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Yogi's Gang (1973)
Yogi And Friends Go Eco-Conscious.
I remember this being among the Hanna-Barbera 'toons I grew up on watching on Cartoon Network, when repeats used to air on there back in the '90s. I haven't seen this in years, but after reading the negative reviews of this here, as well as reading commentary on this among the "Top 10 Worst Hanna-Barbera Shows Ever Made" on another site, I'm willing to take others' word and believe that this is one of the shows not worth revisiting. I don't believe I even saw the Yogi's Ark Lark pilot, as it was before my time and I don't recall it ever being repeated. I'm not sure, but I don't think so. As I watched this when I was younger, I didn't think much of it either way. Because what would'd most other, naive kids and I known about 'toons of this quality anyway? But once I read about the history of the H-B company and the reasons why the majority of its output isn't all that.
Others here have already explained just what the problems are with this, but I'll try to add my own to this and do it differently. Looking back on this, for one, Yogi and the others may not had been best-suited for this kind of program and they may not had been fit to provide the messages of eco-consciousness and eco-friendliness. They should'd and would'd been better off just sticking to their usual routines instead. Captain Planet and then Planeteers is another environment-themed series that I wouldn't consider great now either, if I ever did . The difference between these two shows is that, although that may not had been the most perfect environmental cartoon ever made, one thing I can say about it is at least it had characters that weren't already established. So when it came to the characters from there, there was no concern with them being out of place. However, with this, it's the complete opposite and it's just odd. Some reviewers of this commented on the villains. They may not had been the best, but I didn't know much about that at the time. Basically, this was one of those series that promoted caring for the environment.
Aside from the aforementioned, this show has all the same, typical aspects of the studio and any, other, low-budget cartoon: Limited animation, reused backgrounds, goofs such as color errors, etc. The other reasons why this serves as an example of the majority of '70s cartoons being associated with what is known as the Dark Age of Animation. The voice acting may be the only thing that's truly good about this and not much else. Thinking back on the '60s and '70s H-B shows I did watch, I think I knew the difference in how well some cartoons were animated and how some others weren't. At the time, that somehow didn't concern me. It's amazing what I ever saw in this back then. I think one reason why I was so into this in the first place was simply due to the crossover of the H-B animals. I forgot that unusually for an H-B show the episodes ran about an hour. But now I know better and see it for what it really is: More about putting together whatever just for more cash grabs. As long as the money was rolling in and kids were drawn in, that's all that mattered. Sacrificing the soul of animation in the name of the bottom line: Profits. I'm sure now the stories or plots weren't all that great either. After adding my piece on what I had to type about it, I say it's a pass and only worthy for kids to watch, if anybody reading this has any. It's a weak and forgettable series that's no longer worthy of my time and recommended to nobody but any kids who may be more appreciative of it.
Gate Keepers (2000)
Portals of Devastation.
Even though other reviewers of this before me already explained what this show is all about, I'll attempt to do the same myself, but in my own way and differently. It originated as a Playstation video game, which led to the manga, which led to the anime. It's essentially about some high school students who lead secretive, double lives as agents for an organization that works to protect citizens from what are known as Invaders, which can be described as aliens in earthlings' clothing. These aliens take control over or possess earthlings and the agents, known as the titular Gate Keepers, have their own, individual special powers and attacks, which they use to create and open up these extraordinary gates to entrap, and destroy the Invaders. Interestingly enough, the show's setting, which is in 1969 and 1970, is fitting, since coincidentally, the '70s were the decade when the mecha anime, as well as the super robot and real robot anime would begin to take off, and mechanics is one of the cross-genres of this show.
In addition to this, this series contains an array of subject matters, such as, in one episode, the controversy of an arranged marriage. Many of the characters are great. I think the favorite for me would be Reiko Asagiri. I love the episode that centered on her in which she has a hard time trying to find out just how she fits in with the team and how she contributes. But later, she proves she is a useful member after all. That's just one of the positive messages contained in the series. But again, many of the others are fine. Another reason why I consider this to be worth watching is that it's one of those shows that have enough good moments to keep one involved or engaged. Despite this being among the anime that feature characters with large eyes that some may have issues with, the characters are still well-designed in every other way, at least. The backgrounds and layouts are well-designed, too. This is mainly 2D animated, but there's also some use of CGI, as is with some of the robots and vehicles used, which seem fine. The music is alright, but keeping the original, Japanese-sung theme song as is in the English dub is a nice touch. Speaking of the English dub, the voice acting in this sounds well done enough. I haven't heard the original, Japanese dub yet, but I plan to do so eventually. Aside from mecha, there's also comedy, drama, sci-fi, adventure, and harem, so since there's something for everybody, it will appeal to anybody who likes any of those. One of the reasons I decided to check out this, is because I'm trying to get into more shows featuring robots, that's the case for me. It's enjoyable enough for me, for the most part. However, I, too, wish that it ran longer and think it should have. I wouldn't have been ready for it to come to an end just yet, I really would've been happier and more satisfied if it had hit the syndication level of running. For one, I would've liked to have seen Baruko Ogawa (,a girl who for most of her appearances, was a recurring gag for her Marilyn Maneuver moments,) in action more, when it's later revealed that she, too, is an A.E.G.I.S. agent and I thought the viewers would've got to see her involved in that more, so all of that came as a surprise.
Another thing I meant to mention is one of the differences between the anime and the video game. A character named Francine Allumange, an agent from the French-branch of A.E.G.I.S., is a video game-exclusive character. Anybody who is a fan of her may be disappointed she's not featured in the anime, but there's still plenty else to compensate for that. I'll recommend this, nonetheless, because it's full of so much fun.
Now Hear This (1962)
Left-Of-Center In Every Way.
While there have been several, other Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts that are like-minded in what they have in common (the various kinds of comedy or humor being the most evident), this just may be one of the most humorous and left-of-center LT and/or MM shorts ever made. Although there are other things featured in this besides the sound effects, the sound effects are the main focus around which this short revolves. It's so unique, it just may be one of the most unique cartoons, whether by WB or otherwise, ever made. Having both an avant-garde and psychedelic vibe to it, it surely has both of those before the latter came into full swing and it certainly fits well into the time that it was created, and released.
As other reviewers have described this, it involves three characters: the Devil, an elderly, British man in green, and a shorter man in purple and wearing a pointy hat. The Devil loses one of his horns and goes searching for it, the British man finds the horn which he mistakes for a megaphone or hearing aid, and the shorter man shows up again, and again randomly. Every time the Brit uses the horn, some thing happens that he wasn't expecting, not just with the various sounds that come out of it, but also with the various things that happen to him. Following all of those mishaps he suffers thanks to the extraordinary object, he's had enough as it caused him an abundance of trouble and disposes it. Since it's been nothing about a nuisance to him, he prefers to use his green, horn-shaped hearing aid instead, he gets that back, and as he does so, the British national anthem is played, and he's pleased with this. The Devil would eventually find his horn and put it back in place.
This is among the LT and MM shorts I remember well watching in my childhood. It genuinely is one of the oddest by Warners or otherwise ever made. One of the most different too, but it's good. It's one of the better LT and MM of the '60s, especially from the former half of that decade, when the old studio's cartoons were still considered to be high and at their best. This peculiar 'toon may not be for everyone, but I'm one of those who can handle it. All the characters in this are still interesting in the way of carrying out their actions rather than relying on and using dialogue. The actions clearly are what say it all and that's all we need, despite the plot being seemingly thin and senseless. The background scenes are mostly white, with the colors being on only the characters and the objects. Both sound effects and music are played well. The animation may be limited, but somehow it, like UPA, actually outdoes that of the Hanna-Barbera and Filmation studios' cartoons of the late '50s, '60s and '70s. I haven't gotten all that much into avant-garde music, although I've been more specifically into the avant-rock of bands like Tin Huey and one of its influences, Roxy Music. But for me it all depends, some of that I can take, others not so much. As especially some certain avant-garde music can be bad, especially if any of y'all who may be reading this fall asleep to it, it may cause nightmares. This is another grasping, experimental short directed by the late Chuck Jones, but I think I like his other directed WB cartoon short, High Note, even more, out of the two if I were to chose. Nonetheless, recommended, for those who are looking to step out of the normal zone and into the abnormal. Abnormal and abstract are just exactly what they are about it.
