid a small tribute to often-overlooked animation director Frank Tashlin and cartoons featuring Hollywood caricatures. Volume 4 continues to honor to Frank Tashlin and Friz Freleng and features several Speedy Gonzales cartoons.
In 2010, it was announced that a new Looney Tunes DVD series entitled Looney Tunes Super Stars would be released. The first two releases, Bugs Bunny: Hare Extraordinaire and Daffy Duck: Frustrated Fowl, were originally announced for April 2010, but will be delayed until August 2010.
Along with the release of the Golden Collections, WB also released Looney Tunes Spotlight Collections which packaged only half of the cartoons of the Golden Collection on two DVDs. The exception to this practice was in 2005, with Warner Home Video instead releasing the Looney Tunes Movie Collection, which featured two new-to-DVD features: The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie and Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales.