Sunday, September 5, 2010

100 Greatest!

Who doesn't love a "best of" list?

VH1 made itself into a viable network off its countless "Top 100" countdowns.

Jerry Beck's The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons actually takes some cues from the now nauseating VH1 format and applies them in a fresh fashion to book form.

Each film is given a two page spread with clean consistent (but not redundant) layout.  We're given images from the films, a 100 word recap, full production credits- short of ink and paint, naturally- and an analysis by an expert of interest.   Unlike the TV countdowns which are populated by, well, people who's opinions don't matter, Jerry calls on great contributers.  Michael Sporn, Linda Simensky, Greg Ford, Darrell van Citters, J. J. Sedelmaier, Michael Barrier and others.  Occasionally we'll get a "Pop Up Video" graphic with "Jerry Says..." which add a fun nugget of information like "Both proto-Elmer and toupĂ©ed, wide-eyed Egghead had voices that mimicked comedian Joe Penner."

It's not an exhaustive book nor is it backed up by a lot of footnotes and research.  Instead, it's a fun collection of interesting films discussed by dedicated professionals who have lived with them and thought about them for a long time.

The result is surprising.  This could have easily been another cheap "Art Of..." book with perfunctory copy and little information of interest.  Happily, instead we're given a real treat -a coffee table (or bathroom) book for animation fans, a smart, handsome tome for casual readers and a picture book full of insightful commentary for the youngest generation of Looney Tunes lovers.

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