Magic Gift of the Snowman (1995)
The Season Of Perpetual Hope.
When Blockbuster Video and most other video stores weren't yet defunct, I think I remember seeing the box cover to this VHS tape in that particular video store. Somehow, I would end up on passing on this. But after watching this just a few, late nights ago, this past weekend on Youtube, I now wish I hadn't. It's yet another of those animated movies I wish I had watched growing up, since then, it's been added to that list of mine. After looking at lists by others who mentioned what are the best and worst Christmas movies/specials ever made, and looking for good or great Christmas movies/specials I hadn't seen, if I'd made my own list, I'd consider it one of the best. And I really do. I found one of the better ones that were new to me.
The title of my review is a quote I thought of that was stated by Kevin McAllister's mother, Mrs. McAllister, in Home Alone ("This is Christmas!!! The season of perpetual hope!") and this is a fine example of what is meant by that. That's one of the things that this holiday really concerns. In this animated family/fantasy/musical movie, a girl named Emery Elizabeth is suffering from some illness. After her parents tried bringing in a doctor to find out whether he is successful in curing her, her brother, Landen, asks his parents if there's another way, some other form of medicine. His dad tells him that the only medicine that would cure her now is finding her strength and the will to stay alive, and believing that she'll survive. At this point, Christmas is only three days away, so Landen spends each of the three nights telling parts of a story that involve him, his sister, and a snowman he built outside Emery Elizabeth's bedroom window named Snowden, who he uses to keep an eye on her. Will she recover and be healthy enough in time to celebrate the holiday with her folks?
Another genre in which this could fall into is adventure, because it truly is one that the two kids and their snowman friend have. One of the other reviewers here mentioned that those outside the kid demographic and who didn't grow up watching this may not be into it in adulthood. But I think it's great and appealing enough for all demographics, since it seemed to be so to him and he reviewed it. Among the places they go to in the land where the siblings visit include a palace where a queen who is usually chipper lives. But later, she is no longer chipper due to having her smile stolen and Landen, Emery Elizabeth, and Snowden have to search for it and bring it back to her, as well as restore the queendom to it's former glory. After some hindrances get in the way and problems are solved, they eventually make their way to a fortress of a villain, who reminds me of the Crypt-keeper from the Tales Of The Crypt franchise and turns everything into what is known as "yuck", and they must go through him before everything can be returned to normal.
The messages I get from this are "where there's a will, there's a way" and finding one's self-confidence. They're both very positive messages to take to heart. One of the other reviewers of this mentioned that this movie is by Jetlag Productions, I didn't notice that in the opening credits, but rather by some other production company whose name I can't remember right now, I'd have to check again, as I read somewhere else that Jetlag is supposedly one of the poorer animation studios. Emery Elizabeth uses the power of her imagination to temporarily convert her wheelchair into other modes of transportation in order to get around difficult situations and obstacles. Faith was all she needed to get through it all. Speaking about the technicalities of this: Everything about the artwork (the character designs, backgrounds, layouts, etc.), are nicely illustrated, the animation is properly fluid enough, the voice acting is well-done, the songs may be better than the incidental, instrumental music. This is one of the Christmas specials that is well-worth seeing with repetitive viewings, whether having Christmas in it's usual month of December or even if anybody celebrates Christmas in July. The only thing I'm disappointed about is not getting to see the kingdom restored and everything resolved there, and I wish that had been included, but despite that one, little nitpick, it's still great. Recommended.
The Mouse on 57th Street (1961)
I watched this short for the first time in years late last month online. Even though I hadn't seen it in years, once I finally saw it again, the familiarity and memories came flooding back. This is among the shorts I remember that aired and watched as part of Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon having grown up on it. I think this is another one of my more favored WB cartoon/Merrie Melodies shorts of the '60s, those directed by Chuck Jones, one-shots, and favorites in general. It was great seeing this again. I just learned that the title of this short is a play on the title of something else, like several other Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts. Interesting.
This is a good, early '60s, Jones-directed short. It involves a muddled mouse who has a few mishaps, such as mistaking rum cake for cheese, causing him to end up drunk. Another instance is due to him being near a noisy construction site, he winds up getting a headache later and wears a diamond on his head, confusing it for a block of ice. That diamond had gone missing from a department store and two cops are on the case, and in pursuit to return it there. But not without them having any mishaps of their own. As a result, the mouse inadvertently ends up being in the midst of a caper.
Speaking on the technical aspects, the animation quality at this point is still good, as it usually was with other WB featurettes prior to those from the mid '60s DePatie-Freleng era and the late '60s W-7 Arts era. The scene with the mouse's head throbbing is a good example of a good animation moment. The appearance of his cranium in that scene may have inspired the design of the genius mouse, Brain, from Animaniacs and Pinky & The Brain. The art is fine, the colors, backgrounds, and layouts aren't too bad either. Concerning the comedy, the parts with the two cops are the highlights of this, as they play off each other well. The dim-witted out of the two, Muldoon, may have inspired Ralph the security guard, also from Animaniacs, as they remind me of each other. The music by Milt Franklin is as good as Carl Stalling's, but better than most of William Lava's compositions in the DFE and W7-Arts cartoons. The commonly used Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse", touches upon this well. I've always known of that familiar tune well, but I didn't know who composed that nor what the title of it was at the time. Something noteworthy of mentioning that I noticed is that though the name of the department store, Lacy's, is an evident play on the real department store, Macy's, an LT short, A Waggily Tale, features a department store with the name, Stacy's. It makes me wonder why a different rhyming name in each of those was used instead of sticking to just either one of them. The voice work, especially by Mel Blanc, is well done as normal. I consider it one of Jones's better material. Recommended.
Super 4 (2014)
This program first came to my attention after This TV started airing the weekly morning cartoon block again for the first time in four years and it became a part of the schedule. I didn't know that it was foreign nor that in the U.S. it originally was brought to Netflix. I saw a few episodes and they grabbed me instantly. In fact, I find it to be one of the better and more interesting cartoons of the 2010s. Not only that, but I consider it to be one of the better shows on This TV's Click TV block. It's my favorite on there.
Super 4 is such a super show. It may be so good that sometimes I forget it's a toyetic show. Growing up, I didn't know it at the time, but I know that most toy-based cartoons aren't that great, with almost no purpose other than being used to sell product. They're probably the least favored and valuable kind of cartoons along with most celebrity-based ones. I don't think I watched many toy-based cartoons when I was little, to name one I do recall watching is G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Since learning about that, I usually don't bother with checking out many of those. However, Super 4 is exceptional. It's on the same level as The Lego Movie. Speaking of Lego, it's the rival of and answer to Playmobil, the toy products on which this show is based.
As the title suggests, the series follows the adventures of the team known as Super 4: Alex, Gene, Ruby, and Twinkle, plus a fifth member, a mascot simply known as Alien. Each of them comes from different worlds or universes, such as Gene being from Technopolis, a technology-themed city. They travel to these various places to fend off any dangers that may come their way. Alex comes from a medieval-themed place, Ruby is a pirate, and Twinkle, a fairy.
