Growing up during the 1970's I was exposed to a lot of syndicated television programs that fell off the radar during later decades, only to be rediscovered thanks to specialty cable channels and the DVD format. I still have vivid memories of watching Harveytoon cartoons featuring the likes of Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Audrey, Baby Huey and Herman & Katnip after school on one of the local New York television stations. While these Harveytoons lacked the satiric edge and belly laughs of the Warner Bros. cartoons, they were good-natured fun that could always generate some laughter. Not having the opportunity to watch any of these animated shorts in decades, I was delighted to hear that a collection of Harveytoons would be coming to DVD. While I certainly did enjoy reliving my childhood memories of these cartoons, its a good thing the producers of HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION ($40) weren’t subject to any truth in advertising laws, as this collection of classic cartoons is far from complete.
Instead of being offered in their original theatrical format, the cartoons have been edited to syndication format of The Harveytoon Show, which truncates the cartoons by removing their complete theatrical credits, leaving only the title card and a portion of the music. After the truncated credit sequence, the cartoons are more or less complete, but it is hard to say what other edits have been applied to the material. Another problem related to the series format is that each episode of The Harveytoon Show consists of three "complete" cartoons, as well as brief clip of a fourth, which pads out the episode's running time to fit a television time slot. Finally, not every cartoon in the Harveytoon library was represented in The Harveytoon Show, nor is every episode of said show included here, so these are other areas where the collection comes up short. Therefore, as I stated above, HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is far from complete, but I will give the this set credit, as it does whet a classic animation fan's appetite for a more complete collection, as well as tiding them over until one actually does appear.
Disc One, Side A features the following cartoons: Boo Moon (Casper), Dizzy Dishes (Little Audrey), Out Of This Whirl, Invention Convention [Clip], Mouse Trapeze (Herman & Katnip), Casper Comes To Clown (Casper), Jolly The Clown, Clown On The Farm (Baby Huey) [Clip:], Scout Fellow (Baby Huey), Boo Scout (Casper), Scouting For Trouble, Northwest Mousie (Herman & Katnip) [Clip:], Cat Tamale (Herman & Katnip), Bull Fright (Casper), Pedro And Lorenzo, Fiesta Time [Clip], Once Upon A Rhyme (Casper), Little Audrey Riding Hood (Little Audrey), Dante Dreamer, Winner By A Hare (Tommy Tortoise & Moe Hare) [Clip:], Mousetro Herman (Herman & Katnip), Boo Bop (Casper), Animal Fair, Vegetable Vaudeville [Clip], Huey's Ducky Daddy (Baby Huey), The Seapreme Court (Little Audrey), Feast And Furious (Finny & Katnip) and Casper's Spree Under The Sea [Clip].
Disc One, Side B features the following cartoons: Herman The Catoonist (Herman & Katnip), Ghost Of Honor (Casper), Rabbit Punch (Tommy Tortoise & Moe Hare), Tweet Music [Clip], Which Is Witch (Casper & Wendy), Case Of The Cockeyed Canary (Little Audrey), Perry Popgun, Sleuth But Sure (Tommy Tortoise & Moe Hare) [Clip:], Mice Meeting You (Herman & Katnip), True Boo (Casper), Jumping With Toy (Baby Huey), Ice Scream (Casper) [Clip:], Boos And Saddles (Casper), Git Along Little Ducky (Baby Huey), Shootin' Stars, Cat Carson Rides Again (Herman & Katnip) [Clip:], Casper Takes A Bow Wow (Casper), Dawg Gone (Little Audrey), Fido Beta Kappa, By Leaps And Hounds [Clip], Cat In The Act (Herman & Katnip), Ghost Writers (Casper), Top Cat, Starting From Hatch (Baby Huey) [Clip:], Swab The Duck (Baby Huey), Deep Boo Sea (Casper), Ship-A-Hooey (Herman & Katnip) and Drippy Mississippi [Clip].
Disc Two, Side A Of Mice And Menace (Herman & Katnip), Ghost Of The Town (Casper), Tv Fuddlehead, Law And Audrey (Little Audrey) [Clip:], Do Or Diet (Casper), You Said A Mouseful (Herman & Katnip), The Voice Of The Turkey, Hysterical History [Clip], Mice-Capades (Herman & Katnip), Fright From Wrong (Casper), Crazytown, Houndabout [Clip], One Funny Knight (Herman & Katnip), Red, White, And Boo (Casper), Silly Science, Dizzy Dinosaurs [Clip], Boo Kind To Animals (Casper), Surf Bored (Little Audrey), Okey Dokey Donkey, Fun At The Fair [Clip], Robin Rodenthood (Herman & Katnip), Cage Fright (Casper), Bopin Hood, Hold The Lion Please (Little Audrey) [Clip:], Good Scream Fun (Casper), Mouseum (Herman & Katnip), Fine Feathered Fiend and Forest Fantasy [Clip].
