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Its the Magilla Gorilla show
Starring me and Mr. Peebles...
with Mush Mouse and Pushkin Puss
and Ricochet Rabbit and Droop-Along

While growing up, watching the syndicated reruns of MAGILLA GORILLA was a regular fixture on my after school schedule. I still remember the theme song and opening narration by heart, even though I hadnít seen an episode of this Hanna/Barbera favorite in decades. Filled with slapstick situations, the cartoons featured on the series offered undiscriminating kids of my generation plenty of mindless laughter. As you might have guessed, this reviewer still has fond childhood memories of watching MAGILLA GORILLA, which is why I was delighted to hear that the show was coming to was coming to DVDÖ

However, after sitting down to watch the set, I have to take exception with the presentation of the cartoons in this DVD collection. Gone are the delightful opening and closing credits and theme song that I remember so fondly from my daily afternoon viewings of show, when it appeared on a local New York City television station. Personally, I greatly miss the "We got a gorilla for sale" song and credit sequence that introduced the three (one Magilla Gorilla, one Punkiní Puss and one Ricochet Rabbit) cartoons that were featured in each episode. The cartoons are in tact with their title cards, but those of us who want to re-experience watching MAGILLA GORILLA as they remember it are going to be disappointed by this DVD collection. The basic premise of the cartoons are as follows- Magilla: pet store owner Mr. Peebles continually tries to rid himself of the gorilla in his window that is eating him out of business; Ricochet Rabbit: speedy rabbit sheriff and slow as molasses deputy chase bad guy in old west; Punkiní Puss: Tom and Jerry type cat & mouse antics in a hillbilly setting.

MAGILLA GORILLA: THE COMPLETE SERIES ($45) comes to DVD in a four-disc set that features all the individual cartoons featured in the series twenty-three episodes. The featured cartoons from each of the twenty-three episodes are as follows: Big Game (Magilla Gorilla) / Atchison, Topeka & San Jose (Ricochet Rabbit) / Calling All Kin (Punkiní Puss), Gridiron Gorilla (Magilla Gorilla) / Good Little Bad Guy (Ricochet Rabbit) / Small Change (Punkiní Puss), Private Magilla (Magilla Gorilla) / Cradle Robber (Ricochet Rabbit) / Hornswoggled (Punkiní Puss), Bank Pranks (Magilla Gorilla) / West Pest (Ricochet Rabbit) / Muscle Tussle (aka "Gall Of The Wild") (Punkiní Puss), Groovey Movie (Magilla Gorilla) / TV Show (Ricochet Rabbit) / Cat Nipped (Punkiní Puss), Airlift (Magilla Gorilla) / Annie Hoaxley (Ricochet Rabbit) / Army-Nervy Game (Punkiní Puss), Come Blow Your Dough (Magilla Gorilla) / School Daze (Ricochet Rabbit) / Seein' Is Believin' (Punkiní Puss), Mad Scientist (Magilla Gorilla) / Sheepy Wolf (Ricochet Rabbit) / Courtin' Disaster (Punkiní Puss), Masquerade Party (Magilla Gorilla) / Big Thinker (Ricochet Rabbit) / A Tale Of Two Kitties (Punkiní Puss), Come Back Little Magilla (Magilla Gorilla) / Two Too Many (Ricochet Rabbit) / Chomp Romp (Punkiní Puss), Fairy Godmother (Magilla Gorilla) / Bad Guys Are Good Guys (Ricochet Rabbit) / Catch As Cat Can Day (Punkiní Puss), Planet Zero (Magilla Gorilla) / Itchy-Finger Gunslinger (Ricochet Rabbit) / Jump Bumps (Punkiní Puss), Prince Charming (Magilla Gorilla) / Clunko Bunko (Ricochet Rabbit) / Nowhere Bear (Punkiní Puss), Motorcycle Magilla (Magilla Gorilla) / Slick Quick Gun (Ricochet Rabbit) / Legend Of Bat Mouseterson (Punkiní Puss), Is That Zoo? (Magilla Gorilla) / Mostly Ghostly (Ricochet Rabbit) / Super Drooper (Punkiní Puss), Bird Brained (Magilla Gorilla) / Will O' The Whip (Ricochet Rabbit) / Pep Hep (Punkiní Puss), Circus Ruckus (Magilla Gorilla) / Cactus Ruckus (Ricochet Rabbit) / Shot At And Missed (Punkiní Puss), That Was The Geek That Was (Magilla Gorilla) / Rapid Romance (Ricochet Rabbit) / The Mouse From S.O.M.P. (Punkiní Puss), Montana Magilla (Magilla Gorilla) / El Loco, Loco, Loco, Loco Diablo (Ricochet Rabbit) / Host Of A Ghost (Punkiní Puss), Wheelin' And Dealin' (Magilla Gorilla) / Big Town Show Down (Ricochet Rabbit) / Feudal Feud (Punkiní Puss), Mad Avenue Madness (Magilla Gorilla) / Space Sheriff (Ricochet Rabbit) / Heir Conditioning (Punkiní Puss), Beau Jest (Magilla Gorilla) / Red Riding Ricochet (Ricochet Rabbit) / Hyde And Shriek (Punkiní Puss) and Super Blooper Heroes (Magilla Gorilla) / Jail Break-In (Ricochet Rabbit) / Misfortune Cookie (Punkiní Puss).

Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise MAGILLA GORILLA: THE COMPLETE SERIES available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. The quality of the cartoons is generally pretty good, but some of the individual cartoons arenít as good as the others. At worst, the certain cartoons can either appear dark or slightly washed out, and somewhat soft in appearance. However, the majority come across as nicely crisp. Colors generally donít appear faded, but there are moments when the hues do seem a bit subdued. As for the film elements, there are mild scratches and bits of debris scattered about. Additionally, grain is pretty noticeable in places. Digital compression artifacts manage to keep a low profile.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are more than acceptable for an animated television series produced during this period. The majority of background hiss and surface noise have been expunged in the mastering process. Other than mild distortion at higher volume levels, there are no significant sonic flaws. Dialogue is always completely understandable. Additionally, the musical component sounds decent, despite the limited fidelity of the recordings. French and Spanish language soundtracks are provided on the DVD, but no subtitles have been included.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras that have been scattered through the set. First we have eight additional Magilla Gorilla Cartoons: Camp Scamps, The Purple Mask, Love at First Fight, Makin' With The Magilla, Pet Bet, High Fly Guy, Deep Sea Doodle and Magilla Mix-Up. Next up is the Magilla Theme Song, Live And Unplugged, which features Hoyt Curtin and Bill Hanna singing the song. Also included is the vintage promo Here Comes a Star, which introduces the leading character, plus Mr. Peebles Pet Shop; an interactive program featuring interview clips with voice Allan Melvin, series animator Jerry Eisenberg, and animation historian Jerry Beck.

MAGILLA GORILLA is still a lot of fun for those of us who grew up watching the show and are feeling nostalgic. For the most part, the cartoons look good, although there are a few individuals that arenít quite as attractive as the rest. I am still disappointed by the format in which the episodes are presented and wish the opening and closing credit sequences and theme song were included in the proper form.



Magilla Gorilla - The Complete Series (1964)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 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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