One reason I say this is a great toy-based show is because of the serial nature of it. For example, there's a four-part series of episodes titled "Origins", which I have yet to see but know about, which explains just how the foursome met and came together. Another is the positive aspects, such as teamwork, which is completely the opposite of the message and others that Teen Titans Go! sends (I never watched that show nor am I in any rush to do so, but I still know about that from all the negative reviews I read on it). The main characters are positive, such as Ruby being such a good role model for little girls. Twinkle may come across as ditsy at times, but she proves that she can be as much of a useful team player as the others and contribute as much as well. I think this is very evident in the episode in which Technopolis is overtaken by anti-gravity and she becomes leader of the team temporarily after getting a medal.
The voice work in the English dub of this French-German CGI-animated show sounds well done enough. The CGI animation and graphics are top notch too. Each of the main characters is good in his and her own way, and they all bring something to their circle. The music is good. Anybody else who is curious enough to take the time in checking out this series, please do. It's well worth your time. This is my pick for what I find to be one of the most fascinating 'toons of the decade. I just wish the availability of it on the video sites (besides Netflix, which I never use) wasn't so limited, as I'd like to be able to see more of it that way. Recommended.
Holiday for Drumsticks (1949)
Gobble Gobble Good
Another Thanksgiving-themed Daffy Duck cartoon that's just as good as, if not better than, Tom Turk and Daffy. One of the other reviewers of this, TheLittleSongbird, may have found it predictable, but I don't usually try to figure out and guess what's going to happen next before it does, so I don't know. It's somewhat of a remake of Tom Turk and Daffy. But this time a turkey, who's redesigned and has a different voice from the titular turkey in the previous short, which I didn't know at the time when I first saw this, is given the holiday feast by hillbillies, Ma and Pa, to make him get fat enough to be made into a meal himself. But Daffy warns him of their intention and the turkey loses weight whereas Daffy gains it by over-gorging. Months later and just in time for Thanksgiving, the turkey has slimmed down and Daffy has become overweight. When this occurs to the latter, Pa sets his sights on him as part of the meal instead and now Daffy is the one begging the turkey to save him from being the main course.
There are similarities between the two turkey-themed cartoons, but there are differences as well, like the aforementioned reversal roles of Daffy and the turkey in their physiques. The art and animation are fine, the colors are just right, the backgrounds and layouts are nice to see, the music is in top-notch form as usually the case, the story is somewhat distinctive in its own right, and the voices here, all provided by the late Mel Blanc are greatly done as usual. Another reviewer mentioned ducks are female and drakes are male. If that's so, then why are both genders of waterfowl still called ducks, anyway? That aside, this is a another finely directed Merrie Melodies short by Arthur Davis.
Tom Turk and Daffy (1944)
Who's Going To End Up On The Thanksgiving Day Menu?
I try to watch something Thanksgiving-related when the holiday rolls around and this (along with the remake Holiday For Drumsticks) is what I watched a few late nights/early mornings ago, on Thankgiving morning online. This is a very good holiday/Thanksgiving-themed Looney Tunes short. At first, when a turkey named Tom is on the run to avoid becoming a part of the holiday feast, Daffy agrees to help hide him. And who is revealed to be hunting Tom is none other than Porky Pig. After Daffy denies seeing him, a disappointed Porky starts heading off back the way he came. He then mentions everything else he was preparing for the meal. Once Daffy hears this, he has second thoughts and sells out Tom instead. But Tom turns the tables on Daffy and tricks, and convinces Porky to pursue Daffy.
As I read on the page about this on the Looney Tunes Wikia site, I didn't know that the turkey in this and in Holiday For Drumsticks, albeit with different designs and voices, are actually supposed to be one and the same, which is an interesting note. As for the technicalities of this, the art style (including the character designs, layouts, backgrounds) and animation were still at the height of quality for Warner Bros. But the animation of the chase scenes are especially the best. Speaking of which, there's a part that I think is a goof. At one point, after Porky drops or throws down his musket, he follows Daffy again. But in the next scene, he's carrying the musket again while in hot pursuit. The music is at its best with the late Carl Stalling at the helm. Porky and Daffy are fine as usual, as is Tom, but I don't know if I like this version of the turkey in this or in Holiday For Drumsticks more. Good writing of the story. All in all, this may be one of the more entertaining Looney Tunes shorts of the '40s. Funny enough, overall.
Mouse on the Mayflower (1968)
The Story About The Ship And Historical Event Like It's Never Been Heard Before.
This is one of the less aired Rankin-Bass specials, so I didn't grow up on watching this one, among certain others. I watched it a couple late nights/early mornings ago on Youtube, on Thanksgiving day. I've got to say, it's a nice spin on a piece of history. I think the only, other reinterpretation of this I've seen is This is America, Charlie Brown. Although I'm sure many are all familiar with the true story of how this country came to be, has anybody else besides all those who viewed it and the reviewers here ever heard of the little known fact of how at least a couple of mice were involved in how that was made possible?
The special begins with a church mouse named William telling the viewers a story of how not only how that all happened, but also explains just how his ancestor, also named Willum, played a part in this too. Aside from the difficult, challenging, perilous expedition of getting there and after with all of the things that got in the way of the pilgrims, and they had to go through like a storm, going in the wrong direction, a harsh winter, and illness, they would manage to make their way to their destination successfully eventually. There are also sub-plots of a love triangle amongst Captain Miles Standish, John Alden, and Priscilla Mullins, as well as a side story about a pair of baddies aboard the Mayflower who are seeking golden riches and they'd later team up with another pair of baddies, a rogue Native American named Smiling Buzzard and his bear after arriving on what would later become known as the American shores. William himself would team up with a Native American mouse or red mouse named Big Little Thunder.
As to the technical aspects of this. There may be those who find the art style in this Rankin-Bass/Toei co-production to be better than several of the other, 2-D animated Rankin-Bass productions, such as, say, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas. I didn't think about what was the perfect art style and what wasn't at the time, but I think I like the art style in this more than the other traditionally animated Rankin Bass projects. It's just so different that it separates itself from the more, typical style that those may not see as the nicest looking. As much as I like the stop-motion efforts as well, I also don't know how anybody would know what form of animation worked best for R-B. As for the animation quality itself, it seems fine and fluid enough. The 2-D animation, especially in this, is alright to me. The voice work is well done by the whole cast. Both Willums are great, lead characters, the other heroes and villains are as well. This animated, historical musical contains several great songs, such as the one about forming a new colony. Found the all the music enjoyable. Everything else about this is the same.
I know that some time after its original airing, it ended up fading into obscurity. This Is America, Charlie Brown is good, but I think I like this version of The MayFlower story more, for the fact that it's essentially a what-if-spin on the story. For all those who haven't seen it, I recommended it. Another R-B holiday classic in my eyes.
Changing Of Seasons.
This is a movie based on a story/fairy tale that I hadn't known nor heard of before. The only reason I became aware of this was because of a video recommendation I received on Youtube. I decided to check out this one and I'm very glad I did. On the copy that I watched, I saw that the opening credits are still in the non-Hepburn form of Japanese rather than English and there was no mention of whether this was the original Japanese or Russian dub with English subtitles, or not. Since I didn't see any English subtitles, I presumed this must be an English dub then (although I know it's possible for videos of original Japanese dubs of anime can still be uploaded without English subtitles). I was kind of hesitant not to keep it on mute at first, because I didn't know what dub to expect. But then I heard for myself it is a copy of the English dub. I know that not all English dubs of anime have been perfect, but fortunately this just so happens to be one of the better dubbed ones and it is so very well done. I wonder why can't more anime be dubbed into English more perfectly or if there are any that turn out imperfect, then why aren't there, at least, more alternate English dubs?
