Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mae Questel, Cecil Roy, Norma MacMillan, Jack Mercer, etc.
Written by: Larz Bourne, Isadore Klein, etc.
Directed by: Seymour Kneitel, Izzy Sparber, etc.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 1140
Date: 03/18/2013

Harveytoons: The Complete Collection (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

True Boo?

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Harveytoons were mainly knock-offs of other cartoons and comic strips, featuring the usual cat-and-mouse chases, with the exception of Casper the Friendly Ghost. It's amazing how far the studio went with this one-joke idea, and especially how far they went with a character that practices goodness and kindness all the time (when any writer will tell you that it's a character's flaws that make him interesting). Basically, Casper begins each episode wanting to go somewhere and do something and maybe meet some people. Everyone is scared of him, and they all do comical double-takes. But one child or animal or some other innocent creature befriends him and, once he proves his worth to the others by defeating some greater evil, all turns out well.

Perhaps based on Little Lulu and perhaps not, Little Audrey is a more vibrant character. She dreams of doing amazing things, and even if she wakes up at the end, at least she takes action and uses her imagination.

I was amazed to see how well the animation on these classics has held up. Since they were intended for theatrical release, a certain amount of care went into the smoothness and texture, and especially the pacing, which is slower and more gentle than in other cartoons.

Sony's new DVD package, entitled "The Complete Collection," spreads itself out on four, two-sided DVDs and apparently runs about 19 hours. Aside from the fact that this is not the complete collection, the biggest drawback is that these discs present the cartoons in their half-hour television format, with opening and closing titles that often cut short the actual films. It would have been far more interesting to sort the cartoons by title or subject and present them they way they were originally shown in theaters. The TV format cheapens the whole package. Finally, there is no book or menu by which to search for certain cartoons.

Nevertheless, the transfer quality is quite nice, and the entertainment value is still there. Animation fans should give this a chance.

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