Heathcliff Season One Volume Two Mostly A Successful Release From Mill Creek

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

George Gatley created in 1973 what has become one of America’s most beloved comic strip characters in Heathcliff.  Roughly eleven years after that flabby feline made his comic strip debut, DiC Entertainment brought Heathcliff to life on the small screen along with famed voice actor Mel Blanc (Looney Tunes, The Flintstones).  While Healthcliff’s animated series only lasted for two seasons, it is still a favorite among audiences of all ages.  It’s right up there with its counterpart, Garfield & Friends.  Thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, audiences can finally get their hands on the second half of Heathcliff’s first season.  Heathcliff: Season One Volume Two is another wonderful addition to any family’s home library.  Mill Creek is deserving of credit with this latest set because the episodes collected are presented exactly as they were in their original broadcasts.  The writing behind the episodes included in the first half of Season One is just as fun and funny as those in the season’s first half.  And making this half of Season One even more valuable for viewers of all ages is its original hand-drawn animation.

Right from its outset, audiences will note of the episodes collected for this half of season one, that not one episode is missing.  What’s more, the episodes collected in Season One Volume Two are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcasts.  This may seem like a given.  But many might be surprised to find out that some classic TV shows aren’t so lucky in their re-issues.  A prime example would be NCircle Entertainment’s  release of The Super Mario Brothers Super Show Volume One.  The episodes included in that set completely omit the live action sequences, while flashing pieces of the commercial segues that lead the episodes in and out of commercial breaks.  It’s just one of a handful of box sets out there that suffer from improper editing in their redistribution.  Keeping that in mind, it makes this box set that much more impressive and valuable for anyone that is a fan of both this series and classic animation in whole.

The presentation of Volume Two’s episodes is definitely something for fans of the show to note.  Each episode even comes complete with its post-show pet care tips segment, opening Lorimar-Television slate, and closing slate from DiC Entertainment.  As important as this is to the overall presentation of Season One Volume Two, one would be remiss to ignore the show’s writing.  Season One Volume Two sees Heathcliff being taken to pet obedience training and of course, turning the place upside down.  Viewers will laugh nonstop watching Heathcliff turn the military boot camp style obedience school on its ear as well as the neighborhood as a result of his time there.  In another of the volume’s funniest moments, Heathcliff becomes the “Phantom of the Garbage” when a local restaurant owner and chef gets a pair of dogs to protect his garbage cans from being raided by the flabby feline.  The physical comedy that ensues between Heahtcliff and the dogs is what makes this episode so fun.  It’s all classic physical comedy from start to finish.  The funniest moment though, isn’t one of physical comedy.  It comes when it’s revealed that for all of their bravado, the restaurant owner’s dogs are afraid of one creature much smaller than themselves.  Just as funny is the episode, “Soap Box Derby.”  This episode sees Heathcliff getting talked into a soap box derby race against Spike after Iggy beats Mugsy, Spike’s owner, in a race.  When the Catillac Cats put themselves into the race, things get dicey.  Of course, Heathcliff outsmarts both Spike and the Catillac Cats and gets the royal treatment from all of them as a result.  It just goes to prove that cheaters never win.  And it’s just one more of so many funny moments that viewers will enjoy throughout all three discs in this set.

Mill Creek has done quite a bit right with the release of Heathcliff: Season One Volume Two.  The episodes are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcast.  They are still as funny today for those that grew up with the cartoon series as they were then, too.  There is one more aspect of this collection that viewers will appreciate.  That aspect is the show’s animation.  Much like so many other cartoons of its era, Heathcliff’s animation gave it identity.  The show’s artists did an expert job of translating the two-dimensional character from the comic strip to the small screen all while crafting a world that looked unlike any other animated series at the time.  The same is rarely noted of today’s children’s programming.  The show’s artists are to be applauded for creating such a rich and vivid world for Heathcliff and his friends.  Even more so, they are to be commended for trying to stay true to George Gatley’s original creation.  Their work was the finishing touch on the show.  And it makes this half of the show’s first season all the more worth watching whether one is seeing the series for the first time or the first time again.  It is available now on DVD and can be ordered online direct from Mill Creek Entertainment at http://www.millcreekdirect.com/heathcliff-season-1-volume-2-33-episodes.html.  More information on this release and others from Mill Creek Entertainment is available online at http://www.millcreekent.com and http://www.facebook.com/MillCreekEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Cookie Jar, Mill Creek Give Families More Fun In new Box Set

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment/Cookie Jar Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment/Cookie Jar Entertainment

Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar (formerly DIC Entertainment) have released yet another enjoyable kid and family friendly cartoon collection with the new TV Toons To Go! box set.  The ten-disc set culls over one hundred total episodes from some of the two companies’ best cartoons, dating all the way back to the 1980’s.  So both kids and their parents will enjoy this set. 

The TV Toons To Go! box set kicks off with a pair of discs featuring episodes from the kid favorites, Busytown Mysteries and the Busy World of Richard Scarry.  Richard Scarry’s books have taught millions of children the world over educational and life lessons for ages.  Now in this cartoon, those same stories are entertaining a whole new generation as they jump off the page and onto the small screen.  First time viewers will enjoy the show for its kid friendly nature and for those same lessons, its vibrant colors, and characters.  Parents of those first time viewers will appreciate these episodes as they will create a sense of nostalgia, taking them back to when they first read the books.  The animation style, with its vibrant colors will also appeal to parents, considering how much of today’s “animation” are increasingly computer generated and less hand drawn.  The hand drawn animation style gives this modern classic its own identity and will continue to do so as long as animation heads seemingly farther away from its roots.  It’s one more piece of the puzzle that will help to create a different but related sense of nostalgia among older audiences.  Parents will especially appreciate these two discs as those who weren’t able to get their hands on last year’s release of The Busy World of Richard ScarryThe Complete 65 Episode Series.  That set was also released by Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar.

