Friday, June 7, 2013

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

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

(Released May 21, 2013 by Warner Home Video)  
Another Looong DVD Review by Joe Torcivia

SUMMARY:  The most inexplicably confusing DVD I’ve ever reviewed! 

Yes, really!  I’m almost at a loss as to what I can say about this collection, so bear with me, should this review ramble a bit. 

HERE is my original post on the coming of this set.  It WILL help explain my confusion a bit, if you would be kind enough to read both my post and the linked announcement found therein. 

As best I can figure, Warner Bros., on the occasion of its turning 90, is celebrating its “centennial minus ten” with a series of special collections of the film, animation, television, and comic book properties that have made the studio my favorite of all creative entities. 
Hear!  Hear!  I second that emotion! 

Now, one doesn’t just become a monolithic presence in the field of entertainment without a few acquisitions along the way and so, sometime in the 1990s (like DC Comics before it), the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio became a part of the vast Time Warner Communications empire. 

That acquisition would explain the existence of a special Hanna-Barbera collection to mark the 90th anniversary of Warner Bros.  However, it doesn’t explain why The Best of Warner Bros.: Hanna-Barbera 25 Cartoon Collection” looks as if it WERE ASSEMBLED BY a nonagenarian! 

I’m sorry, I should really take that back… Most nonagenarians would probably do a better – or at least a more LOGICAL – job of assembling this package! 

Honestly… I DON’T UNDERSTAND what this set is trying to accomplish – beyond creating a great big Hanna-Barbera goulash in a stewpot! 
Goulash is only good when you can EAT IT, Boo Boo!

I get the distinct impression that no one tasked with the creation of this set has any historical knowledge of the glory days of Hanna-Barbera.  A period I was privileged to witness first hand, and which probably accounts for the high regard in which I hold the first 10-12 years of the studio’s output, even today. 

Just "pick up whatever you find"! 

It looks as if they just picked up whatever they found lying around the Warner Vaults, adding just enough oddball, or other first time releases, to prevent it from completely becoming a double-dip affair, slapped a “Best of Warner Bros.” cover on it (…and even THAT COVER underwent revisions to replace a NON-Hanna-Barbera character inadvertently included in the character mélange. Touché Turtle now replaces Very-Late-Period-Looney-Tunes-Character “Rapid Rabbit”, between Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw on the package) – and threw it out there to an unsuspecting public. 

Look Between Yogi and Quick Draw... A late '60s Looney Tunes character!  Sloppy!


Is it a celebration and historical survey of the glory days of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio? 

If so, why are Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear omitted from the set? 

If not for the success of that iconic pair, I doubt that H-B would have progressed much further! 

I thought I was more "iconic" than the a-ver-age bear!

Here’s the list of contents from the announcement.  Compare it with the list of what we ACTUALLY GOT, and you will see that the collection appears to have had a very rough journey to completion… that is, if you can call ANYTHING like this without Huck and Yogi “complete”!

For ease of comparison, that which was announced, but does not appear, is highlighted in RED.  (Make note of ALL the RED, folks!)

  • 1950s
    • The Ruff & Reddy Show (1957) "Planet Pirates" (episode 1)
    • Huckleberry Hound (1958) "Spud Dud"
    • Yogi Bear (1958) "Snow White Bear"
    • Hokey Wolf (1961) "Castle Hassle"
    • Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks (1958) "A Wise Quack,"
    • The Quick Draw McGraw Show (1959) "Masking for Trouble"
    • Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy (1959) "Gone to the Ducks"
    • Snooper and Blabber (1959) "The Lion is Busy" with Snagglepuss
    • Loopy De Loop (1959) "Wolf Hounded"

  • 1960s
    • The Flintstones (1960) "Love Letters on the Rocks" 30 mins.
    • The Yogi Bear Show (1961)
    • Snagglepuss "The Roaring Lion"
    • Yakky Doodle "Hasty Tasty"
    • Top Cat (1961) "T.C. Minds the Baby" 30 mins.
    • Wally Gator "Gator-Napper"
    • Touché Turtle and Dum Dum "Rapid Rabbit" with Ricochet Rabbit Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har Har "Hick Hikers"
    • The Jetsons (1962) "Rosie the Robot" 30 mins
    • The Magilla Gorilla Show (1964) "Makin' with the Magilla"
    • Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse "Callin' All Kin"
    • Ricochet Rabbit & Droop-a-Long "Will 'O the Whip"
    • Jonny Quest (1964) "The Robot Spy" 30 mins.
    • Peter Potamus (1964) "Cleo Trio"
    • Breezly and Sneezly "Stars and Gripes"
    • Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey "Black Bart"

  • 1960s
    • Atom Ant "The Big Gimmick"
    • Secret Squirrel "Cuckoo Clock Cuckoo"
    • Squiddly Diddly "Way Out Squiddly"
    • Precious Pupp "Precious Jewels"
    • The Hillbilly Bears "Do The Bear"
    • Winsome Witch "Have Broom will Travel"
    • Frankenstein, Jr. "The Shocking Electrical Monster'
    • The Impossibles (1966) "The Spinner"
    • Space Ghost "The Heat Thing"
    • Dino Boy "The Sacrifice"
    • Space Kidettes (1966) "Moleman Menace'
    • The Abbott and Costello Cartoon Show "Gadzooka"
    • Birdman (1967) "Birdman Meets Birdboy"
    • The Galaxy Trio (1967) "Revolt of the Robots"
    • The Herculoids (1967) "Attack from Space"
    • Cattanooga Cats (1969) "Witch Whacky"
    • It's The Wolf (1969) "Slumber Jacks"
    • Motormouse and Autocat (1969) "Wheelin' and Dealin'"

  • 1970s
    • The Funky Phantom (1971) "The Liberty Bell Caper" 30 mins.
    • Jabberjaw (1976) "Dr. Lo has Got to Go" 30 mins.

