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Looney Tunes: Spotlight Collection, Vol. 6 [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • 8 bonus cartoons from the Warner Vault

Synopsis

Norman Normal
Neither a "Looney Tune" nor a "Merrie Melodie", Norman Normal was produced as a "Cartoon Special" by Warner Bros. new animation department. This hip, modernistic, brightly colored satire features a bespectacle chap named Norman Normal, a decent sort surrounding by deception and hypocrisy everywhere. Ordered by his boss to get a client drunk in order to secure an important contract, Norman balks, opening several doors (which appear out of nowhere) to seek advice from friends and family members. Alas, all of them chastize Norman for his virtuous attitude, telling him that he's got to "fit in" and "conform" if he wants to get ahead in life. All of this turns out to be a literal "head-trip" for Norman, who ends his odyssey exactly where it began. The title song was written by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter Paul and Mary fame, who also coproduced and cowrote the cartoon and provided several character voices. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Much Ado About Nutting
Much Ado About Nutting is a wordless film from master cartoonist Chuck Jones. As Nutting opens, a squirrel spies an unguarded nut stand across the street from him and hurries toward it. He is delighted to find a stand full of peanuts, and even more so to find another with walnuts next to that. His delight increases when he then sees a pistachio nut stand and reaches heights of ecstasy upon the discovery of a coconut stand. The squirrel manages to shove one of the heavy coconuts to the ground and roles it back into the park -- but then encounters difficulty when he bites it and nearly breaks his teeth. The resourceful rodent tries a number of tactics -- dropping it from a tree, using a saw and a jackhammer, even pushing it up all the stairs of the Empire State Building and dropping it from the observation deck -- but to no avail. Tired and frustrated, he returns it to the coconut stand from whence it came. As he walks away, the coconut falls from the stand -- and wonder of wonders, it cracks. Hurrying over, the squirrel pushes away the husks -- only to find ANOTHER coconut inside! ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

Rabbit Rampage
Goo Goo Goliath
Assigned to deliver an enormous baby to Mr. and Mrs. Giant at the top of the Beanstalk, a drunken stork lazily deposits the infant at the nearest house, owned by a normal-sized couple named Jones. Despite his size, the baby is cute and loveable, but before long the gigantic infant is eating Mr. and Mrs. Jones out of house and home. Ultimately, 42-foot-tall "Junior" wanders away from home, plants the roof of the Brown Derby restaurant on his head, and takes a nap in the arms of the Statue of Liberty. And just wait until you see where the REAL "Jones baby" ends up. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

