Reviews
June 24, 2013 posted by Greg Ehrbar

DVD REVIEW: Best of Warner Bros. 25 Cartoon Collection: Hanna-Barbera

HB25_box

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

BONUS FEATURE:
“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.

23 Comments

  • It’s a shame when people THINK TOO HARD.

  • Not only did they leave Huckleberry Hound and Yakky Doodle off the set but they also left Yogi Bear off as well. He is on the cover but is not represented in any of the cartoons. The big question to ponder with this set is, “Why are there so many duplicates?” In other words, why are there two Quick Draw cartoons, two Augie Doggie cartoons, two Super Snooper cartoons and two Hokey Wolf cartoons? One cartoon of each of these fine characters would have been fine on this set so that other stars could have been represented; like Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Yakky Doodle and Pixie and Dixie. Why put Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Yakky Doodle on the cover and then not include them on this set? I felt duped with wrong information being given about this set. I tried to get my money back at Target but they would only exchange the same DVD set so, the bottom line is that I am stuck with it. I did not mind the duplicate cartoons that were released from other sets that were in abundance on this set. I am most upset that the original lineup of cartoons that were announced did not show up on this release and that four of Hanna-Barbera’s all time top stars were deliberately left off of this set: Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Pixie and Dixie and Yakky Doodle.

    • And that’s why I can’t see to buy this. It’s misinformation at it’s most blatant stage.

  • Well, while not quite what we had all hoped for, at the very least Quick Draw McGraw has – in some way – made it to DVD. Not as a complete collection, but it’s a start provided those music © issues ever get sorted out…

    Out of curiosity, Greg, have any of the shorts “New to DVD” received any form of restoration? As far as I know, available master tapes of The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series look pretty worn – at least those aired for the English-speaking market. Here and there, they’ve been foreign episodes of Lippy+Hardy / Wally Gator which look beautifully remastered.

    • My guess is that the DVD producers assembled the elements from what was available and reconstructed them into little “shows” with themes attached on either end. You can tell that the themes look and sound different than the cartoons in some cases.

      I recall a time when Cartoon Network (not Boomerang) was showing Yogi Bear and there was no theme music. Perhaps they used found theme music (probably recovered by Earl Kress) and laid those tracks over the picture. No, not every cartoon is pristine. The Touché Turtle looks again like a 16mm print. But of course, it’s getting difficult to find many of these cartoons on broadcast TV, even on Boomerang.

      Of course, The Flintstones, Jetsons, and Jonny Quest are sparkling, digitally restored episodes, probably because they had the benefit of the early DVD boom and there was budget enough to refurbish them for their respective sets. Yet they are already on those other sets.

      The DVD business is changed as we speak. I would only wish that sales were such that this set might lead to more, if that’s even possible. At the very least, maybe Warner Archive might reach further back in the Hanna-Barbera library. Though I really do like The Hair Bear Bunch and The Roman Holidays, even though they are not the same as the early stuff.

    • “I recall a time when Cartoon Network (not Boomerang) was showing Yogi Bear and there was no theme music. Perhaps they used found theme music (probably recovered by Earl Kress) and laid those tracks over the picture. No, not every cartoon is pristine. The Touché Turtle looks again like a 16mm print. But of course, it’s getting difficult to find many of these cartoons on broadcast TV, even on Boomerang.”

      I recall the “USA Network” days fondly with the theme music heard for those shorts! It’s a shame what a decade’s worth of time can do but I also feel sorry for not having Mr. Kress around anymore.

  • You won’t hear the Capitol Hi-Q library on any of these.
    There’s a full season of Huck and Pixie and Dixie cartoons with Hoyt Curtin scores with no music clearance issues. Pristine copies are airing on TV outside the U.S. I have no idea why those cartoons can’t be included and Warner insists on its double/triple dip policy.
    As far as I know, all the Yakkys were released on the Yogi Bear DVD a few years ago.

    • Thanks for the clarificaton, Don! What is the music on the first Quick Draw. Jack Shaindlin or someone?

    • I know Phil Green had some tracks used on Quick Draw series.

    • Yowp ol;boy, the Snooper/Blabber space cartoon DOES have the Green/Shaindlin cues (though the others are pretty good choices) though the others have Hoyt Curtin or Ted Nichols/Marty Paitch scoring depending on what you’re discussing.:)

  • It appears the date is wrong for the Jetsons episode. You used the same (correct) date as the Top Cat episode.

    • Thanks Billy – I just corrected the date in the post above.

  • While there is some double dipping on this set, There is enough new material to make it worthwhile..What amounts to 2 complete Quick Draw McGraw eps. (at least cartoon wise)..I grew up with all of these and would definitely pick it up..

  • The originally announced contents for the set had an entirely different criterion for what constituted a cartoon, one half-hour episode of each multi-part series (HUCK, QUICK DRAW, YOGI, et al.) would have counted as one of the 25 total. Also, the sequence featured representations of every H-B cartoon from RUFF & REDDY through 1966′s output, when they began skipping stuff and including the likes of JABBERJAW instead of remaining mostly chronological. Interestingly, your illo features the original cover, not the one I’ve seen on the racks (Touche is in the spot Rapid Rabbit occupies on this cover). Obviously, the first version of the contents would have required four instead if two discs, hardly profitable at the price it was selling for. I’d have bought the original version immediately; this one will wait till it (inevitably) drops to a price half or less of what they’re charging now. Music rights trumped a real nice package–again.