Anyway, without any further ado, to the points made about this. This is a wonderfully extraordinary tale about a Russian girl named Anja who is tasked by her stepmother and stepsister to go out searching for spring wildflowers called galanthus, despite them not being available in the midst of winter. This is so they can try to be the ones to bring them to a young queen at her demand and then receive a reward for it. But after getting caught in a snowstorm, Anja falls unconscious and later wakes up, becoming drawn to a light from a bonfire and discovers twelve spirits known as thew twelve months, whole represent the whole year and the four seasons: Spring, summer, autumn, winter, which they have the special ability to change at will and control the climate, and weather, associated with them. They agree to help Anja by switching from winter to spring for a moment so that she can obtain the galanthus. She is then given a ring as a present and it is requested that she must promise not to share how she managed to obtain them to anyone. But her stepmother and stepsister are determined to find out for themselves, as well as the queen. Will any of them succeed in their goal?
Anja is a great heroine and the best character in the whole movie. But the others are great too, like the stepmother and stepsister who scheme to find out the secret of how Anja achieved the galanthus. The voice work in the English version is well done. The character designs are normal, the art style is nice, as well as the layouts and backgrounds. The music is just right. The reviewer before me said that at first it may not be appealing enough to those outside the children's demographic. But I agree and believe it's appealing enough for all ages, as I consider it to be one of the most perfect, family films ever made. At barely over an hour, I thought the movie would've been longer than that, but to me, at least, it feels maybe slightly longer if I don't pay attention to the running time. But that's not because it's slow paced, the pacing is moderate. So I'm not saying it's boring, nor drudging, nor a chore to sit through at all. My exposure to the story was through this adaptation and I enjoyed it. Recommended, because it's still much better than the majority of what commonly airs nowadays.
Not The Kind Of Cartoon For Me.
Firstly, I didn't know that this is another one of those foreign cartoons (particularly from South Korea) until I read about it on its Wikipedia page. I also didn't know this premiered in the U.S. on Netflix. I came across this series when it was featured on the latest edition of Wonderama, which seems to have stopped showing it thankfully, as I haven't seen it being shown in the last, recent episodes. Had it still been shown, I would've changed the channel to something else and changed back when whatever short ended.
Anyway, I'm not really big on any of the sick humor cartoons like this, so I don't go out of my way to search for and watch them. If I do, it's rarely and by chance. And Larva is more of the same that falls exactly into that vein. What else is new? This series revolves around these two larvae generically named after the colors they are, Red and Yellow. There's no dialogue, just the two grubs making unintelligible sounds, like grunting and moaning, so it's action-driven. The comedy that occurs is gross-out and sick, such as in one short, Yellow breaks wind and the gas explosion is so strong it causes birds to drop out of the sky. Another is Yellow using his mucus to stretch, reach for, and grab things, since neither he nor Red have any arms/hands (although Yellow did eventually grow a pair of each of those in a short in which he was playing the bongos with his head). I saw only a few of these and I think there are like over 200, but I have no desire to see more. It's just more mindless dreck that seemingly continues to dominate in the animation world. As for the CGI animation, it seemed alright to me, but I can't say much more than that, as I'm not quite good enough to tell the differences in quality among CGI-animated materials, let alone what past year they could've been rather than the current one. I can't recall much of the music featured in this, it isn't all that memorable enough to me, maybe other than that rhythmic, percussive playing in that bongos episode. As for the two main characters themselves, Red is the smarter of the two, whereas Yellow is goofy. There isn't much meaning to this series, it's nothing all that special. For those who aren't into this sort of thing like me, I say skip it. It's truly too childish or kiddie for anyone outside of the toddler to preteen demographic to enjoy (although there may still be some exceptions, despite that). An example of why some, certain adults are so negative and close-minded towards all cartoons in general, because of junk like this. It's a shame and horse-feathers that imports like this get more attention when, say, the majority of the literary-based Nippon anime series in World Masterpiece Theater has never been brought to home media release, at least with English subtitles in the U.S., let alone receive an English dub (preferably flawless). What the horse-feathers is up with that mess? Anyway, not recommended. Find it to be a mind-numbing waste of time.
Puss n' Booty (1943)
A Cat Who Finally Loses In The End This Time.
As the final black and white Looney Tunes short, the gray scale run of the series went out strongly. This is an atypical and unordinary predator versus prey cartoon. Unlike other pairings such as Sylvester and Tweety, Tom and Jerry, Herman and Catnip, etc., this one is quite unique. After a cat named Rudolph made meals out of his owner's previous pet birds, the owner phones the pet store to have a new bird delivered, once again, as a replacement. As always, after fake-mourning the losses, Rudolph gets excited or overjoyed, as he can't wait to devour his next victim. There seems to be a history of this, which is a big problem for the owner, much to her dismay.
Later, when the big day arrives, Rudolph eagerly anticipates for the latest bird, named Petey, to be sent to the home. But little does the feline know, he's about to expect the unexpected and underestimate him. Petey manages to outsmart Rudolph at every turn and Rudolph makes every failed attempt to catch him. What makes this stand out from the like-minded characters' series I mentioned is the ending. Ultimately, Rudolph is unsuccessful in feasting on Petey, his nine lives run out, and it turns out that he somehow is the one who gets feasted on instead by Petey. What separates this from the others is a cat is the one who gets victimized and seals his fate.
This is a very dark comedy cartoon in the truest sense and I think that's exactly what many would love about it. If one could just imagine how freaky the moment Petey consumes Rudolph would be, coming on top. I don't think I remember seeing this one in my childhood. But I'm more likely to remember seeing I Taw A Puddy Tat, a Sylvester and Tweety short, which I didn't know is a remake of this. There are similarities between the two, but at the same time, there are a few differences as well. But out of the two, I think I like this one more. Anyway, it's one of the most well-done and funniest LT shorts from the Golden Era. The technical aspects of this were already commented on by another or others here and I think they did better at explaining them than I could. I found out in one of the other reviews on this that Rudolph's owner was Bea Benaderet's first voice role, intriguingly enough. A reviewer also claimed that she sounded annoying in that role, but I didn't find that to be the same when I watched it. In conclusion, this one is another winner. I can't find anything to complain about it. Recommended.
Pancho's Hideaway (1964)
Great 1960s WB Short Just Before The Decline Of The Series.
I'm with everyone else who finds this to be one of the better '60s Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts. I grew up on watching the LT/MM cartoons from that decade, but I knew nothing of the history nor saw any problems with the majority of them at the time. After reading about it, I do know and see why many people have beef with them now, as from the mid-late '60s, in the Depatie-Freleng Enterprises and Warner Bros. 7 Arts eras, especially with the infamous Daffy vs. Speedy cartoons, this was around the time that the series was considered to decline in quality in every technical aspect of them. I didn't know that was due to lower budget and that budget was what affected how the cartoons resulted. The majority of viewers seem to detest most, if not all, of those, so much they'd rather at least pretend that they don't exist and the DFE and W-7 Arts shorts never happened. They would soon prove to be too much worlds apart from many shorts prior to these eras, in how the art style and animation evolved, or as some would rather put it, devolved or degraded.
But as the first WB cartoon under DFE, it made for a great, strong start. It also marked the first featurette using William Lava's repetitive rearrangement of The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down, in addition to the abstract, stylized WB logo title card with a black background rather than the WB shield within the rings, as they appeared throughout much of the series' run. I believe I prefer the previous intro and outro cards more too. Anyway, a Mexican, Yosemite Sam-esque bandit known as Pancho Vanilla goes on a robbery spree. So it's up to Mexican mouse, Speedy Gonzales, to tango with Pancho to get the stolen money back from him and to the bank.
