Sunday, December 18, 2005

I was thinking the other day of just how many classic cartoons ARE NOT on DVD, except for those shorts that have fallen into the public domain.

Here's a partial list:
The Fleischer Betty Boops and Popeyes
The work of Walter Lantz
The work of Tex Avery at MGM
Terrytoons in general
The work of UPA during its heyday of the 1950s

About the only two studio well represented are Disney and Warners.

Considering the merchandising money generated by Betty Boop, one would think someone would have already put that collection out. The VHS collection did very well.

And Tex Avery, nearly every cartoon fan I know loves Tex. Again, his VHS releases did very well (and are still available).

Woody Woodpecker still has name recognition and the Terrytoons might attract some attention as well.

So why not put these out?

My theory is that the people who are in charge of making these kind of decisions may not know enough about animation to understand the potential of these properties. If you're a 32 year-old exec looking over a catalog of films and determining which should go out on DVD, what is your decision-making process like?

I get DVDs every week to review and I shake my head on wonder at the choices someone has made. Do they really think another Charlton Heston western will sell? Or the 1950s musical of Lil Abner?

It's difficult to become a fan of classic animation when the pickings are so slim.

1 comment:

SRBissette said...

And don't forget the sterling MGM Tex Avery boxed laserdisc set, the jewel of many a collection (like mine). You'd think that puppy would be out ASAP, if only because the complete transfers (for the lasers) are malingering somewhere in the Turner/Warner vaults, and an international audience awaits their eventual release.

There's also the entire TOM & JERRY library at MGM, including a number of Academy Award winners -- I know you're not a fan of this body of work, Mike, but still, it's a relatively untapped package aching for some sort of comprehensive disc or boxed-set package.

With labels springing up around the most esoteric of anime niche-markets, it would seem to be only a matter of time before the classic animation becomes available. Republic released the boxed vhs set of BETTY BOOP -- mayhaps they'll see to it arriving on DVD before the second season of TWIN PEAKS (still not out on DVD stateside)?