Animation History
February 22, 2021 posted by Jerry Beck

Ten VHS Cartoon Tapes I Won’t Sell, Throw Out or Give Away

For the last ten years, well meaning friends whom I invite to my vault… err, storage garage… ask me why I still hold onto approximately ten boxes filled to the brim with VHS tapes. I never watch them any more. And don’t I have all those cartoons, animated features and TV series on DVD or blu-ray? Yes I do. In fact, I have much of the same material on 16mm film.

I’m a pack rat – I admit it. But the time has come to begin downsizing, so I’ve begun to open the boxes and start unloading. But there are ten VHS tapes I’ll never get rid of. In fact, there are probably at least 20… no, 30… sigh!

Here are ten tapes (in alphabetic order) I just can’t sell, throw out or give away. For personal reasons, they are keepsakes. For professional reasons, they are necessary. You understand, don’t you?

BUZZY THE FUNNY CROW (1986) Worldvision Home Video, Inc.

Buzzy is a somewhat politically incorrect character these days – and they will never release his complete works on DVD or Blu-ray – so this is as close as I’ll ever get to my dream archive collection come true. It features all seven of the “Harveytoon” Buzzy’s from the 1950s, with the Harveytoon titles, but also with all the screen credits intact. The Harvey box art and plastic clamshell package is pretty cool too. I can’t throw this out – and that “sounds logical” to me!


CRUSADER RABBIT vs. THE STATE OF TEXAS (1991) Rhino Home Video

Oh yeah, I can’t get rid of this one! Rhino mistakenly thought Crusader Rabbit was in public domain and put out two volumes of his serialized adventures back in 1991 (The other VHS collection was Crusader Rabbit Vs. The Pirates). It turns out that 20th Century Fox owned the character – and somehow, someone at Fox knew this and sent Rhino a cease and desist. Unable to withdraw the tapes from commercial outlets, the company required a sticker be added to the two releases. Click the image at right to enlarge.

This has been the only somewhat authorized release of this landmark series – featuring the first cartoon character ever created for television. Today, Disney owns Fox and they probably have no idea they added this historic show to their animation library. With DVD and blu-ray sales plummeting, and the chances for these to appear on Disney+ pretty slim, the case for keeping this VHS is pretty strong.


FLINTSTONES ON THE ROCKS (2001) Cartoon Network Screener

Back in 2001 I was sent the VHS press screener of Flintstones: On The Rocks, the infamous one-shot produced by Genndy Tartakovsky and co-directed by controversial Loud House creator Chris Savino – with special stop-mo animation by my pals at Screen Novelties. Only airing once on Cartoon Network, the special was buried by the network and has never been commercially released. Some people hate it – and I understand that. Personally, I loved it… and I need to transfer it to DVD. This STAYS!


GERALD McBOING BOING presents FAVORITE SING-A-LONGS (1990) Paramount Home Video

The classic UPA Columbia Pictures theatricals are owned by Sony – and they have done a great job restoring them and putting them out on DVD. But UPA produced many more animated shorts beyond those theatrical classics. They did commercials, sponsored industrials, government instructional, educational films, interstitials, animated titles – and commercial entertainment cartoons for television (Mr. Magoo, Dick Tracy, etc.). Forgotten among all of that is The Boing Boing Show – the first original network cartoon show (though not prime time) for CBS in 1956.

Hours of innovative little shorts were produced for this program – with films by animators of note including Gene Deitch, George Dunning, Rod Scribner, T.Hee, Fred Crippen, John Whitney, Rudy Larriva, Ernest Pintoff and more… Music by Mel Levin and Shorty Rogers, voices including Stan Freberg, Walter Tetley, Shep Menken, Daws Butler, Bill Scott, Thurl Ravenscroft and Edward Everret Horton!

These “Boing Boing” shorts are extremely rare. Only re-shown decades ago on the USA Network as filler. However, Paramount Home Video put out a series of six tape collections containing maybe half of these in 1990 under the “Gerald McBoing Boing Presents” banner.

As far as I’m concerned – I’m keeping these babies.


GRIM NATWICK’S 100th BIRTHDAY PARTY (1991) Bosko Video

August 18th 1990. I was there. Asifa Hollywood threw a 100th birthday party for animator Grim Natwick and everyone was there. I sat with Mae Questel. A memory I’ll never forget.

And thanks to David Shepherd Butler I won’t – He created a keepsake video of the event… I think its on You Tube – but I don’t care, I can’t part with this VHS. An Amazing night – with speeches by Chuck Jones, Walter Lantz, Marc Davis and many others.


