The New Scooby-Doo Movies Come to Blu-ray -- Almost Complete, Almost Perfect

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The New Scooby-Doo Movies Almost Complete

Let's face it. Even the youngest of television viewers can figure out the plot of a Scooby-Doo cartoon after seeing three or four of them. The Mystery Inc gang was a group of meddling kids who knew how to ride mine cars, run back and forth across the screen, and drop a net on a ghost who would end up being a guy in a rubber mask.

Something had to be done to keep the kids coming back.

One of the ways the folks at Hanna-Barbera stroke to keep Scooby-Doo fresh and relateable was to bring in guest stars, people or characters whom the viewers already knew. Thus was born the New Scooby-Doo Movies, a series where the gang would meet up with famous celebrities or other Hanna-Barbera cartoon properties. This added a new layer to the mysteries -- which, nonetheless, involved the being taken for accidental rides, running back and forth across the screen, and dropping nets on ghosts who ended up being someone in a rubber mask. Only now they had help.

Moreover, the adventures had been expanded to take up an hour of broadcast time (40 minutes these days with the commercials extracted). That really did make them seem like "movies." Although, admittedly, the episodes are a lot brighter in memory than they are in rewatching, so 40 minutes of the same Scooby-Doo show can sometimes feel like the same joke is dragging on a little long. Nevertheless, for nostalgia alone, this set is worth the purchase.

And, because honestly, we owe it to the legal teams who made the set happen.

Any home video release of an older television show comes with certain legal headaches. The contracts which had been signed by the actors were for broadcast rights. The home video market did not exist, and nobody could have foreseen any form of viewers being able to watch any show they wanted on demand. Normally this is just a formality, with the rights for a show being held by a single entity, or a partnership.

But with THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES, the rights were all over the place. Every guest star had to be tracked down to secure the rights. If the stars were passed on, then the negotiations had to be with their estates. And that is why this is the "almost complete" collection. Because there were two episodes that Warner Brothers was unable to secure.

The first episode you'll spy missing is "Wednesday is Missing" -- an adventure which brought Mystery Inc into contact with The Addams Family. Warner was unsuccessful at negotiating the rights to that episode, and so it will continue to go uncirculated. The other ghosted episode is "The Ghost of the Red Baron." This one seems a bit of an oddity, as it's a meeting of the gang and The Three Stooges, whom they had already met in the pilot, "Ghastly Ghost Town." The Stooges were voiced by Daws Butler, who did double-duty for Larry and Curly Joe, and Pat Harrington, Jr as Moe in both of these episodes. The only thing I can assume -- and it is purely assumption -- is that the uncirculated episode also includes a guest voice of Paul Winchell, and Casa de Tigger could not reach a deal.

But there are still a ton of memories to refresh here, with the gang meeting up with real-world celebrities like Phyllis Diller, Jerry Reed, Don Knotts, The Harlem Globetrotters, and Don Adams, just to name some. And it also provided a platform for them to team-up with other Hanna-Barbera properties to solve some mysteries, such as Jeannie, Speed Buggy, and Batman and Robin.

The color just pops in these episodes, with the Blu-ray digital mastering process. Some of these episodes have never been released before (and, if you prefer, you can buy those in a separate DVD collection, but we recommend going for the Blu-ray anyway, just to have them all in one place).

DISC ONE DISC TWO

1. Ghastly Ghost Town (The Three Stooges)
2. The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair (Batman and Robin)
3. The Frickert Fracas (Jonathan Winters)
4. Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner (Don Knotts)
5. A Good Medium is Rare (Phyllis Diller)
6. Sandy Duncan's Jekyll and Hyde (Sandy Duncan)
7. The Secret of Shark Island (Sonny & Cher)
8. The Spooky Fog (Don Knotts)
9. Scooby-Doo Meets Laurel and Hardy
10. The Ghostly Creep from the Deep (Harlem Globetrotters)
11. The Haunted Horseman of Hagglethorn Hall (Davy Jones)

1. The Phantom of the Country Music Hall (Jerry Reed)
2. The Caped Crusader Caper (Batman and Robin)
3. The Loch Ness Mess (Harlem Globetrotters)
4. Mystery of the Haunted Island (Harlem Globetrotters)
5. The Haunted Showboat (Josie and the Pussycats)
6. Mystery in Persia (Jeannie)
7. The Spirited Spooked Sports Show (Tim Conway)
8. The Exterminator (Don Adams)
9. The Weird Winds of Winona (Speed Buggy)
10. The Haunted Candy Factory (Cass Elliot)
11. Scooby-Doo Meets Dick Van Dyke
Bonus Features:
The Hanna-Barbera Kennel Club Roasts Scooby-Doo
Uptown with Scooby-Doo and the Harlem Globetrotters
Girls Rock

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0