Additionally, the documentary "Here Comes a Star" is included on this set.

And, here’s what we got: 

That which appears, but was not previously announced, is highlighted in GREEN.

Disc One:  (NEW or DD = “Double-Dip”)

Quick Draw McGraw Show Opening Theme (Slightly Edited)

Quick Draw McGraw: “Dynamite Fright  DD

Quick Draw McGraw Show Closing Theme (Severely Edited)


Quick Draw McGraw Show Opening Theme (Slightly Edited)

Snooper and Blabber: “Outer Space Case  DD

Quick Draw McGraw Show Closing Theme (Severely Edited)


Quick Draw McGraw Show Opening Theme (Slightly Edited)

Augie Doggie: “Growing, Growing, Gone!”  DD

Quick Draw McGraw Show Closing Theme (Severely Edited)


Hokey Wolf: “Castle Hassle  NEW


Quick Draw McGraw Show Opening Theme (Slightly Edited)

Quick Draw McGraw: “The Mark of El Kabong  DD

Quick Draw McGraw Show Closing Theme (Severely Edited)


Quick Draw McGraw Show Opening Theme (Slightly Edited)

Augie Doggie: “Party Pooper Pop!”  DD

Quick Draw McGraw Show Closing Theme (Severely Edited)


Quick Draw McGraw Show Opening Theme (Slightly Edited)

Snooper and Blabber: “Chilly Chiller  DD

Quick Draw McGraw Show Closing Theme (Severely Edited)


Loopy De Loop: “Wolf Hounded  NEW

Hokey Wolf: “Tricks and Treats  NEW

The Flintstones:  Love Letters on the Rocks  DD


Yogi Bear Show Opening Theme (Slightly Edited)

Snagglepuss: “The Roaring Lion  DD

Yogi Bear Show Closing Theme (Post 60’s / Pre 1988 version, with odd sound effects)


Top Cat: “TC Minds the Baby  DD

The Jetsons:  Rosie the Robot  DD

Disc Two:  (NEW or DD = “Double-Dip”)

Magilla Gorilla Show Opening Theme (Post Ideal Toys Version)

Magilla Gorilla: “Makin’ with the Magilla  DD

Magilla Gorilla Show Closing Theme (Post Ideal Toys Version )


Jonny Quest: “The Robot Spy”  DD


Peter Potamus Show Opening Theme (Post Ideal Toys Version)

Peter Potamus: “Cleo Trio  NEW

Peter Potamus Show Closing Theme (Abbreviated Post Ideal Toys Version)


Touché Turtle: “Rapid Rabbit  NEW


Peter Potamus Show Opening Theme (Post Ideal Toys Version)

Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooie: “Black Bart  DD

Peter Potamus Show Closing Interstitial (“We Really Hate to Tell You, But We Have to be Off”)

Peter Potamus Show Closing Theme (Abbreviated Post Ideal Toys Version)


Atom Ant Show Opening Theme

Atom Ant “The Big Gimmick NEW

Atom Ant Show Closing Theme 


Secret Squirrel Show Opening Theme

Secret Squirrel “Cuckoo Clock Cuckoo  NEW

Secret Squirrel Show Closing Theme 


Atom Ant Show Opening Theme

Hillbilly Bears “Do The Bear  NEW

Atom Ant Show Closing Theme 


Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles Opening Theme

Frankenstein Jr.: “The Shocking Electrical Monster  DD

Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles Closing Theme


Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles Opening Theme

The Impossibles.: “The Spinner  DD

Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles Closing Theme


Space Ghost Opening Theme

Space Ghost: “The Heat ThingDD

Space Ghost Closing Theme


Abbott and Costello: “Gadzooka  NEW 

(Abbott and Costello opening theme sequence plays again, once the cartoon is over!)

Now, I expected some inevitable changes in content between the original announcement and the actual release.  I even said so in my earlier post. 

But, I ask you… How does that former list emerge as the latter one?   I’d sure like to know the story behind THAT! 

How, in the name of Holy-Hanna, do you omit Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear?   Honestly, I can see dispensing with Ruff and Reddy, if one chooses to discount or minimize its “historical value” (especially as it would only have been Part One of a continuity)… but HUCK and YOGI?  Really? 

And who, in the name of Equally-Holy-Barbera, edited those QUICK DRAW shows to play the opening and closing theme sequences SIX TIMES?!  Not to mention surrounding the Snagglepuss cartoon with the Yogi Bear theme sequences – yet leave out Yogi himself?  
No Yogi... but even J. Evil Scientist appears on the set, in a Snooper and Blabber "Double-Dip"!

Indeed, why must a short cartoon even need to be surrounded by the overall theme of its “larger show”, if the show itself is not presented as such?  For instance, does the “Atom Ant theme” need to surround the Atom Ant cartoon – and once again encircle the Hillbilly Bears cartoon?  

Do we really need this TWICE...
...When we don't have the full show?

 Why not just add Precious Pupp and present an ENTIRE “Atom Ant Show” – complete with the opening and closing themes ONLY ONCE?  This may very well be the sloppiest editing I’ve ever seen in a “professionally assembled” DVD! 

As if that isn’t enough sloppy editing for any DVD set, the familiar “Meet the Flintstones” theme plays over each disc’s Main Menu – but it is an “extended version” that is made so by the abrupt and outright JARRING insertion of repeat passages into the theme!  You’ve got to hear this to believe it!  I honestly thought the soundtrack was skipping, until I realized what it was! 
Yes, it was more JARRING than even THIS!

Why does this need to be?  Isn’t the Flintstones theme long enough to play over a menu as-is without additional passages, ripped from its innards, that sound as if they were GRAFTED ON with all the finesse of Dr. Frankenstein… or would that be Dr. Franken-STONE? 