HOPPITY GOES TO TOWN (1989) Republic Home Video

It’s still under copyright and Paramount owns it. But they never released it on DVD or blu-ray. And although I was honored to co-host a broadcast of Mr. Bug Goes To Town on TCM, using MoMA’s Technicolor nitrate print, this VHS is the second best copy of the film I’ve seen and the only authorize release of Mr. Bug (though under its British title, Hoppity Goes To Town). It’s debatably Fleischer’s best feature and a real neglected classic (IMHO)… Proud to own a VHS copy of this.


LOONEY TUNES: THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION (1999) Columbia House

The next four on this list I must keep for personal “keepsake” reasons.

I did a lot of freelance in 1999. Totally Tooned In was in production. I was consulting to Cartoon Network’s Toon Heads show. I was also writing and producing those odd Karen & Kirby shorts for the Cat-and-Birdie, Warneroonie, Big Cartoonie Show at Warner Bros. Animation. My day job earlier in the year was as an editor for KidScreen magazine. And then this job came over the transom – Columbia House got the rights to do Looney Tunes as a subscription VHS series. Customers would receive one new VHS tape each month filled with classic Warner Bros. cartoons – curated by me!

It lasted 15 months and it was a blast. The complete list of contents is listed here. I can’t throw them out. You understand, don’t you?


MGM CARTOON MAGIC (1983)

Ladies and Gentlemen, THIS is the first video compilation I curated. It has a special place in my heart. I was working for MGM/UA non-theatrical in New York and my in-house reputation as the “go-to guy” for cartoon information brought the nascent home video division to my door.

As I have done ever since – I approached this collection as if it might be the only time I’d ever get any of these cartoons out of vault… and wanted to impress viewers with visual delights in hopes of the opportunity to curate a Volume 2.

Start with three strong Averys, add the funniest Harman-Ising cartoon (IMHO) The Lonesome Stranger, with Mel Blanc voices; a dash of Happy Harmony spectacle (The Blue Danube); A Barney Bear and a color Captain and The Kids – and violá! “MGM Cartoon Magic”! I never found out who drew the cover, though I believe I heard Art Leonardi may have done it. I dunno – I should ask him.


TOONHEADS: THE WARTIME CARTOONS (2000) Cartoon Network Screener

This was the second of two Toon Heads specials I was involved with (the first one in 1999 was Toon Heads: The Lost Cartoons). This second one aired in July 2001. I have both on VHS in special boxes that only went to the press. I can’t throw these away.

Here’s the back cover. Don’t you wish this series was still on?


WOODY WOODPECKER AND FRIENDS: The Collectors Edition (2002) Columbia House

About a year after the end of the Looney Tunes series mentioned above, Columbia House came back to me with a similar offer to do a Woody Woodpecker video tape series. While we were in production on these, DVD had emerged and this series exists on both VHS and DVD. A complete list of contents for this 15-volume series can be found here.

This one was a challenge as they had some cartoons available as individual reels – and others only available as part of the 1957 Woody Woodpecker Show. I tried hard to extract the complete cartoons but the studio was being difficult. I’m strangely pleased the way things worked out – especially as about 5 years later I had a second chance to do it my way on the two-volume Woody Woodpecker And Friends: Classic Cartoon Collection on DVD.


So you can see – sometimes its not about the cartoons on these discs… it’s the memories attached.

Those are my picks above. I have a few dozen others I feel equally akin to. But enough about me – what are some VHS tapes you’ll never part with?

43 Comments

  • Those are some real treasures, Jerry. Whoever designed the cover of the Grim Natwick 100th birthday video must have confused him with the Brothers Grimm.

    I never had a big VHS collection, and I gave away all my videotapes before I moved to Australia in 2000. (This country uses a different video format, and American tapes won’t play in Australian VCRs.) The only VHS cartoon tapes I currently own are Volumes 1, 2 and 4 of Betty Boop: The Complete Collection, from RBC Entertainment, which I bought at a flea market in 2002 or ’03. All of the cartoons in the set are pre-Code, not a Pudgy in the bunch. I have nearly all of them on DVD, but in most cases I saw them for the first time on VHS. In this case it really is about the cartoons, AND the memories attached. They probably won’t come along with me if I ever move, and there’s no real reason for me to keep them since I no longer have a VCR. But there they are, on the shelf, just the same.

  • Just prior to the last house move, I unpacked the boxes of VHS tapes, both home recorded and commercial releases…noticing what looked like flakes of rust in one of the boxes, I checked them all to find the oxide had fallen off every single one of them…. given the storage conditions they’d suffered over the years, it was hardly surprising…. lost SO much good stuff, it was heart breaking….

