Monday, April 1, 2013
A "Tom and Jerry" Update
Warner Bros. might be listening to us animation fans after all...
Of course, as many of you may know, Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Volume Two was to arrive to stores this summer but without two controversial cartoons: Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat. This was, of course, contradictory to the fact that the series was aimed at the adult collector and not for children, and that the series would contain all of the short subjects uncut. A representative for WB went as far as justifying the removal of the two cartoons on WB Classic Animation's Facebook page, saying that they were "inappropriate" for the "intended audience" - the adult collector. We sure got angry. Blog posts, forum posts and even close to 100 one-star reviews of the forthcoming set on Amazon.com ensued... Us animation fans weren't going to be robbed like this, especially after what we got with the excellent first volume.
What we know so far is that a higher up in Warner Bros.' legal department doesn't want these two shorts released in any form, not even through the WB Archive! Apparently this person has been there for a while and has something against these cartoons, I mean... Why else would Warner Bros. release equally controversial and potentially offensive cartoons in the Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies and Popeye series on home media formats whilst keeping these two and the Censored 11 locked up?
All hope seemed lost. It looked like we were not going to get these two uncensored cartoons on Blu-ray and DVD in the United States, but... TV Shows On DVD has confirmed that Warner Bros. has postponed the second volume of this series! This makes sense, because Home Theater Forum owner Ronald Epstein collected questions from animation aficionados and sent them to Warner Bros. Apparently they had a meeting about these cartoons, so maybe the postponement of this set may bring good things. However, we can't get our hopes up too high... Yet.
Anything can happen now...
Here's my theory: Warner Bros. (or more specifically, that person in their legal department) will drop all of this opposition to Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat. Thus, those two cartoons will be added to the line-up and the packaging will be altered. It'll say 44 shorts instead of 42, or the last 2 cartoons on the set (chronologically) - Puppy Tale and Posse Cat - will be left off for time constraints and will be the opening shorts on the third Golden Collection volume. The liner notes will mention both formerly missing cartoons. This is of course the win-win situation, the one everyone hopes will happen. Well, it better happen!
Why do I think it might happen? Well, WB announced that the set was postponed after those questions were sent... Plus it came off of a slew of negative reactions. I haven't seen such reaction to a home media release in a long while. Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Volume One has less than 40 reviews in total on Amazon.com, Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Volume Two has nearly 100 one-star reviews warning consumers to stay away from the butchered set whilst also calling WB out for their unnecessary censoring of a set that's meant for adults.
Also, WB can't just re-insert the shorts between now and June 11th, or make liner notes mentioning them. It's also possible that Mouse Cleaning and/or Casanova Cat had audio commentaries, so it'll take some time to put those back in as well. So maybe the delay does mean that WB gets it.
Now it's also possible that we will end up getting the butchered set later this year, which would only anger fans more resulting in a bigger backlash. The fans are now willing to give WB a chance to correct the mistakes they have made, and to not omit Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat from this set. If a new announcement for the set shows that the two cartoons won't be in the line-up... Well then, expect more heat, WB! And weaker sales, too!
Right now, we have no clear idea why the set was postponed. All we can do is speculate right now, but personally, I'm going to try to be optimistic here and believe that WB delayed the set to do the right thing: Include Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat, and never attempt to censor this set or any forthcoming adult collector set (whether it's Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies or Popeye) ever again.
Hopefully everything will turn out alright. If Tom and Jerry Golden Collection Volume Two arrives to stores complete and uncensored with Mouse Cleaning and Casanova Cat, then... Immediate sale!