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Chris Hicks: 'Looney Tunes,' John and Yoko top DVD releases

More Warner Bros. and MGM cartoon collections lead off these new DVDs, which will be released on Tuesday.

"The Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume Three" (Warner, 1935-59, not rated, color and b/w, $64.92, four discs). Warner's has another "Wow!" collection with this third set of uncut cartoons with Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Elmer and the gang. The Chuck Jones documentary "Chuck Amok" is here, too, as well as an examination of the duck-hunting/rabbit-season trilogy by Jones. A disclaimer on the box says the set "is intended for the adult collector and may not be suitable for children." Ah, these politically correct times. Just enjoy the wackiness that was singular to the Warner Bros. characters in pristine transfers and featurettes that put everything into historical context.

Extras: Full frame, 60 cartoon shorts, new introduction (by Whoopi Goldberg) audio commentaries, making-of featurettes, documentaries: "Chuck Amok" and "What's Up, Doc? A Salute to Bugs Bunny," "Philbert" TV pilot, clips from "The Bugs Bunny Show," vintage making-of shorts, language and subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.

"Looney Tunes Movie Collection" (Warner, 1979/1982, not rated, $26.99, two discs). This collection has two theatrically released clipfests, "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie" (1979) and "Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales." In "Golden Collections" the cartoons are preserved in their original form, while in these compilations they are sometimes trimmed. Having said that, there's still an awful lot of hysterical material in these films. (Bugs Bunny's second movie, the 1981 "Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie," has not yet made its way to DVD.)

Extras: Full frame, making-of featurettes, language and subtitle options (English, French, Spanish), chapters.

"Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection, Volume 2" (Warner, 1940-58, not rated, $26.99, two discs). As with the "Looney Tunes Golden Collection" above, Whoopi Goldberg offers an introduction to each disc here, putting racial stereotypes into historical perspective. A nice touch that is probably a good idea, especially for young audiences. As for the cartoons, Tom and Jerry were never better than the theatrical shorts of the '40s and '50s. This set kicks off with their first, "Puss Gets the Boot," and there are many other hysterical entries.

Extras: Full frame, Goldberg's new introduction, audio commentaries, making-of featurettes, language subtitles (English, Spanish), subtitle options (English, Spanish, French), chapters.

"The Dick Cavett Show: John & Yoko Collection" (Shout! 1971-72, not rated, $24.98, two discs). These three episodes of Cavett's show, with John Lennon and Yoko Ono as primary guests, are intriguing time capsules, with comments by both John and Yoko that are sure to alternately fascinate and inflame Beatles fans. The initial episode was Lennon's first American post-Beatles-breakup interview, and he sings "Imagine" in a film clip. The second show is more material that wasn't used on the first show, and the third has Lennon and Yoko performing live. Stan Freberg and Shirley MacLaine are among the other guests. A must for Lennon/Beatles fans.

Extras: Full frame, three episodes, new introductions by Cavett, new interview with Cavett, chapters.

"The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: Series 1, 2 & 3" (WGBH, 2001-04, not rated, $124.95, 13 discs). Upper-crust homicide detective Inspector Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) and his partner Sgt. Havers (Sharon Small), who is a working-class woman accustomed to speaking her mind, are a great team in this mystery series. The pilot is a two-part, three-hour introduction, and included here are the following 12 episodes, all feature-length. A great series, wonderfully constructed, with terrific performances by Parker and Small. (This box set packages the pilot and first three series, which have all been previously released on DVD.)

Extras: Widescreen, 13 episodes, optional English subtitles, optional described video, chapters. (If you can't find this show in a local store, it can be ordered by phone at 800-949-8670, or on the Web at shop.

wgbh.org.)

"Star Trek Enterprise: The Complete Fourth Season" (Paramount, 2004-2005, not rated, $129.99, six discs). This prequel to the original "Star Trek" series comes to a close with this season, a pretty good one that kicks off with a two-episode story reminiscent of Scott Bakula's "Quantum Leap," as an alternate Earth has aliens helping Nazis to invade the United States. There are also several other multiple-episode stories in this final season, which got better but was never good enough to keep going beyond four years.

Extras: Widescreen, 22 episodes, making-of featurettes/interviews, deleted scenes, bloopers, photo gallery, optional English subtitles, chapters.

"The Brady Bunch: The Complete Fourth Season" (Paramount, 1972-73, not rated, $38.99, four discs). Season Four kicks off with a three-part vacation in Hawaii, with Don Ho and Vincent Price in guest shots, then it's back to business as usual with the squeaky-clean blended family from the '70s.

Extras: Full frame, 23 episodes, optional English subtitles, chapters.

"The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's" (PBS/Paramount, 2003, not rated, $19.99). Probing PBS documentary about this frightening disease, with personal stories and medical facts weaved together to help viewers understand it better.

Extras: Widescreen, half-hour follow-up program (hosted by David Hyde Pierce), interview with David Shenk (author of "The Forgetting"), interview with filmmaker Elizabeth Arledge, language options (English, Spanish), subtitle options (English, Spanish), chapters.

"Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Christmas" (Paramount, 1981-89, not rated, $14.98). Three holiday episodes from the beloved TV series of the 1980s — "A Chipmunk Christmas" (1981), which includes the song that started the Chipmunks craze, "The Christmas Song," and "Merry Christmas Mr. Carroll" (1988) and "Dave's Wonderful Life" (1989).

Extras: Full frame, three episodes, optional English subtitles, chapters.

"The Adventures of Pete & Pete: Season Two" (Paramount, 1994, not rated, $26.99, two discs). More offbeat misadventures with the two red-head brothers in their surreal town. This Nickelodeon show is amusing fun.

Extras: Full frame, 13 episodes, audio commentaries, one special, five shorts, chapters.


E-mail: hicks@desnews.com