Huckleberry Hound - Vol. 1
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Huckleberry Hound: Vol. 1 (DVD)
When The Huckleberry Hound Show debuted in syndication on October 2, 1958, it launched the Hanna-Barbera empire--and radically changed the course of American animation. After MGM closed its cartoon studio in 1957, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, the Oscar-winning directors of the "Tom and Jerry" shorts, started their own company. Their first cartoon series, Ruff and Reddy was used in a package show that included a live host, puppets, and old theatrical shorts. Hanna and Barbera realized that to succeed in television animation, they needed programs that were entirely their own, andThe Huckleberry Hound Show was their first. Huck, who hosted the series, was an amiable, none-too-bright turquoise dog. No matter what ridiculous situation he stumbled into, his genial, good nature enabled him to come out on top, singing "Clementine" in his off-key Southern drawl. This four-disc set offers plenty of nostalgic laughs for anyone who grew up in the '50s and '60s, especially the "Reassembled Episodes," which include the familiar theme song and interstitial gags. Some of the extras are silly, but in "The Legendary Sound of Daws Butler," Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) and other former students pay tribute to the gentle and talented actor who provided the voice of Huck and dozens of other Hanna-Barbera characters. It's a must-have for students of animation--and for aging Baby-Boomers who ate dinner off TV trays, rather than miss The Huckleberry Hound Show when it aired 40-plus years ago. (Unrated, suitable for ages 6 and older: cartoon violence, occasional ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon
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Huckleberry Hound reminisces one to a simpler time.
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Following the Ruff and Reddy Show, this was Hanna-Barbera's second foray into bringing cartoons to the small screen using limited animation to meet the much smaller budget for TV shows. Hence, it plays like radio, with Don Messick narrating and Daws Butler voicing a cornocopia of characters, whose dialogue he called "pure butter." Visually, the show is also a feast, if a minimalist one, with clean, bright colors, modern background design, witty writing and such unforgettable stars as Huck, Yogi, Boo Boo, Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks.
Here's the ground-breaking show that established Hanna-Barbera, set the standard for TV 'toons, and inspired the retro look of Cartoon Network's "Two Stupid Dogs," Dexter's Lab," and "Johnny Bravo," designed as cartoon tributes by such animators as Genndy Tartakovsky and Scott Shaw who love the look of classic H-B. When this show aired in its 6:30 PM time slot in New York, adults and college kids made up a large percentage of its 16 million viewers, and I can imaging kids taking to Huck as they have to another H-B hound, Scooby Doo.
Includes all 26 episodes of Season One in color, each consisting of a Yogi, Huck, and Pixie and Dixie cartoon, as follows (reruns are built in, and these episodes are ready to go to show as "cartoons without cable":
1. Yogi Bear's Big Break/ Cousin Tex/ Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie
2. Slumber Party Smarty/ Judo Jack/ Lion-Hearted Huck
3. Pie-Pirates/ Kit-Kat-Kit/ Tricky-Trapper
4. Big Bad Bully/ Jink's Mice Device/ Sir Huckleberry Hound
5. Foxy Hound Dog/ Pistol Packin' Pirate/ Sherriff Huckleberry
6. Big Brave Bear/ Scaredy Cat Dog/ Rustler- Hustler Buck
7. Tally Ho-Ho-Ho/ The Little Bird-Mouse/ Freeway Patrol
8. High Fly Guy/ Jiggers It's Jinks/ Cock-a-Doodle Huck
9. Baffled Bear/ The Ghost with the Most/ Two Corny Crows
10. The Brave Little Brave/ The Ace of Space/ Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie
11. Yogi Bear's Big Break/ Jinks Junior/ Fireman Huck
12. The Stout Trout/ Cousin Tex/ Drgon Slayer Huck
13. The Buzzin' Bear/ Jinks the Butler/ Lion-Hearted Huck
14. Slumber Party Smarty/ Jinks' Flying Carpet/ Hookey Daze
15. The Runaway Bear/ Judo Jack/ Skeeter Trouble
16. Be My Guest Pest/ Puppet Pals/ Trickey Trapper
17. Pie-Pirates/ Mark of the Mouse/ Sheep Shape Sheepherder
18. Duck in Luck/ Kit-Kat-Kit/ Barbecue Hound
19. Bear on a Picnic/ Dinky Jinks/ Sir Huckleberry Hound
20. Big Bad Bully/ Hypnotize Surprise/ Hokum Smokum
21. Prize Fight Fright/ Jinks' Mice Device/ Birdhouse Blues
22. Brainy Bear/ Nice Mice/ Postman Panic
23. Robin Hood Yogi/ King Size Surprise/ Ski Champ Chump
24. Dafffy Daddy/ Cat Nap Cat/ Lion Tamer Huck
25. Scooter Looter/ Mouse Nappers/ Little Red Riding Huck
26. Hide and Go Peek/ Boxing Buddy/ The Tough Little Termite.
When I got Volume 1, I quickly ripped off the cellophane and opened the packaging. Actually, it wasn't that quick. The quadruple accordion-folded packaging holding the discs was stuffed into the plastic sleeve like the proverbial two pounds of baloney in a one-pound bag, so tightly, indeed, that it took some trying to get it out (Hint: Hold by both sides with open end down and shake). WB people: fix this on Volume 2.
