Discussion Regarding Warner's Weird Decision-Making in Recent Years - Forum.
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Jason Todd  
#1 Posted : Monday, November 20, 2017 5:54:40 AM(UTC)
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Four-and-a-half years (and counting) after Warner decided to cancel the release of Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Volume 2, it remains a mystery--a seemingly unsolvable mystery--to me why they spent an assload of money restoring Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat for that release--presumably from then-recently-unearthed original nitrate material--only to pull them from the lineup at the last possible second. What exactly was the corporate thinking in this?

Even now, it just doesn't add up.
PopKorn Kat  
#2 Posted : Monday, November 20, 2017 10:45:51 AM(UTC)
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From what I've heard (and this is from memory), one division from Warners wants to release the controversial cartoons, but the legal division is preventing them from doing so.
Jason Todd  
#3 Posted : Monday, November 20, 2017 12:11:36 PM(UTC)
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Yes, I recall the folks at The Bugs Bunny Video Guide stating that. If that's true, whomever is running that stupid legal division clearly doesn't have their priorities in check.
Blob55  
#4 Posted : Monday, November 20, 2017 5:26:58 PM(UTC)
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Is this why the Censored 11 DVD never came out? Makes little sense, since racist cartoons were on Volumes 3-6 of Golden Collection.
Jason Todd  
#5 Posted : Monday, November 20, 2017 6:10:48 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Blob55 Go to Quoted Post
Is this why the Censored 11 DVD never came out? Makes little sense, since racist cartoons were on Volumes 3-6 of Golden Collection.


...And on several Looney Tunes Super Stars volumes. And on Porky Pig 101. Oh! And on Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Volume 1.

And don't even get me started on the Popeye sets.

Bottom line is, there's something fishy about those greedy Warner Legal folk.
User is suspended until 6/14/2292 4:56:53 PM(UTC) LuckyToon  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, November 21, 2017 11:20:26 PM(UTC)
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Whoever is running the legal department at WB needs to be fired for not allowing these kind of offensive cartoons for home video releases mainly aimed for collectors. They shouldn't be acting like this to us, it's so unfair!d'oh!
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Cool_Cat  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:12:56 AM(UTC)
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Then I don't get how they got away with The Milky Waif and His Mouse Friday and many shorts in the Porky set while they don't want to release those two shorts which I don't even find particularly offensive.
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Jason Todd  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:32:16 AM(UTC)
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What's even more ironic is that the two shorts in question used to air on Cartoon Network and Boomerang quite frequently.
Toonatic  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:17:08 AM(UTC)
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There's a theory that one of the higher-ups (an African American from what I heard) bought a T&J tape from MGM for her kids at the time containing Mouse Cleaning. She was so appalled that she vowed that (and Casanova Cat) would never see the light of the day again. From what I also heard, she doesn't intend to step down at any time. Clarify me on this if you must, I'm just gathering pieces and connecting the dots to what I heard.


My theory still stands; release all the "offensive" cartoons in a set sold exclusively on the TCM website. I honestly don't see how hard that can be nor any reason why it's a bad idea.
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PopKorn Kat  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:56:09 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Toonatic Go to Quoted Post
There's a theory that one of the higher-ups (an African American from what I heard) bought a T&J tape from MGM for her kids at the time containing Mouse Cleaning. She was so appalled that she vowed that (and Casanova Cat) would never see the light of the day again. From what I also heard, she doesn't intend to step down at any time. Clarify me on this if you must, I'm just gathering pieces and connecting the dots to what I heard.


My theory still stands; release all the "offensive" cartoons in a set sold exclusively on the TCM website. I honestly don't see how hard that can be nor any reason why it's a bad idea.


Personally, I don't buy that. I think someone back on the old forum said someone on the Home Theater Forum said that, but I doubt it's true. It doesn't explain the lack of consistency between releasing other racist material and withholding these two shorts. Also, this sounds like something that would be vetoed by another set of higher-ups.

