Hal Seeger Productions has always been the odd man out. Since this show didn't come through a major production company known for other cartoons, it's been very late making it to DVD. A favorite when it ran on ABC Saturday Mornings in 1965, this show has a great theme, good character design, and in veteran Shamus Culhane, an excellent director. The show also didn't take itself too seriously. "Now for a tincture of tenderness," says Professor Weirdo in the show's opening theme, "but I must use only a drop." "Oops, too much!" he exclaims, and instead of turning out scary, Milton, based on Gomer Pyle, USMC, turns out friendly.
Fearless Fly is an imaginative supporting feature in which timid Hiram, putting on his special glasses, becomes a superhero crime- fighter. The other supporting feature rotated between Muggy-Doo, Boy Fox; Stuffy Durma, a millionaire who longs to return to his hobo lifestyle; Penny Penguin; and cowboy Flukey Luke, with his Irish-Indian assistant. Eventually this third segment was replaced by a second Milton cartoon.
By the mid '60s, there had been a handful of truly amazing, unique cartoon shows, from Rocky and Bullwinkle to Beany and Cecil and Underdog, not to mention Hanna-Barbera's numerous hits, including Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, and Magilla Gorilla. But throw your mind back to 1965, and you'll see why audiences were riveted on Milton. The Addams Family and The Munsters were already making a sort of light-hearted gallows humor the biggest hit of the day; "limited" TV animation had managed to captivate kids with unforgettable characters and imaginative scripts. But the writing on Milton, and the one-liners, especially on "Fearless Fly" take it to a whole new level. The oddly-named Stuffy Durma cartoons play more like theatrical one-offs than a supporting TV cartoon. Myron Waldman, the creator of Betty Boop's dog, Pudgy, was listed as animator for the series, and Shamus Culhane, who storyboarded the most manic Woody Woodpecker theatrical cartoons, was a director. Everywhere evident is his style and genius (see more in his biography, Talking Animals and Other People Talking Animals and Other People/the Autobiography of One of Animation's Legendary Figures).
The theme song is still one of the oddest and most memorable in cartoons, and the numerous "bumper" segments that led in and out of commercials and station breaks are as fondly remembered as the similar segments from Rocky and Bullwinkle. Shout Factory, as usual, did an excellent job with this set, with four one-sided discs in two thin snap cases in a box sleeve. The Complete Series comprises 26 episodes with three cartoon segments each, (and a few extras) altogether running over nine hours. What's kept cartoon fans from these classic DVD sets has naturally been the dear price tag. But check Amazon's bargain price. What are you waiting for? OK classic 'toon fans, start your engines!