Plot: So this collection is filled with all kinds of stories, plots, and misadventures, but as a whole, this set tells the story of Porky Pig himself. The character would rise from humble beginnings to become a beloved icon, not just within the Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes realm, but animation in general. The image of Porky bursting through the screen and stuttering his signature “That’s all, folks!” is a memory most cartoon fans have seen countless times and will never forget. While not quite on the same level as some of his costars, Porky was part of the Looney Tunes inner circle and a prominent presence throughout the cartoons, as both a cheerful straight man and one of the funniest sidekicks anyone could want. Porky Pig 101 is a loving tribute to one of Warner Brothers’ most celebrated animated characters.
Entertainment Value: This is a collection of 101 Porky Pig cartoons, presented in chronological order and that gives us a broad, comprehensive look at a huge chunk of Porky’s resume. It all begins with I Haven’t Got a Hat in 1935, the little guy’s first appearance and follows Porky until 1943’s Porky Pig’s Feat, almost a decade of the pig’s antics. With over one hundred cartoons, two in color and the rest in black & white, this collection is substantial and a boon for animation collectors. Of course, some of these are available elsewhere, but to have so much of a single character’s filmography in one neat, simple package is remarkable. While a good amount of the cartoons center on Porky, some of his finest moments played off his more famous costars, so some feature him in a secondary position. But as great as Porky is when opposite Daffy Duck, I doubt anyone will mind in the least. I loved being able to watch as the character evolved and voice actors changed, even the animation style shifts become much more prominent when you can browse so much material at once. Porky has certainly gone through some changes over the years, but the core of his character remained the same, just more dialed in and refined.
This five disc collection houses 101 cartoons, as I mentioned before, but also includes some audio commentaries from assorted animation experts and scholars. These are only provided on key cartoons, but they provide some welcome insight that sheds light on the character and the animation process. On the technical side, all of the cartoons have been given new transfers and represent the best possible versions available, though full scale restorations weren’t undertaken. This is sure to disappoint some fans, but honestly, if waiting for those restorations is the only other option, I am glad to have these cartoons as is and the visuals look quite good. So perhaps not as refined as a restoration would allow, but I think most fans will be very pleased with the visual treatment. The material is a lot of fun and offers an in depth look at the career of one of animation’s most beloved characters, while the DVD treatment is more than capable. To me, this is the kind of release animation fans should be thrilled with, as it packs in over one hundred cartoons in chronological order, all given new transfers. If you’re a fan of cartoons or animation in general, Porky Pig 101 is highly recommended.