My Favorite Duck
Porky Pig's efforts to go camping are frustrated by Daffy Duck, who manages to claim-jump every available campsite. Worse, Porky can't rid himself of Daffy because duck-hunting season is over--and he faces a $5000 fine if he so much as harms a feather on Daffy's head. Taking advantage of the situation, Daffy torments Porky throughout the cartoon, only to end up outsmarting himself. Now only a miracle (such as a break in the film!) can save Daffy from Porky's terrible wrath. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Birth of a Notion
Why should Daffy Duck fly South when he can bamboozle his way into a nice warm house for the Winter? Unfortunately, the house he chooses belongs to a mad scientist who looks and sounds like movie menace Peter Lorre. Worse luck, the demented scientist needs a duck's wishbone to complete his sinister experiments. Thinking fast, Daffy tries to convince the scientist's dumb dog Leopold to murder his master. A wild chase ensues, culminating in a confrontation with a goofy goose who sounds like comedian Joe Besser ("You craaaazy you!") ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Page Miss Glory
Hardly a typical Tex Avery effort (indeed, Avery doesn't even receive a screen credit), Page Miss Glory is instead a fascinating exercise in 1930s Art Deco. It all begins as the town of Hicksville prepares for a visit by the celebrated Miss Glory, with no one more excited than Abner, the gangly bellhop at the local hotel. In a dream sequence designed by celebrated magazine illustrator Lenore Congdon, Abner imagines a musical reception for Miss Glory at the ultra-sophisticated "Cosmopolitan Hotel" in New York. What follows is an eye-popping melange of Astaire-like chorus boys dancing in forced-perspective unison, dazzling neon-light pyrotechnics, and surrealistic champagne bottles emptying into streamlined martini glasses--all in glorious Technicolor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Hole Idea
After years of futile experimentation, Professor Calvin Q. Calculus astonishes the world with his amazing invention, the "portable hole." Unfortunately, the Prof's invention is stolen by a shadowy criminal, who uses the mobile hole to rob a wide variety of banks and jewelry stores, ultimately "graduating" to Fort Knox. Meanwhile, Prof. Calculus comes up with a devilish method of escaping his eternally nagging wife. Watch for the "inside" references to Denver, Colorado, home town of director Robert McKimson, who always regarded The Hole Idea as one of his favorite cartoons. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Satan's Waitin'
After chasing Tweety Pie up a skyscraper, Sylvester the cat plummets to the sidewalk--and dies. The hapless feline ends up in Hades, where a demon bulldog informs him that he's used up only one of his nine lives. Goaded into spending his remaining eight lives trying to capture the elusive Tweety, Sylvester succeeds only in losing lives Two through Eight in a variety of hilariously fatal confrontations. With only one life remaining between Sylvester and eternal darn-ation, he decides to give up on Tweety and play it safe. . .which turns out to be a BIG mistake. The 1961 Bugs Bunny Show TV episode "Satan's Waitin" (released theatrically as Devil's Feud Cake is not a remake. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Baby Buggy Bunny
Hook, Line and Stinker
Rookie Revue
This pre-WW2 cartoon is a satire of the life of the American Enlisted Man, with an abundance of basic-training gags. There are also jokes aplenty about lazy buglers, stupid recruits who can't count to three, an Air Force mess hall buzz-bombed with biscuits, and sham battles with wooden weapons and ersatz parachutes. This plotless laugh parade closes with an elaborate gag on a firing range, spotlighting a clumsy general who sounds (and acts) like comedian Lou Costello. Most of the soldiers seen in Rookie Revue are caricatures of the Warner Bros. animation staff. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Wild Wild World
Sleepy Time Possum
Crowing Pains
Henery Hawk is a chicken hawk, so naturally he wants a chicken. Bombastic rooster Foghorn Leghorn ("What's the gag--Ah say, what's the gag, son? Gag, that is") doesn't want to be pestered by Henery, so he convinces the little hawk that Sylvester the cat is a hen (who lays eggs, yet). Sylvester gets wise and turns the tables on Foghorn, while a long-suffering barnyard dog with a long-standing grudge against Sylvester also gets in on the act. Finally, Henery figures out a clever plan to expose the "real" chicken, but Foghorn has been keeping on his toes--toes, that is. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Yankee Dood It
Yankee Dood It is the last (and most propagandistic) of the three Warner Bros. cartoons commissioned by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to educate the public on the benefits of a free-market economic system. Alerted to the fact that a wealthy shoemaker is forcing his elf workforce to labor under outmoded conditions, the King of the Industrial Elves (who looks and sounds like Elmer Fudd) decides to pay the benevolent despot a visit. In the cartoon's longest scene, the King attempts to set the shoemaker straight with a prosaic lecture on mass-production capitalism. Trouble is, the King turns into a mouse every time someone says "Jehosaphat"--and it so happens that the shoemaker owns a VERY hungry cat. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bartholomew Versus the Wheel
Raw! Raw! Rooster
Foghorn Leghorn enjoys the full attention of all the barnyard hens until his old college chum Rhode Island Red pays a visit. Having disliked Red ever since their undergrad days at Chicken Tech, Foghorn concocts various scheme to get rid of the pest (who sounds like Jackie Gleason), but to no avail. Finally our hero resorts to a phony telegram informing Red that he's inherited a fortune--with the added grace note of a "loaded" bowling ball. Musical themes include "Freddy the Freshman", a Warner Bros. cartoon standby since 1932. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Punch Trunk
Rocket Bye Baby
A disturbance in the cosmos has caused a interplanetary prenatal mixup, and as a result an earthling baby is delivered to Mars--while a Martian infant ends up on earth at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur. Adjusting to the fact that their new son has green skin and antennae, the Wilburs nonetheless treat him like a normal boy--even when they find out that he's a mathematical and scientific super genius. Things come to a head when the kid builds a working flying saucer based on a toy advertised on TV's "Captain Schmideo", leading poor Mr. Wilbur on a merry chase. Can this be REALLY happening, or is it all a crazy dream? We know--but we won't tell you. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

