Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mini-DVD Review: Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection; Solomon's Weekly Rant: TV Land Confidential

Welcome to another edition of mini-DVD reviews. After a two week summer hiatus, we're back! This week we take a look at Universal Home Video's The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection. Woody Woodpecker is of course the classic TV woodpecker that made his mark in the 40s-70s in feature films! Not only do we get Woody cartoons, we also get classic theatrical cartoons of Oswald the Luck Rabbit, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, some Cartune Classics, and some Swing Symphonies. See my mini-DVD review of The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection:

The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection (Universal, $39.98) brings 45 classic unedited Woody Woodpecker cartoons and 30 other unedited classic cartoons from the legendary Walter Lantz to DVD on a classic 3-disc set for the first time ever! 8 of these shorts were nominated for Academy Awards. The set also goes to the vault for classic documentaries, including Walter, Woody, and the World of Animation documentary.
On this set we not only get Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but also Oswald the Luck Rabbit, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, some Cartune Classics, and some Swing Symphonies. Each shorts runs approx. 7 minutes. There are a few around 6 and a few just a bit over 8 minutes. There are no chapter stops, which is acceptable here because the episodes are very short. There are 75 total shorts, but 45 of them are Woody Woodpecker (15 on each disc), 10 Classic Cartunes, 5 Swing Symphonies, 5 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, 5 Andy Panda and 5 Chilly Willy shorts. The video is remastered and it looks great! You see some dust and debris here and there, but these are from the '40s, and some cases like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, from the '30s! The audio is decent, nothing too bad about it. Packaging has a nice brown outer box (like a tree, so Woody can peck it) with Woody in the middle with Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, & Wally Wallrus on the front cover...the back cover has information on the set and has some screenshots of the shorts along with a big photo of Woody. A box titled Rare Vintage Bonus Features is also listed on the back of the box. Inside the box is a digipak. The front of the digipak has Woody in the middle surrounded by screenshots but they are just in the background. The phrase Woody is known for, "Guess Who?!!" is also mentioned on the front. The back of the digipak has a nice long story on the great Walter Lantz. There is a photo of him as well, with Woody on his arm. Opening the case once, we get a very nice disc by disc breakdown, which is very colorful and has lots of pictures. Opening the case one last time, we get to the discs. We have four panels. The first panel, all the way to the far left, has a history of the episodes found on each disc for Woody Woodpecker. The next three panels hold each disc. Woody is on the cover of each disc. He is along one disc one, joined by Andy Panda on disc two and Chilly Willy on disc three.
The menu screen has Play All, Cartoon Selection, Bonus, and Languages. The main menu has Woody pecking to start and then we hear Woody's famous laugh. Languages section has us in English only, but subtitles can be added for English, Espanol, and Francais. Bonus Features are on each disc, so they are spread out evenly. Cartoon Selection is where we can choose the classic shorts.
Moving on to the extras. As I mentioned, they are evenly placed on each disc. The extras are all from the vaults and are not new material. Since this is a classic collection, might as well dig stuff up from the archives. Disc one has two classic documentaries: Walter, Woody and the World of Animation (13:46) and Cartoonland Mysteries (10:49). Obviously, if you're buying this set, you're fascinated by classic cartoons, so you will love these. Disc two has behind the scenes bits from Walter Lantz. Six short segments running between 2-5 minutes or so. We have Origin of Woody Woodpecker (Episode 1), Drawing Woody & Andy (Episode 5), Creating the Stories (Episode 6), Animating Woody (Episode 8), Development of Woody (Episode 9), and Directing Animated Cartoons (Episode 10). On the last disc we have a full episode of The Woody Woodpecker Show. It runs 22:51 and is the Halloween episode. It is from 1957-58 I believe when it aired on ABC. It was later revived in 1970 by NBC with more episodes. And in the 80s it was packed together for syndication we saw different themes and stuff in syndication. I remember this one the best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5zwBBFJ63c (I hope we get that on a future set as an extra). I always remember the episodes had a Woody episode, then a Chilly Willy episode, then another Woody episode. WNYW in my area aired the show weekday afternoons in the late 80s/early 90s. I loved it! Anyway, this Halloween episode has b&w bits with Walter Lantz and the episodes are in color of course. The episode sponsor is presented by Kellogs, is intact! The episode also has the only original episode created for this series, titled "Spook-a-Nanny."
I highly do recommend any fan of classic cartoons and Woody Woodpecker to pick-up this set. If you remember the show from local syndication in the late 80s/early 90s, you'll be fascinated by this because these shorts were made for theatrical cartoons and not television. This set covers Wood from 1940-1952. So we still have way more Woody cartoons to cover. Woody changed a bit in appearance from the 40s to the 70s, he looked smaller by the 60s and 70s (he seemed to have looked much younger). Those are the ones I remember the most. So we will see that change in appearance if we get another set. Let's hope we do and we get all of the Woody shorts released. I want all of the Chilly Willy shorts too. Anyway, heh-heh-heh-HEH-heh yourself to clicking and buying this set below, because you'll never 'guess who' will be pecking your way on to your TV screen!
-- Reviewed by Pavan
(5/5 stars)

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Related links:
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The Woody Woodpecker Show TV.com Page


Solomon's Weekly Rant
Saturday, July 21, 2007
"TV Land Confidential is Sloppy"
By Solomon Davis