  • What? No Wally Gator? Puh-lease. That fat amphibian used to entertain me when I’d come home for lunch from school. At least they didn’t shove any Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har down our throats.

  • I agree that it is good to see Quick Draw McGraw on this set. However, both episodes with all the cartoons already appeared on the SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS 1960′s sets already; both episodes have already been put out on DVD. You can even buy a cheaper version of these SATURDAY MORNING sets in the 4KIDS DVD program. Since both episodes have been previously released, it made no sense to include two full QUICK DRAW episodes on this BEST OF collection; just put one of them and then include something else.

    • Thanks for the correction, Greg! Mes culpa. Yes indeed, both “Dynamite Fright” and “The Mark of El Kabong” were released on the Saturday Morning Cartoons DVD sets.

      Additionally, Snagglepuss in “The Roaring Lion” appeared on The Yogi Bear Show DVD. Mea culpa.

      Let’s check the tote board: That makes 11 of the 25 cartoons new to DVD.

      These faux pas (or faux passes?) were very courteously pointed out to me by David Gerstein, who referred me to Joe Torcivia’s review of the DVD set http://tiahblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/dvd-review-best-of-warner-bros-hanna.html.

  • Very surprised to see Abbott and Costello. Did HB actually own that series, or was it some kind of hire/partnership like Sinbad the Sailor (with American International) and Laurel and Hardy (with Larry “Bozo” Harmon).

    So far as I know these were rare HBs that weren’t created as part of a specific series, popping up on local kid shows. Wally Gator, Lippy the Lion and Touche Turtle often appeared as a half hour show in all but name (no opening title), and Ruff and Reddy — the very first product — played on a hosted NBC show.

    Were there others? And any chance of seeing at least some selected Laurel and Hardys?

    • Abbott & Costello was a partnership, I believe, with Bud Abbott, and I have read that it was a major, if not the only, source of income for him in his last years.

      I never saw the Touché/Lippy/Wally cartoons with an umbrella title either. Most likely “The New Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Show” was marketed to stations, who may have had the option of calling it that if they wanted to. In the late ’70s, HB had a cartoon package they called “Captain Inventory” that could not have been anything but an industry/station sales name.

      There may still be legal issues with co-ownership of the Sinbad Jr. and Laurel and Hardy cartoons. Both shows did not have HB copyrights when they appeared on merchandise.

  • Just an FYI, I would gladly pay for a complete collection of remastered Loopy De Loop shorts (retail or Archive).

    • The Touche/Wally/Lippy series was never called anything except whatever the local programmer decided to call it in TV listings. Since each cartoon had full opening and closing themes, it came down to which of the three cartoons the local station chose; in Milwaukee, it aired as THE TOUCHE TURTLE SHOW from 6:00-6:20 PM (three five-minute cartoons plus commercials) every weeknight from September 1962 through at least 1965 (it was followed by a ten-minute news/weather/sports update, as early local news broadcasts didn’t become standard till the late ’60s. I’ve seen similar listings for both WALLY GATOR and LIPPY THE LION in other cities’ listings, though there’s no telling if they simply showed three or four episodes of the same cartoon under those titles instead of retaining the standard H-B format.. “The New Hanna-Barbera Show” title is completely bogus, one taken from a trade advertisement which used that as its description of the series and nothing more. It’s a convenience, and no more accurate than calling THE PETER POTAMUS SHOW (the fairly lame and never official, even in pre-production, per producer Jerry Eisenberg) PETER POTAMUS AND HIS FLYING BALLOON (just because that’s what a character on THE MAGILLA GORILLA SHOW once referred to it as). So I’ll continue to think of it as the TOUCHE TURTLE SHOW, and refer to it in print as TOUCHE/WALLY/LIPPY, certainly far less vague and no less official than THE NEW H-B SHOW..

      I’ve never seen the LAUREL & HARDY cartoons, but SINBAD JR. aired on TBS for many years during the era prior to the launch of the Cartoon Network, so it’s likely Turner owned the distribution rights before WB bought him out. How that figures into DVD distribution, I wouldn’t know, but lots of licensed H-B stuff (from PAC-MAN to CHAN CLAN to SMURFS) has appeared, and I can’t imagine that if it came to that, they’d have no problem sharing DVD profits with either AIP or Laurel & Hardy’s heirs.

    • I agree. I’d like to find a complete set of all the Loopy de Loop cartoons on DVD as well.

  • For Hanna-Barbera I have complete collections of Augie Doggie, Breezly & Sneezly, Hokey Wolf, Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har Har, Peter Potamus, Pixie & Dixie & Mr. Jinks, Quick Draw McGraw, Touche Turtle, Wally Gator, Yakky Doodle, the Roman Holidays, Ruff & Reddy, and the Cattanooga Cats. I also have bought the commercially released sets for Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, the Jetsons, Top Cat, and Magilla Gorila. I’d like to see Warner Bros. release the rest of the Huckleberry Hound cartoons on DVD –say, call it Huckleberry Hound, Vol. 2. Besides Hanna-Barbera I also have DVD sets for Woody Woodpecker, Bugs Bunny, and another of my favorites, namely Foghorn Leghorn.

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