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As a Scooby-Doo fan since childhood, I kind of look forward the any release of the cowardly canine detective’s adventures on DVD. SCOOBY-DOO’S SPOOKIEST TALES ($20) offers three episodes from the SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU? television series, as well as two episodes from the later THE SCOOBY-DOO SHOW. In Vampires, Bats and Scaredy Cats we find Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma on Skull Island and up to their necks in coffins and a vampire curse. A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts places The Scooby Gang up at the old Franken castle where they encounter the ghosts of a vampire, werewolf and a rather tall stiff walking guy that resembles a monster made famous by Boris Karloff. In That’s Snow Ghost the members of Mystery Inc. run afoul of the ghost of a Yeti during a ski holiday up in the mountains. A nasty witch and her zombie servant have the gang on the run in Which Witch is Which. Finally, in a "bonus episode" entitled The Headless Horseman of Halloween, Scooby and Shaggy are on run from the title monster while the rest of the gang gathers clues to solve the mystery. The SCOOBY-DOO episodes featured the vocal talents Don Messick, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Stefanianna Christopherson, Heather North and Nicole Jaffe.

Warner Home Video has made SCOOBY-DOO’S SPOOKIEST TALES available on DVD in a full screen appropriate to the original television broadcasts of the late sixties and early seventies. The image is on the DVD clear and as detailed as age will allow, with the episodes appearing slightly better than they do in their daily runs on Cartoon Network. There are some markings on the film elements and the limited animation by "Team Xerox" can be less than inspiring. The color palette tends to be subdued, but it doesn’t appear faded. Blacks appear accurately rendered, but the 2D animation doesn’t provide any picture depth. Film grain is noticeable from time to time throughout the presentation, but it never becomes objectionable. Digital compression artifacts remain well concealed during the program.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack provides the level of fidelity one would expect from thirty-year-old Saturday morning cartoons- a bit tinny, but not too bad. French and Spanish language soundtracks are also provided on the DVD, although there are no subtitles. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the individual episodes as well as a couple of extras. Short character biographies are provided, plus an interactive game that tests one’s knowledge of the characters. Trailers for the four recent Scooby-Doo direct-to-video movies close out the DVD’s extras.

SCOOBY-DOO’S SPOOKIEST TALES will certainly appeal to the canine cartoon character’s large fan base, but I wish Warner would issue the entire SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU? television series on DVD in a boxed set, or at least in chronological order. In the mean time, fans will definitely want to check out SCOOBY-DOO’S SPOOKIEST TALES on DVD.


Scooby-Doo's Spookiest Tales


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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