My, times have changed! Droopy cartoons used to be a regular feature of Saturday morning sugary cereal time. Now Warner Home Video has to put a cautionary disclaimer at the beginning of the DVDs and this statement on the box set: Tex Avery's Droopy The Complete Theatrical Collection is intended for the adult collector and may not be suitable for children." True, adult cartoon fans have the knowledge to enjoy this 2 DVD 24 cartoon or theatrical shorts box set but they are still plain old funny as hell period and you do not have to be a serious cartoon fan to appreciate Droopy, the most phlegmatic cartoon character ever. The set includes eighteen shorts by Tex Avery and six others in the 16 X 9 format directed by Michael Lah.
The 24 theatrical shorts on Tex Avery's Droopy The Complete Theatrical Collection are not quite pristine looking, some less so than others. Their age mostly shows when the background is one or two solid colors. There is a bit of dust, scratches, and spots in the cartoons but just a bit and nothing that gets in the way of enjoying the cartoons.
Why the cautionary disclaimer at the beginning of Tex Avery's Droopy The Complete Theatrical Collection and on the box? Perhaps because this is a fairly violent cartoon though not much more so than Looney Tunes' Roadrunner. Perhaps because some of the cartoons feature a scantily clad Mae West look-alike and sound-alike lounge singer. Only Droopy's Good Deed's Black Sambo gag, Homesteader Droopy's big-nosed Native Americans and Caballero Droopy's Mexican bad guy can be considered offensive -and these are very, very short moments-- unless you are very, very politically correct and object to an Irish bum (Droopy's Double Trouble) and a Canadian pictured as a Brit (Northwest Hounded Police).
The forte of Droopy cartoons is the chase scenes involving Droopy and his antagonist, and this even if you know the punchline. What makes them work is how original Tex Avery, who directed thirteen of the shorts here, can be in his animation (though he does repeat some gags, like the wolf running out of the film frame a couple of times). The running joke here is of course that no matter how fast and how far the bad guy runs, swims, flies, etc., Droopy will already be there when he gets there. This makes him very happy. Avery is also quite original in his explosions
My favorite though is Senor Droopy where the basset hound and the wolf both play bullfighters in love with the same girl. The gags in this cartoon are absolutely superb and a nice change of pace from the chase scenes. I also very much enjoyed Wags to Riches where Spike tries to kill Droopy out of his inheritance. Then again, my favorite is Out-Foxed where Droopy participates in a fox hunt. Unless of course it is Double Trouble featuring Droopy's brother Drippy. I also really liked Dixieland Droopy and its very inventive use of its soundtrack.
Fans of the this cartoon will note the 16X9 CinemaScope Millionaire Droopy produced by Hanna-Barbera and the last of the Tex Avery shorts is a reframed version of Wags to Riches. The shorts directed by Michael Lah and produced by Hanna-Barbera are much less interesting. For one thing they are much more talkative and not as zanily fast-paced as Avery's cartoons. They are not bad but pale in comparison.
Special features include Droopy and Friends: A Laugh Back, a retrospective look at Avery's career and Droopy and Doggone Gags, a five minute gag reel of the best moments in the Avery cartoons. Both are interesting.
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