No matter how classic or profitable a series or franchise is, studios are always in the market of appealing to a younger audience with a new version of the property. With the success of shows like Muppet Babies and The Flintstone Kids, Hanna-Barbera decided to revisit the formula in 1988 for Scooby-Doo. It was their attempt to win over a new generation of fans while dusting the cobwebs off of the franchise that’d begun to show its age thanks to misguided spin offs and introductions of grating additions like Scrappy Doo and Flim Flam.
As a Hanna Barbera geek, I have to say “Mask of the Blue Falcon” hit all the right notes. I didn’t just have a good time with the surprisingly clever vehicle for the Mystery Inc. crew, but I also had so much fun pointing out all of the Easter Eggs. And yes, every single Easter Egg within “Mask of the Blue Falcon” is a reference to a Hanna Barbera cartoon from the sixties and seventies. I’m just disappointed we didn’t see anything referencing “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids.” What? It’s an obscenely underrated Scooby Doo wannabe, darnit!
For the uninitiated when Scooby Doo was attempting a new formula, they turned “Scooby Doo” in to a series of movies where they solved crimes with big celebrities like Dick Van Dyke and Sonny and Cher. Among the most popular crossovers was Batman and Robin. For years Batman and Robin were the most consistent allies of Mystery, Inc. getting in to all kinds of scrape ups with them, and battling people like Joker and the Penguin. They just seemed to click. “The Brave and the Bold” continues the long tradition by teaming them together by pairing the modern iteration of Scooby Doo with the family friendly animated “Batman: Brave and Bold” and it works.
BOOTLEG FILES 627: “Laverne & Shirley in the Army” (1981-82 animated series).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never re-released after its initial broadcast.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Oh, I hope not.
In concept, making an animated series based on “Laverne & Shirley” made perfect sense because the beloved sitcom was the most cartoonish program in the 1970s prime-time schedule. With its propensity for slapstick comedy and a line-up of over-the-top characters, “Laverne & Shirley” was a living cartoon.
BOOTLEG FILES 600: “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” (1968-70 television series).
LAST SEEN: Bits and pieces can be found on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It is a bit complicated.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not in its original form.
Contemporary children’s television is a fairly boring scene that offers little in the way of genuine fun for the young viewers. Indeed, some shows are so lacking in energy and personality that you can’t help but wonder if the programming is designed to narcotize the kiddie audience into a state of numbness.
“Mike Tyson Mysteries” isn’t just a fun self aware satire of Mike Tyson, who seems to have a good time poking fun at himself, but is also a really clever poke at Hanna Barbera. Everything from a talking animal sidekick (incidentally a talking pigeon), a snooty ghost, geeky teen detective, and absurd mysteries make “Mike Tyson Mysteries” a hilarious series. Even the notion of basing a series around a random celebrity is typical seventies Hanna Barbera. Even the DVD for the first season is sorted out like one of the Hanna Barbera Archive releases for one of their many obscure series. That much attention to detail just has to be appreciated.
I fondly remember renting “Meet Rockula and Frankenstone” quite often from our local videos store when I was a kid, and thankfully the movie genuinely holds up. Like all great comedy series, the Flintstones have had their share of crossovers, and this time they have the misfortune of meeting Dracula and Frankenstone. Or their stone age counterparts, as it were. While it’s not raucously funny as when Abbot and Costello met them, it’s a darn good short movie with the Flintstones doing what they do best.
If you’re one of the many KISS fans that have always wondered what a sequel to “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park” would look like, look no further. “Scooby Doo Meets KISS” should be more aptly titled “KISS Meets the Crimson Witch featuring Scooby Doo.” In all honesty, while this is primarily a cartoon for the Scooby Doo franchise, the majority of the film is based around KISS and their magical presences. Even the opening sequence is comprised of wonderful animated KISS montages with “Rock and Roll All Night” playing rather than the Scooby Doo theme song.