When you put in the first disc and play the first episode from the main menu, you will discover, to your horror, that the original opening theme is absent. Neither the familiar opening nor the closing are included in any of the episodes on the main menu on any of the discs. DON'T PANIC! They are actually included in the special features section on discs 1 and 4.
Besides the 6 episodes on disc 1, the special features section also has episodes 2 thru 6 in "reconstituted" form, that is, exactly the way they were originally broadcast, with the original opening and closing themes and bumpers between the Yogi, Pixie & Dixie and Huck toons. Seeing these episodes with their associated introductory and concluding themes and commercial plugs gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling I got as a five-year-old watching my favorite shows right before bedtime. The opening and closing themes on the disc were also fuzzy, and in black & white. I guess the WB crew couldn't find a decent color print, which is curious, since Huck appeared on cable and satellite recently and the opening and closing themes were there in color, albeit with the Kellogg's commercial stuff edited out. However, the opening/closing themes in the reconstituted episodes are complete with the Kellogg's commercial plugs. Superb! The premiere episode that appears on disc 1 is also presented in the special features section on disc 4 in reconstructed form as well. I know I am being a bit ungrateful here, but I wish they had done the same with all of the episodes on all of the discs. WB people: can you please do this on disc 2?(This is not an issue for a kid experiencing these toons for the first time, but for us 40-somethings who remember the original broadcasts, it is a big deal!)
Anyway, WB shoud be commended for bringing back this series. But having released The Yogi Bear Show and The Huckleberry Hound Show, WB must now complete the trilogy by releasing The Quickdraw MacGraw Show (my favorite).
A couple of reviewers have commented upon the color of the Huck show vs. the Loony Tunes cartoons. My comment on this should be of interest to those who are into photography. Huck is a bit subdued and washed out as compared to Loony Tunes. This is not because the artists at Hanna-Barbera used less vibrant colors than the guys at Warner Brothers. If you look at production cells from both, they are equally vibrant and have the same punch. The difference lies in the film used to reproduce these drawings. Loony Tunes was filmed in Technicolor, Huck was not.
Technocolor reproduces colors with greater accuracy and richness than ordinary film and has great archival permanence.
The colors of photographic emulsion layers in ordinary color film are unstable and fade over time. A print made from a typical color negative that is 20 years old will look red and faded. In contrast, the silver halide forming the emulsion of black and white film is very stable. An image snapped on black & white film today will make a print just as good 200 years from now. The same applies to color reversal (slide)film, which is the same as movie film.
What does black & white film have to do with the color debate herein? The fact that most people don't know is that a Technicolor movie is essentially filmed on Black & White film. A Technicolor camera runs two strips of monochrome film at the same time side by side. A prism splits the light coming in through the lens into two beams. One beam passes through a blue/green filter and exposes one of the strips; the other passes through a red filter and exposes the other strip. The film is developed and the result is two identical series of images on two different strips of black & white film, except that the tonal values are different. The strips are then dyed with photographic ink that is much more stable than emulsion dyes, one strip with blue/green ink, the other with red ink. The two strips, which are each half the thickness of ordinary film, are bonded together in perfect register and a glorious full color image emerges. Technicolor is a very expensive process compared to ordinary film, but it produces images that are superior to ordinary film and which last much longer. Also, Technicolor prints are much less susceptible to damage from improper storage methods than ordinary film.
This is why non-Technicolor films from the 1970s look worse than Technicolor films from 1939. Look at re-runs of The Odd Couple from the 70s or the Dukes of Hazzard from the 80s. Kind of washed out and crappy. Look at episodes of Bonanza from the early 60s. They look like they were filmed yesterday. Bonanza was filmed in Technicolor. So this is why Huck and Yogi today do not have the same color richness as the Loony Tunes cartoons.
Kudos, WB! I hope you guys get to read these reviews. Now, GET TO WORK ON QUICKDRAW MacGRAW!
Many of my favorite Huckleberry Hound/Pixie & Dixie/Yogi Bear cartoons were in seasons 2 and 3. So I thought, "If Volume 1 (Season 1) is THIS great, then I want to order Volumes 2 and 3!"
But......there ARE NO Volumes 2 or 3 on DVD. Rats. Volume 1 came out WAY BACK in 2005. And since then, NO DVDS of seasons 2 or 3. A story all too commonplace in the DVD marketplace. The baby boomers who love these shows are healthy enough and rich enough AT THE PRESENT TIME to make it a worthwhile endeavor. I sure hope someone in the industry is reading this.
Turn your Time Machines (AKA TVs) back to the early 1960s and enjoy a simpler, quieter time...have fun!
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