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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 316 minutes
Saturday Morning Wake-Up Calls
The Power of Shazzan featurette
The return of more Warner Brothers owned cartoons from the 1970s.
Mel Blanc, Adam West, June Foray, Bob Denver and Dawn Wells
Hanna Barbara, Ruby Spears, Filmation and several other animation houses dominated the airwaves on Saturday Mornings in the 1970s. Teens formed bands, animals talked and underwater explorers were given a serious second look. All of this is here today to be perused. Well, most of it. You don’t get vintage shorts and other commercial bumper filler that was key to the Saturday Morning experience. But, you do get to see the original Sealab series.
A concept still from the planned Perry Henzell’s Stoner Bears ride at Kings Island.
Hanna Barbara made so many crappy shows in the 1970s. After the success late in the 1960s with Scooby Doo, they found a niche. Let’s get a bunch of goofy kids together with a goofy sidekick and send them after mysteries. Ghosts, pirates, criminals and the elderly would all run and hide each season. Sometimes, a gang of groovy Chinese would be tailing these evil shits. Other times, it would be a gaggle of fun-loving animals that would put Dr. Moreau’s harem to shame.
Eminent Domain: The Animated Series coming to FOX KIDS!
The big get of this release is supposed to be Alex Toth’s Shazzan. In this series, a couple of goofy kids conjure a genie to take them to a magical island. A series of thieves and other goons cause trouble, but it’s nothing that the Shazzan can’t handle. Coming from the guy that created Space Ghost less than a decade earlier, this is lesser work. But, it tickled some Gen Xer’s boner enough to get it programmed into this release. Meanwhile, The New Adventures of the Puppy sits on a shelf gathering dust somewhere.
I still can see this character without hearing the dude from Kid N Play.
Yogi Bear and Bugs Bunny also appear in this release. Yogi Bear gets one of his first spin-offs with Yogi’s Gang. It’s a rather pedestrian attempt to capture that magic that would be found in the Laff-A-Lympics. Still, something has to be said for Daws Butler’s ability to inject such joy into a rather one-dimensional character. The Looney Tunes gang get spotlighted in an early episode of The Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Hour.
That show as a recycle of early Looney Tunes releases. What’s kind of funny about that is the reuse of several transfers mastered for the Golden Collection releases are forced onto this set. When you go from the pristine Golden Collection visuals to the rest of the set, you wonder if Warner Brothers even bothered to remaster the extra cartoons they found. Inch High Private Eye rounds the collection by sucking all joy out of your pitiful nostalgia. The rest of the shorts are knock-offs of Sid and Marty Krofft properties. Well, there’s the Filmation Batman and Gilligan’s Island animated series. The less that’s said about those…the better.
Before the Gosselins, we had The Chan Clan.
The major upside to this rather disappointing set is the inclusion of the live-action Banana Splits segments. All of the live-action featured was from Richard Donner’s tenure as director on the show. You won’t see any of the usual Donner staples, but a deft hand can help to make the goofiest kid show seem better than its parts. There’s also some young Jan-Michael Vincent kicking ass in the show. For the B-Movie fans out there, he’s the guy that wasn’t Charles Bronson in The Mechanic.
My kingdom for a Predator drone.
package includes a featurette about Alex Toth’s work on Shazzan. There are a lot of talking heads that continue to verbally fellate Toth long after his death. The other featurette is basically a gallery of trailers for other shows that are on DVD. Way to cross-promote, Warner Brothers. Hopefully, the next volume will contain some better cartoons.