Do you ever have those cartoon shows that you think maybe you hallucinated? You know, the ones that nobody else you talk to seems to remember? Let me back up actually. There are those cartoons you think you made up because they are just odd. Stuff like THE GROOVIE GHOULIES comes to mind. And then there are shows that were cool and fun but that seem to have been swallowed up by the universe and vanished. This is usually due to the fact that they've long since dropped out of the rotation of old cartoons that occasionally crop up on cable networks like Boomerang and such. DEVLIN was just such a show for me. Until I saw the clip that the Warner Archive gang showed at during one of their panels at Wondercon, DEVLIN was just a distant memory to me. It was one of those things where I hadn't thought of it in so long that I actually questioned if I knew the show at all at first. It came back to me though. I had caught this one as a kid and it stuck with me. This story of a traveling Evel Knieval-type stunt show and the small band of folks who run it had been quite compelling to me in my younger days. My fond memories of this animated antique hit me and it filled me with a warm, general nostalgic feeling but it's still foggy.
There are lots of things you forget of course. Like I totally forgot about the hand painted backgrounds. When I say 'hand painted' I mean so that you can see the large brush strokes on the backgrounds behind the characters. There's plenty of detail to these plates, but they also sometimes look like a kindergarten class filled in the shapes. It's not a bad thing to be fair. It's rather a charming touch that actually makes the show stand out a little bit. I'd be curious to hear what kind things went into a decision like that. Anyway, the show is pretty sweet and carries with it good messages about loyalty and family. It also has an episode where the characters are chasing after a lion that's gotten loose. It's like an "animals attack" movie inside of the show. How can I not love something like that? It's a good little show though and one that Hanna-Barbera geeks (like me) should be pretty excited to finally have on home video. It's familiar in terms of some similarities to a few other HB series, yet different enough to be memorable. It's also a bit more dramatic than comedic so that makes it a little left of what HB normally puts out. Occasionally, I like my cartoons with a little less jokes and more danger and DEVLIN fits the bill quite well. I have been incredibly pleased with Warner Archives cartoon output the past year or so. They could always put out more and I'd be even happier, but I have enjoyed all the shows they've gotten to disc in that time. Here's hoping we get more very soon!