DVD Review: Tom and Jerry Volume 1: Fur Flying Adventures

Hi again!

When I was a kid, Tom and Jerry cartoons were already in syndication and played regularly on Saturday mornings. That was back when there were only a handful of channels, not hundreds of channels like we have now. And back then I wasn’t much of a discriminating cartoon watcher. Whether it was Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, Captain Caveman, Scooby-Doo, The Super Friends, or many others, I was typically glued to our old black and white TV with my bowl of Fruit Loops every Saturday morning.

Now as a parent, there are many more choices in the digital wasteland of television. A few new cartoons still get my attention now and then, such as 2011’s Young Justice and the continued Clone Wars adventures, but I can’t say that I really like shows like Spongebob Squarepants or Phineas and Ferb as an adult. As a result, I’ve found myself looking at older cartoons on DVD as a solution when we’re looking to watch something as a family.

Tom and Jerry Volume 1: Fur Flying Adventures collects fourteen different Tom and Jerry classics on one DVD for about an hour of cartoons. Most of these episodes were from the original Hanna-Barbera era from 1940-1958, but a few are from the Chuck Jones era (1963-1967) after he left Warner Bros. Cartoons in 1963.

Episodes on the DVD include:

  • Barbecue Brawl (1956)
  • Happy Go Ducky (1958)
  • Hic-cup Pup (1954)
  • Little Quacker (1950)
  • Rock ‘n Rodent (1967) (Chuck Jones)
  • Neapolitan Mouse (1954)
  • Pet Peeve (1954)
  • Pup on a Picnic (1955)
  • O-Solar Meow (1967) (Chuck Jones)
  • Robin Hoodwinked (1958)
  • Guided Mouse-ille (1967)
  • Timid Tabby (1957)
  • The Vanishing Duck (1958)
  • That’s my Mommy (1955)

It was fun watching these with my daughters. We especially enjoyed the shorts with “Ducky” – the baby duck that somehow gets into all kinds of trouble with Tom, who of course wants to eat him. I still remembered “Little Quacker,” “The Vanishing Duck,” and “That’s My Mommy” from my own childhood. And it’s definitely fun to revisit those days every now and again.

One that I didn’t remember seeing was “Robin Hoodwinked,” which included Tuffy, Jerry’s younger sidekick destined to get into trouble and somehow survive it all. It was fun seeing Jerry and Tuffy (in his cute diaper) rush into Nottingham Castle to save the captured Robin Hood and help him escape.

Also included on the DVD are a couple of trailers for more recent Warner Brothers productions, including Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (the latest Scooby-Doo animated series to hit the air) and Tom & Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes, which was released just a few months ago. We enjoyed the new series and the new film, which brought some of our favorite characters back into the limelight.

If you’re looking for a great way to keep your kids occupied for an hour, I’d definitely recommend picking up Tom and Jerry Volume 1: Fur Flying Adventures on DVD. If you’re looking for a larger, more organized collection of Tom and Jerry shorts, there are other options available to you including the Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collections and Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection.

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this DVD and other Tom and Jerry classics at Barnes & Noble:

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DVD Review: Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales

Hi all…

When the holidays roll around, I can’t help but think about the many great Charlie Brown television specials that appear throughout the year. Of course you have It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at Halloween, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas at Christmastime, but you also have Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, with many others. The jazzy piano music of Vince Guaraldi provides much of the soundtrack in my mind to this very day.

Based on the Peanuts comic strip of creator Charles M. Schultz, which began appearing in newspapers by 1950 and ended in 2000, each of the animated specials has offered a slice of the world Charlie Brown and Snoopy inhabit. And I know I for one will happily revisit that world just about any day of the week. Even so, I know I haven’t seen all of the Charlie Brown/Peanuts television specials that have aired over the years. The usual suspects appear every year on TV, but there are many that appeared once and then seemingly disappeared into that space where forgotten cartoons go.