  • One that I have been unable to part with is the “Li’l Abner” Columbia cartoons that were on VHS

  • Tom and Jerry’s 50th Birthday Classics 3, because it contains Mouse Cleaning, the cartoon that WB refuses to re-release, that is mostly fine except for a racist gag at the very end.

    Similarly, there are a few Looney Tunes VHS tapes that I’m holding onto because they contain cartoons that WB is unlikely to re-elease anytime soon, such as the ones that contain China Jones, Nothing But the Tooth, A Feather in His Hare, etc.

    Also have most of the Looney Tunes Collector’s Editions, because they contain some exclusive-to-VHS shorts- though the number of them is dwindling thanks to HBO Max.

  • Excellent post that brought back many, many memories. I still recall renting the MGM CARTOON MAGIC tape, and being thrilled that I could finally share LITTLE RURAL RIDING HOOD and KING-SIZE CANARY with friends who couldn’t quite understand my enthusiasm for Tex Avery.

    Somebody should, er, excavate that FLINTSTONES ON THE ROCKS show from its undeserved limbo. Different, yes — but creative, imaginative and often very funny.

  • Just as a note the Republic also Issued “Mister Bug or Hoppity” Goes To Town” also on Laser disc also the Tom & Jerry Mouse Cleaning is also on the Laser disc set uncut

  • I am sure most of us have and will treasure forever our copy of ‘Song of the South’, either on VHS (U.K. import) or on LaserDisc (Japan import). This is another VHS I’ll never throw away (also U.K. edition), since it has ‘Knick Knack’ uncensored as well as some fun short sequences especially made for the tape with the Toy Story cast introducing each short: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Toy_Stories

  • Did you ever find out the story behind the Japanese Disney/Ghibli release of “Hoppity” on DVD?
    https://www.cartoonbrew.com/classic/disney-releases-fleischers-mr-bug-in-japan-45528.html

    • No further “story” on this. I believe Miyazaki is a huge Fleischer fan (Mr. Bug and Superman, in particular) and the studio bowed to his wishes at that time. He wished to sell Mr. Bug in the Ghibli Museum gift shop and they complied.

      Ten years later we are still waiting for Paramount to release their restored version on physical media. Perhaps it will show up on Paramount+.

  • Any chance there will be a Volume III of Woody Woodpecker And Friends: Classic Cartoon Collection on DVD?

  • Those are all great, another set I’ll never give up is the Betty Boop VHS tapes you oversaw. Those are far better than the Blu-Rays Olive Films put out a while back.

    • As well as the documentary Greg Ford put out, Friz Freleng: Frame By Frame that was included with Friz’s book.

  • Fascinating, Mr. Beck. Thank you for sharing these with us. I agree, I wouldn’t want to part with any of those if they were in my posession, particularly those Cartoon Network screeners!

    As I grew older and had to make my own place in the world I made the hard decision to accept my parents downsizing of VHS (or to do it myself as an adult) and I now only have a handful left. This post brought back fond memories. I think now I should have kept my copies of ‘Bugs & Daffy: The Wartime Cartoons’ and the two MGM/UA Droopy compilations. It’s been so long since I’ve seen ‘The Shooting of Dan McGoo’!

    One thing though; no matter who says it I always wince when I see a declaration that this or that will ‘Never’ be released or properly put out. Sure, the wait may be long and the duration unknown, but minds evolve, decision makers pass from the scene and get replaced, and so, so much previously withheld or thought-lost material has seen proper release (even in this age of streaming) that I will never give up hope.

  • Could you digitally transfer Rod Scribner’s Gerald McBoing Boing Show shorts one of these days? I and many others are eager to see them.

  • Transferring the Flintstone screener tape, you should use Roxio Easy VHS to DVD. I have, and I love watching the captured .mpg files.

  • Jerry, I too had the Worldvision Buzzy set, but a local home video distributor had released the Harveytoon show (including the thirteen you were not involved with), but not realising someone else had replaced Jackson Beck’s voice.

    I since replaced that with the Sony Wonder release (which was repackaged in Australia as two four disc sets). Alas I no longer have a VCR to play the original video.

  • I had the UK PAL VHS of that Buzzy collection. The version of AS THE CROW LIES was censored, missing Buzzy’s first attempt to “cure” Katnip’s hiccups, where he tied a paper bag to Katnip’s head and told him to take deep breaths. Unlike what I understand to be the situation in the US, nothing could be released on Home Video in the UK from the mid-80s on without approval from our Censor Board, the BBFC. They must have thought the scene was a dangerous inimitable technique not appropriate for the U (Universal, suitable for all) certificate desired by the distributor. The cut was very obvious and made the first half of the short a little incomprehensible.

