Why HBO Max loses the best of its catalog with the departure of Looney Tunes


    The first television tragedy of 2023 already has a name. HBO Max, which seems to be doing an undisguised sale of its catalog, leaves out the looney tunes. Well, it’s not that bad, you’ll say, it wasn’t even Westworld! This, dear readers, is much worse.

    As of December 31, HBO Max removed seasons 16 through 31 from the looney tunes as well as seasons 4 to 6 of The Flintstones. Something that also makes us sad, but let’s go back to the looney tunes. Incomprehensibly, the first seasons remain on the platform, from 1 to 15, no less than all the shorts from 1930 to 1949. All the shorts released from 1950 to 2004 have been removed.

    This news would not be, yes, so dramatic if everything did not smell that those remaining short films are also going to disappear. The reason is simple, even though Warner Bros. and HBO Max belong to the same parent company, they still have to renew rights contracts, and HBO Max hasn’t, leaving half of the looney tunes in limbo. Not only that, but HBO Max has once again exhibited poor communication practice, first stating that the shorts had been removed for maintenance, to fix certain things and that they would return soon. Later, however, and according to Varietyit was known that they would not return to service.

    If we get academic we could say that this news is dramatic for what it means for the notion that platforms also preserve culture. Disney + has allowed us to access a huge amount of content from Mickey Mouse and company, including his classic short films. It may not be the most viewed on the platform, but there they are, we understand that forever. Why? Because they are the essence of the brand. Does anyone the hell remember Warner’s W without Bugs Bunny in front of it? No.

    The best Looney Tunes short films that disappear from HBO Max

    What’s Opera Doc? (Chuck Jones, 1957)

    Warner Bros.

    But beyond what it means for the conservation of cinematographic art from a historical perspective, let’s think about the viewer again. The looney tunesCuriously, since the time removed, they managed to make animation transcend the children’s audience to achieve universality. It was its golden age, with a series of animated shorts that rank among the best ever. What’s opera, Doc?, directed by Chuck Jones in 1957, is a parody of Richard Wagner’s The Nibelungs. Not only did it take six months to make it seven minutes long, it was the first animated short to be deemed “culturally significant” by the US Library of Congress, making its preservation a matter of state.

    looney tunes best shorts

    Duck Amuck’(Chuck Jones, 1953)

    Warner Bros.

    I could say that Chuck Jones and Tex Avery are to the West what Takahata and Miyazaki, from Ghibli, are to Japan, but the truth is that without the first two we might not even know the latter. Chuck Jones is the only one with three short films that were considered by Congress. Between the other two we have Duck Amuck (1953), a genius in which Daffy Duck fights against the animator who draws him, and also One Froggy Evening (1955), which Steven Spielberg claimed was “the Citizen Kane of animated short films”, and I was not exaggerating. Another one that disappears is The rabbit of Seville (1950), where Bugs Bunny gives the Barber a hard time from Rossini’s well-known opera.

    looney tunes best shorts

    One Froggy Evening (Chuck Jones, 1955)

    Warner Bros.

    We also say goodbye to the possibility of seeing, studying and admiring, anonymous birders, a dark short film where the cat Silvestre parodies alcoholism and the therapy of alcoholics anonymous with his addiction to eating Tweety. Yes, friends, for things like these dozens of generations have looked at the looney tunesbecause when The Simpson They still did not predict anything, they had already come and gone in their portrait of society and art, teaching and entertaining children and adults.

    The best Looney Tunes short films that follow on HBO Max

    looney tunes best shorts

    Warner Bros.

    As for now there are still half of them, and so that this news is not all negative, we will end with some recommendations of essential Looney Tunes before that now disappeared year 1950. Red hot Riding Hood It is pure history of animation for adults, the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood is transformed by Tex Avery into a cabaret tale where the star is Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, a drunken admirer with bulging eyes. Leaving aside the childish (although the eyes out of the wolf’s orbits are the history of animated expression), you know that the story is so groundbreaking that the grandmother gives what she deserves to a wolf who ends up committing suicide. Telita.

    looney tunes best shorts

    Warner Bros.

    We also have A Rabbit for Bogart (1947), a parody of both Casablanca and the Marx Brothers films where the star asks Sam, instead of a song, for a specific dinner, Roast Rabbit. The good old Bugs Bunny resists until he finds out that the one who will eat him will be Lauren Bacall, and logically he puts himself on the tray. And what did you think rick and morty he was bold and wild… We also find Who Killed Who?, an incredible mix between Edgar Allan Poe and Agatha Christie that is the work with the most ideas per second in history.

    To finish, and in case you haven’t watched them yet (they all last about six or seven minutes of nothing), I have to finish with you should make movies, a short film by Friz Freleng in 1940. This time in black and white, don’t let that scare us to discover this monumental tribute to the art of animation. A groundbreaking short film in which Porky leaves animated cinema behind to try his hand at Live-Action, only to discover, via Fred Astaire, that his thing is once again paper and pencil.

    looney tunes best shorts

    you should make movies (Friz Freleng, 1940)

    Warner Bros.

    If animated cinema, if cinema in general is what it is today, it is thanks to works like this one. Warner should show them, and their partner HBO should keep them.

Why HBO Max loses the best of its catalog with the departure of Looney Tunes