Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive - THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, HISTERIA and WHERE'S HUDDLES on DVD ""

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Warner Archive - THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, HISTERIA and WHERE'S HUDDLES on DVD

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1968-69)
As long as I can remember, I've lived cartoons. It's a lifelong obsession I just can't shake honestly. One of the more fascinating discoveries of my youth was that occasionally live-action and animation could cross over and exist on the same plane together. Before I ever saw ROGER RABBIT, I saw MARY POPPINS and most importantly BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS. Disney was obviously a big proponent of this kinda thing and BEDKNOBS quick became one of my favorite things in the world at the time. Though part of me knew it was all movie magic, there was part that held onto the idea of someday jumping into the world of one of my favorites cartoons. I used to always marvel at the way they used to integrate live action actors into cartoon backgrounds. We're there feet really touching the cartoon ground? I was always looking at the seams, but I would usually get mesmerized by watching the two worlds interacting with each other.
Another thing I loved as a kid and still love today is Hanna-Barbera. I saw tons of their cartoons as a kid, but there were many I missed completely (many of which I've seen fit the first time on Warner Archive DVDs). THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN was definitely one of the ones that slipped by me, as I know that I'd have remembered it if I saw it as a youngster. 
The voice cast is excellent and includes voice-over pros like Don Messick, Janet Waldo, Daws Butler and Paul Frees. Ted Cassidy (aka Lurch) also plays one of the bad guys. You gotta love Ted Cassidy. He and Pail Frees both had these deep, other world voices (Cassidy's being the more menacing of the two).
You can buy THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN on DVD here:
http://amzn.to/2c6TBBE


HISTERIA! (1998-2000)
How did I miss this show? Apparently it was on from 1998-2000, but I never saw it during that time. It's one of those programs that baffles you (in a good way) with it's cleverness and the amount of information it doles out in a very entertaining way with each episode. The back of the disc claims that it is, "Perhaps the world's only animated sketch-comedy educational series" and this may be the truth. I've rarely seen anything quite like it. It comes from the mind of Tom Ruegger, one of the folks behind the ANIMANIACS, TINY TOON ADVENTURES and PINKY AND THE BRAIN (among many other credits) and it really shows. If you're a fan of the snarky, self-referential, meta comedic approach that those shows take, you'll totally be on board with this. It really feels like one of those shows in both its sensibilities and the speed at which the dialogue and jokes are delivered. Each episode can be seen as a lesson of sorts and that makes it great for kids (though it may deliver some jokes that are over their heads). The cover of the DVD might make it look like HISTERIA!'s focus is on American History only, but they skewer/educate on world history at times and other things too. Science, music and inventors are just a few of the other topics touched on by the show. It really feels like the kind of thing a cool history teacher might show his middle school class on a day he wanted to amuse them. It skewers not only the off kilter politics of days gone by but also brings in a tongue in cheek take on present day pop culture and the idea of edutainment in general. Lots of intelligent and inventive songs are sung throughout by a kids chorus and various characters. There's clearly just so much thought in general put into each episode that each one might have to be viewed multiple times to get everything. The complete series run  (All 52 episodes) is included in this excellent 6-DVD set, which I must give my highest recommendation (and will probably make my 'Best Discs of the Year' list)!
HISTERIA! can be purchased on DVD here:
http://amzn.to/2bB1yfQ

WHERE'S HUDDLES (1970)
Another cartoon obscurity, this one from the fine folks at Hanna-Barbera. The prime-time animated sitcom of the late 60s and early 70s is a fascinating thing to me, as is a lot of Hanna-Barbera's output during this period. This one was never syndicated on TV where I could come across it as a kid (like I did with so many other HB shows), so it's an all new discovery for me. If you're of a similar mindset to mine (a full-on Hanna-Barbera junkie), a "new" find like this is quite delightful. Especially delightful is the voice cast of the show - which is a veritable all-star game (to use a football metaphor). Paul Lynde, Mel Blanc (doing a variation of his Barney Rubble), Don Messick, Alan Reed (the voice of Fred Flintstone), and Jean Vander Pyl (the voice of Wilma Flintstone) make for a fantastic and familiar ensemble.  Even Dick Enberg himself added some real-life football cred by playing the voice of a sports announcer. One thing I've not seen from HB (or anyone really) is a family football sitcom. In this case, we follow two families, the Huddles and the McCoys, and wherein the patriarchs just happen to play professional football. Lots of familiar trappings here - the gettings along of two neighbor families (like the Flintstones), a nosy neighbor (Lynde) and lots of sitcom hijinks (in this case, centered around the football practicing and playing). Despite not having seen this before, the recognizability of the voices makes this show feel nostalgic and fun nonetheless. Music by the great Hoyt Curtain.
All ten episodes are included in this complete series DVD set.
WHERE'S HUDDLES can be purchased on DVD here:

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