    • It goes to show you the differences between the BBFC and our censors here (the office of Film and Literature Classification, now the Classification and Classification Review Board in Australia)

      The scene you described was included intact.

      It wouldn’t even get a G rating today, with or without the cut, though.

  • Oh, where do I begin? This is a great post, Jerry, and it got me thinking about VHS collections that I still have and never can play or collections that I still wish I had. I really must warn you, although I suppose you already have been warned previously, that VHS can deteriorate badly over time in so many ways; that is how I lost a few such collections that I still wish I had. One collection that I’m surprised that you never mentioned is the 12 or 13 volumes of the complete “BEANY AND CECIL SHOW” series on VHS, featuring two half hour shows on each tape. Oh boy, were those good, and they still have not been replicated on DVD for any number of picky reasons. We do have some of the better titles on two DVD’s which are also now out of print, but there is far too much of that series left out, including “BEANY AND CECIL MEET SINGOOD”, “THUNDERBOLT THE WONDER COLT”, “LI’L HOMER”, “CARELESS THE MEXICAN HAIRLESS”, “PHANTOM OF THE HORSE OPERA” and so many others, including interesting bumpers and coming attractions…Oh, and I agree with your desire to keep MGM CARTOON MAGIC.

    Despite the Avery cartoons coming out on laserdisk, along with assorted HAPPY HARMONIES, it is still a welcome introduction to MGM cartoons overall and stands as a good example of why I keep thinking it a fantastic idea to bring the MGM cartoons filmography to DVD and bluray–the variety of animation styles and tastes in gags and subject matter. Not only did MGM try and out-Disney Disney, but they added Tex Avery’s outlandish sendups of children’s stories as only Avery could do it! And, yes, it also included the only release in its original state of a color CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS cartoon, “THE CAPTAIN’S CHRISTMAS”. That cartoon could also be found on a shorter MGM CARTOON MAGIC volume of Holiday-themed cartoons that also featured “ONE HAM’S FAMILY” and either “PUPS’ CHRISTMAS” or “ALIAS ST. NICK”. Those tapes could not be copied because they were riddled with copy protection, so I still might actually have both of the Holiday cartoons volumes that were issued that year along with the TOM AND JERRY cartoons volume discussed above that opened with “MOUSE CLEANING”…while I don’t really care about those otherwise hideous Viddy-Oh volumes, two stand out that featured MGM cartoons in a theme. One was called MGM CARTOON MAGIC–THE GREAT OUTDOORS and featured four cartoons that still have not appeared elsewhere, “BAH WILDERNESS” (with Barney Bear), “PETUNIA NATURAL PARK” (the other color CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS cartoon), “THE TREE SURGEON” (one of the strangest cartoons that MGM ever created with a fantastic score) and “PUPS’ PICNIC” with Ising’s two pups. I have the tape, but it is also heavily copy protected and, so, I couldn’t copy it. If you ever digitize that one, man, I’d love a copy of the resulting disk.

    The same goes for MGM CARTOON MAGIC–THE BEAR THAT COULDN’T SLEEP, featuring four more cartoons (“THE BEAR THAT COULDN’T SLEEP”, “THE BEAR AND THE BEAN”, “THE BEAR AND THE HARE” and “A RAINY DAY”, the second of the Hugh Harman THREE BEARS titles) that have not seen release elsewhere, save for the inclusion of “THE BEAR AND THE HARE”, unrestored as extra on one of the Esther Williams films (I think the film is called “ON AN ISLAND WITH YOU”)…there was also a fantastic VHS tape of Foghorn Leghorn cartoons that could not be copied because of heavy copy protection, and I’m still waiting for the majority of them to show up restored on HBO Max, but no dice on anything. You can probably tell me why that is, but I bring it once again to your attention…there were a few “ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN” tapes that not only featured a black and white and color episode of the TV series but also featured stunning remasterings of selected Max Fleischer SUPERMAN cartoons with full and complete restoration, including a print of the very first title that is better quality than the resulting DVD volume.

