Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tennessee Tuxedo Update # 2! -- or -- “Reaping the Bonus!”


Completed the first disc (of two sets of three discs each) of “TENNESSEE TUXEDO AND HIS TALES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION” on DVD, from Shout! Factory, and skipped around a bit more on other discs throughout the package.  Things remain consistent with what I’ve previously observed – in THIS POST. 

Indeed, having made my way through the Bonus Features, the package has risen considerably in my estimation. 

Leading off, is a wonderful 23:30 documentary feature: “Tennessee Tuxedo Will Not Fail!”

This is they sort of thing Warner Home Video USED TO DO, back when they were the best producer of both animation and classic movie DVDs, but (with the exception of a superb mock-documentary included on 2011’s “THE ESSENTIAL DAFFY DUCK”) do no longer.      

The story of Total TeleVision, Tennessee Tuxedo, and the series’ voice talent is impressively recounted by long-time friend and animation historian Mark Arnold, Total TeleVision co-founder Buck Biggers, Bradley Bolke (voice of Chumley the Walrus), and actor / comedian Larry Storch! 

A feature like this should exist for EVERY TV series, animation or live action, and is a prime reason that DVD has been the perfect medium to preserve such series!   Shout! Factory, is to be commended for such an effort, at a time when the “Big Boys” are more content to do it on the cheap.   

“RIDDLES”:  To Friend of This Blog “Joecab”, I say not so fast!  Turns out we get SOME of the Tennessee, Chumley, and Mr. Whoopee RIDDLE INTERSTITIALS, after all! 

Ten of them, in fact!  Mark Arnold, in his uniquely informative book “CREATED AND PRODUCED BY TOTAL TELEVISION PRODUCTIONS”, lists 31 “Riddle” segments, so we end up with about one-third of them!  Not bad, actually.  Here’s an example:

CHUMLEY: “If a BLUE STONE falls into the RED SEA, what will it become?”

MR. WHOOPEE: “Wet!”  

(ALL LAUGH!) 

Hmmm… That “Ten” is sounding better and better, all the time! 

“BUMPERS, OPENS, PREVIEWS”: A literal treasure trove of theme and interstitial segments (the holy grail of sixties cartoon fans) from not only TENNESSEE TUXEDO AND HIS TALES, but the prior KING LEONARDO AND HIS SHORT SUBJECTS as well! 

Many different Tennessee Tuxedo THEME VARIATIONS are included here – including the one I feel is the true “authentic” one.  Why not simply splice THAT ONE on to the episodes, I wonder! 

Stills of Tennessee and Chumley pushing wheelbarrows containing the show’s title logo, with voice overs like:  Tennessee and Chumley will be right back, with more cartoon fun!”, are accompanied by “lost” fireworks and pinwheel segments. 

A magnificent “football sequence” interstitial – strangely reminiscent of the 1944 GOOFY theatrical short How to Play Football – with a team of “Tennessees” vs. a team of “Chumleys”.  There are fan sections filled with cheering crowds of “Tennessees” and cheering crowds of “Chumleys”.   Both coaches are “Tennessees”, as are the referees and cheerleaders!  Quick cuts from one incongruous visual to the next, and equally quick slapstick gags, make this one of the funniest (certainly the ODDEST) sequences of the entire series.  

And, wonder of wonders (at least for me), we also get the original opening theme sequence to KING LEONARDO AND HIS SHORT SUBJECTS!  This catchy tune introduces all the cast members of the show – King Leonardo, Odie Cologne, Biggie Rat, Itchy Brother, The Hunter, The Fox, Tooter Turtle, and Mister Wizard – but in rapid-fire slapstick visual gags where each gag somehow “impacts” on the next one!  And, very unusual for a cartoon of this (or any other) time, it ends with the “bad guys” routing the “good guys” with a hail of aerial gunfire! 

Beyond the Bonus Features, another ERROR OF OMISSION has been reported online for a Tennessee episode.  (See THIS POST for the one I noted previously for King Leonardo. And there are even more such Leonardo "Royal Screw-Ups" on Disc Two!)  But, unlike the unfortunate “Leonardo losses”, this one is (in a somewhat inconvenient way) rectifiable.
"After our packaging went to the printers, it was discovered that we could not locate the audio for 'BYE BYE BEES', so we have replaced the cartoon with another episode of KING & ODIE, 'NOSE FOR THE NOOSE'."   

Episode # 63 of Tennessee Tuxedo, “Monster from Another Planet” (Set Two, Disc Two), is missing its second half – when played as an individual episode.  However, according to Mark Arnold (and verified by my own viewing) all is not …er, “lost”. 

Due to a quirk in DVD authoring methodology, if you select “PLAY ALL” – rather than play them as individual episodes (something I do NOT generally do) – “Monster from Another Planet” will play IN ITS ENTIRETY!  Go figure! 

Alas, I tried that same trick in hopes of uncovering the missing King Leonardo episode(s) – and no luck!  Double Alas: “Monster from Another Planet” is THIRTEEN EPISODES DEEP into the disc it is on!  So, “PLAY ALL” will give you quite the “Tour of Tennessee” before you reach it! 

And, before leaving King L., I’ll mention how great it is to see that series again… in whatever form it takes!  Please, Shout! Factory, consider a full-blown King Leonardo set.  I’ll promise to say good things about it on this Blog!  …Okay?  …Huh? 

Final thoughts to this point:  Despite its shortcomings – those that are accidental and those of design – I find myself enjoying “TENNESSEE TUXEDO AND HIS TALES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION” more and more, the deeper I get into it.  

Once the initial disappointment of the cartoons not being organized into an episodic format and the perhaps-necessary sequence substitutions are overcome by the good feelings that result from repeat visits and viewings, I get more of a sense of how great this set really is!  Even the “unexpected episode omissions” find themselves outweighed by the sheer wealth of material found therein.

Just buy it – and enjoy it!  …I did, and I am! 

3 comments:

Mark Arnold said...

I asked Cliff MacMillan of Shout Factory about the DNR/DVNR issue and other stuff wrong with this set. He said that Classic Media was informed of the missing cartoons for over three months and only found them recently AFTER the set had been issued, and they claimed that they weren't aware that they were missing. He also said that no DNR/DVNR processes were done on these cartoons and he informed me that working with Classic Media on these sets was one of the most difficult assignments that he has ever done and does not wish to work with them again as this project wiped him out! He said working with me was fine.

ramapith said...

Curiouser and curiouser. Here's an early Klondike Kat opening with that same choir singing the theme song. Definitely seems like a period recording this time, if only because the print condition is terrible.

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

Just ordered it... along with the blu ray DVD of THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN. I'm glad that your opinion of the TT has risen.

Chris