I didn't have any favorite Speedy cartoons growing up, but I think that this would most likely be one for me. What more can I say about this? Well, the animation quality is still good enough next to several others following this. Pancho is more suited to go against Speedy and it would've been better if there were more shorts featuring him and less of Daffy going against Speedy instead, and I wish there were. Would've liked to see how others would've been done. There should've been more featuring him and deservedly so. Seeing all the moments with Pancho constantly get foiled in some way or another by Speedy are hilarious, of course. Recommended, as it's definitely one of the '60s LT/MM 'toons worth seeing more than once.
Jones Debuts His "Looney" Side.
Watching the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts growing up, I've always been well familiar with the name Chuck Jones, among other animators-turned-directors looking at the opening credits. But I didn't know the differences between the directors' Warner Bros. cartoons, the backstories behind these shorts, nor did I know how much that several of the pre-1940s ones were trying the emulate the Disney shorts. I also didn't know just how, although this may not have been considered so at the time, important this short is to cartoon history, also with Jones's Claude Cat-Hubie-Bertie series. That is, until I read about this mentioned briefly in a 3-part essay called "The Most Influential Animations You've Never Heard Of" on a blog called The Animatorium. The cutesy Jones-directed WB cartoons I did see and maybe those by some others, I didn't find boring, I could still get through them despite having little to no comedy to them, as at the time, I didn't know how detested they've been. But now I do know just how much of a landmark this short is considered, as Mr. Jones would make a move towards the somewhat same, loony style as Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. As the LT & MM series progressed, they would gradually become more and more in the vein of the former's namesake and the title would have nearly a double meaning.
Although there are some, certain LT & MM cartoons directed by Jones that I love more, especially the less praised ones, I still find this to be just as enjoyable. I read a post in a forum thread about the worst LT/MM or least favorite LT/MM shorts by someone who had beef with this due to the technical aspects of it. I don't focus so much on that, since I find the moments in this irresistible to look pass it as a whole. How anyone can still resist that, I just don't know. As for the humor, I don't know too much about that nor the differences between this and of any other animation company/studio. So I can't say anything about that here.
What can I say concerning the plot of the short that hasn't already been mentioned by others and differently? Well, it's a parody of 1890s melodramas and the Rover Boys books about the three Dover Boys: Tom, Dick, and Larry, who attend Pimento University. They try to spend the day with fiancée, Dora Standpipe, but this is interrupted in the midst of a long game of hide-and-seek due to their rival, Dan Backslide, from Roquefort Hall, kidnapping her. The Dover Boys aren't even aware of this until after receiving a telegram about it. But despite this, Dora proves that she's much more than capable of handling herself. There are also recurring moments of a gray-bearded man in a bathing suit, walking and hopping along, as he passes by the other characters, with a surprise towards the end.
Just a few years before the UPA studio would become well-renowned for pioneering limited animation, there was this. The art style in this is different in that it's, well, stylized than what was seen in those prior. The way the animation moves is different as well, such as Dora moving in a gliding motion rather than walking. Of all the characters, Backslide is who really makes this. Everything else about this, the writing, the music, the voice work, is great. Some reviewer here had problems with the colors, but I don't see anything wrong with the coloration at all. Depending on anyone who may read this, it's recommended, at least for historical reference and value. Again, this is the WB cartoon in which we'd get to see Jones showcase his wacky side from then on, in other cartoons as well. I found out it was producer Leon Schlesinger and the WB studio executives who goaded Jones into moving away from the cuteness. And when he did, they still weren't quite satisfied with it. I have no idea what exactly they wanted. But I find it as funny and great as several others, if not simply intriguing, at least. Still much better than the cartoons that are over-reliant on sick humor.
High Note (1960)
Hitting All The Right Notes With Me.
I thought I remembered seeing this on T.V. growing up, but other reviewers claim it stopped airing sometime after the '70s or it rarely ever aired again. Now I'm not as sure as I thought I was. I still thought it seemed familiar to me somehow despite that. Anyway, this WB cartoon definitely accords with me. This would be on my favorites list and what I consider as one of the best of the '60s, especially before the DePatie-Freleng and W-7 Arts eras. I haven't listened to classical music as much as I have some, other genres. The closest I've come to that was through ragtime/novelty ragtime and prog rock, the latter particularly by the British band, Renaissance. One of the best music-themed shorts in the series and being a big music person, I'm into several of them involving music.
High Note is a highly innovative and entertaining short that features various things made out of musical notes, like them being turned into live stick figures, and anything else that's written on staff paper. The note/stick figure that's the conductor is trying to get the playing of the piece, The Blue Danube, going, is unable to do so due to a missing musical note who's drunk, which is the reason this cartoon got banned, depictions of alcoholism. Much of the rest of the presentation is spent trying to get the drunk musical note to return to its place in the opus so that it can be played completely and without interruption. But in the end, it still doesn't go as planned. A few, other, well-renowned songs are featured as well, such as "Oh, Where Has My Little Dog Gone".
Even when I was little/younger, I believe I would've appreciated this break out of the norm. That's why this, along with The Dot And The Line, are so special. An example of high class fine art at its highest and finest. Another Chuck Jones-directed favorite. I wasn't always so big on classical or classical-influenced music, but maybe that's because I haven't found those songs that truly grabbed me. The compositions are nice, as is everything else about this. I've been a little more appreciative of it since. I can't wait till this finally makes its way onto DVD release. Recommended. Edit: I found out that this short has been available on DVD for over a couple years now, since I found out on the Looney Tunes Wiki that it's been released as part of Looney Tunes: Musical Masterpieces, in case anyone else besides me is interested.
From A to Z-Z-Z-Z (1953)
Getting Lost In Daydreams
For all those who grew up on watching Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, whether they were on VHS or something like Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon, may be familiar with and remember the shorts starring Ralph Phillips, the little boy who would have the propensity for losing himself in daydreams. I remember this being among the many shorts that were aired on the latter that I watched. Despite being one of the lesser characters and one of those to have the shortest filmographies, Ralph still seems to have left an impression on viewers and remains in their memories. Another one that I hadn't seen in years until watching it online late, last night/last, early morning.
In his first of a couple outings, Ralph is in class where he and his classmates are going over their daily lessons. However, he's the only one who isn't paying attention and is easily distracted by various things he sees, letting his imagination run wild, as there are other things he'd rather do. These include flying, defeating mathematics, and boxing. But each time he finds himself in the midst of every one of these scenarios, his teacher, Miss Wallace, would always snap him out of it and bring him back to reality. Maybe the problem is her teaching techniques aren't exciting enough. And I never even thought of nor considered it at the time, but maybe Ralph does have an ADD or ADHD problem. Although there is the part of Ralph daydreaming about battling against some Native Americans and this would be cut in later T.V. airings, I just don't focus as much on that and despite racist scenes of certain LT/MM shorts being cut or not aired at all, I'm still giving it a high rating anyway since newer cartoons are still being allowed to include controversial, stereotypical moments to be aired anyway, so whatever.
This short is especially great for being so relatable to anybody who's ever been in the same situation as Ralph. I didn't think about it at the time, but now I think this would be among my favorite Chuck Jones-directed LT/MM cartoons. This was one of the WB cartoons that proved not all of them have to be so full of slapstick, but it is still surrealistic just the same. I can see why it was one of those WB 'toons nominated for Academy Awards for Best Animated Short, it's with the best of not just the '50s and LT/MMs in general, but of all time. I also didn't think much about the various art styles at the time nor was I as picky and even though the art style in this is much different from several, previous shorts before this point, I still consider it at least good, if not as great. The boy from Animaniacs, Colin, who'd always tell stories about a friend of his named Ralph Beaman that may or may not had happened, could've been inspired by Ralph in design, as they're similar-looking and remind me of each other. Everything else about this, from the writing to the animation to the characters to the voice acting is done well. Recommended.