    I wish I had gotten all 15 volumes of the WOODY WOODPECKER AND FRIENDS DVD’s from Columbia House because of the fact that they are full half hours of the original syndicated “WOODY WOODPECKER SHOW” broadcasts hosted by Walter Lantz, with oddities like “Woody’s Newsreel” or “Around the World with Woody”. I wish that I could find all of those volumes intact somewhere, or the contents should have been filtered as extra throughout the existing DVD’s, even if some double dip on the cartoons that are available on the main programs of each collection, and wow, do I wish I had all the Columbia House volumes of LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES because of rareties like the original uncut “FRESH AIRDALE” with wartime dialogue intact; I remind you of this again in case the Archive can dig that one up and include it on a future cartoon collection, even if the print quality might not be as good as the one found on the GOLDEN COLLECTION finale volume. I never did go out of my way to snag those collections merely because they were VHS only and I had already graduated to DVD and didn’t want to take a step backward. If they had been laserdisk, I probably would have gone out of my way to grab ’em. Oh, one more thing regarding the “BEANY AND CECIL SHOW” rollout. There were a few of these issued on laserdisk, but the disks were all one-sided. Kinda sorry I didn’t snag those either, but no one talks about owning them, so perhaps none were sold?

  • Most of my stuff is packed away right now. I will never part with my Republic (almost) complete Betty Boop VHS set. Not only is it (almost) complete, it’s fronted with documentary by Richard Fleischer (on YouTube), but it has subtitles!

  • From what I recall, all of the Fleischer Gabby cartoons were officially released on Laserdisc thru Republic in the late 80’s. Does anybody have that collection, and if so, how’s the quality? Beat-up NTA prints, or a surprise unedited neg with original titles?

  • Kinda funny to see Rhino not do any diligence on Crusader Rabbit licensing, considering how later on a couple of their MST3K releases had to be recalled because they didn’t go through the correct channels to clear certain movies. “Why don’t they look?”

    Speaking of old MGM compilations, it seems like it’s disappeared from any Internet Archive versions of the site, but it would be neat to again see the cover for the pulled MGM Popeye cassette that you had assembled.

  • Hi Jerry, Thanks for this article! I have a lot of VHS tapes, I’ll just hold on to them until they crumble, they all play well up to now. Even the Beta tapes I recorded in 1977 all play. I hope the DVDs and Blu-Ray discs will last as long.

  • Most of my VHS tapes are kidvid, gifts for my now-grown daughter. But the one that I treasure most is the MARY POPPINS tape. I dusted it off and watched it before going out to see SAVING MR. BANKS in the theater, and it was just as magical as when I first saw it as a nine-year-old! (It counts because there is animation in it.)

  • Not necessarily VHS, but I will hang onto The Golden Age of Looney Tunes laserdisc sets. Each of them has cartoons that have yet to surface on DVD, Blu-Ray, or streaming. I have the first four volumes, still looking for the elusive fifth volume.

  • I treasure THE LOONEY TUNES VIDEO SHOW No. 3, part of the first series WHV released to home video (1982) – for reasons that are difficult to understand in 2021. My interest was piqued two years earlier when the newly-published OF MICE AND MAGIC informed me of Co-director credit for certain layout men, voice credit for others next to Mel Blanc’s name, even (gasp!) a “modern” opening and closing with no WB shield or “That’s all Folks!” I was burning up with curiosity, but in 1980 had no way to see those curios. Until WHV opened up the vaults with VIDEO SHOW. Sure, CATS AND BRUISES and QUACKER TRACKER look cut-rate, especially today when the entire 1960s filmography is readily available. But nothing matches the satisfaction of my “So that’s it!” reaction the first time I watched those tapes.

  • Finally I get to see the GRIM NATWICK 100th. When I brought Grim to Toronto for three days in 1980 for the 50th birthday of Betty Boop we celebrated Grim’s 90th birthday. Mrs. French, Grim’s landlady and mother-in-law to Richard Williams, came up with Grim. Tisse David joined us from New York. I decided to celebrate somehow or another Grim’s successive birthdays which I called “COUNTDOWN TO 100.” Grim and Mrs. French came to Toronto again in 192. Along with Tisse David came Shamus and Juana Culhane. We celebrated Grim’s 92 birthday. Every year after that I contacted people in Hollywood. Each birthday was successively celebrated. In 1990 I bought the inside back cover of ANIMATION INDUSTRY RESOURCES DIRECTORY. I placed an ad announcing Grim’s 100th. This let the whole world know. Grim got an avalanche of birthday cards. Here is Grim in Toronto in 1980: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDAcJW66MkM&feature=emb_title and again in 1982 (filmed by Michael Gowling) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CEYYLr9tRU&feature=emb_title . Chuck Jones called Grim the Merlin of animation. He was and is. Great post. I am told my successive birthdays and ad was what caused Grim’s 100th to be celebrated as it deserved to be.

