• Saturday Morning Cartoon 1970s - Volume 2



    Released by: Warner Brothers
    Released on: 10/27/2009
    Director: Various
    Cast: Various
    Year: Various
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Cartoons:

    The wonder of Saturday morning cartoons is lost on today’s generation of kids with the multitude of 24 hour cartoon and other kids’ programming channels they have nowadays. When we were kids (yes… I’m pretending you’re all the same age as me), we lived for 6:00AM, Saturday morning, when it all began. For the most part, kids programming on weekends was limited to a never-long-enough time block, approximately 6:00AM to 12:00NOON, and was that ever the best part of the weekend! Being a child of the 80s more so than the 70s, I viewed a lot of what’s on Saturday Morning Cartoons 1970s Volume 2 for the first time. Even though I didn’t see shows like Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch, Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan or Valley of the Dinosaurs in their heyday, I was still able to appreciate the retro value of such lost gems as some of these shows are only available on DVD on this set. Though some of the entries in this set were not then nor now shows I would choose to watch, as a fan of cartoons in general, this set was as much a history lesson as anything for me. Episodes from shows like Tom and Jerry, The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour and Yogi’s Gang kept me connected and involved enough to enjoy the overall experience of the set. Thankfully, each episode includes its original beginning and end credits and most clock in at approximately 21 minutes (some more some less) each making the complete runtime 316 minutes.

    Included on disc one of this two-disc set is:
    Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch: Keep Your Keeper: Hair Bear, basically a Yogi Bear rip-off (both voiced by Daws Butler), and his gang, are yet again planning their nightly escape from the Wonderland Zoo, for a night of shenanigans. The gang convinces Mr. Peevley, the zookeeper, he’s overworked from a case of Zoo-lirium and the chaos ensues…

    New Adventures of Gilligan: Off Limits: Gilligan is driving everyone on the island bananas, chopping down trees running this way and that way in typical slapstick style. When The Professor and The Skipper find out Mr. Howell has paid Gilligan to build him a private beach house, they go to speak to him. Money speaks louder though (even on a desert island…) and soon everyone is in on the deal!

    Sea Lab 2020: Deep Threat: In the underwater world of 2020, earthquakes threaten the work and lives of the team so they must get to the bottom of what’s causing them. Reports of high radiation just outside Sea Lab may have something to do with it!

    The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan: The Mardi Gras Caper: This show, though inoffensive to me, is probably part of the reason the set has a “Not suitable for children” warning on the box. The un-PCness of it all is amusing and thoroughly characteristic of its time period. The overly slanty eyes, Chan’s accent and the random Chinese-themed music thrown in every once in a while, while harmless, would probably offend somebody. In this episode Chan and the Clan are trying to solve a jewel heist and catch the thief!

    Shazzan: The Living Island / Master of the Thieves: In The Living Island, Nancy and Chuck land on a mysterious island where the run into an evil sultan looking to capture them along with their flying camel, Kaboobie. Looks like they need Shazzan again to save the day! In Master of Thieves, a bad guy gets a hold of the ring that summons Shazzan. Luckily he doesn’t know the magic word to make him appear but Chuck and Nancy have quite an adventure trying to get it back.

    Yogi's Gang: Mr. Bigot: Yogi and the gang get mixed up with the evil Mr. Bigot who used his flying Mind Bender machine (which runs on a “Box of Hate” and a “Tank of Prejudice”) to rid the world of friendliness, making Mr. Cheerful turn on Yogi because he “looks different.” Poor Yogi… such injustice! The dialogue is pretty hysterical on this one.

    And on disc two is:

    Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour: Duck Rabbit Duck / For Scent-Imental Reasons / Stop, Look and Hasten / Hare-Way to the Stars: In Duck Rabbit Duck (this is such a classic, you probably already know…) Daffy combats the start of Duck Season by trying to convince Elmer Fudd that it’s actually Rabbit Season. Duck Season. Rabbit Season. And so on. In For Scent-Imental Reasons, that poor black cat has gotten another white stripe painted down her back and is thus the object of affection of Pepe Le Pew. And the chase begins. In Stop, Look and Hasten, Wile E. Coyote decides, yet again, that the Roadrunner would make a decent meal and the usual back and forth, clever desert inventions and BEEP BEEPing ensues. It’s a repetitive formula but an entertaining one. Finally, in Hare-way to the Stars, Bugs Bunny sleepily emerges from his rabbit hole one morning not realizing a rocket ship has been parked above him and proceeds to climb up into the ship. Once up in space, he comes into contact with… you guessed it… Marvin the Martian. That’s always a good time.

    Valley of the Dinosaurs: Forbidden Fruit: Stranded in the dinosaur world, very much like the live-action Land of the Lost (both came out the same year) but without the aliens, the Butler family has to deal with the daily trials and dangers of living amongst dinosaurs and other prehistoric nuisances. In this episode a brontosaurus follows the family looking for fruit causing a cave-in trapping everyone inside.

    Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape: Show#1- No Way Stowaway / That Was No Idol… / The Ski Bunny / The All American Ape / Stay Awake Or Else: In No Way Stowaway, Tom and Jerrry have problems with an irritable pirate and in That Was No Idol, Grape Ape and Beegle end up on an island where the natives believe Grape Ape’s arrival is part of a prophecy and worship him thinking he is the legendary Mo-Mo! In The Ski Bunny, Tom and Jerry teach a “lil’ ol’ Snow Bunny” how to ski and The All American Ape, Grape fills in as a substitute on a football team. Lastly, in Stay Awake or Else, Tom’s boss, the circus ringleader, is always looking for Tom to get his work done. Tom though keeps falling asleep after a long night of partying and Jerry has to do his best to keep Tom awake to get his work done. Personally, I found it much more interesting when they weren’t friends.

    Banana Splits Adventure Hour: Joining the Knights / Danger Island / The Littlest Musketeer: The Banana Splits… one of those shows I think you needed to be there for. Since I wasn’t, I just find it kind of creepy. In this hour, an episode of Arabian Knights called Joining the Knights. 70s cartoons had a lot of flying carpets in them, didn’t they? Following that there’s a strange musical montage of what looks like a nature documentary with cannibals having a pie fight whilst chasing a Caucasian pigtailed damsel in distress. Definitely strange, definitely fun, definitely wouldn’t happen nowadays. Wait. That was the intro to Danger Island? Wow. As if I didn’t dig the 70s enough. So this one’s about a father and daughter who sail the seas and have run-ins with pirates which finishes with an opening ending. Oh man… can’t wait till the next installment! In The Littlest Musketeer, a musketeer-in-training gets caught by the traitorous Count Duvac and the Three Musketeers must rescue him. Plenty of good ol’ Banana Splits Rock ‘n’ Roll in this Adventure Hour as well! Proof that breakfast cereal was an important part of the Saturday morning cartoon experience for kids this show is actually called The Kellogg’s Banana Splits Adventure Hour.

    Inch High Private Eye: Diamonds are a Crook's Best Friend: Inch High and his detective agency are on the case in this episode in search of a diamond thief out to snatch Mrs. Gotrocks’ diamond necklace.

    New Adventures of Batman: A Sweet Joke on Gotham City: Kind of cool they got Adam West and Burt Ward to “reprise” their roles as Batman and Robin, but to add something new to the formula, there’s a new character… Bat-Mite? Although a real DC character, he seems too cartoonish even in the cartoon world of a character that’s cartoonish even in the real world. Now that’s saying a lot. In this episode, the villainous Sweet Tooth has hijacked the city’s water supply and won’t release it until he’s given $5,000,000. That’s a lot of jellybeans, Batman!

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Saturday Morning Cartoons 1970s Volume 2 is presented in its original 1:33:1 format. It doesn’t look like much was done to clean these up, but with stuff like this, you’re not really looking for pristine quality and the imperfections only add to the authenticity. That said, the episodes chosen seem to be in good shape considering some of them are almost forty years old. Despite the fact that cartoons of the 70s were a little dreary and less flashy that more modern animation, the colors in this set are bright and don’t seem to have faded much from age. The shows used of more prominent characters like Yogi Bear and Bugs Bunny, probably remastered for previous DVD releases, have better video quality than more obscure entries like The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, which, chances are, will never see its own release. At the beginning of each disc there is a message stating some archival footage of lesser quality was used “to provide you with as close an approximation of the original presentation as possible.” Always better than editing.

    The menu offers a “Languages” button on the main page, which when you click it, gives you the sole option of English; seems unnecessary to imply a choice. Subtitles are also only in English. The audio track, Dolby Digital 1.0, is pretty much what you’d expect being its original format. Sound levels are a bit low on these discs, but clear with no noticeable distortion.

    Saturday Morning Wake-Up Calls: lead-in on each disc that looks and sounds a lot like something you’d see back in the day but as it isn’t authentic, it loses most of its appeal for those of us that want the real deal. For someone that wasn’t there at that time and place, I suppose it’s a good way to pretend, but who are really going to be the ones buying this set? If for no other purpose, it lets you know what’s in store and is short enough to be non-obtrusive.

    Trailers from the Peanuts 1970s Collection on DVD, I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown, Saturdays Morning Cartoons 1960s Volume 1 and Saturday Morning Cartoons 1970s Volume 1.

    The Power of Shazzan: A six-minute humor-filled analysis of the series by industry insiders Scott Jeralos, Paul Oini, Mark Evanier, Doug Tennapel and Jerry Beck with episode clips, images of original art and storyboards and discussion on the creator, Alex Toth.

    Secret Saturdays DVD trailer: Included simply because it’s a cartoon and has “Saturday” in the title? A current anime-style CN series that probably wouldn’t appeal to the audience for this set. Still… cartoons are cartoons!

    The Final Word:

    Overall, this is an amusing set as retro DVDs go, but as is usually the case with such DVDs its replayability isn’t necessarily high. I think to truly appreciate it you would have to know and love these shows from your childhood or be such a cartoon enthusiast that you’d want to see these shows simply to see them. As for me, the parts of the discs that I enjoyed most are available as complete series’ which I either already own or would happily purchase. The episodes chosen for this set are hardly series highlights, except for Duck Rabbit Duck perhaps, so to watch this set more than once is really unnecessary. Still… that “once” was an enjoyable one.