We have TWO Quick Draw McGraw shows!  That SOULD be great news, because only FOUR such shows have been previously released on authorized DVD (Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Volumes One and Two) – but BOTH shows here are repeat-releases of THOSE SAME SHOWS!  None of the vast amount of unreleased Quick Draw material, which COULD have appeared for this special occasion, did!   

The Peter Potamus cartoon is new to DVD, but the Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooie (a component part of the original “Potamus” show) is not!  And, only TWO of those shows were previously released.

Double-dips are unavoidable, especially if you’re trying to create an overall survey of H-B’s peak period. I expect that. You can’t do something of this nature without The Flintstones, Top Cat, or Magilla Gorilla – and they’ve already been released in their entirety.
Okay to Double-Dip.

Where double-dips should NOT occur are series where there is still a wealth of unreleased material, such as Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Peter Potamus, Atom Ant, and Secret Squirrel. (That’s still a LOT of unreleased stuff, isn’t it?)
NOT okay to Double-Dip!  Especially TWICE on one set!

The ONLY Extra Feature, on what should have been a very special collection, is a repeat of the “Here Comes a Star” tele-promotion piece to herald the coming of THE MAGILLA GORILLA SHOW in early 1964.  Admittedly, it’s a nice look at the studio at its creative and professional height, with Bill and Joe getting lots of air time, hosting announcer George Fenniman, and promoting Magilla. 

Maybe I should "promote" SAFETY, instead!

We'll do the PROMOTING around here... And do-oon't you for-get it!
While it has already appeared on the MAGILLA GORILLA set of 2006, I suppose it’s worth including just for the visit with Bill and Joe!  It WOULD have been nice to see something new, created or uncovered for this supposedly special occasion, though. 

Ah, but, here's a plus... a tre-men-dous plus!  ...Take this down, Ding!
Okey-dokey, Hokey!  That Hokey's the greatest at.. at... whatever it is he does!!

On the Plus Side, we have the DVD debut of Hokey Wolf – with not one, but two cartoons featuring the Phil Silvers-inspired character.  And, speaking of wolves, we are treated to the first authorized DVD appearance of Loopy De Loop, as well. 

The Flintstones episode, “Love Letters on the Rocks”, was an unexpected – but excellent – choice to represent the series, plucked from the more adult-oriented First Season, and with “presumed marital infidelity” as its subject matter.  The dialogue was particularly enjoyable throughout, and Jean Vander Pyl may have turned in one of her best performances as Wilma. 

Love Letters on the Rocks” is the episode that introduced private-eye “Perry Gunnite” – a clever name-melding of then-TV icons “Perry Mason” and “Peter Gunn”, with the character of Gunnite coming across as a superb send-up of Craig Stevens’ “stony” (pardon) portrayal of Peter Gunn.  
Craig Stevens as "Peter Gunn"
Raymond Burr as "Perry Mason"... Let's put their names together...
...And you get PERRY GUNNITE! 

Even the intrigue-style music, when Gunnite first enters the scene, is a right-on tribute to Henry Mancini’s underscore to PETER GUNN, which was used to open many episodes of that series.  (I never realized how great a homage it was until seeing PETER GUNN more recently!) Kudos to composer Hoyt Curtin for that! 
Ya think Hoyt Curtin had this album?
Though his TV career was “not such a much”, Perry Gunnite would remain a mainstay of the Flintstones comic books throughout the sixties – and even find his way into the ‘90s Flintstones run, published by Archie Comics.    
Does this ever happen to Peter Gunn?  Actually, it HAS! 

The Touché Turtle cartoon was a true highlight of the set.  Alas, only two of these have been released to DVD.   Though there were never any on-screen credits, this series has Michael Maltese written all over it.  It also introduces (if only in NAME) “Ricochet Rabbit” – not the Western character that would appear two years hence, but a super-fast varmint, the type of which Maltese would have plagued Quick Draw McGraw with a year or so prior. 

This is strictly my opinion but, wisely, the announced ‘70s material bit the dust, along with some of the more questionably chosen very late sixties stuff. 

Oddly, Scooby-Doo (from today’s perspective, perhaps the most famous H-B toon of them all) is not represented.  I commend Warner’s uncharacteristic restraint in not reflexively shoehorning Scooby into this set, as he is available in SOOOO many other video venues.  

Finally, if there was one thing I was certain would be omitted – but, miraculously, was not – it would be the Abbott and Costello cartoon!  …Though it is misattributed on the menu as a 1968 production, when the cartoon itself says 1967. 

The animated Abbott and Costello series, having debuted in 1967, was one of the very last of its breed… a five-minute cartoon short, designed to be “plugged-into” an afternoon, locally-hosted “kiddie-show”.  Not unlike THESE made-for-TV Popeye cartoons.  The once-popular after-school “host” format was in its own “last-gasps” by 1967, and I’m hard-pressed to think of any “plug-in” toons that might have come later.  Batfink, perhaps? 
"Move over, Mel Blanc and Daws Butler -- Bud's on First!"
A definite highlight to this series was Bud Abbott providing his own voice.  This entry, “Gadzooka”, plays as if it may have been written by the great Michael Maltese (in sort of a Snooper and Blabber mode), whose own career at H-B was winding down, as the studio moved away from short gag cartoons, and is appropriate considering all the monsters the pair “met” in their later theatrical films!  H-B also did “Laurel and Hardy” in a similar format, one season prior. 
H-B's Laurel and Hardy

OVERALL:  As I said in my earlier post: “This looks to be the most significant Hanna-Barbera DVD release in years!” 

Yet, somehow, Warner Home Video found a way to make this package (…to be kind) “less significant”. 

What should have been a celebration of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio at its best, was less a “celebration” and more of the kind of party planned by a butcher with eight thumbs, that was given on the wrong day, and where not all of the invitations were sent out. 

