Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m watching “Looney Tunes Platinum Collection” (vol. 2).
Yes, director Chuck Jones’ iconic hunting trilogy, with the iconic lines “Duck Season! Wabbit Season!” and “Shoot him now! Shoot him now!,” are in this three-Blu-ray (or two-DVD) set along with 47 other “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies,” plus 31 more related shorts and loads of extras exclusive to the Blu-ray.
Actually, hunting is a big theme in this set, with several earlier hunting cartoons. Among them are the studio’s first wacky rabbits, early prototypes of Bugs Bunny tracked down by Porky Pig and other characters. The hunting theme was a big hit for producer Leon Schlesinger and early director Ben Hardaway.
A couple of those are included among the eight shorts previously unreleased on DVD in the various “Golden Collections” and other compilation discs. Like the previous “Platinum” volume, it’s those shorts that will be the deciding factor for hardcore fans on whether to upgrade, as the picture quality isn’t that much improved on Blu-ray.
My favorite of the new-to-video shorts (and a definite argument in favor of picking up the set) is “Prest-O Change-O,” one of those early rabbit cartoons. Two dogs wind up in the house of a magician, where that rabbit plays tricks on one, but both pooches get into various shenanigans with the magical props. It’s a lot of fun.
Like the first volume, this set has a great layout. The first disc is a mix of favorite characters, from Bugs and Daffy to Tweety and Foghorn Leghorn. The second disc is broken up into chapters covering one-shots and lesser-used characters: Nasty Canasta, Cecil Turtle, Beaky Buzzard and A. Flea. The third disc has a bunch of stuff spotlighting non-Looney Tunes work by Tex Avery, Friz Freleng and Schlesinger, plus Private Snafu and Mr. Hook (a Navy version of Private Snafu created by “Dennis the Menace’s” Hank Ketchum) shorts.
There are lots of great shorts in this set, fondly remembered from my Saturday morning cartoon days. “Ali Baba Bunny,” where Bugs and Daffy wind up in a treasure-filled cave after another wrong turn in Albuquerque, is always a hoot. “Show Biz Bugs” also teams them up in an escalating war of Vaudeville entertainment. Then there’s the hilarious Sherlock Holmes spoof “Deduce, You Say,” featuring Daffy, Porky and the Shropshire Slasher. The classic Sylvester short “Little Red Rodent Hood” sees him as the Big Bad Wolf. Chuck Jones’ “Rocket-Bye Baby” is a stitch even without the well-known characters, as a human baby and martian baby are switched at birth.
If you don’t have the “Golden Collections” and want to delve deeper into the vaults than just the shorts that used to run on Saturday morning, this is a must-have set (along with vol. 1). Otherwise, it comes down to those eight shorts, some of which will likely find their way onto other compilations in the future.
You won’t be disappointed with this collection, though. There’s nothing like a great “Looney Tune.”