  • Since Mark Twain, er, Chuck Jones’s speech in on that GRIMM NATWICK’S 100TH BIRTHDAY PARTY tape, it’s gotta be the only nine-hour VHS tape ever made. What an egomaniac.

  • Jerry, please tell what was it like working on the ToonHeads show why did the show end? How did the Cartoon Network contact you? How did you program the special episodes like the ww2 cartoons, the night of foreign animation and the one about the Lost WB Cartoons – and how that got on the dvd. I am very interested in researching this topic for historical purposes. I understand if you can’t answer all the questions since the show is over 20 years old.

  • Can someone please give a link to Flinstones On The Rocks – I can’t find it online!

  • I have a couple Muppet Babies vhs tapes. I use to think there was zero chance it would get an official modern release but that seems more likely ever since The Muppet Show dropped on Disney+

  • Jerry, I wonder if your recollection of the “Buzzy” reel is a bit different than its actual contents. Or else you received a special copy that differed from the production run Worldvision released to the rest of us. When the various Harveytoons series received their first reels in that series of releases (including reels devoted to the best of Casper, Audrey, Herman and Katnip, and an almost complete Baby Huey (I’m pretty sure it was missing “Pest Pupil”)), my local video store acquired them all for rental, except Buzzy. I had to special order a purchase copy of the reel from them to obtain it.

    But my version of the prints follows the same pattern as all the other reels in the series. Complete Harveytoons opening titles are presented only on the first cartoon on the reel (which may have been “The Awful Tooth”, with notable negative splicing where you can hear ambience changes in the audio for the scenes where the doctored Harvey copyrights are inserted, sometimes including audio pops at the splice marks. The first title is then entirely missing a closing logo or the Paramount music. All the middle titles cut in on the title card for the episode, only presenting that card and the “Featuring” circle, with no director’s or series credits, and again abruptly end before the closing card and Paramount music. The final cartoon “Sock a Bye Kitty” opens abruptly just as the middle episodes did, but ends with the closing Harveytoons clown and Paramount end coda.

    For your further info, all of these episodes were included “as is” in the misnamed “Complete Harveytoons” dvd collection, without any remastering whatsoever, seemingly as an afterthought, spread around various parte of the reels. They still carry the VHS artifacts of the fractured versions of the Harveytoons titles, including the only appearances of the clown in the original resyndication form on the collection, as they were on the opening of cartoon 1 and the closing of the last cartoon from the VJS release.

    • I just rewatched and you are correct Charles. I haven’t watched this BUZZY tape in decades.

      For your further info, I curated the original 30 minute programs that comprised the “Complete Harveytoons” DVD set and am well-aware of the contents. (I had nothing to do with the actual DVD set myself – but I curated each half hour of “The Harveytoons Show” for Harvey Entertainment, for a sale to Fox Kids, back in 1998 I believe.)

  • A few more random memories of VHS treasures. How about “Three Little Pigs – Favorite Stories”? This was the only official release of the uncut visual of the 1933 negative, with complete UA titles and the entire Jewish peddler scene with mask )although they did use the 1950’s “working me way through college” dialogue track. (An odd discovery I made playing the original track from Victor 78 release was that the redrawn 1950’s version in fact lip-syncs to the original Jewish dialect line “I’m giving away free samples” – so the original thought during the redrawn production must have been to change only the visual and not the audio, until cooler heads prevailed.)

    Or the original VHS issues of Cinderella and Bambi. Cinderella went through a terrible time with its audio track, which I believe was the studio’s first use of magnetic recording. Somewhere along the line, the primary aster developed a predominating tape hiss. Instead of copying from some existing clean optical track from an existing print, they continued to use the hissy master, driving it into the ground. An odd fact was that a super 8 release, “Cinderella’s Surprise Dress”, may have been the first release to exhibit the hiss – yet, the VHS “The Classics” release has the cleanest version of the soundtrack you’d ever want to hear – virtually the last time the audio was done right. The initial dvd release had sound that was atrocious – I believe they tried for a muffling of the background noise, ruining the clarity of everything else. I found it unwatchable. A telecast that followed a short time later (which appeared on Channel 5 in L.A.) did the other worst-choice option – adding echo to the track, like an old “Stereo Enhanced” LP record. Awful!. When they got to a two-disc dvd reissue, they finally got most of the bugs out of it. I could still catch an artifact here or there, but it was definitely watchable. The thing that hurt, however, was that this issue did not feature an option for the picture to be seen in full frame ratio – but instead showed the picture as a small image formatted within a frame designed for a widescreen TV – losing considerable picture clarity in the process, and making normal viewing impossible on an older TV set or computer monitor. So the VHS is still my version of first choice.