It's like no party I had before - that's for sure!
I’ll end the review the way I began it, and say I’m still at a loss as to what to say about this collection.  Despite all this “written analysis”, I still don’t know what I’ve got here!  It’s not even a comprehensive survey of Hanna-Barbera cartoons and, thus, good for those who are less-steeped in H-B lore than I.  Not, with some of the staggering omissions exhibited. 

I’ve never reviewed a DVD where I was honestly unable to recommend it to SOME segment of the population – but this may finally be it.  ...Even though there are still many things to like about it. 

Okay, I’ll recommend this to zany Hanna-Barbera completists, like myself, who will enjoy the debut appearances of Hokey Wolf, Loopy De Loop, and Abbott and Costello – and the handful of other New-to-DVD installments, while pondering the collection that might have been.   The rest of you can remain as confused as I am! 
Yeah, Huck... I agree.  Let's turn the page on this, and get the rest of your cartoons released!


scarecrow33 said...

Good review, Joe--and far kinder than this type of travesty deserves.

There are so many examples of how to do this kind of thing right--it's really depressing that the PTB (powers that be) think all that needs to happen is throw a few things randomly together and watch the public buy it.

Of course, the Double Dip concept only applies to those completists like you and me who have collected the previous H-B releases. There are always going to be those for whom a release like this is their first encounter with these characters--or perhaps their first home video purchase of classic H-B. But that reason makes it all the more important that something like this should be treated with a little more respect, so that those first-time watchers (or those casual viewers watching for the nostalgia value) will get a proper introduction to the world of Hanna-Barbera and the characters and shows that they created. So--whether aiming for serious collectors, or for casual consumers looking for fodder for the "electronic babysitter"--there is NO EXCUSE for putting this stuff together in such a slipshod way! This set neither satisfies the high demands of the experienced collector, nor does it serve as any kind of an appropriate introduction for the casual first-time viewer. No matter WHO watches this set, their first question is going to be "HUH?" I mean, seriously, a Yogi Bear intro to a Snagglepuss cartoon? An Atom Ant intro to a Hillbilly Bears cartoon? Only someone who had seen the original shows would get the connections. And--a Yogi Bear intro with NO Yogi Bear cartoons anywhere to be seen? And a Huckleberry Hound show listing on the menu, yet no trace of HH anywhere on either disc? To say nothing of the jarring version of the Flintstones theme repeated over and over. Even as one well-versed in the workings of the H-B universe, I find this set quite baffling.

It makes me yearn for a continuation of the Saturday Morning sets, which truly made an effort to restore some respect to these long-lost goodies. And those collections had the added benefit of variety, unlike the sets featuring all Magilla Gorilla or all Top Cat (not that that is bad, because it's great to have the complete seasons of those shows, but I'm sure you get what I mean).

Another place where better justice was done for these H-B classics was the "Personal Favorites" series on VHS several years back. Bill and Joe provided personal intros and commentaries for some of their selected favorites. While their comments were quite bland and generic, not offering too much insight into the creative work that went into producing the cartoons, still their enthusiasm was evident and the fact that these cartoons were introduced by the producers themselves lent a certain air of credibility to the collections. I found the tape "Animal Follies" to be particularly satisfying as a prototype of what this "25" collection might have been--with several Ruff and Reddy episodes from that first space story continuity being presented in between a variety of other shorts featuring Yippee, Yappy, and Yahooey, Hokey Wolf, Touche Turtle, etc. And the R-R story, though necessarily abridged, was brought to its appropriate conclusion by the end of the tape. The "Flintstones," "Huckleberry Hound and Friends," and "Yogi Bear" tapes were also well done in this format and much more satisfying than this poor excuse for a DVD release.

I'm hoping this recent set is not reflective of a coming trend. Glad you ended on an upbeat note--Yes, Huck, let's get the rest of your output on a decent DVD release that respects the integrity of the original shows!

Comicbookrehab said...

They snubbed Wally Gator! Again! Drat and double-drat!

Doesn't rapid rabbit look like The Nesquik Bunny?

This kind of grab bag reminds me of the compilation videotapes Universal was cranking out in the late-80s, with HB cartoons bundled under different themes (Ex: Hollidays, Fairy Tales, etc..) and they usually featured one cartoon of what were refered to (quietly) then as HB's "fab Four": Yogi, Scooby Doo, Fred Flintstone and Huckleberry Hound (actually, Huck appeared more prominantly on the packaging for the EP-formatted "Command Performances" line of tapes).

Nowadays, I suspect the HB "fab 4" would be: Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, Tom & Jerry and The Jetsons - in that order. Yogi & Huck are probably "the rest"

In the 80s, "Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse" episodes were usually shown after old movies to fill-out a 2-hour timeslot in syndication. Pink Panther cartoons are still used that way.

Joe Torcivia said...

They snubbed Wally AND Lippy, ‘Rehab! And that just makes a bad situation worse.

Really, with all the Wally Gator and Lippy the Lion cartoons out there, they couldn’t find time for ONE OF EACH to be added to the set?! Given how short they were (5 minutes vs. the more standard 7), just eliminating the REPEATING and unnecessary “show theme songs” would have allowed enough room for one of each!

Good gosh, he DOES look like the Nesquick Bunny!

Warner’s probably regards today’s “H-B Fab Four” as Scooby, Shaggy, Freddy, Daphne, and Velma.

…Yeah, *I* know that’s FIVE and not four, but the persons who assembled this H-B disc would either not know, or not care.

I can recall “Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse”, in the early ‘80s on WPIX 11, filling out the half-hour of (cut-up) Sunday THREE STOOGES broadcasts! But, sure… why not use a short cartoon to fill out remaining time of a movie broadcast? …Or as an extra on movie DVDs, as “Warner Night at the Movies” once did. That what cartoons were originally made for, wasn’t it?

Joe Torcivia said...


Not surprisingly, you’re clearly as disappointed in this release as I am! Indeed, I’d classify your comments as a “Review” in its own right!

