DVD Review: Best of Warner Brothers 25 Cartoon Collection: Hanna-Barbera @ 2 July 2013 03:17 PM

Warner Home Video just recently released this commemorative anniversary DVD collection, Best of Warner Bros. 25 Cartoon Collection: Hanna-Barbera. Any collection that claims to be the “best of” is just like one of those magazine or Internet “all-time best” lists. Fans have made their opinions about this collection known elsewhere on the net. No one is going to be completely happy with the selections and they will point out what should or should not be included.

Apparently there were cartoons announced for this set that did make it to the final release. Huckleberry Hound and Yakky Doodle appear on the package but are not represented with episodes. The box does not list the cartoons, making me wonder whether the package had to go to press before the final selections were made. (Because I love these cartoons and I’m nice, I have listed them in detail below.)

My guess is that there were lists of cartoons that might have made the final cut but were eliminated for one reason or another. Thanks to Stu’s Show, I know that Capitol and other production music is challenging to license, so you will only see and hear one cartoon with non-HB library music—the first one on the set.

billandjoe200Another consideration is the disparity between what was acceptable in the ‘60s and the social mores of today. This is a mainstream WB release and does not have a “for collectors” disclaimer. Could a young parent sit their kids down to watch this and be assured that there wouldn’t be anything that is considered unacceptable?

Let me quote Tami Horiuchi, amazon.com’s in-house reviewer, about the first “Saturday Morning Cartoons” DVD set: “While these cartoons are great fun for the adult set, it’s interesting that what was considered kids’ entertainment from 1961 to 1968 is now deemed unsuitable for children due to things like excessive cartoon violence, dishonesty, animal cruelty, and sexist and chauvinistic behavior.”

Thus, this collection includes an early Flintstones episode in which Fred is jealous but not the “caveman” he is in other early shows, Top Cat and the gang at their most warmhearted as they care for a lost baby and so on. There is some violence, gunplay and stereotyping—but you can tell after watching the entire set that a lot of thought went into selecting the cartoons, whether you agree with the choices or not. Which cartoons would appeal to the greatest number of people in 2013, especially those to whom HB cartoons are not as familiar as they are to those of us who grew up adoring them?

Then, there are today’s kids, used to explosive theatrical tent-pole movies and more edgy, rapid-fire cartoons on cable. The choices in this set contain space ships, aliens, funny animals, fairy tale characters, giant monsters and ghosts­—the sort of thing that plays well to kids today as well as yesterday. I’d like to think that the kids who watch this set would come away with a desire to see more of this stuff.

So I’m not being an apologist so much as a realist. There are some Hanna-Barbera landmarks here (the debuts of several characters, premiere episodes, etc.). 11 of the 25 cartoons, as far as I can tell, are new to DVD. It’s not a definitive collection by any means, but I’m glad I bought it.

dynamite_fright1. Quick Draw McGraw in “Dynamite Fright”

Story: Quick Draw offers a dog biscuit to Snuffles to help rid a town of Dynamite Kaboom. (I love Snuffles!)
Voices: Daws Butler, Doug Young

From: The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Episode 41a, Season 3, 1961

2. Snooper & Blabber in “Outer Space Case”
Story: Martians hire the detectives to recover a ruby.
Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick

From: The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Episode 41b, Season 3, 1961

3. Augie Doggie in “Growing, Growing, Gone”
Story: Augie decides he has to leave home to grow up.

Voices: Daws Butler, Doug Young
From: The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Episode 41c, Season 3, 1961

hokeywolf1504. Hokey Wolf in “Castle Hassle” (NEW TO DVD)

Story: Hokey tries to con Snow White’s stepmother, the queen.

Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Jean Vander Pyl

From: The Huckleberry Hound Show, Episode 47c, Season 3, October 30, 1960

5. Quick Draw McGraw in “The Mark of El Kabong”
Story: Quick Draw, as the avenging figure El Kabong, arrives to bring justice to a small Mexican town. At the introduction of Senorita Rita, listen for the “El Kabong” song in the background, which was sung on the Golden records.

Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Jean Vander Pyl

From: Quick Draw McGraw Show, Episode 44a, Season 3, 1961

augiedoggie1406. Augie Doggie in “Party Pooper Pop” (NEW TO DVD)
Story: Doggie Daddy wants Augie to attend a neighborhood birthday party.

Voices: Daws Butler, Doug Young

From: The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Episode 44b, Season 3, 1961

7. Snooper & Blabber in “Chilly Chiller” (NEW TO DVD)

Story: Spoof of the TV series “Thriller” and “The Addams Family,” with precursors to The Gruesomes from “The Flintstones.”
Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Jean Vander Pyl

From: The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Episode 44c, Season 3, 1961

8. Hokey Wolf in “Tricks and Treats” (Pilot) (NEW TO DVD)
Story: Hokey and Ding-a-Ling threaten a farmer with a bogus animal cruelty lawsuit.

Voices: Daws Butler, Doug Young
From: The Huckleberry Hound Show, Episode 40c, Season 3, September 11, 1960

loopydeloop1409. Loopy De Loop in “Wolf Hounded” (Debut) (NEW TO DVD)
Story: Loopy tells the Red Riding Hood story from his point of view. This story was recorded, with alterations, for the Golden LP, “Songs of Yogi Bear.”

