BUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE
STUDIO: Classic Media
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 374 minutes
- Bonus pilot episode
A retard who swings into trees, a superhero chicken and a race car driving putz…oy.
George, Ursula, Ape, Shep, Super Chicken, Fred, Tom Slick, Marigold, Gertie Growler, Otto Matic, Clutcher
George’s typical reaction when asked which one of his sidekicks – Ursula or Ape – were supposed to be his girlfriend…
Comprising three non-related cartoon shorts per episode, including the titular character, George of the Jungle was a toon that ran in 1967 and featured George, a rip-off of Tarzan who had big muscles and little brains. He would save people in the jungle and was aided in his adventures by his girlfriend Ursula, Ape, his trusty intellectual sidekick and Shep, his pet elephant. George wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, as evidenced by his penchant for swinging headlong into trees. Super Chicken was about a swashbuckling fowl who would take a potion to give him super powers, and Tom Slick was about a race car driver who participated in races around the world.
“Okay, look, George, this whole shoving-large-items-up-my-ass thing is getting to be a bit old, don’t you think?”
How’s the best way to put this? This cartoon is virtually unwatchable. Poorly drawn, idiotically scripted, and wholly uninteresting, it’s unthinkable that the guys who came up with Rocky and Bullwinkle could produce three staggeringly bad toons and then slap them together in one show, making it three times as shitty. George of the Jungle is best going to be remembered for its catchy theme song and not much else. The adventures he has are so lamely put together that it’s a surprise that even three-year-olds of the era weren’t offended. Neither George, nor Super Chicken nor the especially bad Tom Slick have any outstanding attributes that make them memorable, unless you like retarded jungle kings, bumbling superhero farm animals or vanilla-flavored motor jockeys.
“Hey Supes, I guess this little stunt makes you chicken of the sea, huh?”
“No, it makes you a sea lion. Now shut the fuck up and keep paddling…”
First off, George essentially plays off of two gimmicks: George is a muscle-bound dipshit, and this dipshit regularly swings at warp speed into trees on his way to making a rescue of some poor schlub dumb enough to get wrapped around up by a snake, get stuck in quicksand, or some other jungle morass. The entire angle is a painfully-obvious rip-off of Tarzan, but isn’t even in the same continent of quality as even the worst of Tarzan’s adventures. Meanwhile, Ursula is his Jane, who serves little to no purpose other than to almost pop out of her loincloth and Ape is a British intellectual masquerading as a simian. Each episode runs about six minutes long, and each of those feels like six hours.
Super Chicken takes rip-off to a whole new level, by combining elements from the The Three Musketeers, Superman and Batman. It’s about a swashbuckling chicken, conveniently named Super Chicken, who leads the life of a playboy until some imminent danger threatens. Then he runs off to wardrobe change, emerges with a get up halfway between Musketeer and superhero, drinks a potion to give him super powers, then sets out with his lion sidekick, Fred to save the day.
“Hey, is that Josie and the Pussycats up ahead? Yeah baby…”
Finally, probably the worst of the three is Tom Slick, which involves the titular race car adventurer, who participates in races around the world in his souped-up rust bucket, the Thunderbolt Greaseslapper. He’s aided in his adventures by his girlfriend, Marigold and his mechanic Gertie Growler. His main nemesis is Baron Otto Matic and his henchman, Clutcher. The only thing that keeps me from thinking this was a rip-off of Speed Racer is that they both came out around the same time.
As I said, it’s surprising to me that Jay Ward and Alex Anderson, who developed the seminal cartoon The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which was known for its cleverly absurd plots and in-joke references to popular culture, could come up with these three cartoons. Even though the animation is similar, Rocky and Bullwinkle are in another class altogether. You put George, Chicken and Slick together and they don’t have a tenth of the appeal of that one show, especially considering that many of the voice actors from Rocky and Bullwinkle returned for this trio of cartoons: Bill Scott, June Foray and Paul Frees. And it’s a bit of a copout to say that these were children’s programs, because there were also so many other cartoons of the period that were light years better than this. Jonny Quest, The Flintstones, The Pink Panther and any number of the various other Hanna Barbera cartoons of the time come to mind. These were just altogether bad.
Yeah, that’s pretty much how these cartoons come at you…
Allowing for the fact that the original animation was choppy junk, there’s also plenty of grit on this transfer. These aren’t very good looking cartoons. Sound is fine, if that matters. As far as special features, there’s a bonus episode, making for one last shitty viewing experience.