That’s why I’m very happy that Warner Brothers has been re-releasing many of the older animated Peanuts features that we haven’t seen before. Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is one of the specials that falls into this category. I don’t remember ever seeing it on television, but am happy to share it with my two daughters who haven’t seen very many of these amazing cartoons.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales focuses on a series of Christmastime vignettes featuring a different Peanuts character. Snoopy, Linus, Sally, Lucy, and Charlie Brown are all featured. Snoopy struggles with trying to forge a Christmas peace with the ferocious cat next door and wants to ice skate with Lucy though she wants nothing to do with him. Linus works on his letter to Santa and tries to figure out the girl who sits behind him in class who is always changing her name. Sally writes a letter to “Samantha Claus” and embarrasses herself in class, Lucy tries to be nice, and Charlie Brown tries to prepare for the holiday.

Through each little story, you catch a glimpse into the minds of these characters. And though I prefer A Charlie Brown Christmas, I think Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales may be added to the long list of holiday specials to watch as Christmas grows near.

Also included on the DVD is “Is this Goodbye, Charlie Brown?” in which Linus and Lucy unexpectedly move away, forcing Charlie Brown, Sally, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang to deal with their loss. Though I liked this feature, I have to wonder why it would be included on a holiday-themed DVD.

But if you’re looking for another classic holiday special for your arsenal of DVDs, I’d definitely check out Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other animated classics below!

DVD Review: He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown

Hey all…

Since Charles Schultz’ comics turned into animated specials appearing on television, those specials have been a staple in many of our homes. Growing up in the 1970s, they had already started repeating them throughout the year and I watched them all with my family.

The antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, and the rest of the gang became a timeless joy. And now that Warner Brothers is remastering and re-releasing these classic specials on DVD, it’s been fun to share them with my own daughters so they too can get to know the gang from Peanuts.

He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown is the latest of these specials to be re-released. The DVD includes “He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown” and a bonus special – “Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown.” Though neither of these were specials I recall from my childhood, it’s still fun to see these characters get some attention from the archives. The DVD also includes the featurette “Snoopy’s Home Ice: The Story of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena,” which tells of the ice arena Charles Schultz had built in the late 1960s.

In “He’s Your Dog,” Charlie Brown realizes that Snoopy is out of control and causing trouble not only for himself but for all his friends in the neighborhood – from picking fights with Lucy to stalking Linus and his blanket. To remedy the situation, Charlie Brown sends Snoopy back to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm to attend a puppy boot camp and learn some manners. Unfortunately, Snoopy has other plans and never makes it there. An overnight stay at Peppermint Patty’s house turns into a week-long spa vacation for our troublesome pup.

Of course, the gang comes to realize that they miss the mischievous beagle and Charlie Brown does his best to get Snoopy back. Unfortunately, Snoopy doesn’t want to be dragged back to his doghouse by a leash and Peppermint Patty has turned the tables on Chuck’s dog and put him to work. Will Snoopy decide to come home or be stuck cleaning house for the rest of his days?

In “Life is a Circus,” Snoopy falls in love with Fifi, a pretty poodle performing under the big top. Smitten, he runs away with the circus and becomes part of the act himself. Charlie Brown and his friends are left pondering why he left as Snoopy learns a few new tricks and becomes a circus star. Will Snoopy stay with Fifi and the circus or choose to return home where he can resume his life as a single dog?

Warner Brothers did a great job re-mastering these timeless classics. “He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown” turned out crisp and full of vibrant color with a crisp clear soundtrack. And it was great to hear another of Vince Guaraldi’s amazing piano scores again. “Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown” isn’t quite as clean a reproduction and seems to flicker in spots, but still enjoyable to watch.

If you’re looking for a great family-friendly DVD to share at home, look no further than Charlie Brown and his pals. He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown is available on DVD along with many more of these Peanuts classics.

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up these great specials on DVD!

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