A Kiddies Kitty (1955)
A Lesson On How Not To Care For A Pet.
This was among several Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts I hadn't seen in years. But once I watched it again online either earlier this month or late last month, that was when the memories of it really came back. I hardly had any favorite golden era Warner Bros. cartoons growing up, but I think this would be among my favorites from the 1950s, my favorite Sylvester shorts, and among my favorite WB cartoons in general.
After being pursued by a bulldog, Sylvester is taken in temporarily by a little girl named Suzanne. For most of the remainder of the cartoon, Suzanne is seen caring for the cat well-meaningfully but also improperly with hilarious results, such as giving him a bath via placing him in a washer/dryer and leaving it running until it's time for the setting to automatically switch to fluff-dry. In the end, after all he went through with her, Sylvester then decides being a pet (or being paired with a naive owner) isn't so worth it after all and he's had enough of that. This serves as something to provide a lesson on how not to care for a pet the wrong way. In addition to Elmer Fudd, she and several, other little girls from these cartoons just may have been possible inspirations somewhat for Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toons.
Friz Freleng, who directed this, would also direct A Waggily Tale, three years later, which parallels some moments in this and Boyhood Daze. I like this and A Waggily Tale equally, and I consider the latter to be just as good. Another thing this has in common is the voice actress of Suzanne, Lucille Bliss, also voiced the little girl in Junior's dream from A Waggily Tale. I'd like to own a DVD with both of those featured, I was hoping there would be a fourth volume of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection DVD sets, but I know for sure now that unfortunately no follow-ups will be planned for release. Maybe there will be yet another, new DVD box set series called Looney Tunes Diamond Collection or something as far as what will be done among other LT and MM featurettes that have yet to be brought to DVD. Despite the difference in art style by some point in the '50s, it's still just as good as the animation, the colors are well-balanced, the characters are great, the music by Carl Stalling is great as always. Everything about this is enjoyable. Recommended.
A Hick a Slick and a Chick (1948)
Two's Company, Three's A Crowd
This is one of the Merrie Melodies I didn't see when I was little/younger. While looking at the title cards that aren't unavailable due to the Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies title cards used in some of those shorts' places instead in the WB cartoon filmography listing on the archived version of Dave Mackey's site, this one caught my attention and I decided to view it a few nights ago. I'm so glad I did and that I made the right choice of what to check out next. I've since added this to my favorite LT/MM one-shots list.
I don't believe I'm as familiar with Art Davis's directorial works, as I know in the 1940s, he had the directorial position and animation unit in operation for three years and I think once more for one year in the '60s. But this is one directed by him that I enjoyed. One good way that I can describe this, it's like if the country mouse (Elmo) and the city mouse (Blackie) were in a rivalry competing for the affections of a female country mouse (Daisy Lou). Because that's basically what it is. To impress and win over Daisy Lou, Elmo sets out to search for and fetch an ermine coat. But while he does this, he has the misadventure of accidentally ending up drunk and the confusing irony of just so happening to have a run-in with a cat named Herman. I'll leave how Elmo manages to achieve success for anybody reading this to discover for himself/herself.
I like the characters so much that I wish more could've been done with them. As I think that this is one of those one-off shorts that are worthy of more with enough potential and would rather see more of them than some of the more common WB cartoon featurette characters. The animation quality is as much of high quality as are several, other WB cartoons from this decade, as well as the layouts and backgrounds. The music is fine as usual. The voice work is well done. One of my favorites from the '40s. I'd like to see this brought to DVD and I can't wait for the day that it does. Recommended.
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Not The Best Of The Franchise
Firstly, I'd like to begin by saying that like many others, I, too, grew up watching various, previous, other things related to Disney's Winnie The Pooh franchise. I had a VHS copy of Winnie The Pooh And The Honey Tree, still have The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh VHS tape, collected some of the volumes of The New Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh VHS series, had the Disney Classics Series book based on the package movie, etc. So I was somewhat in that phase of that being among the fixations I grew up on having. I saw some of the other movies too, like The Huffalump Movie. Pooh bear and pals have got to be among the most, if not just the most, recurring Disney characters in the company/studio's history. When I first heard about and saw the preview commercials promoting this latest movie starring the stuffed animal characters, I found that to be a surprise. But I wasn't in a rush to see it right away. After it hit theaters, I would watch this on a movie-based video site some time later.
I was even more surprised at the simplistic title though. Whoever decided to go with that couldn't have called it Winnie The Pooh and The Backson instead? (Even though the viewers don't get to see the monster interacting with the other characters at all, but he still does make an appearance.) Why couldn't that had been done? It would've made it even more distinguished. Also, this just had to be included in the Disney animated features canon list. I don't think it should be, since The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh is already a part of it. Most of the other movies in that list aren't paired with sequels or follow-ups (save from The Rescuers with The Rescuers Down Under and Fantasia with Fantasia 2000). Why someone felt the need to add this? Why make another movie featuring long-established characters and make it a part of it? Anyway, I wasn't feeling it. I didn't care for this one all that much. As a few of the other reviewers mentioned on here already, I, too, consider the animation to be one of the very few, bright spots in this. The writing isn't as well done. The characters were made even more simple than usual to the point that they're true simpletons. Like after everyone falls into the pit that they set up as a trap for the Backson, Piglet manages to escape, but (I forget how he got it exactly) he has a rope which he's supposed to extend down the hole for the others to grab onto, so they can be pulled out the hole and be free, as Rabbit repeatedly urges him to do. However, Piglet misinterprets this and he pulls the rope into five pieces instead. I don't know why this moment was incorporated into the story other than I guess somebody simply considered that to be funny, especially for the kids. As for the voice acting, the talent for most of the characters are replaced, which is another thing I found unexpected (save for the voice actors for Roo and Christopher Robin). Jim Cummings did fine as usual voicing Pooh and Tigger, successor voice actor of Piglet, Travis Oates, sounded like a fine imitation of the late original, John Fiedler, but some of the others I didn't care for as much. I have no idea why most who voiced the others couldn't have been used instead other than they might've had other commitments and were unavailable. I'm not really a big fan of Zooey Deschanel as a singer either, but concerning the music, I thought her performance of the theme song was decent enough. But with this being slightly over an hour, there are too many musical numbers that take up too much time and take away from the other parts of the movie. Overall, this doesn't feel quite the same as the past Pooh and friends movies. There a bits in this that are too much like what took place in the previous films. And the Backson doesn't make a physical appearance until after the end credits, but he isn't really all as fearsome as he seemed to be. With the way this was planned and executed, it would've been better off going straight to DVD/blu-ray.
As for whether I recommend this or not, I wouldn't recommend it to those beyond the kiddie demographic. Most kids would more likely appreciate it more than some teens and adults. I don't consider it having much re-watch value, as it's one of those things that's worth seeing at least once. I'm with all those who consider it to be the worst in the franchise. Over a decade ago, after Disney dropped making traditionally animated movies following the box office disappointment of Home On The Range, a few years later, they'd attempt a comeback at 2D animation with The Princess And The Frog, which is the last Disney 2D animated movie not featuring already established characters. While that did better, it still wasn't quite good enough, so it was a return to CGI animated movies once again. A couple years later, a comeback was attempted a second time with this. I'm just pointing out the history of the track record concerning the on again, off again forms of animation used and done. I still get sore over the direction change of that and other studios. If I were involved in the animation industry, I'd refuse to go into CGI, not unless I'm allowed to do both that and traditional animation. Forget the way this horse-feathers is going now. It makes me detest the over-saturation so much. In conclusion, I'd say to stick to most other Pooh-related media. This isn't worth getting and owning on home video, unless it's to be given to a son, daughter, nephew, niece, grandson or granddaughter.
