I ended up recording the Saturday morning cartoon blocks, and first day of Tune In With Me
on MeTV and finally got a chance to look over them today.
I was pretty happy that the Popeye and Friends
block showed mostly black and white cartoons. I'm a huge fan of the Fleischer Studio Popeye
shorts and it was nice to see them on the air. I can't say I'm really a fan of Betty Boop cartoons, although I appreciate their history, and they did show the one that introduced the animated version Popeye, so that was nice.
The Tom & Jerry and Friends
show was okay, although I don't care as much for the later Chuck Jones and Gene Deitch shorts they focused on. I'll have to try to check out future editions to see if they go back further in their catalogue. It was nice to see some Droopy and Barney Bear though!
The Tune In With Me
show seemed to feature stronger cartoons. Hopefully the host will get enough time to develop a 'character,' or some sort of hook to make his segments more interesting. Either that, or just forget the original content and give us nothing but cartoons. That would be better.
It seems like they're keeping the "A-list" cartoons for this show. The major Warner Bros. stars, the best Tom & Jerry, etc.
The picture quality on just about everything looked good. I wondered if they were going to be showing more recent remasters and it appears so. The biggest disappointment to me is that MeTV is showing all these cartoons reformatted to better fit the 16:9 aspect ratio. I would much prefer to see the cartoons shown as created, with as much of their original compositions visible as possible. Especially on a station like MeTV that shows nothing but older programming created in the 4:3 ratio.
I know it's always a judgment call for programmers in situations like this, and I think MeTV reformats their other programming to fill, or nearly fill the 16:9 format, so I wasn't shocked to see it in the cartoons as well. It was just disappointing. Heck, they showed One Droopy Knight
in one of the blocks, and that cartoon was created in 2.35:1 CinemaScope. They could have taken advantage of that one at least. But it too was cropped to 16:9 and lost some of the gags off the sides of the picture.
I guess it's kind of a mixed bag for me. I'm not happy to see the way the cartoons are presented, but I am very glad to see cartoon blocks on the air. I was hoping to see some series, like early Hanna-Barbera or Filmation shows, but I've no complaints about theatrical cartoon shorts. Especially black and white cartoons which haven't been on TV much in the past few decades (except for Turner Classic Movies channel, which shows them in the correct aspect ratio!). So it was nice to see some of them represented in the Popeye and Friends
block. I'll have to keep looking to see what other surprises might show up.