If you don’t know the Warner Archive project, get to know it now. It’s the way that the studio have been making their less commercially viable releases available on DVD, keeping them all as data files and burning each disc on demand when ordered. There’s no special features, and the quality of the transfer is dependent on the best materials in the (literal, physical) Warner archive as there’s remastering either. But – and it’s a big but – we probably would never get to own these titles otherwise.
One of next year’s releases is a particularly exciting one. According to Toon Zone News, the notorious Censored Eleven Looney Tunes will finally be breaking out of jail:
Withheld from syndication by United Artists in 1968 due to their racist content and have been deemed too offensive for contemporary audiences… they will be available through the Warner Archive online some time in 2011, and they will be completely uncensored.
It’s Christmas for cartoon buffs, completists, the culturally curious and… er… racists. I’m still dismayed that the Warner Archive won’t ship to the UK, but I’ve found a work around that’s doing fine for now but, really, what’s the deal, guys? Why not ship worldwide?
The release, via the Warner Archive, was “predicted” by Warner’s George Feltenstein when speaking to the New York Post in April. I’m glad the turn around was so speedy.
So, here come the Censored Eleven. Here’s the full list:
Hittin’ the Trail for Hallelujah Land (1931, directed by Rudolf Ising)
Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time (1936, directed by Friz Freleng)
Clean Pastures (1937, Friz Freleng)
Uncle Tom’s Bungalow (1937, Tex Avery)
Jungle Jitters (1938, Friz Freleng)
The Isle of Pingo Pongo (1938, Tex Avery)
All This and Rabbit Stew (1941, Tex Avery)
Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943, Bob Clampett)
Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943, Bob Clampett)
Angel Puss (1944, Chuck Jones)
Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (1944, Friz Freleng)
Whatever next – Disney setting free The Song of the South? Oh, I wish.
UPDATE: The NY Post are back on the case, and have the following good news/bad news quote to offer us:
The WHV rep says no firm decision to release the controversial Looney Tunes and Merry Melody cartoons in 2011 has been reached, and it isn’t clear whether they would go out via the manufacture-on-demand Warner Archive or as a regular commercial release.
I’d love to see these on shop shelves – especially if that means special features aplenty.