To Duck or Not to Duck
Hunter Elmer Fudd sets his sights on Daffy Duck and opens fire. Outraged, Daffy challenges Elmer to throw away his gun and settle their differences man-to-man (or man-to-duck). Suddenly the forest morphs into a huge boxing ring, with a lively crowd of ducks in the audience demanding Elmer's blood. Since the fight referee is also a duck, it looks like the odds are against Elmer; even Mr. Fudd's dog, who isn't named Laramore, suspects that the fix is in. But there's a neat and satisfying plot twist just before the final bell. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Broom-Stick Bunny
Often an Orphan
Abandoned by the latest in a long line of human masters, the troublesome Charley Dog gravitates to the farm of Porky Pig, hoping to find a new home and fresh source of food. After doing the "large soulful eyes" routine, Charley tries to convince Porky that he's the perfect dog: 50% boxer, 50% Irish setter (with brogue), 50% watchdog, 50% spitz, 50% Doberman pinscher, and all Labrador Retriever (and he'll even retrieve a Labrador to prove it). But Porky isn't interested, and spends the rest of the cartoon devising various methods to rid himself of Charlie--all to no avail. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Weakly Reporter
Contemporary audiences may have a wee bit of trouble understanding the jokes in this animated "newsreel" spoof of WW2 shortages and rationing, though the gags about women at the workplace will probably strike a familiar chord. In the course of the action, we are informed that steaks and alarm clocks are regarded as rare and precious commodities, the Mt. Rushmore heads and the Statue of Liberty have become Air Raid Wardens, and a complex bit of mass-production machinery can be set in motion by something as humble as a girl's hairpin. The most memorable aspect of The Weakly Reporter is the stick-figure character design, anticipating the impressionistic UPA cartoons of the 1950s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Fresh Airedale
A household cat is driven crazy because his master treats a dog named Shep like a hero--even though good ol' Shep is actually a thief and scoundrel. Attempting to expose Shep as a phony, the cat is further frustrated when his master is led to believe that the duplicitous dog has scared off a burglar. But Shep may end up outsmarting himself when he decides to one-up a genuinely heroic hound who has been elected the nation's "Number One Dog". The ironic final gag is a real showstopper--and head-banger. Fresh Airedale includes footage from the never completed Warner Bros. cartoon For He's a Jolly Good Fala. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

By Word of Mouse
Newly arrived from Knockwurst-on-der-Rye, German mouse Hans visists his American cousin Willie. Their conversation soon turns to America's free-market capitalist system, leading to a lecture on the subject of mass production at Putnell University (Old PU), delivered by a professor-style mouse. Meanwhile, Sylvester the cat, refusing to enter into the spirit of things, tries to capture and consume the three economically savvy rodents. mice and lecturer. By Word of Mouse is the first of three Warner Bros. cartoons underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation, to educate filmgoers on the intricacies of capitalism (the other two titles are Heir Conditioned and Yankee Dood It). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Heaven Scent
Pursued by a gang of yapping dogs along the French Riviera, a female cat paints a white stripe on her back to scare her tormentors away. Unfortunately, she also attracts the attention of that aromatic would-be Romeo, Pepe le Pew the skunk. Now the long-suffering cat must somehow escape the relentless Pepe, who is determined to win her love by any means necessary. The chase takes Pepe and the cat up a flagpole, into a tunnel, through the mountains and over a cliff--but the amorous skunk refuses to take "Non!" for an answer. As usual, Pepe le Pew gets all of the cartoon's best dialogue, including the closing line, shamelessly swiped from the 1949 theatrical feature Adam's Rib. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Jumpin' Jupiter
Porky Pig decides to go camping in the Great Outdoors, bringing his neurotic cat Sylvester along for the ride. While sleeping under the stars, Porky and Sylvester are abducted by a giant, green-skinned alien buzzard, who whisks the two earthlings away to the planet Jupiter. Upon awakening, Porky is blissfully unaware that anything has happened, except to comment that "Things sure look different after a good night's sleep." But nervous Sylvester knows the awful truth, and goes to great lengths to protect himself and his master from the surly alien--who turns out to have a lot of lookalike friends. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Dog Gone South
Despite his "Big Soulful Eyes" routine, Charlie Dog is kicked out of a freight car and ends up in Platt Falls, somewhere in the Deep South. Wasting no time in his search for a place to live and a few free meals, Charlie latches on to banjo-playing Colonel Shuffle--who is rapidly driven crazy by Charlie's aggressively "Yankee" behavior. Just when it appears that a second Civil War is about to begin, the Colonel's faithful bulldog Belvedere hatches a plan to get rid of Charlie once and for all. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Ham in a Role
Under contract to Warner Bros.' "Looney Tunes", a Shakespearean dog must submit himself to such slapstick indignities as being pelted with pies. Unable to withstand this abuse, the dog quits the movies in order to study the Bard and seek out roles more worthy of his talents. But after a hectic confrontation with "Goofy Gophers" Mac and Tosh, who have an unfortunate habit of taking the works of Shakespeare too literally ("My kingdom for a horse" results in a nasty kick from a mule), the hammy hound is more than happy to give up his artistic aspirations and resume his career as a cartoon fall guy. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

