• Bugs Bunny Superstar

    Released by:
    Warner Archive
    Released on: 2012.

    Director: Larry Jackson

    Cast: N/A

    Year: 1975

    The Movie:

    Written and directed by Larry Jackson in 1975, Bugs Bunny Superstar is a fantastic look back at the Looney Tunes cartoons that Warner Brothers was churning out from the thirties through the late sixties. The basic idea is pretty simply – wrangle up nine of those classic shorts and interject some commentary and insight from the men who worked at the studio where they were made.

    All nine shorts included here are from the 1940s, widely considered by many fans to be when the Looney Tunes cartoons hit their insane peak, when they were loaded with ridiculous violence, fairly horrible stereotypes and a sense of lunacy never really equaled. These cartoons hold up really well today for those not necessarily upset by how time and politics can change your view on such things, and the history behind them remains a pretty fascinating subject. Given that this feature is narrated by none other than Orson Welles, it’s obvious that Jackson was out from the start to treat the subject with some respect, and that’s exactly what he does as we are treated to a wealth of archival clips and stills from the Warner Brothers archives that go a long way towards elaborating on who did what and when.

    This isn’t all about Bugs Bunny, though. Nope, in addition to that famous wascally wabbit we’re treated to appearances by Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn and Sylvester and Tweety Bird. Behind the scenes footage includes some bits with voice actors like Mel Blanc is interesting to see and we get some insight into what went into creating not only the characters themselves but also the various storylines, situations and altercations that those characters would inevitably find themselves in.

    Along the way we’re able to revisit some interviews with the likes of Bob Clampett who notes the influence of various classic Hollywood actors on the cartoons – obviously actors like Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson were made fun of in some of the shorts. Friz Freleng pops up here to talk about his work on the show. It’s all quite interesting and it all sounds like it was a great group of ridiculously creative people to work with. Clampett gets more screen time than anyone else does but he’s also seemingly got more to say, happy to stroll down memory lane for the camera and share what he can about something that went on to have seriously legitimate cultural impact and importance.

    For those keeping score, the nine shorts that are included in the documentary are:

    What’s Cookin’ Doc? / A Wild Hare / A Corny Concerto / I Taw A Putty Tat / Rhapsody Rabbit / Walky Talky Hawk / My Favorite Duck / Hair Raising Hare / The Old Grey Hare

    Those who already have the Looney Tunes Golden Collection releases may recall that this feature was cut into two parts and spread across the supplements in the fourth volume of those sets but for those who don’t and have an interest in classic animation, this is a nice release to have. It’s informative, it’s interesting, and it’s a lot of fun to watch, a great mix of historically important footage documenting the making of some classic material, and mixed with that same classic material presented uncut and intact.


    The documentary is presented in 1.33.1 fullframe and it looks fine in that aspect ratio. Image quality is pretty good here. Understandably some of the archival clips and photographs appear a bit worse for wear and show some age related damage but otherwise things shape up nicely. Color reproduction is good, particularly in the animated clips used throughout the movie.

    Audio chores are handled well by the English language Dolby Digital Mono mix on the DVD. There are no alternate language options, subtitles or closed captions available but the clarity of the mix is otherwise fine. The levels are well balanced and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    The main extra on the disc is a solid commentary with Larry Jackson who talks about why he took on this project and how it played out as well as what it was like digging into the history of the character and the studio that created him – it’s pretty interesting stuff and a welcome addition to the release. He also provides some background information on his own career, how he got into animation, how he got Orson Welles on board and more. Additionally there’s a still gallery of behind the scenes images, menus and chapter selection also included on the disc.

    The Final Word:

    Warner Archive have done a very nice job bringing this thoroughly enjoyable look back at the life and times of one of America’s most recognizable animated icons to DVD. The transfer is solid, the audio is problem free and the commentary well worth the time it takes to listen to, and the feature itself is a blast sure to be of interest to anyone with an interest in classic animation.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Barry M's Avatar
      Barry M -
      I'd buy this if they actually released a pressed DVD; still can't quite shake the hurt off of DVD-Rs. It seems to be an effective way of deciding whether I really need something or not, though, so I should probably be grateful.

      Still, it'd be nice to hear Elmer Fudd sing "I don't know how to wove him".

      He's a wabbit
      He's just a wabbit
      And I've had so many
      wabbits befowe
      in oh so many ways
      he's just one mowe
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      Was I asleep when you watched this? I like Bugs Bunny.