EDIT: I see someone has thanked my post, so let me clarify. I looked through the Home Theater Forum and there are several people indeed confirming that it is a problem with the legal department and that there is at least one person withholding the cartoons. What I don't get is why these people have a problem with these specific cartoons when there's all sorts of other stuff that could have been pulled from shelves long ago. I should mention that Porky Pig 101 was released after this whole controversy and that contains its fair share of racist cartoons. I feel there's gotta be something more than just a few people finding the shorts offensive.

Edited by user Wednesday, November 22, 2017 1:56:36 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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TibbyH  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:51:27 PM(UTC)
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To my knowledge, wasn't Ted Turner and Turner Broadcasting the reason why shorts like Mouse Cleaning weren't gonna be released on home video?
Mesterius  
#12 Posted : Thursday, November 23, 2017 6:59:36 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TibbyH Go to Quoted Post
To my knowledge, wasn't Ted Turner and Turner Broadcasting the reason why shorts like Mouse Cleaning weren't gonna be released on home video?


I can't imagine that to be the case. Ted Turner owned the MGM cartoon library back in the 90s – when Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat were released on the complete Tom and Jerry LaserDisc sets in the United States.

The bad reputation these two shorts have obtained has come in later years... and, like a lot of stuff that goes viral on the internet these days, not necessarily for rational reasons. It's true, of course, that there are many other Tom and Jerry shorts with blackface gags and questionable content. But these two have caught attention much more than others.

In part, that has to be because the blackface scenes last much longer, and are on more prominent display, than in other shorts. In Mouse Cleaning, the gag where Mammy Two Shoes mistakes Tom for a black man is the whole ending of the film. In Casanova Cat, Jerry dances with a blackface makeup for a good half minute or longer. The scenes in both of these films must be very easy targets to point to for anyone wanting to attack old cartoons for racism, because they are so prominently there.

Whatever the exact reasons, these two films have been an uncomfortable topic for Warner Bros. in the States for a long time. They were censored from the third and final Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection set already ten years ago, even after Warner Bros. had promised that series would include ALL the films, and sent out replacement discs for any films that were edited in previous Spotlight volumes. They made no such replacement discs for these two shorts.

When the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection came along in 2011, it was supposed to fix this problem by aiming squarely for the collectors. Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat were restored because Warner intended them to be on the Golden Collection Volume 2 set (yes, Jason, nothing strange about that part). But at the last minute, Warner chickened out and omitted the two shorts from the contents list which was released to the public in February 2013, five months before the set was slated to come out. The backlash and intense rage from fans all over the internet was so extreme that Warner Home Video decided to postpone the set indefinitely instead of releasing it without the two films.

There's another element to Warner's sudden backtracking on releasing these two films which people seldom mention. Usually, Warner's tradition with cartoon sets like these has been to release one volume a year of any given series. That was the case with the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, the Popeye sets (except they split the second year's release into two smaller sets), the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection, and so on. However... even though the first volume of the Tom and Jerry Golden Collection came out in the fall of 2011, the second volume was not offically announced until a year and a half later, in spring 2013.

Honestly, I have to think that Warner originally planned to release Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Vol. 2 in the fall of 2012... but then they ended up waiting another six months with announcing it because somone in upper management suddenly had second thoughts about the two "problematic" films. In theory, Warner would also need additional time to restore two more cartoons (Puppy Tale and Posse Cat) which they could have as backups in case the two "difficult" films weren't approved for release. And of course, they weren't.

We can see a similar pattern with the Spotlight Collection DVD series in the previous decade: Volume 1 comes out in 2004, Volume 2 in 2005, and Volume 3 two whole years later in 2007. Even here, it's easy to imagine suits at Warner debating back-and-forth for months on end what to do about Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat, before finally announcing the third set.

The bottom line is: the treatment of these two Tom and Jerry films has clearly been an ongoing, internal debate at Warner Brothers for the last 10 to 15 years. And sadly, the debate doesn't seem to be over yet.
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Jason Todd  
#13 Posted : Thursday, November 23, 2017 8:08:02 AM(UTC)
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Regardless... If Warner spent oodles and oodles of money restoring them, they're gonna have to release 'em sometime. They can't keep these entries locked away forever.
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Mesterius  
#14 Posted : Thursday, November 23, 2017 7:44:31 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jason Todd Go to Quoted Post
Regardless... If Warner spent oodles and oodles of money restoring them, they're gonna have to release 'em sometime. They can't keep these entries locked away forever.