While parents and kids will both enjoy the Busytown discs included in the new TV Toons To Go! box set, parents will especially enjoy the inclusion of the classic cartoon, Heathcliff in this set.  While it isn’t the entire series, or even the four-disc set released by Shout! Factory, but this single disc does quite the job for fans as it presents eleven episodes from this classic 80’s cartoon.  Sure it’s not the entire series.  But it still makes for a solid re-introduction for older audiences and an equally solid first time introduction for newer viewers.  As with the previously noted Busytown discs, parents will get a total sense of nostalgia from this show if only for its hand drawn animation.  It alone was a huge part of the show’s identity.  Though the episodic writing was just as solid.  Whether for Heathcliff’s adventures or those of Riff-Raff and his feline friends, the writing behind the included episodes will keep audiences engaged throughout each adventure.

The primary episodes included in this multi-disc set will entertain both kids and kids at heart for hours on end.  Whether it be episodes of classics such as Heathcliff, C.O.P.S., The Littles, or Where On Earth Is Carmen San Diego? Parents have plenty to introduce their kids to for the first time.  And for younger audiences, Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar have also included episodes of newer toons, too.  To sweeten the deal, the partnership between the pairing also has led to the inclusion of many more modern toons as bonuses on a handful of the set’s discs.  As an example, the set’s first two discs include a bonus episode of Wimzie’s House and Simon in the Land of Chalk respectively.  The set’s fourth disc also presents a bonus episode of Postcards from Buster.  It makes for a nice lead in to the set’s eighth disc, which already contains ten more episodes from the PBS Kids’ “mini-series”/spinoff.  And that disc itself includes a pair of episode of the more modern kids cartoon, Nanoboy as its bonus feature. 

The bonus episodes included in this set do their own part in making the overall viewing experience more enjoyable.  There is at least one more factor that makes this set enjoyable for both parents and kids.  That factor is the set’s packaging.  All ten discs in this set are contained snugly into their own soft inserts within a small easy to carry canteen shaped case.  The case has string attachments that can be tied to anything to keep it safe, too.  It’s a very ergonomically sound packaging idea.  What’s more the inserts that hold the discs are double sided.  Only one side of each is used, thus leaving the opposite side open for other cartoon releases from Mill Creek Entertainment if desired.  Again, it makes for one more positive to the overall presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar that parents and kids will enjoy with every watch.  It’s available now in stores and online. 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Cookie Jar’s Christmas Collection Is Holiday Fun For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Mill Creek Entertainment

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

Cookie Jar TV’s Christmas Cartoon Collection” is a fun grouping of cartoons for kids and parents alike.  This single disc collection includes ten holiday themed episodes of some of the best cartoons from Cookie Jar (formerly DiC Entertainment).  This new collection includes toons from both the 21st Century and some more classic toons, too.  It all starts with a pair of episodes from the kid friendly favorite, Busy World of Richard Scarry.  The first of the episodes sees an evil mastermind stealing stuff from all across New York City.  It’s up to one man to solve the mystery of who is lifting the legendary city.  In the second episode from the show, Santa’s in danger of not making his annual Christmas run after making a rough landing.  The runners on his sled have broken and even Mr. Fix-It can’t help.  So how is Santa to get his sled flying again?  Kids and their parents will have to find out on their own when they pick up this family friendly DVD. 

 Speaking of Santa, in another of this collection’s best episodes, Heathcliff has a mystery on his hands when the mailman tells him that his and his boy Iggy’s letters to Santa have been returned.  And theirs aren’t the only ones.  So Heathcliff and Spike head off to the North Pole to figure out why everybody’s letters are being returned.  The answer to the mystery is a surprise even to Santa himself.  Although being a holiday episode, everything is worked out in the end, and Heathcliff and Squish get a lift back to their homes from Santa as a thank you for getting all the letters returned to him.  Anyone who is old enough to remember when this classic cartoon originally aired will love not just the warm, fuzzy feelings that it will create, but also the general sense of nostalgia that it will instill, too. 

Heathcliff is just one of the cartoons that will make for a great sense of nostalgia on this new collection from Mill Creek Entertainment and Cookie Jar.  Viewers who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons on ABC will remember a short lived cartoon called Bump in the Night.  This stop motion based toon featured a certain little monster named Mr. Bumpy.  In the show’s holiday episode presented here, Mr. Bumpy is awaiting the arrival of Santa.  He doesn’t want to just see Santa.  He wants to trap him and snag his bag of toys.  It’s not his first try at trapping Santa, either.  Every year that he’s tried, Mr. Bumpy’s plan has failed for one reason or another.  He actually does succeed this year.  But in the process, Mr. Bumpy learns what’s really important during the holidays.  Audiences will enjoy this positive message.  They’ll also appreciate the pop culture references peppered in throughout the episode.  From monster style takes on classic Hanukkah and Christmas songs to a tribute to the Indiana Jones franchise and a spoof of a famous Kenny Loggins song, there is plenty for both kids and adults to love in this episode.  Even veteran actor Cheech Marin joins in on the fun as the voice of a Spanish worm who helps Mr. Bumpy and Squish along the way.  It all comes together to make this episode one more piece of the overall presentation that makes the Cookie Jar Christmas Cartoon Collection such a great collection for families this and every holiday season.  It’s available now in stores and online.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.