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.