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With: Hans Conried, Paul Frees, June Foray, Bill Scott
Written by: Chris Hayward, etc.
Directed by: Jay Ward, Bill Scott, etc.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 675
Date: 03/18/2013

Fractured Flickers: The Complete Collection (1963)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Silent Laughter

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jay Ward, the creator of the great "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle," also put together this other, lesser-known show. But whereas "Rocky and Bullwinkle" was a kids' show with a certain sophistication, "Fractured Flickers" was more like a would-be sophisticated show pitched at kids.

Hosted by Hans Conried in a quasi "Masterpiece Theater" format, the show's basic premise was to take clips from silent films and dub new dialogue, music and sound effects over them to make them funny. The clips include everything from Douglas Fairbanks' The Mark of Zorro to the 1918 version of Tarzan to Buster Keaton.

The problem is that the "new" humor added to these classics has dated far more quickly than the silent films have. In fact, as a lover of silent films, I would have preferred to simply turn the sound off and watch the clips as they originally appeared; the trouble is that sometimes the "gag" writers insert new title cards and visual jokes.

"Fractured Flickers" also features celebrity interviews, each carefully scripted and each terribly unfunny. Guests include Rose Marie, Fabian, Gypsy Rose Lee, Allan Sherman, Annette Funicello, Edward Everett Horton, Paula Prentiss, Sebastian Cabot, Roddy McDowell, Connie Stevens, Rod Serling, Cesar Romero, Bullwinkle J. Moose, Paul Lynde, Barbara Eden, Bob Denver, Bob Newhart, Ursula Andress and Zsa Zsa Gabor. In some ways, it's interesting to see these stars in a different format, though it would have been more interesting to see a straightforward, off-the-cuff interview.

Probably the best part is the opening credit animation, which plays like an alternate version of "Dudley Do-Right" featuring his arch-nemesis Snidley Whiplash.

I had never heard of "Fractured Flickers," but perhaps children of 1963 will be interested in re-visiting a nostalgic favorite. If so, I can heartily recommend this box set, which collects all 26 surviving episodes on three DVDs. If you're new to it, though, I would instead recommend the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" Season One box set.

Best Buy Co, Inc.