Voices: Daws Butler, June Foray

A Columbia Pictures Theatrical Cartoon, May 11, 1959

10. Flintstones in “Love Letters On the Rocks”
Fred finds his old ‘frying pans’ love letter to and mistakes it for a note from another man. This was a familiar “Honeymooners” premise.
Voices: Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl, Bea Benaderet, John Stephenson

From: The Flintstones, Episode 21, Season 1, February 17, 1961

11. Snagglepuss in “The Roaring Lion”
Snagglepuss makes his debut, escaping from the circus and playing college football. The football angle was done on an earlier Yogi Bear cartoon.
Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick

From: The Yogi Bear Show, Episode 8, November 6, 1964

12. Top Cat in “T.C. Minds the Baby”

Story: The gang becomes attached to an abandoned baby.
Voices: Arnold Stang, Leo DeLyon, Marvin Kaplan, Maurice Gosfield, Allen Jenkins, Jean Vander Pyl, John Stephenson
From: Top Cat, Episode 17, January 17, 1962

13. The Jetsons in “Rosie the Robot”

Story: Premiere episode in which Rosie joins the family. This was released on Colpix Records along with “A Date with Jet Screamer.”
Voices: George O’Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Janet Waldo, Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl
From: The Jetsons, Episode 1, January 17, 1962 September 23, 1962

magilla15014. Magilla Gorilla in “Makin’ with the Magilla”
Story: Magilla joins in a beach party and helps invent a new dance. One of my favorite Magilla episodes; the groovy song by Little Eva (“Locomotion”) is available on iTunes.

Voices: Allan Melvin, Howard Morris, Don Messick
From: The Magilla Gorilla Show, Episode 22a, October 23, 1965

15. Jonny Quest in “The Robot Spy”
Story: This is that neat episode about the giant eyeball spider thing from the flying saucer!

Voices: Tim Matheson, Mike Road, Don Messick, Danny Bravo, Vic Perrin

From: Jonny Quest, Episode 8, November 6, 1964

16. Peter Potamus in “Cleo Trio” (NEW TO DVD)

Story: Pete and So-So try to settle a rift between Caesar and Cleopatra.
Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Julie Bennett

From: The Peter Potamus Show, Episode 3a, Season 1, October 7, 1964

17. Touché Turtle in “Rapid Rabbit” (NEW TO DVD)
Story: A farmer calls on Touché and Dum-Dum to get a rabbit (named Ricochet!) who can outrun bullets.
Voices: Bill Thompson, Alan Reed, Doug Young

From: The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series, Episode 6b, March 6, 1962

yippeeyappy18. Yippee, Yappee & Yahooey in “Black Bart”
Voices: Hal Smith, Daws Butler, Doug Young
Story: To make the King give back their jobs, the goofy guards plan to disguise Yahooey as notorious Black Bartholomew, but the real bandit arrives and confuses everyone.
From: The Peter Potamus Show, Episode 2c, Season 1, September 23, 1964

19. Atom Ant in “The Big Gimmick” (NEW TO DVD)

Story: Professor Von Gimmick’s giant robot threatens a vacation resort.
Voices: Howard Morris, Allan Melvin
From: The Atom Ant Show, Episode 12a, December 18, 1965

20. Secret Squirrel in “Cuckoo Clock Cuckoo” (NEW TO DVD)
Story: A giant clock collector steals Big Ben.
Voices: Mel Blanc, Paul Frees, Henry Corden
From: The Atom Ant / Secret Squirrel Show, Episode 11b, December 11, 1965

21. Hillbilly Bears in “Do the Bear” (NEW TO DVD)
Story: Paw Rugg becomes a pop recording star. A big fave of mine, this cartoon was expanded for the Hanna-Barbera LP record album.

Voices: Henry Corden, Jean Vander Pyl, Janet Waldo, Don Messick
From: The Atom Ant / Secret Squirrel Show, Episode 26e, October 15, 1965

22. Frankenstein Jr. in “The Shocking Electrical Monster”

Story: In the series premiere, Dr. Shock transforms his assistant into a monster that grows as it gains electrical power.
Voices: Paul Frees, Dick Beals, Ted Cassidy, Vic Perrin

From: Frankenstein Jr. & The Impossibles, Episode 1a, September 10, 1966

23. The Impossibles in “The Spinner”
Story: Also the series premiere, the heroes recover a stolen million dollar tiara.
Voices: Paul Frees, Hal Smith, Don Messick, Jean Vander Pyl, The Hanna-Barbera Singers

From: Frankenstein Jr. & The Impossibles, Episode 1b, September 17, 1966

24. Space Ghost in “The Heat Thing”

Story: Space Ghost, Jan and Blip rush to rescue a fiery monster that can throw lava bombs.
Voices: Gary Owens, Ginny Tyler, Tim Matheson
From: Space Ghost & Dino Boy, Episode 1a, September 10, 1966

gadzooka25. Abbott & Costello in “Gadzooka” (NEW TO DVD)

Story: Bud and Lou are policeman who are sent to save the city from a 100-foot creature. I liked that this series had titles much like those in “The Man Called Flintstone.”

Voices: Bud Abbott, Stan Irwin, John Stephenson
From: The Abbott & Costello Cartoon Show, Episode 23b, February 10, 1968

“Here Comes a Star” (1964)
Documentary for TV Stations Premiering “The Magilla Gorilla Show”. Hosted by George Fenneman, with Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera and scenes from Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear and The Magilla Gorilla Show.

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