Disc Two, Side B features the following cartoons: Drinks On The Mouse (Herman & Katnip), Pig-A-Boo (Casper), News Hound, Trick Or Tree [Clip], Owly To Bed (Herman & Katnip), Boo-Hoo Baby (Casper), Bouncing Benny, Hound About That [Clip], Ground Hog Play (Casper), Sock-A-Bye Kitty (Buzzy & Katnip), Talking Horse Sense, Aero-Nutics [Clip], Party Smarty (Baby Huey), Casper's Birthday Party (Casper), Miceniks, Mighty Termite [Clip], Zero The Hero (Casper), Cat-Choo (Buzzy & Katnip), Finnegan's Flea, No Place Like Rome [Clip], City Kitty Katnip, Spooking About Africa (Casper), Travelaffs, Without Time Or Reason [Clip], Of Mice And Magic (Herman & Katnip), Puss N Boos (Casper), Funderful Suburbia and The Boss Is Always Right [Clip].
Disc Three, Side A features the following cartoons: To Boo Or Not To Boo (Casper), Mousieur Herman (Herman & Katnip), Good And Guilty, Miners 49ers [Clip], Boos And Arrows (Casper), Fiddle Faddle, Land Of The Lost Watches, Fishing Tackler (Little Audrey) [Clip:], Pest Pupil (Baby Huey), Hooky Spooky (Casper), Kozmo Goes To School, Busy Buddies [Clip], One Quack Mind (Baby Huey), Heir Restorer (Casper), Cool Cat Blues, Surf And Sound (Herman & Katnip) [Clip:], Boo Ribbon Winner (Casper), Goodie The Gremlin, Cape Kidnaveral, Candy Cabaret [Clip], Monkey Doodles, Hide And Shriek (Casper), Popcorn And Politics and Snooze Reel [Clip].
Disc Three, Side B features the following cartoons: Little Boo Peep (Casper), Trouble Date, The Shoe Must Go On, Gag And Baggage [Clip], A Bicep Built For Two (Herman & Katnip), North Pal (Casper), The Kid From Mars, Counter Attack [Clip], Huey's Father's Day (Baby Huey), Peek-A-Boo (Casper), Lion In The Roar, Fresh Yeggs [Clip], Sky Scrappers (Herman & Katnip), By The Old Mill Scream (Casper), Poop Goes The Weasel, From Dime To Dime [Clip], Audrey The Rainmaker (Little Audrey), Casper Genie (Casper), Right Off The Bat, TV Or Not TV [Clip], From Mad To Worse (Herman & Katnip), Doing What's Fright (Casper), Stork Raving Mad and Hi-Fi Jinx [Clip].
Disc Four, Side A features the following cartoons: Hide And Peak (Herman & Katnip), La Petite Parade, The Oily Bird, Sir Irving And Jeames, Down To Mirth (Casper), Turtle Scoop, The Inquisit Visit, Katnip's Big Day (Herman & Katnip), Buzzy, Keep Your Grin Up (Casper), L'Amour The Merrier, Possum Pearl, Disguise The Limit [Clip], Not Ghoulty (Casper), Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow (Buzzy & Katnip), Galaxia, Grateful Gus, Penguin For Your Thoughts (Casper), Mr. Money Gags (Tommy Tortoise & Moe Hare), Electronica, Quack A Doodle Doo (Baby Huey), Spook And Span (Casper), Mice Paradise (Herman & Katnip), Cock-A-Doodle Dino and Kitty Cornered.
Disc Four, Side B features the following cartoons: Felineous Assault (Herman & Katnip), Dutch Treat (Casper), Fit To Be Toyed, Party Smarty (Baby Huey), Rail Rodents (Herman & Katnip), Spook No Evil (Casper), Mike The Masquerader, Better Bait Than Never (Buzzy & Katnip), Spunky Skunky (Casper), The Awful Tooth (Buzzy & Katnip), The Planet Mouseola, Off We Glow [Clip], Line Of Screamage (Casper), As The Crow Lies (Buzzy & Katnip), The Lion's Busy, Sportickles, Spooking With A Brogue (Casper), Will Do Mousework (Herman & Katnip), Be Mice To Cats, The Phantom Moustacher, Frightday The 13th (Casper), Frighty Cat (Herman & Katnip), Spooking Of Ghosts and Cane And Able.
Thanks to GoldenAgeCartoons.com for supplying a list of the cartoons featured in the HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION.
Classic Media has made the animated shorts contained in HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION in their in their proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratios. Despite my other complaints about the completeness of the cartoons contained in the set, I have to say the presentations look pretty darn good. For the most part the animated shorts appear as crisp and well defined as vintage 2D cell animation can look under the NTSC system. Colors tend to be nicely saturated, but there are times things can appear a bit subdued. Blacks are accurate and the whites appear stable. The film elements are generally well preserved, with blemishes being fairly minimal, plus film grain remains pretty modest. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.
As for the Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks, they have been cleaned up rather nicely in the mastering process, with almost no significant instances of background hiss or surface noise remaining. There are certain limitations to the fidelity of these soundtracks, however the musical component sounds respectable. Dialogue is always completely intelligible. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, nor subtitles provided.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, however, no supplemental content is provided.
As I stated above the HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is a far from complete representation of cartoons from the Harveytoon library. This collection is a good start, but Harveytoons need to be revisited and released in their complete uncut theatrical form. On the plus side, the cartoons look really good, so if are like this reviewer and you grew up watching the Harveytoons on television, you'll want to check out HARVEYTOONS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION.
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