    Then there’s “Bambi” The VHS release has a bit of its own problem, being Disney’s first :”copyguarded” release in the series. It tends to develop a “flagging” problem in the upper edge of the picture, and flash a little light or dark on the picture contrast at intervals, from the process being severely overdone. Yet, certain things make it irreplaceable. Disney waited a long time o transfer this film to DVD. Unlike “Pinocchio”, which went through an “overprocessing” into digital with substantial alteration of shading and modeling effects from the original color palette, but at least had a truthful release of the film in its original condition in the original one-disc dvd release (if you’re lucky enough to find it), Bambi has never had a faithful release of the genuine 1940’s negative to the digital domain. Instead, someone got the notion that the whole film should be presented as if it just came off the drawing boards in the modern era of such films as “The Lion King”, with no cel artifacts whatsoever, as if from a computer paintpot.

    Some of the differences from an authentic original are absolutely shocking. The glorious multiplane opening, with its huge glass backgrounds, layer upon layer, as we move through the forest, is entirely “cleaned” of any reflectiveness or shimmer that the original glass presented to the camera, making everything look as if it were magically presented on a single plane with nothing but air inbetween. A shot of a mouse taking a morning bath in a single huge dewdrop is also entirely “cleaned” of noticeable artifacts where layers of cels left pressure points under the hot camera glass where they touched each other, giving a sort of speckled effect to areas otherwise clear. (This same phenomena is seen frequently in surviving prints of “Donald’s Lucky Day”.) And most glaring of all is a shot during the “twitterpated”: sequence, where a Mezmorized Thumper returns the wave of his spouse to be with a small twitch of one ear. In the original, one nose was painted with paint of the wrong mixture in a repeating series of cels to depict the ear wave – with the result that Thumper’s nose ‘flashes” each time his ear completes a twitch cycle. The dvd issue repaints digitally the errant light nose, so that the “flash” is completely gone! This is not the way we grew up seeing the film in its many theatrical reissues, and even if the original negative was showing some of its age in slightly dimmed resolution in later years, it’s a pity that they couldn’t have included the real version as an alternate viewing experience on multi-disc versions. Again, hold onto your VHS.

    Besides the Columba house, there were a few other VHS “Woody” releases that are worth saving, as they included nice prints of uncut cartoons with full theatrical titles and tracks that haven’t yet appeared officially in other forms, or just looked and sounded so nice. The original “Woody Woodpecker and Friends” features some great items, including “Hot Noon” and “Rockabye Point” in some of their finest editions. A nice collection of Westerns appeared as “Wild and Woody”. And “Man’s Best Friend” included not only the title cartoon one shot, but “Dog Tax Dodgers”, “Get Lost, Little Doggy”, and a personal favorite, “Dig That Dog”, There were also several nice prints that appeared as bonus extras on a bronze-colored series of Abbott and Costello reissues, including very nice copies of “The Dippy Diplomat”, “Fair Weather Fiends”, and “Juke Box Jamboree”

    For those nostalgic for the old TV look, one might still want to hang onto your original VHS versions of “Lady and the Tramp” and “Sleeping Beauty” – to remember just how much of the picture was missing in the days of Pan and Scan. I’m sure these particular editions of such films will never be seen again.

    A couple of Silly Symphonies were not done proper justice on the Disney dvd tins, and are worth looking up in their original VHS issues. “Storybook Classics”, an early clamshell release from the first series of VHS issues, has a tendency to develop flagging, but includes what I believe is the best print to date of “The Grasshopper and the Ants”, with rich color, and no trace of the “double image” problem that appeared in many shots of the dvd version from the negatives not lining up right. The same reel also features the 1950’s reissue print of “Little Toot” as a self-standing short – the only official issue in such form excepting a rare super 8 issue released only to Europe. The first wave of “limited gold” VHS reels also included a “Silly Symphonies” set which includes he finest print released to date of “Birds In the Spring”, having much richer colors than the bleached copy that appeared on the dvd tins.

    And finally, a Hanna-Barbera release from Worldvision that was a bit of a surprise, and a considerable rarity. “Animal Follies” presented a good cross-section of HB’s early animal characters, mostly presented in pairs of episodes, hosted by Bill and Joe themselves. But to make things even more fun, it included a five-episode cutdown, from good print sources, of Ruff and Reddy’s “Planet Pirates” serial, as wraparound feature frameworking the whole reel. It is the only official issue of any Ruff and Reddy footage – so it’s definitely a must. And a couple of other nice HB releases which have never come out in any other form – Augie Doggie’s “A Pup and his Pop”, and Pixie and Dixie’s “Love Them Meeces to Pieces” )all from episodes too recent to have appeared on the “Huckleberry Hound v. 1” dvd). For those who like their HB more recent, there’s also “Posse Impossible”, featuring the entire 13 episode run from the “CB Bears” package.

