I'm thrilled that the guys and gals at Warner have decided to release this great series on DVD. It has rarely been shown in recent decades on TV. I remember watching it along with the Yogi Bear Show and the Quickdraw MacGraw Show when I was very young in the early 60s. I never forgot that opening theme. It forms part of a tapestry of wonderful childhood memories, and I could not wait to hear it again after all these years.
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!