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Porky Pig 101; no good.
Topic Started: Sep 22 2017, 10:55 AM (2,465 Views)
rodney
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Be forewarned that this set is FULL of errors. At least one censored cartoon, wrong openings and closings on cartoons, music from other shorts placed on the wrong shorts, copies of shorts that are WORSE than what used to run on Cartoon Network...

A really, really bad job. My copy is going back. I don't pay for altered cartoons.
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The Batman
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Thanks, Rodney! I'm going to cancel my order right now.

Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman...then always be Batman!
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Don Diego
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Thanks, Rodney you have saved me from a bad purchase
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Frank Hale
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I don't know if Rodney is correct or not. He's a good fellow, and probably is.

The WB podcast (which includes Jerry Beck BTW) and HTF thread suggest that the Archive did the best they could, given the underlying b&w materials, which have apparently been passed around quite a bit.

I do know that I am getting up in years, and that this will probably be my last chance to see a lot of these cartoons, in whatever condition. Furthermore, good sales may help future dives into some of the more obscure corners of the WB cartoon library.

So my order stands at present.
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Laughing Gravy
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Mr. Hale, I'm on your side. Thad has been badmouthing this collection big-time because he believes Warner Bros. should've restored and remastered every single cartoon and kept searching for more complete, better materials on the handful of problematical ones. In other words, spent $400,000 at least on a set for collectors and take 12 years to get it "right" (but he would've complained about something anyway). I have this set, have watched several of the cartoons (two at FNF last night) and I absolutely, positively am bowled over by it. It's great.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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JazzGuyy
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If people don't buy this set, there is a high likelihood we'll never see any more WB or MGM cartoon from Warner Archive. This release is pretty much a test case. Yes, it's flawed but, if it fails to sell, it could doom releases in the future. Flaws and all, this set should be supported. I'd rather have this flawed set than junk issues on Blu-Ray of things like Farmer Al Falfa cartoons.
TANSTAAFL!
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Laughing Gravy
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The flaws are minor and dwarfed by the enormity of the set and the sheer pleasure of watching these cartoons chronologically and in one package. Nobody is giving WB 'charity' by purchasing this set, it's well worth the money but if having the wrong closing theme tacked onto a cartoon that was missing its original theme bothers you that much, by all means, peeps, don't purchase the set.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Frank Hale
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Mr. Feltenstein on the podcast mentioned 2 or 3 times that they had to make some compromises to keep the set economically viable, so it's not like they were out to bamboozle anybody. We all have different thresholds, and
given Mr. Feltenstein's track record, I think I'll be happy.

On the censorship issue, which is something I really do get upset about, he also mentioned once or twice that they used suitable disclaimers where necessary. So I am trying to be hopeful on that. At least there hasn't been any widespread outrage on the internet, and it is typically something that film fans are all over.

Ultimately, given that the price was only 36 cents a cartoon, I decided to go for it.
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thadk
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$400,000? Boy, you really DON'T know what you're talking about. But hey, have fun, because it is a nice little package of rare cartoons, just one without any real standards of production like the other Warner sets I've supported, even with their small flaws. But I guess they don't deserve it, because they're just cartoons, right? Well, I'll just grind away working on junk like Farmer Al, Felix the Cat, Laurel and Hardy, John Wayne, Republic serials.... Jeez, wish my paycheck matched that figure you quoted for film restoration! :P
Edited by thadk, Sep 23 2017, 03:21 PM.
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rodney
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Let's suppose that I license a title that you love,Cliff. Say it's I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Now let's say I chose to release it as an edited TV print with a different soundtrack. Would you be cool with that?
Edited by rodney, Sep 23 2017, 03:12 PM.
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JazzGuyy
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The point here is that this release is a trial balloon. If it sells, there will be others and probably more money to put into restoration. This set is not aimed at kids but at collectors. Yes, a lot of collectors will piss and moan that the set isn't perfect but failure to support this set may mean that there will be no more. Given the choice between a few flaws and getting nothing, I will pick the flaws every time. You guys who are perfectionists may end up shooting yourselves in the foot by failing to buy this. Some of things that you say may need fixing, may not be fixable. Just because you once saw a version of a cartoon that had all the right music or an additional 30 seconds doesn't mean that those source elements are still available. Maybe they are and maybe they're not.

No, I don't think you would need $400,000 to do a top-rate restoration; but you might need $100,000 or $200,000 above normal DVD production costs to do all the rummaging around in the vaults, evaluate all the different materials, perform, research music cues, put all the right pieces back together in the right order, clear the music rights (remember Time-Warner no longer owns a lot of the music used in the cartoons), etc. We are talking 101 cartoons here. Previous cartoon sets from Warner that had full restorations did not sell all that well. That's why they disappeared from the market relatively quickly. Is there really a market big enough to sustain stuff like this and justify spending the kind of money needed to do what you want? $100,000 in production costs requires at least 5 times that in returns to keep the accountants happy and get them to OK future releases. Warner Archive has been able to stay in business because it makes money. Anything that doesn't make money and costs more than a few buck to produce gets axed. I know that George Feltenstein has said a number of times that there are things he would like to release but can't because the upfront costs can't be justified.
TANSTAAFL!
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thadk
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First, JazzGuyy, I'd like to thank you for being the first person to civilly disagree with me about this. I really do appreciate it, seriously.