You’re quite correct… Couldn’t this release at least have reflected the overall quality of the Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s sets? Did quality control really fall that far at WHV in such a short time?

I can’t imagine that anyone possessing the proper familiarity with the history of Hanna-Barbera had much input into the final product. And, that makes no sense because, unlike with Warner’s ‘30s and ‘40s films of yore (that I love so much), there ARE people who have SEEN this stuff occur before their eyes. Mark Evanier and Jerry Beck just to name two.

And, if WHV didn’t wish to engage them at their (presumed) consulting rates, there are folks out there (including you and I) who would happily volunteer their expertise for nothing more than a copy of the DVD!

Heck, we’d do it JUST TO SEE THE PRODUCT DONE RIGHT! …And not end up with an abomination like this!

Even if “needle-drop music clearance” remains an issue, I could identify Hoyt Curtin-scored Huckleberry Hound, Pixie and Dixie, Quick Draw McGraw, Augie Doggie, and Snooper and Blabber cartoons that have not yet appeared on DVD. Wouldn’t we ALL have held the set in much higher regard, if someone had done at least THAT?!

(BTW: They even screwed that up by using Snooper and Blabber: “Outer Space Case” with “needle-drop music” both HERE and previously on a Sat AM ‘60s set! So, they can’t even get that right!)

And, if WHV had to double-dip on a Hoyt Curtin-scored Yogi Bear, that’s still far better than OMITTING Yogi entirely! (…And I’d probably pick them a good one, like “Droop-a-Long Yogi”!) I could also THROW A STICK and somehow manage to hit an unreleased Yippee, Yappee, and Yahooie cartoon – since only TWO have them have been previously released!

Also, I surely would have questioned the repeating show themes, and inappropriately-padded Flintstones Menu Theme! Send a comment to this Blog, Warner Home Video! I’ll be pleased to speak with you – and offer my assistance on any such future projects!

FREE! Do you hear? FREE! Can you beat that?

I had some of those H-B “Personal Favorites” VHS tapes back in the day, of which the “Animal Follies” one was best, because of all the lesser-seen stuff found therein! It also was nice to see Bill and Joe, before they advanced too far in age. You think Warner Archives could release these in 2017 for the 60th Anniversary of the Hanna-Barbera Studio? Naaaah! I should stop dreaming!

It’s a shame all the more because Warners has been moving in an overall “right direction” with animation product – finally completing ANIMANIACS, releasing ‘60s POPEYE, and two volumes of TAZ-MANIA! (I’ve already begun drafting my review of Volume One!) But this was a BIG STEP BACK, and there’s not been much product for classic H-B fans to be happy about for a long while, making it all the more disappointing!

scarecrow33 said...

I really liked the side note on Perry Gunnite--the juxtaposition of photos of Perry Mason and Peter Gunn with the pic of Perry Gunnite from the comics was really stunning. It worked very well graphically for me to see the two main sources of inspiration for the character. There seems to be a bit of Cary Grant thrown into the impersonation as well. And it is the presence of Perry that makes "Love Letters on the Rocks" more than a stone-age re-working of a classic Honeymooners plot. By adding this fairly well-developed new character into the mix, the story line goes in some unusual directions before getting back to the "suspected marital infidelity" plot. It's really too bad the character was not used again in animation (aside from a cameo appearance in a much, much later Flintstones movie), because he really "works" in the stone-age setting. And Perry Gunnite certainly held his own in the comic books as a backup character. I'm guessing that his girlfriend Pebble Bleach was created before the decision had been made to create a daughter named Pebbles for Fred and Wilma, otherwise it would be a little strange having two Bedrock gals with a similar name. Perry's girlfriend was probably dropped from the backup stories around the time that Pebbles arrived, but thanks to reprints she did continue to exist in the Flintsones world even as Pebbles was becoming a featured character. But that's even more of a side note.

I think more could have been done with Perry Gunnite, not only on screen but in the comics as well. While writers for the Flintstones would naturally not want to stray too far from comedy, still Perry could have handled some slightly more serious, dramatic challenges in slightly edgier stories, and at the same time could have managed to deliver some humor to wrap it all up. Maybe he could have even been the star of his own animated series or mini-series, just as he was (sort of) in the comics.

I also agree that Jean Van der Pyl's voice work as Wilma is very good in this episode--but it sounds as though Wilma has a cold or allergy throughout most of it. Not that it's unpleasant, but her voice definitely sounds a little different than usual in this one. However, it enhances her performance somehow, making her seem very human.

Thanks again for an insightful and thought-provoking post, and we'll hope that somebody somewhere starts paying attention to our concerns. (Face it--they should just put you and me in charge of the H-B vaults and give us carte blanche to restore and release to our hearts' content!)

Joe Torcivia said...

Over the years, I’d say that there certainly HAVE been worse – or, at least, “less knowledgeable” – persons in charge of the H-B Vaults than you and I would be, Scarecrow! I daresay, right now – if this DVD is any indication. …Let alone the person who approved licensing the comic books to Charlton!

Glad you enjoyed the Perry Gunnite side excursion. I’ve wanted to write something about that character for years, and this seemed the perfect opportunity – as part of a post that could use something (ANYTHING!) in the positive column.

To be sure, there was more than a dash of Cary Grant in the characterization but, as I’m presently (and very slowly) working my way through PETER GUNN, I find there’s a little more of Craig Stevens in it than I would have thought. In years past, I always thought it was merely a pure-Grant riff. Either way, a superb parody for the adult TV-viewing audience of 1960-1961.

As I’m sure you know, as a Dell and Gold Key comics enthusiast – and for the rest of our readers – The Flintstones comic book debut was in DELL GIANT # 48 THE FLINTSTONES: BEDROCK BEDLAM, released in July, 1961 (while the first season was in summer reruns). It was a superb reflection of Season One, with stories drawn by Harvey Eisenberg and Pete Alvarado. And there was even a text piece on Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera (with a photo of them in front of large cardboard cutouts of Fred and Wilma) on the inside back cover.

