Rupert Pupkin Speaks: The Hanna-Barberians: SPACE STARS The Complete Series ""

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Hanna-Barberians: SPACE STARS The Complete Series

This is a new column that is a sort of spinoff of my Warner Archive Grab Bag series in which I will focus specifically on their many and varied Hanna-Barbera cartoon releases. As I hope I've demonstrated in my previous reviews of such discs, I am a big big Hanna-Barbera fan and have become an even bigger one since WAC started putting out so much if their great stuff. Another thing that has made me a huge fan is the fact that I've gotten great pleasure from sharing these old cartoons with my young daughter. I have been very pleased by her response as she seems to love pretty much all of these cartoons. That warms my heart as many of them are more than 40 years old. I hope to put an affectionate spotlight on these now 'classic' cartoons in hopes that more parents may turn their kids onto them too. We should all be 'Hanna-Barberians'!

This is a fascinating and wonderful release as it is as much of a nostalgic trip for me as any of Warner Archive's Hanna Barbera sets. This show apparently had its initial airings in 1981, but the segments were soon cut up for syndication. What Warner Archive has assembled here is actually more than the episodes that originally aired which is pretty fantastic. The Space Stars consisted of Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Teen Force and Astro & The Space Mutts. Each episode had segments from each of the groups and one final section with some crossover between the groups. One neat thing about the show is that it is set up in such a way as to make it clear that all the Space Stars exist in the same universe. This sort of "family" continuity is pretty neat and a rare occurrence especially for the time. So, as I said, the show consists of several pods with each if the character groups as many cartoon shows at the time did. What Warner Archive has restored are some informative little 'bumpers' that ran throughout each episode.'Space Facts' were just exactly what they sound like - little educational bits to teach kids about science-related things that tie into the episode. There were also 'Space Mystery' and 'Code Breaker' interactive bumpers as well. These bumpers never aired in the original episodes so it's very cool to have them restored in this presentation.
I've enjoyed Space Ghost for as long as I can remember. Well before his resurgence in 'Space Ghost - Coast to Coast' form, I used to love catching his shows in syndication as a youngster. The same thing goes for The Herculoids. It was fun to see my little girl respond to The Herculoids in particular(though she was mesmerized by the whole show). They were right up her alley. She also liked Astro & The Space Mutts as well . Quick fact about that cartoon: Michael Winslow does some voices/sounds for it and you should be able to catch which ones. As for The Teen Force, they were the most powerfully nostalgic thing in The Space Stars for me. I'd seen Space Ghost and The Herculoids here and there in the last 5 years or so, but The Teen Force hadn't been seen by me in more than 25 years. Interestingly, all their stuff was so familiar to me. I clearly saw them a ton back in the day. 
This set is yet another in an outstanding group from the Hanna-Barbera catalog. Warner Archive really cares about these old cartoons and makes them look as good(& in most cases) better than they ever have with their re-masterings. Along with some of my other favorites like HELP! IT'S THE HAIR-BEAR BUNCH and CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS, this DVD set is a must-own for the Hanna-Barbera fan. I hope it will grab some folks that have never seen the show before as well. Great stuff.
For a nice supplement to these discs , check out this Watner Archive podcast episode in which the guys there discuss Episode 7 of the show with series animator Darrell McNeil and writer Don Glut:

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