Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hanna Barbara and Bowery All-Stars

Though it was still a little humid when I got up this morning, by the time I went to work, it was really nice out. Which could explain why we were fairly quiet for most of the day. It was the same deal as Monday - steady during rush hours, otherwise not bad. I shelved candy between customers. One of the teen baggers who doubles as a cashier came in for me so I could go home on time.

When I got in, I ran the remaining Hanna-Barbara cartoons while starting turkey burgers with cucumber and tomato and more sweet Jersey corn for dinner. Some of the shows on the second disc were pretty cute. I especially enjoyed a couple of the more exotic funny animal shorts, like Peter Potomus and Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole. Peter and his monkey buddy So-So have to dodge Caeser and Cleopatra on the Nile. Secret Squirrel and his buddy rescue the clock face of Big Ben from a giant who wants a really big cuckoo clock!

The action shows were more of a mixed bag. While Johnny Quest and Space Ghost remain icons of 60s animation, their shows haven't dated well. Johnny's somewhat better, with decent animation and less cliched dialogue. The story I saw had Johnny, his Indian buddy Hadji, Johnny's dad, and his friend Race Bannon being spied on by a mechanical eye on eight legs worked by an evil (and stereotyped) Asian overlord. Space Ghost had a faster and more action-oriented story. Unfortunately, the interesting, sleek animation is brought down by some rather cliched dialogue. Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles is a lighter variation - Frankenstein Jr. is a monster, the Impossibles are a rock group, and both fight crime with nifty designs and goofy dialogue (and another Asian tyrant stereotype in "Frankenstein").

While I enjoyed the rental, as I was born more than a decade after the majority of these shows were gone from Saturday mornings, I don't really recommend it to buy unless you really do want just a sampling of Hanna-Barbara's early shows. Most of the half-hour shows are on DVD; I think only about half of the funny animal shorts are, though they probably all turn up on Boomerang.

Switched to more Bowery Boys as I finished dinner. We skipped ahead to the early 50s movies, the ones with just Sach, Slip, Chuck, Butch, and frequently Louie. All five find themselves Loose In London when a lawyer tells Sach he's expected to inherit from a kindly British earl. The other members of the earl's family aren't happy with these vulgar American upstarts. They first try to scare Sach and the others off. When they just ignore it, they decide to take matters into their own hands and kill the earl and the Boys!

Positive Note...Even with all the negatives I noted above, it was nice to see those Hanna-Barbara shows, in a few cases for the first time. I knew Johnny Quest, the sitcoms, and most of the funny animals well from their appearances on cable and frequent revivals during my childhood. I never heard of Space Ghost until his talk show started on Cartoon Network, or Frankenstein Jr. and the Incredibles until I saw them mentioned online.

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