Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Happy Fifth Birthday to The Warner Archive Collection!

The final week of March, 2014 marked the fifth anniversary - or, as they called it in their ads, "fifth birthday" -- of The Warner Archive Collection. 

This "manufactured-on-demand" enterprise of Warner Home Video has been a huge favorite with me. 

Take our standard link for more detail. 

The number of Warner Archive Collection DVDs I've reviewed here at TIAH Blog should speak for itself (links below):

Humphrey Bogart:

"King of the Underworld"

"Chain Lightning"

"The Two Mrs. Carrolls"


"Crime School"

James Cagney:


"Jimmy the Gent"

And a few more that seem to be in a perpetual "state of preparation", including (if you can believe it) a Cagney and Bogart WESTERN! 

Other Golden Age Hollywood Greats - Edward G. Robinson, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre:

 "The Last Gangster

"Three Strangers"


"The Herculoids"

"Popeye the Sailor: The 1960s Classics"

It's clear that I have great affection for -- and derive much enjoyment from -- the various products put forth by The Warner Archive Collection.

But, all is not peaches and cream, sunny days, and banana cherry cheesecake in "WAC"-ky Land...

"W-W-Warning!  What f-f-follows is culled from c-c-comments from the prev-prev-prev... LAST p-p-post!  Yeah, I'm cheat-cheat-cheat... CUTTING CORNERS!"

 For all the good emanating from the WAC over these last five years, one area in which it has FAILED to live up to its seemingly unlimited potential is animation. 

You'd think that the media giant that controls the cartoons of Warner Bros. (Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies), MGM, and Hanna-Barbera, would do a better job of releasing this classic material to the public! 

Every year, they seem to “shake loose” some older and more obscure Cagney or Bogart film – and I’ll always buy them, and (as seen above) review them here… BUT The Warner Archive Collection could – and SHOULD – be an ideal place to release all of the unreleased artifacts of animation that they control.  

I TOLD YA they made a western together!
Last year’s release of 1960s Popeyes (also above) was a great example of what they could do.  So, why not such Hanna-Barbera series as Wally Gator, Touch√© Turtle, Lippy the Lion,  Peter Potamus, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel, et al?  Aren't "limited interest" properties like these EXACTLY what The Warner Archive Collection was MADE FOR? 

 And, even if there ARE (as has been oft reported) music clearance issues with the earlier seasons of Huckleberry Hound, the Fourth Season was okay, as was the Third Season of Quick Draw McGraw.  They were short seasons, so COMBINE them into one package – to be supplemented by the extra Hokey Wolf cartoons made to replace the departing Yogi Bear segment.  That would make for a bountiful release – and there’s no reason it could not be done.
Take that WHIP to Warner Archives, Huck!
Even Hokey Wolf couldn't talk Warner into such releases!

It’s a damned shame we still don’t have an official Tex Avery MGM set.  If Warner Home Video can’t support it, why not Warner Archives?   And dare I suggest the Gene Deitch Tom and Jerrys?  I love “Dicky Moe”! 
I'm as angry as Captain Ahab, over not having my own copy of "Dicky Moe"!

Black and white Looney Tunes won’t sell?  Put them out in MOD fashion via the WAC.  I just ordered a 1932 Cagney film, “Winner Take All”, that is so obscure I never heard of it, until WAC offered it.  Also, over the past month or so, I ordered a collection of 1930s Shemp Howard Vitaphone comedy shorts. 

If these artifacts of early entertainment can get a Warner Archives release, why not the Looney Tunes cartoons that PLAYED ON THE SAME PROGRAM with them?    

So, Happy Fifth Birthday to The Warner Archive Collection...
And thanks for all the great stuff...  
Now, let loose of the rest of it!   


Anonymous said...

"The Oklahoma Kid" is an entertaining western. It is not hard to imagine it as a B picture made by Republic and starring Don "Red" Barry or George Turner. As it is, it has the novelty of its unconventional casting, plus it had an "A" budget, but with the pace and action of a "B" movie.

Of course, Cagney and Bogart rarely did westerns. Offhand, I can only name two others with Cagney (Run for Cover and Tribute to a Bad Man), and one with Bogart (Virginia City). But then, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, and Gary Cooper didn't make a lot of gangster movies. -TC

Joe Torcivia said...

And, thanks to The Warner Archive Collection, I’ve now seen “The Oklahoma Kid”, and enjoyed it immensely, TC!

I have a stack of hand-written notes, from which to write a DVD review, if and when time ever permits.

Parts of it, perhaps due to Cagney’s irrepressible good nature, as if he’s joshing with us, come off as camp – that is if “camp”, as such, actually existed in 1939.

Especially loved the bit where he clears-out a hotel room full of “land-rushers”, acting as Bugs Bunny would in the not too distant future – stirring them to reflexive action, and getting them to clear out before they even realize what’s happening.

“C’mon, you mavericks! On your feet! The land rush is on! C’mon! They’re firing the starting gun!”

…And, out they go, frantically, in the middle of the night, as if they were an army of Elmer Fudds and Yosemite Sams! Gotta love it!