Perry Gunnite had his own story in that book where Fred, tired of his job in the gavel pits, tries out as Perry’s Assistant Private Eye. It’s basically the plot of the Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoon “A Star is Bored”, with Perry stepping out of the way and letting Assistant Private Eye Flintstone take the brunt of the bad things that might otherwise happen to Perry. Maybe Warren Foster wrote the comic story, as he wrote the Bugs cartoon. Unlike Michael Maltese, I’ve never been certain whether or not Warren Foster ever wrote for Western Publishing.

This would have been a great story for a second appearance of Perry Gunnite, if only they’d have considered it. The much later “Amos Burke” parody episode (one I didn’t get as a kid) would also have been a fine vehicle for the return of Perry—but I suspect, by that time, no one remembered the character except creators and readers of the Dell and Gold Key comic books, where he continued to appear.

The actress “Pebble Bleach” (itself a great parody name on “Pebble Beach”, and that she was likely a “bleach blonde”) also debuted in that first comic book story. So, she certainly did predate “Pebbles Flintstone”. She was, as you note, Perry’s on-again / off-again girlfriend – and even appeared in a Flintstones lead story without Perry (“Hollyrock Holiday” in THE FLINTSTONES # 6, 1962), and one solo four-page backup story of her own.

And, why couldn’t “Pebbles Flintstone” have been named after “Pebble Bleach”? Even though she clearly preferred “Ann Margrock”.

Elaine said...

Sorry to hear that the DVD was so extremely disappointing and frustrating!

To pick up on one of the very few positive things you note...just seeing that picture of Touché Turtle made me happy. I don't know why I liked him so much--was it the stories, TT's personality, or just mostly the design of the character? The combination of his turtle smile and his musketeer hat I find irresistible. I just checked his Wikipedia page, and it says that the other TT cartoon on DVD is "Sea-Saw" on Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960's Vol. 2--is that right? (That Wikipedia page will have to be updated with this new DVD release.) The Toonopedia page on TT says he appeared in a few Gold Key or Charlton comic books (but never in his own title and seldom on a cover) you happen to know what comics those might be?

Joe Torcivia said...


Touché has always been a favorite of mine too! I particularly liked the interruptive phone ringing from inside his shell. And H-B characters were still nicely designed at that time. Not like some years later.

Yes, the one and only other TT cartoon released on authorized DVD is on Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Volume Two – a link to my review of which is in this very post! He’s even on the cover of that set! I go into a little detail on the Touché cartoon in the review, as it’s a particularly good one.

And, since we aim to please at TIAH Blog, here’s a list of Touché Gold Key Comics appearances. I would not bother with anything from Charlton! There should be an “Inducks” for all the Non-Disney comics too, don’t cha think?

First Comic Book appearances: Hanna-Barbera Bandwagon # 1, 2, 3. (Make note of # 3 for later!)

Bandwagon was the early Gold Key H-B comic that omitted the “headliners” (Sorta like this DVD!), and ran stories of all the ancillary characters. No Huck, Yogi, Quick Draw, Flintstones, Jetsons… but all the rest. The first two were giants, and # 3 was standard size.

Appearances in Top Cat and The Jetsons are of the “four-page guest back-up” variety, as Western Pub. was wont to do.

Top Cat # 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, -- 27 (reprints # 5), 31 (reprints # 11).

The Jetsons # 7, 10, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, -- 33 (reprints # 7), 35 (reprints # 10), 36 (reprints # 13).

Now, here’s a strange thing I just discovered tonight, while compiling this list…

The story in Bandwagon # 3 (“Easier Said Than Done”) was reprinted in The Jetsons # 7 (and subsequently in Jetsons # 33). Meaning it saw print at the beginning of 1963 – and again at the end of 1963. I knew that.

BUT, the version in Bandwagon # 3 was SIX PAGES, while the version in The Jetsons # 7 was FIVE PAGES – with individual panels cut and rearranged!

You won’t get information like this anywhere else on the Internet!

I hope you enjoy the Touché stories, if you decide to look them up.

scarecrow33 said...

Touche and Dum-Dum also appeared in Huckleberry Hound #18 and #19 from Gold Key, in giant volumes subtitled "Chuckleberry Tales."
These two comics also featured several of the other characters who were simultaneously highlighted in "Bandwagon."

Joe Torcivia said...

“Waal now, if that don’t beat all…” as Huck would say (IF he were ON that DVD – I never give up, do I?)

Absolutely correct, Scarecrow! Indeed, there are two more Gold Key Comics for Elaine to look up! Especially if she wishes to see prime examples of “The Early Gold Key Look” (UPA-like background coloring, reduced background detail, square dialogue balloons, pastel panel borders, etc.) that I’ve described in greater detail elsewhere.

The first two issues of H-B Bandwagon exhibit the same look. Things begin to “transition / normalize” in # 3 – and turnover completely over the run of Top Cat and Jetsons guest spots.

It’s a funny thing about recollections… as a kid (when I would read these things over-and-over, and ingrain them permanently in Joe’s future-adult mind), I never had Huckleberry Hound # 18 and 19.

I did have the surrounding issues, Huckleberry Hound # 17 and 20 (…and several before, including the first Dell Four Color, and every issue after # 20) and recall them pretty much as if I read them yesterday.

But, having read # 18 and 19 during my ,“adult collector, make-up-for-everything-you-didn’t-get-back-then”, comics-buying sprees of the ‘90s (Tell me ALL comic book collectors don’t do this!) – and reading them with an adult’s more diffused and distracted faculties… I somehow managed to forget about the Touché Turtle appearances in those issues, because I never associated him with the Huckleberry Hound title.

Like Sylvester Junior, “I’m soooo ashamed!” Thanks for “having my back”, Scarecrow… or would that be “my shell!”)

