TEX AVERY’S DROOPY:
The Complete Theatrical Collection
While many may not know his name, Tex Avery is a legend in the world of animation. He left an indelible stamp during his tenure at Warner Brothers. He introduced Daffy Duck in Porky's Duck Hunt (1937), created the character Egghead, who slowly morphed into Elmer Fudd, and not only directed the first official appearance of Bugs Bunny in A Wild Hare (1940), but also created what is arguably the most famous line ever to come out of a cartoon, Bugs’ “What's up, Doc?”
Dumb-Hounded sets the precedent that anything goes in an Avery cartoon because getting laughs is the primary concern. No characters are subject to laws of time and space. In fact, one even runs out of a scene passed the film sprockets. The fourth wall is constantly broken as the characters are aware they are in a cartoon. The comedy can come from anywhere as jokes are written on screen.
The set contains 24 cartoons that run between six and eight minutes. Unfortunately, Avery didn’t direct them all and his brilliance is noticeably missing. He took a year off during his tenure and Dick Lundy directed Caballero Droopy (1952). When Avery left MGM to return to the Walter Lantz studio, where he had gotten his start in the business, animator Michael Lah directed and William Hanna and Joseph Barbera produced the remaining cartoons. They were presented in Cinemascope and are presented letterboxed in this set. The art for these latter cartoons is terrible. The backgrounds look like they were drawn as an afterthought. A comparison can be made between Wags to Riches (1949) and its remake Millionaire Droopy (1956). Avery’s name appears on the latter, but he had already left MGM. One Droopy Knight (1957) was nominated for an Academy Award, yet another example of what a joke that body is. Its premise and a number of the gags are from Senor Droopy, so Avery should have received the credit.
Avery’s Droopy cartoons remain funny 60 years later and after repeated viewings. He set a high standard that all animators are still measured against, so it’s no surprise that when others used his characters they fell short. This set belongs in the library of fans of both cartoons and comedy. Special Features include the 18-minute documentary “Droopy and Friends: A Laugh Back” and “Doggone Gags” is a best-of culled from the set.