The sad truth is that legally, they CAN do exactly that. Because they own the rights to both the films and their restorations of them. But we all hope they will decide on something better.

You think just because Warner spent money on restoring these two films, they will HAVE to release them? What do you think will happen... that Warner Bros. will go bankrupt if they don't?

Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat not being released is bad news for Tom and Jerry on home video and, possibly, for the restoration and release of other classic cartoons. But Warner Brothers the company is not dependent on these two shorts being released. Why would it be?

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PopKorn Kat on 11/24/2017(UTC)
Jason Todd  
#15 Posted : Friday, November 24, 2017 3:47:27 AM(UTC)
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I do believe you're right. However, I wasn't thinking of it in legal terms; to me, it just doesn't make sense on a corporate level. Yes, legally they can do what they want with these films. Economically, how does it benefit them? When Warner Home Video was made to pull the two aforementioned shorts from the lineup, they knew they were gonna receive backlash from us. They know how we collectors operate; the vast majority of us don't see the point in buying yet another incomplete collection. So needless to say, that hurt the release to the point where WB didn't think it would be profitable.

Nevertheless, I suppose all we can do, at this point, is hope that either the moronic bureaucrat who currently runs the legal department changes his or her mind, or retires and is replaced with someone who cares more about what we, the collectors of classic animation, want than about the (maybe) 0.001 percent of the population that might object to such content.

Edited by user Friday, November 24, 2017 4:05:03 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

TibbyH  
#16 Posted : Friday, November 24, 2017 5:17:44 AM(UTC)
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Do you guys think it could be possible for Warner Archive to release the two Tom and Jerry shorts and a few more on a DVD set? I know the video quality won't be as good as the main home video division, but it could be a good way to separate it from mainstream attention.
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Jason Todd on 11/24/2017(UTC)
Jason Todd  
#17 Posted : Friday, November 24, 2017 7:08:04 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TibbyH Go to Quoted Post
Do you guys think it could be possible for Warner Archive to release the two Tom and Jerry shorts and a few more on a DVD set? I know the video quality won't be as good as the main home video division, but it could be a good way to separate it from mainstream attention.


Well, that depends... How are the sales of Porky Pig 101 coming along?
Toonatic  
#18 Posted : Saturday, November 25, 2017 9:54:47 AM(UTC)
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I wouldn't mind settling for the Archive to releases all the "banned" shorts. Don't forget, in addition to the 2 T&J shorts, the Censored 11 were all restored too (in fact a whole set dedicated to that is 100% done, they just need to press a button and boom, it's a DVD).

Something else Warner should do is to release compilation releases targeted to kids AND collectors. Have some double-dips yes, but have new-to-DVD shorts (all restored and remastered) like the Tom and Jerry Santa's Little Helpers DVD.
WaltWiz1901  
#19 Posted : Sunday, November 26, 2017 5:22:39 AM(UTC)
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They could also try (and I loosely mean try) to continue the Golden Collection through Warner Archive, but if the errors on the Porky Pig 101 set are any indication, we would only be stuck with unrestored interpositives. As you said, releases with new-to-disc shorts that would appeal to both kids and collectors would be a great idea, but I would like to see the Golden Collection continue (with the two controversial shorts intact) more.

Edited by user Sunday, November 26, 2017 11:12:08 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Jason Todd  
#20 Posted : Monday, November 27, 2017 1:28:49 AM(UTC)
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I'm also not entirely happy about the fact that there are two Looney Tunes Super Stars volumes with two thirds of their content cropped almost beyond recognition, that these were released over seven years ago and have since been reissued several times without this issue fixed, and that Warner Home Video STILL has yet to issue any kind of solution for this problem.

And yes, I am aware of the fact that said content is now available on the Boomerang app in its correct aspect ratio, but the availability of most of these previously-widescreened Bugs and Daffy shorts in their proper format is currently exclusive to that streaming service. Not exactly fair, in my opinion.
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