Sunday, July 7, 2013

On DVD: Beetle Bailey: The Complete Collection (1963)

Mill Creek erred when they said that their Beetle Bailey DVD compilation was the "Complete Collection", because, as we documented when we originally reviewed Beetle, King Features produced some test shorts in 1962, but the entirety of the 2-disc set covers the 1963-4 run, ignoring the earlier works. Worth noting that it's acknowledged in some of the shorts that they were co-produced with Paramount, especially considering the musical director for most of the shorts is Famous Studios' Winston Sharples.

The 4-short episodes collected in the compilation are not in the order in which they were originally presented, but rather a jumbled mix via Hearst Entertainment, which owns the rights to the series and reissued the cartoons some 20-odd years ago.

Howard Morris would later recycle his Beetle voice as Forsythe "Jughead" Jones in the Archie cartoons for Filmation (1968-78), and co-wrote, with co-star Allan Melvin, one of the shorts in the following sample, "Leap No More My Lady". While Morris & Melvin got their only screen credits as writers, just as Jack Mercer (Popeye) often did when he wrote some shorts for Famous-Paramount, their voices are easy to recognize to older fans acquainted with their later toon works. You can pretty much tell that this was mostly a 2-man job (the voice of Bunny, Beetle's then-girlfriend, remains a mystery).

Following: "Everything's Ducky", "Leap No More My Lady", "V For Visitors", & "The Jinx":



The above is an example of the hit & miss quality of the shorts. Mill Creek & Hearst did completists no favors with their poor production on the DVD.

Rating (for the DVD package): C.

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