It's Hummer Time
While chasing a hummingbird, a cat repeatedly antagonizes the sleeping bulldog next door. The dog turns out to be quite creative in heaping punishment upon the hapless cat, indulging in such ritualistic tortures as "The Fence", "The Rainpipe", "The Thinker", "Happy Birthday"--and that most dreaded of all retributions, "The Works" ("Don't do it, in the name of humanity!" ). This hilariously sadistic cartoon was popular enough to warrant a 1951 sequel, Early to Bet; and as a bonus, excerpts from It's Hummer Time later popped up in the 1983 film Twilight Zone--The Movie. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Heir Conditioned
After inheriting $3,000,000 from his deceased owner, Sylvester the cat plans to whoop it up with his alley-cat buddies. Alas, Sylvester's spending spree is cut short by the arrival of his new financial advisor Elmer Fudd. Refusing to let Sylvester squander a penny of his inheritance, Elmer tries to convince the spendthrift cat that he should invest his "idle cash" in the American economy, literally putting his money to work for the benefit of everyone. Heir Conditioned is one of three Warner Bros. cartoons underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to educate the American public in matters of financial responsibility (the other two Sloan-funded entries are By Word of Mouse and Yankee Dood It; fortunately, this rather smug little economics lesson is redeemed by several hilarious sight gags. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Lights Fantastic
One of the few Warner Bros. cartoons with no human or animal characters, Lights Fantastic is a collection of "spot" gags about the illuminated billboards in New York's Times Square. During our guided tour of this neon wilderness, we are treated to an anthropomorphic quartet singing the praises of "Four Noses" whiskey, a row of dancing "Face and Sunburn" coffee cans, and a climactic live-action conga line. The musical score includes classical snippets from Felix Mendelssohn and Johann Strauss, with the latter's "Voices of Spring" used as background for the inevitable EAT AT JOE'S gag. Lights Fantastic is a loose remake, with stock footage, of Billboard Frolics (1935). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Now Hear This
The weirdest cartoon ever to emerge from the Warner Bros. animation department, Now Hear This is almost impossible to describe, but here goes anyway. Basically, it's the story of a small red horn, which has somehow become detached from the head of Satan. A hard-of-hearing Englishman, dissatisfied with his crumpled green ear horn, stumbles upon the devilish device and adopts it as his own. Before long, the hapless Britisher is barraged with bizarre, distorted sound effects and wildly abstract visuals: an ant sounds like a train, musical notes morph into firecrackers, and the air is filled with "written" sounds like "Punk", "Wiseguy" and even "Gigantic Explosion." Meanwhile, a strange little elf periodically pops out of the horn to make inscrutable gestures--and, ultimately, to deliver the cartoon's "moral." Now Hear This may not make much sense, but that didn't stop it from earning an Academy Award nomination. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sniffles Takes a Trip
The Draft Horse
A farm horse wants to get out from behind the plow to join the Army, but is classified "44-F" when he flunks the physical. Crestfallen, the horse wanders into the middle of an Army training field where a loud "sham" battle is taking place. Once he gets an up-close-and-personal look at genuine warfare, our equestrian hero is more than happy to remain a civilian--and as a bonus, there's an important job awaiting him on the Home Front. Watch for a cameo appearance by Private Snafu, animated star of The Army-Navy Screen Magazine. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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