    • The original version (mostly) of Three Little Pigs was released on the European version of the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies DVD set. I say, “mostly,” because, although the Jewish peddler animation was intact, they used the revised audio. Someone has since gone back and married the original 1933 audio and animation and “released it into the wild” on the Internet. It looks and sounds really nice.

  • Thanks, Mr. Jerry Beck!
    We need a second part… more special VHS!

  • Well, I have a few Terrytoons tapes from the ’80’s including a mispackage/label “Hector Hethercoat” tape which actually contains 5 or 6 Mighty Mouse shorts during the “Super” to “Mighty” transition.

    I also have Republic’s home release of Maltin’s A&E Fleischer Doc special “Cartoon Madness”.

    There also the two of the second wave of Disney’s “Limited Gold” tapes which have a small mini doc about each subjects and brief interviews with Jack Hannah and Jack Kenny and archival interviews with Clarence Nash (who passed away earlier the year the tapes were released). I have both Donald volumes and my copy of “Donald’s Bee Pictures” has “Tea for Two Hundred” instead of “Bee on the Beach”.

  • I also have a Crusader Rabbit videocassette–A complete run of the “Sahara You” storyline from the Shull Bonsall color episodes.

    Ah, sweet vindication! I see Jerry states that “Flintstones on the Rocks” did indeed have only a single airing. When I mentioned this in a Jim Korkis column back in October 2019, one of the regular commenters insisted that he “recalled” it airing multiple times over a few years. I’ll be nice and not mention his name, but it’s one of the one’s above.

  • “Flintstones on the Rocks” originally aired on November 3, 2001. Checking newspapers available online, “Flintstones on the Rocks” appears in multiple TV listings as having been repeated on the Cartoon Network on Saturday, September 28, 2002, at 7:00 p.m., eastern time, and again on Sunday, September 29, 2002, at 10 a.m., eastern time.

    Not trying to start anything. Just trying to satisfy my own curiosity

    • There are rumors of it circulating in Central America for many years.

  • I have to go with Jon on this. Running a search on newspapers.com shows that unless newspapers all over the country were wrong, “Flintstones on the Rocks” was shown at least four times on the Cartoon Network:

    Sat., Nov. 3, 2001 @ 7 p.m. eastern

    Sun., Nov. 4, 2001 @ 10 a.m. eastern

    Sat., Sept. 28, 2002 @ 7 p.m. eastern

    Sun., Sept. 29 @ 10 a.m. eastern

  • Popular topic! A few notes:

    – Though I tried to get rid of as many VHS tapes as I could, for space reasons, i do have a number that I just can’t let go due to not being available on disc: The Bugs & Daffy: The Wartime Cartoons documentary, a couple of other wartime cartoon collections, Cartoon Madness (the great Fleischer doc hosted by Leonard Maltin), the Pogo film and TV special, Li’l Abner cartoons, MGM Cartoon Christmas, MGM Cartoon Magic, Superboy Filmation cartoons, Shazam! Filmation cartoons, Flintstone Comedy Show 2: Curtain Call, a few other Hanna-Barbera titles, and X-Men: Pryde of The X-Men.

    – Among the non-animated titles I also kept: some wonderful Jim Henson Muppet TV specials, volumes of the Spider-Man live action TV show, and a bunch of movie serials.

    – On the LaserDisc side, I have all of the MGM and Looney Tunes boxes (including a Japanese LT set), The Betty Boop box sets, Hoppity, Gabby, all of the Disney features (including Song of the South, and the Beauty and the Beast box set from Japan), many shorts compilations from Disney and Warner Bros., many Hanna-Barbera discs (including Animal Follies and the Flintstones box set), plus the Phantom 2040 pilot film.

    – I did an article for Animated Views about my LaserDisc collection a few years ago, if anyone is interested in learning more about those

    – I love the Columbia House Woody Woodpecker Show discs. I have the first five volumes, which is all that Columbia House Canada would offer. I’d love to get the last 10 volumes.

  • A few years ago I found the first 10 DVD volumes of the Columbia House Woody Woodpecker collection on eBay as a set. I grossly overpaid for them probably, but it’s not like hardly any of these besides the first volume ever come up for sale anywhere, especially on DVD. I’d like to have the remaining 5 volumes, but I’m not holding my breathe.

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