Saturday, March 1, 2014

Porky's Duck Hunt: Return To Monochrome Inspires Director; Gives Birth to Archetype To End All Cartoon Archetypes

4/17/1937 (according to the Big Cartoon Database; IMDb concurs)

Available on the Warner Home Video DVD THE ESSENTIAL DAFFY DUCK, released in 2011)

This epochal cartoon--as important to the artform as STEAMBOAT WILLIE or ROOTY TOOT TOOT--has, at long last, been lovingly restored and released on legit DVD.

It's the sole "new" attraction of the double-disc, double-dipfest that is The Essential Daffy Duck. Thanks to the wonderful Patrick Malone at The Internet Animation Database (link: I have a sumptuous rip of the restored version. You can view this gorgeous, accurate version of Porky's Duck Hunt HERE. Do take nine minutes and watch it before you read further.

It is downright curious that such a crucial cartoon has been so overlooked in the restoration process. This cartoon appeared on one of the Warner VHS collections of the 1980s, and was in dire need of some TLC then. WHV also waited to restore Avery's other seminal game-changer, A Wild Hare (1940) until after the heyday of the scattershot-but-sweet Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD sets.

In a sense, Porky's Duck Hunt, like Steamboat Willie, has outlived its own effectiveness. Revolutionary upon its release, its gags and attitude were so absorbed into the lifeblood of the American cartoon landscape that it might elicit a "meh" from the casual viewer.

If this cartoon had not appeared when it did, and made the way it was made, American animation might have further suffered the stifling constraints of the Disney way.