All of the materials exist - trust me - the music could've easily been fixed in a week in post if someone knew the cartoons was doing it and it wasn't handed off to interns. Which is why we have the same cue from the Carl Stalling Project CD looped onto six different cartoons; on "Naughty Neighbors" they ran it about three times. Why is that even an option? That is just bad work. (Unlike Rodney, I'll let the censored cartoon fly, because if they weren't going to go to the neg, it wasn't going to happen; got censored in '42 and thereafter.)

Everyone says the Stalling music is one of the best parts of the cartoons and I agree... So why not just... try to get it as right as possible? Would it suffice if I started putting the same Laurel & Hardy opening cue on every single short?

Music rights on the Warner cartoons isn't as fierce as it is for other studios. I forget the whole details, but they're pretty much allowed to be used as they were originally recorded without legal consequence. (Warners hasn't owned "The Merry Go Round Broke Down" for ages for instance.)

While it's true, the fifth Golden Collection bombed (ironically the one with the most B/W Porkys) and they were going to cancel it there, but Jerry Beck pleaded with them to do a sixth and won. (Which is why that one is loaded with an insane amount of obscure rarities). That's pretty gutsy for something that wasn't making money and showed the preservation-minded thinking I loved about that golden era of Warner Home Video.

Obviously things have changed and given the dip in the last round of color cartoon restorations (which are perfectly fine, if just disappointing compared to what came before), the fact that Warners doesn't want to even put out Blu-Rays of material they have ready to go in fully restored 2K, and that Warners has stabbed its consumers in the back so many times with various properties (you will never see a completely unaltered Tom & Jerry set, nor an MGM Tex Avery set), I can't buy the wishful thinking that this will magically unlock money for real restoration again. Especially if it's proven hackwork will sell—why would they think otherwise? The way I see it, there's no real money to be made on any of this, and this is going to be the last time anyone works on it. So it should be done right. At least that's my take.
Edited by thadk, Sep 23 2017, 06:26 PM.
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rodney
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If the issue were only the censored short, I'd be fine. Those things happen from time to time. It's just that on top of everything else.
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JazzGuyy
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I don't necessarily disagree with you, Thad. I am just aware of the realities of the restoration and release of classic movies and shorts. The marketing realities are that millennials won't buy anything in black & white and object to black bars on anything they watch. The millennials are also increasingly only interested in what they can screen to their small and tiny screen devices via streaming rather than physical media. Those with fond memories of movie theater cartoons are generally an older population and they are slowly dying off. There is also almost no market for any movies made before 1970 or so except for some blockbusters, Disney stuff, and some genre material like sci-fi and horror. When it comes to the big studios, they have pretty much abandoned classics altogether. The one exception is Warner Archive, whose existence and apparent profitability continues to amaze me. But Warner Archive must also answer to accountants and marketeers. Otherwise, the studios have pretty much turned the release of classic films over to the small companies like Olive, Kino-Lorber, Mill Creek and a few others. I think these are all fairly small outfits that absorb all the sales and marketing risks the big studios don't want. I have heard that the sales of some classics are only in the hundreds.

I too object to some of the Warner Archive practices. I have complained when they crop 1.85 films to 1.78 and I have complained about the use of edge enhancement and really poor transfers in some of their early releases. But I also have cut them some slack because they are often the only game in town. I realize that if I ever want to see some of these items in my home, I may have to see them in a compromised form. I wish things could be perfect but I also realize that the market for classic material is shrinking every day. So I (sometimes reluctantly) support Warner Archive (and the other guys too).

Increasingly, I have been turning to sources like Masters of Cinemas and BFI in the UK and others in Spain, France and Germany for classic material. The market seems stronger there. Unfortunately, there seems to be little interest in Europe in either classic cartoons or shorts, only in feature films.
TANSTAAFL!
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thadk
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See, we're on the same wavelength after all. I agree with everything you said... BUT... Kino is expending some effort to do basic clean-up, correction, steadying, flicker removal on stuff they don't own and on discs that probably won't be big sellers. They're not full-blown restorations (save a few like "Daredevils of the Red Circle"), but they aren't just throwing whatever Paramount and MGM just gives them, either. This is just simply good presentation and showmanship. Having someone go through the cartoons and correct the soundtracks would've cost next to nothing. If they can't be bothered with the bare minimum, I can't support shoddy work.

One more point no one seems to be addressing: while I applaud an idea for a set on the level of "Porky Pig 101", this kind of collection should never have been proposed or greenlit if the money and time weren't going to be allowed to do it properly, especially one full of material WB has no intention of ever returning to again (they've said as much—so for most of these, this really is it).

A better way to have tested the waters would've been a set with all the cartoons starring both Porky and Daffy together. That's like 40+ cartoons, most of which have already been restored, so it would have been much more feasible to do restoration on what remained and release it on Blu-Ray. But they wanted to do this in the worst way—and boy, they got it.
Edited by thadk, Sep 24 2017, 03:21 PM.
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