In a way I’m glad the discussion has shifted away from this disappointing DVD, and toward the great Hanna-Barbera comic books of years past.

Chris Barat said...


Looks as if they really missed a chance to create a TRUE, HISTORICALLY MEANINGFUL cartoon collection here and instead went the "throw it together" route.

I wonder whether a change in Warner Bros. Video management was behind the abrupt change in planned contents.


Joe Torcivia said...

“Missing a chance” is an understatement, Chris!

Just THINK how GREAT this one COULD HAVE BEEN! And just employing some of the common-sense suggestions *I’ve* made, within this post and comment thread alone, would have resulted in a high-quality release worthy of the occasion! The mind boggles at some of the decisions made!

As for changes in management, I suspect they occur at the same dizzying pace at Warner as they do at Disney – resulting in inconsistent policy-making at the very least.

But, as noted with ANIMANIACS, POPEYE, and TAZ-MANIA of late, they seemed to be on the right track – until this fiasco. Then again, the supposed complete and chronological Blu-ray TOM AND JERRY that we once believed would be a reality was also reversed. So, who ever really knows what the hell goes on inside a monolithic entertainment conglomerate.

Elaine said...

Thanks much, Joe (and Scarecrow), for the list of Touché comics. The Toonopedia page said there were "a few"--I never would have asked the question if I had known what a list there was to compile! I've ordered three of the Top Cats--the most affordable option--from mycomicshop. And my library system has the "Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960's vol. 2" DVD, so I'll get to see that, too.

Failing a non-Disney Inducks-equivalent, it's sure great to have you!

Joe Torcivia said...

I’m certain I also speak for Scarecrow33 when I say – You’re very welcome, Elaine!

Around here, we’re always happy to help, and any request that’s within my power to accomplish will eventually be met. That’s what the earlier, pre-Internet days of fandom were all about – and that’s a spirit I’d like to keep alive, if (ironically) through a Blog!

I’ve never understood why the Gold Key Jetsons have been so highly priced. I’ll assume this remains unchanged since the days of the ‘90s, when I was at the height of my back issue buying.

There was actually one more Touché Turtle cartoon officially released, in which he takes on the Loch Ness Monster – on the “Animal Follies” VHS tape that Scarecrow and I briefly referred to in this comment thread. Don’t know why that content (with live segments featuring Mr. H. and Mr. B.) was never re-offered, at least through Warner Archives.

Especially, as I no longer have my copy... nor could I play it, even if I did.

Hope you enjoy all of what you do get. And, glad to know there’s still a place for a humble, lone indexer, paging through his collection, to further the knowledge and enjoyment of others!

Pokey said...

Also liked the Abbott/Costello HB-RKO Radio-Jomar cartoons from 1967...saw a handful of those and the HB/Larry Harmon/Wolper/Metromedia 1966 Laurel & Hardys as well.

As a "character"(OKAY, BIG FAN!) of the Art Clokey "Gumby" show, I was so glad that needle-drop rights clearance occurred to get Gumby shows (not all yet) on the 2006 "Gumby Essentials" from Classic Media and am glad that any shorts (the "Snooper/Blabber" one) with needle-drop scoring was on there.

On odd intros, old Pixie and Dixie and Jinks fans may remember those shown with just title cards with Quick Draw McGraw's theme over the title card for P&D&Mr.J cartoons, as I saw as far back as the early 70s when those cartoons were just past their 10th anniversary (debuting in OCt.19580 Otherwise none of those wrong series intros turned up those the "meeces and Jinks" cartoons had several themes over the titles (and as I discovered on the 2005 Huck Hound DVD had ful intros with different themes..)

Thank god NO 70s cartoons..sorry Scooby fans..

Joe Torcivia said...


Of all the things, good (few) and bad (many) that have astounded me about this set, the fact that the Abbott and Costello cartoon was included – and MADE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH without being removed – was probably the most astounding! And that was one of the “good things” on a set that NEEDED some “good things” in a “bad way”!

Every time I THINK I understand the “needle-drop music clearance” matter, I soon realize that I DON’T!

Okay, so there are the majority of Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw Show cartoons that used this music. This music is apparently too cost-prohibitive to use on a DVD… but was not so on mass-marketed VHS tapes, and even DVDs 2005 and prior. I get that things can change between 2005 and shortly thereafter, when I heard of this matter for the first time.

Yet, it doesn’t seem cost prohibitive enough for Warners to not release some of the Looney Tunes that employed this music. This 2010 WHV set had TWO of them on one disc! ( ) By 2010, we’d certainly heard plenty about how cost prohibitive the use of that music was. Still, there it be!

Beyond that, I’ve heard snippets of this same cost prohibitive music on DVDs of such shows as GUNSMOKE (Indian themes) and THE UNTOUCHABLES (carnival-like music for nightclub settings)… and it even appeared on a STAR TREK VOYAGER DVD, where it was the soundtrack to some old 1960s-era cartoons that Tom Paris was watching! Yes, really! So, CBS / Paramount DVDs either don’t know, or don’t care about the dreaded cost prohibitive music!

WHV itself erred on this – not once, but TWICE – since 2009, in its double-dip of Snooper and Blabber “Outer Space Case”… and guess what? The Earth continued to rotate on its axis, and its atmosphere was not ripped away and replaced with poison gas!

And, even if the issue WAS some inviolable barrier that would deny us anything resembling a complete, or reasonably complete, collection of Hanna-Barbera cartoons on DVD, there are still (I believe) ten Huckleberry Hound shows that were scored by Hoyt Curtin. If you released those (and doubled-up on Hokey Wolf for each “show”), that would be a nice-sized collection. There should also be TWO MORE Quick Draw shows by Curtin – and THOSE could have been packaged here, as part of this so-called “special set”, instead of the two Quick Draw double dips.