Cat And The Beanstalk
This is a rare Captain O.G. Readmore episode/special, as it aired only twice. I seen all of the four, other ABC Weekend Specials featuring Readmore and finally got around to watching this one over a week or two ago after a copy was eventually added to Youtube. And I've got to say, it's just as good as the others. I don't know what some people may have against the nautical cat exactly, but I don't find him all that bad at all and he's alright with me.
As with the other Captain O.G. Readmore-centric ABC Weekend Specials, this begins with the captain holding a book club meeting with four, other cats. A young boy cat named Lickety Page complains and criticizes the things that characters from various fairy tales, fables, and nursery rhymes, like Humpty Dumpty, do and finding their actions dumb. Captain O.G. Readmore also has beef with this for a moment, particularly with Jack And The Beanstalk. Then, Jack himself, Humpty Dumpty, and several, other, literary characters suddenly appear before Captain Readmore (unbeknownst to the other cats, as they are frozen in such a way it's as if someone pressed the pause button on a VCR/DVD remote). Jack then has Captain Readmore transported into the story and take the place of his role to walk a mile in his shoes for a while, to see what it's like and find out for himself if what Jack goes through is all as simple as it seems. The cat meets Jack's mother (who mistakes him for the real Jack himself), the Giant, the Giant's wife, a hen, and a singing harp. After a trade for some magic beans that would grow into the sky-high Beanstalk, Captain Readmore as Jack climbs it to the sky where he finds a castle where the Giant and his wife live. The captain devises a couple of ways for he and Jack's mother to get out of their poverty-stricken situation: Steal (or borrow, as he puts it) the Giant's huge hen who can lay golden eggs and then steal (or borrow) the golden, singing harp. As helpful and well-meaning as Readmore tries to be, his ideas don't quite successfully go as according to plan.
After that experience and adventure, Readmore is then brought back to the book club meeting. He seems to get the point that Jack was trying to make. That what the characters go through isn't as easy as it seems, along with comparisons made between fiction and reality. Once that's settled, all the literary characters return to their respective stories and the other cats are brought back from their frozen state, unaware of the whole thing that happened. Interestingly enough, the Giant in this revamp of the story also appears in Captain O.G. Readmore Reads Puss 'N' Boots. I really like the singing harp, who would often be muffled in the middle of her songs. Concerning the technical aspects of this, it was an innovative retelling of the tale and full of witty writing. The animation moves properly, the colors are well-balanced, the backgrounds and layouts are well-made, the music is nicely composed and played, and the voice acting is well done. This is an enjoyable ABC Weekend Special, featuring Captain O.G. Readmore or otherwise. A lesson in literature. I recommend it.
Very Well-Done Anime That Combines Fact And Fictional
I first came across this Nippon anime while searching on Wikipedia and this is the second Nippon anime I watched, after Jungle Book Shonen Mowgli. After watching the series on a few video sites that I kept switching either due to videos of the episodes being removed or problems with the sites, I eventually made it through the whole series. It's great and I loved it. There are two anime series that are inspired by the 19th century American popular song, Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair (although in both cases, it would be more like Jeanie With The Light Blond Hair) as well as the real Jeanie MacDowell, and this is the second, which is 4x longer than the previous Jeanie series's run. When I did a search of this show on this site, it previously was unavailable and I contributed mostly to creating this page after learning how to do it.
Making a T.V. series based on a song seemed kind of odd to me and I wondered how that could work. But it managed to be done, since it's not just about the song. The series is somewhat based on fact, I'd say. And the reason I say this is because there's little fact about it and it seems to be more fictional than factual. For example, the relationship between Jeanie and her future husband, Stephen Foster, is true, in addition to Foster's song and others that would become well-renowned. But there are still differences between this Jeanie and her real life counterpart. Such as the real Jeanie MacDowell had a sister named Agnes whereas this Jeanie seems to have no siblings. Also, the real Jeanie MacDowell was a telegraph operator rather than an aspiring nurse, unlike the Jeanie in this anime. Another thing of note, the Jeanie from the other anime, shortened to Kinpatsu no Jeanie, has the last name of Reed. Most other events and all else that are involved in the story are fictional.
There are several lessons, messages, and topics covered in this, such as death, compassion, and being orphaned. All of these are seen throughout the three years that the series takes place. The fictional Jeanie MacDowell is a great protagonist, as are Stephen, their black friend Bill, and many others. Through it all, Jeanie already has some friends in her hometown of Lawrenceville (now Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, makes some new ones at the college she later attends (although since midway into the series she becomes a teenager, it should be between middle school and high school), and meets some orphans and their caretaker among others along the way. In one way or another, she always seems to make an impact on just about everyone she comes across. There are a few anachronisms, like jazz existing in the 19th century, but I'm not complaining. I like that some fun is had when it comes to that. This not only has drama and revolves around romance, but there are some adventures too.
The animation moves fluidly and the colors are flawless. The backgrounds and layouts are nice to look at as well. Many of the characters are fine, some may not seem so, at first, but there are good explanations as to why that is so to understand the motives behind them and some backstories as well. The voice acting is fine. The theme song has a brisk, poppy feel to it and in addition to featuring the real Foster's compositions, some of the incidental music sounds at least similar to that used and heard in Nippon Animation's Jungle Book anime. I'm guessing that that could just be the style. One more piece of trivia: Although it's not seen in the anime as it doesn't get that far, there's a picture or poster with one of the events in Jeanie's life is her holding her baby daughter, Billie, with two other events, which are her near the forest and mountains and the other of her at the college.
Viewing this anime has been a pleasurable experience, I'm glad I picked out a right one. Those who are against anime and find all of it to be jacked-up should see this one, as that's not true and it will prove them wrong. Only a limited amount of Nippon anime ever got English dubs. There should've been more dubbed into English, including this one. I can imagine in my head just how, at least, some of the characters would sound in an English version, if done well and properly. I wish there were, at least, a DVD of the complete series released in the U.S. with English subtitles, that's another one of the DVD sets I'd buy if it were available. It deserves it. Now this is underrated. We need more better stuff to outweigh the mostly tripe that airs nowadays. See this for yourselves and y'all will know what I'm talking about right away. I wonder what the real-life Jeanie MacDowell and Stephen Foster would've thought of this take on their lives. Definitely recommended.
Old Glory (1939)
Far From The Average Merrie Melodies Short
I have mixed feelings about this Merrie Melodies short. What I mean is, I don't love it as much as I do some, certain others, but at the same time, I don't detest it either. Since it deviates from the norm of these usually comedic cartoons, it would come as both an unexpected surprise and a disappointment. I agree that not all cartoons have to be comedy-driven and this educational rather than entertaining one is alright for what it is. But regardless, many people still would expect all of them to bring the funny to them simply because it's for which they're known in most cases. It was a fair attempt at doing something different.
As other reviewers have explained, Porky Pig, as a schoolboy, finds learning the Pledge Of Allegiance dull, since he can't quite get the hang of the recitation. But after falling asleep, he meets the spirit of Uncle Sam, who explains the significance of it. And we're shown some scenes that go over the history of how that came to be. Another reason why I may not frequent viewing this short on the third disc of Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2 (other than on the special occasion of Independence Day) as much as I do several others whether on DVD or online, is because of the reputation of the two historical figures who are discussed, the very first U.S. president, George Washington and Patrick Henry, as both of them are slave owners. So the fact that they were touted as so-called great men is iffy. This is not even edu-taining, but purely educational. Like I said, I found it alright, but not among the best for me. Do I recommend this to others who may be reading this? Well, it all depends if anyone doesn't mind the break too much from the hilarity and thrill of the WB cartoons. But for those who don't have a high enough tolerance and appreciation for that, then you're all welcome to skip it.
Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid (1929)
The Premier Looney Tunes Character
My first exposure to Bosko and his girlfriend, Honey, was through the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Fields of Honey". I didn't watch any of the Bosko cartoons growing up and I wouldn't until years later, after I got the sixth volume DVD box set of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection. I also wasn't aware that Bosko and Honey had previously different character designs from their appearance on Tiny Toons (although I'm aware of why this was done, some members of the crew at WB Animation wanted something done with them again, but didn't know how to go about it in their original forms without being offensive to a certain minority group and not being unable to bypass that). I would check out this short on Youtube.
I wouldn't have thought that there are several people who have beef with Bosko and his filmography, finding them boring or non-entertaining. He may not have been the best or even the most perfect Looney Tunes character, but he's still better, if somewhat slightly, than his bland, white-washed counterpart, Buddy. This and Bosko's other cartoons may have been a slow start, but they serve as something of a, for lack of a better word I can think of to use, preview of what was to come later. Before Bugs, Daffy, Porky, and others, there was Bosko, as none of the others I mentioned were even thoughts yet.
Similar to the openings of the Fleischer brothers' Koko The Clown cartoons, Rudolf Ising, as the cartoonist, is seen striving to think up a new cartoon character when suddenly the idea comes to him and he comes up with Bosko. It's somewhat confusing and inconsistent when it comes to describing what Bosko is: As it's mentioned in the title, he's a talk-ink kid, but other instances mention that he's supposed to be a caricature of a black person. I'll just presume he's both then. When I first heard him speak in this, I, too, found it surprising in how different his voice sounded from the one heard in his other 'toons. His original voice is grating and hard on the ears, and I can see why it was dropped, and replaced. His singing voice is no better, as he doesn't sing as well as he plays the piano. He's a better dancer as well as a pianist though. He demonstrates all of these as he's brought to life for the viewers (even if the demo short was never intended to be released for public viewing). After no longer being able to take his off-key singing, Ising sucks Bosko into his pen and places him in the inkwell. After Ising leaves, Bosko emerges from the inkwell and vows to the audience that he'll return and bids them "so long, folks", which was used as a bidding at the end of many Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts before being replaced with the similar "that's all, folks", which would be used at the end of the the majority of shorts prior to the DePatie-Freleng era. This was created basically as a possibility for a new animated short series to be pitched and sold to Warner Bros.
After a few years of Bosko cartoons at WB, Ising and partner, Hugh Harman, would take the rights to the character with them to MGM, following a dispute with producer Leon Schlesinger. Bosko and Honey cartoons would continue being made, this time as part of the Happy Harmonies series at MGM. But eventually, Bosko would be redesigned into a somewhat, more realistically-looking black boy who appeared in a few shorts (although it's denied that they're one and the same, and despite sharing the name, they're considered two completely different characters).
This may had been considered slightly great for it's time, due to the novelty factor. But there isn't much else to it. The only great things about it are the interactions Bosko has with Ising, Bosko breaking the fourth wall, and pioneering a then-new series. It's only good for watching for historical purposes, really. Check it out for that reason to watch it, at least once. There are later WB cartoon featurettes I'm more into than this one. This may be average, but it's still an alright effort. But the staff at Termite Terrace/WB Cartoons would eventually find their niche and once they did, things truly took off from there. It's only recommended if anyone can pay no attention to the ethnic stereotype (as I can think of a short that's even more racist than Bosko).
Jungle Jitters (1938)
Although this may not be the most racist cartoon ever made, I agree that this isn't among the best. But the thing that gets me is this: The other black-themed cartoons that make up the Censored 11, and other racist cartoons from the Golden Era of American Animation are banned but some of the more modern cartoons such as Family Guy, which also make racial (or racist) jokes are not and they're given a pass to keep that alive? Why? I inquired about this in a thread on another site, but I forgot the reason. Even as much as I don't care much for the cartoons that target racial (or racist) stereotypes toward my own race (black), what's the point in banning them if negative, ethnic, stereotypical jokes are allowed on Family Guy? Political incorrectness hasn't really been done away with at all. As much as I love some of those Golden Era Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, they haplessly also have a negative side to them and in the WB cartoons' history.
Negative, racist, stereotypes aside, that's not the only reason to detest this cartoon. Other than the very few, funny moments like the reference to The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down when the cannibals form a carousel with the tent, there isn't much else to it. I concur the backgrounds and animation quality are better than the characters themselves. These one-off characters, including the salesman, the African natives, and the queen aren't the most intriguing ever. As much as I don't care much for the character designs of the African natives with their black-face look, I know that unfortunately, in most cases, that was the way of the world back then, when too much ignorance towards minorities was rampant. This is one of the less funny LT or MM shorts. Back in the early half of the 20th century especially, there were cartoons that poked fun at various races a lot, yes, true. But does that make them right? And are they any fun? Well, maybe not, if you're a part of the race that's being targeted. And I believe that right there is where the problem lies. Why so many people have a problem with this kind of cartoons, with generalizations toward everyone within that race that aren't true about everyone in that race. The artwork with the backgrounds may be one of the few bright spots about this. I can't state much else about this that the other reviewers who gave lower rated reviews about it have stated, as I'm on their side on the same issues. The two, only reasons I'd ever recommend this are either for historical purposes or to be a completist. And to the reviewer who actually likes this, at least somewhat, and doesn't care for almost any LT/MM shorts, all I can say about that is he has no taste or crappy taste when it comes to real entertainment, so what does he know?
Toy Town Hall (1936)
Toy Town Droll
There have been at least some Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts I watched growing up, but this is among those I didn't see at that time. After looking at a site that features title cards of many of these, I decided to check out a couple of '30s ones that have the rings in the intro to them and this was one of them (the other being Boulevardier From The Bronx) over a week ago. Although that's not the only reason, the title of this made me curious enough to want to watch it.
Again, I didn't watch the whole filmography from the Golden Era growing up nor did I know much history of these WB cartoons, but reading about it has been interesting. Anyway, for the most part, I found it alright, but it could've been so much better. It just consists of rehashes taken from five, previous, other shorts, not all of which I'd already seen. One part that's familiar to me was the jack-in-the-box performing what would become the Merrie Melodies shorts' most renowned theme, Merrily We Roll Along, previously used in Billboard Frolics, which I have seen. The part with the Mexican cockroaches and the female cockroach (I didn't know what they were supposed to be, at first), they were previously featured in Lady In Red, which I haven't seen. I agree with the blogger of the Likely Looney, Mostly Merrie site that they don't belong here. With the reused or recycled animation and references, it's hardly original, not original enough. When I was little/younger, I had no idea how many of the '30s shorts seemed to be lacking and the series would progress slowly before getting more toward a wacky start for which they would become much more renowned. The parts with the boy listening to the radio and before he was put to bed, and had that dream are probably the best parts, as there wasn't as much focus on him in the middle. I see how much this was at a time when the Warners studio was still trying to find its own identity. If I had seen this and others in that same vein sooner, I probably might had not gotten the Disney comparisons. There are later Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes from the Golden Era that would come along and find much better. Despite all this, I'd still recommend it, but only for those who are curious. Regardless of these flaws, it's still a nice enough short, but once again, it could've been so much better.