And how in all-heck has the cost prohibitive music clearance matter prevented the release of the Peter Potamus, Atom Ant, and Secret Squirrel shows – not to mention the trio of “stand-alone” cartoons: Wally Gator, Touché Turtle, and Lippy the Lion? …If it’s “just about the music”, where are these?

I’m not even suggesting that they become mass-market releases. In the several years of existence of The Warner Archive Collection (of made to order DVD-R sets), why has no one bothered to give these ‘60s Hanna-Barbera series a shot! Does someone at WHV have something against all things H-B, except Scooby-Doo? With this sorry set, and the lack of much else, I’m beginning to wonder.

Again, anyone from WHV is invited to drop by here to “tell it from your perspective” – and I’m still available for all the free-advice you’d like! Music identified here – no cost to you, but for a DVD! Just give us better product… PLEASE! I don’t like writing all this bad stuff! You do better, and I’ll do the same!

joecab said...

I've been very busy lately, so I'll be brief...

Some review, Joe! I have to admit I was really excited by this one, but I trust your taste enough to not feel any guilt about skipping it. How disappointing!

Joe Torcivia said...

I was excited too, JoeC – just look at my prior posts on the subject. But, they sure found lots of ways to… uh, un-excite me.

So, that kicks 90 years in the head! Let’s see what they have planned for 100! :-)

Elaine said...

I have now watched the "Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960's vol. 2" Touché Turtle cartoon, featuring Moby Dick. Someone needs to correct the Wikipedia TT page, because that cartoon is not titled "Sea-Saw"--that's the following cartoon, with Lippy the Lion. The TT Moby Dick cartoon is "Whale of a Tale." Maybe if we post that here, someone else can correct the Wikipedia page with a link to this blog as evidence! (Wikipedia apparently accepts editing when it can be backed up by online sources.) Or you could put the cartoon title into your review of that DVD, and that would provide an even more authoritative-sounding page to use as a reference.

I also bought and watched (I still have a working VCR hooked up to my screen!) the Animal Follies tape. There are two TT cartoons on it, one a King Kong take-off and the other (my favorite) the Loch Ness monster story. Thanks for telling me about that one.

TT's voice (which I had forgotten) reminds me of some other character, so I looked up the voice actor, and Wikipedia says it was Bill Thompson. Looking through his other credits, I'm thinking the most likely candidate for the other character in my memory who sounds like TT is Droopy. Do they sound similar to you?

Joe Torcivia said...


Glad to see that you have been enjoying Touché Turtle! (…And happier still if, in any way, I helped to lead you there!) Let’s see if we can’t get that Wiki page properly updated by means outside the scope of this Blog.

It was SO LONG since I’d seen that “Animal Follies” VHS tape that I’d forgotten that there were two Touchés on it! If my memory serves, the “King Kong” cartoon was the first one aired. Why can’t Warner Archives reissue that? I’d welcome it!

The voice pairing in the Touché Turtle cartoons was a very unusual one for H-B, in that it had the usual “star and sidekick pairing” with neither one voiced by any of H-B’s regulars – Daws Butler, Don Messick, Mel Blanc, Doug Young, Hal Smith, and later Allan Melvin and Howard Morris.

Yep, Touché was Bill Thompson and Dum-Dum was Alan Reed – in his only other “Non-Fred Flintstone recurring character”! I think the only other time such an offbeat voice pairing occurred in short cartoons during "Classic Era H-B" was with Yakky Doodle and Chopper. (Jimmy Weldon and Vance Colvig).

You know Thompson as Droopy, of course, and as Ranger Audubon Woodlore (of the Donald Duck and Humphrey Bear cartoons), Peter Pan’s Mr. Smee – and, oddly, Scrooge McDuck in the “Scrooge McDuck and Money” short.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Hi Joe,

David Gerstein was very helpful in pointing out that I had some cartoons listed as "new to dvd" in my review on Those are "Dynamite Fright" and "The Mark of El Kabong."

The third you mention as previously released is the Snagglepuss "Roaring Lion" cartoon. Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't find it on the Saturday Morning Cartoons DVD sets 1 and 2. Was it included in another set?

I appreciate the accuracy and will correct the review once I figure it all out. Thanks!

Joe Torcivia said...


David Gerstein is ALWAYS helpful! I’ve never known him not to be!

Snagglepuss: “The Roaring Lion” was first on the Yogi Bear Show DVD set, so it is not New-to-DVD.

I should also point out that The Jetsons: “Rosie the Robot” is actually a TRIPLE-DIP, having appeared on both Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Volume 1 - -and the original Jetsons DVD set!

Once you correct the review, send a link over here as a comment. It’ll be nice to have your review alongside mine. And, if you’d like to plug my review in your comments section in return, that’s also welcome.

Joe Torcivia said...


Just checked out the review. The Augie Doggie and Snooper and Blabber you have listed as "new" are also double-dips.

BTW, I liked that you described the plot of each cartoon.

rodineisilveira said...

Joe Torcivia,

I remember of the name Gadzooka, of a Frankenstein Jr. episode from Frankenstein Jr. & The Impossibles (Hanna-Barbera, 1966), where the villian Mr. Menace reunites a trio of gigantic monsters - Gadzooka the giant dragon, Gorillis the giant ape, and the legendary Cyclops - to a battle against Frankie and his master, Buzz Conroy (the scientist kid).

Joe Torcivia said...

That’s interesting, because it could mean that the Godzilla-parody name “Gadzooka” might have been circulating around the H-B compound, ending up in two very different productions. For all we know, the timelines for CBS network’s Frankenstein Jr. and syndication’s Abbott and Costello may have been parallel – despite the former airing in 1966 and the latter in 1967.

Oddly, though Michael Maltese wrote what looks like a clear majority of the material for FRANKENSTEIN JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES the series, it doesn’t appear that he wrote any of the segments for Franky Jr. – only for The Impossibles, for which he got “explicit on-screen credit” in the end credits sequence of certain episodes.