TV Land still manages to entertain viewers in a sloppy way when introducing new original programming. TV Land's original programming has always been a good idea but the way it's organized takes the fun out of watching the show. TV Land Confidential which had its second season premiere on July 11 (I also watched the second episode of the season on July 18) looked to be a complete and total rush job. It was so obvious from watching the show that it was just thrown together very quickly. What was the big rush in putting the TV Land Confidential together? It would have been more entertaining if TV Land took the time out to focus on certain shows and not several shows at once.
The TV Land Confidential season premiere that featured Oddball TV Characters all of a sudden went from TV show to TV show in a span of 5 minutes. The show never gave viewers a chance to focus on one set of oddball characters because you knew another discussion was starting before you could go to the refrigerator. It reminded me of a 10 cent version of I Love the '70s from VH1 only TV Land's version was a bad imitation. At least VH1 focused on a certain topic, TV Land tried to discuss the history of television in 30 minutes. It would have made more sense to discuss just certain oddball characters like the Sweathogs, Lenny & Squiggy, and Mork from Ork. It would have been a better fit for the 30 minute time frame instead of a mention of every oddball character since a TV set was invented.
It was the same thing on July 18 when viewing TV Land Confidential that focused on TV Finales. Instead of choosing three finales that could have been discussed in full detail, TV Land discussed a TV Finale every 20 seconds. This unorganized mess made my eyes feel like they were on an express TV train speeding to its next destination called 10:30pm (which in this case was the premiere of Back to the Grind...which I have not viewed yet). It's a shame TV Land has the right ideas but just lack the ability to neatly present those us to viewers. Wouldn't it have made more sense for TV Land to EXPAND the length of TV Land Confidential to 60 minutes so that more shows could be mentioned in detail (like Balki) rather than a rush job? Or they could have split them into parts, like Oddball Characters Part 1 and Part 2. There is not one person in the TV Land programming department that can think outside the box. I wonder what year that's going to change? 2014??

Agree or disagree with Solomon? Discuss it here.

DISCLAIMER: Remember, Solomon is not the voice of SitcomsOnline. He is just stating his opinions and does not reflect what SitcomsOnline says or thinks. It is just his 'View' but it is always quite entertaining.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

TV Land August Schedule Includes Month-Long Elvis Salute; Network Notes

As promised, today we will detail you the TV Land August schedule! First, they have altered the post-summer marathon schedule starting July 23. You know, the marathons that started June 4 will run through July 20, every weeknight from 10pm to 4am. Starting July 23 they were supposed to return the regular 10p-4a schedule that was in effect before June 4, but now they have changed that a bit. The Jeffersons will come to 9 & 9:30pm, shifting Sanford & Son up an hour to 10 & 10:30pm. M*A*S*H's 10p-12a block will just be 11 & 11:30pm now. Single episodes of Sanford & Son and Good Times will air approx. 12:05 and 12:35am. Three's Company will move to 1:10am, followed by back to back Cosby Show episodes at 1:45 and 2:20am. Another Good Times is at 2:55 followed by Three's Company at 3:30am. Yet another Sanford & Son will air at 4am followed by All in the Family at 4:30am. M*A*S*H will now air back to back at 5 & 5:30am.
Other changes that week are All in the Family at 7:30am replacing Sanford & Son.
The week of July 30 will see more changes. Keeping the schedule that started July 23, we get these additional changes: On Monday nights at 5am now will be an additional All in the Family followed by The Jeffersons at 5:30am. Fri-Sun starting at 8pm all month long will be Elvis movies. Friday and Saturday nights at 5 & 5:30am will now be I Love Lucy, with Andy Griffith taking that slot on Sunday nights. Talk about confusing! This week also sees changes to weekends, especially Saturdays. Both days from 6-8am have changed...I Love Lucy from 6-7am and Green Acres from 7-8am. I Love Lucy will continue to air weekends from 10am-12pm, but now on Saturdays it will also be 12-1pm, leading into a movie encore block from 1-5pm. Andy Griffith follows at 5 & 5:30pm, followed by Little House at 6 and more Andy from 7-8pm--the same as Mon-Fri. So TV Land Goes West is not on Saturdays anymore. It will still air Sundays.
The week of August 6 is the final changes for awhile. TV Land Goes West will now be Mondays! So, Sundays and Mondays in August. Bonanza will air 8am-12pm on Mondays and Gunsmoke will air 2pm-6pm on Mondays. Other changes starting this week are on Tues-Fri: The Jeffersons at 7:30am, All in the Family at 8:30am, Gunsmoke returns to weekdays at 10am & 4pm, Green Acres at 11am only, Elvis movies every weekday at 12 noon, followed by back to back Beaver from 2-3pm and one Munsters at 3pm.
Holy confusion Batman! I know, so confusing! Click HERE to view the list of changes.

Now that is just the schedule changes...let's move on to the highlights now! TV Land celebrates August with Elvis month, including an all-new TV Land original special: TV Land Myths & Legends: Elvis. This half-hour special coincides with TV Land's month-long salute to Elvis Presley. Thirty years after his death, TV Land takes an in-depth look at some of the most popularly held mysteries about the "King of Rock and Roll" and dissects them to separate fact from fiction. Tons of movies, specials, documentaries, concerts and more are airing. I suggest you view our highlights below for more details.
Millions watched the weekly heart-filled stories of families in need unfold. Now it can be seen on TV Land, reinforcing the gift of giving! Extreme Makeover: Home Edition starts on August 7th, and airs every Tuesday night at 11pm.
Friday movies this month include the premieres of Major League, Honeymoon in Vegas, and 1974's The Longest Yard.
And finally, two originals will wrap up this month with TV Land Confidential and Back to the Grind. Again, click HERE to view the list of changes and the highlights for this action packed month.

The CW is closing the door of new summer drama Hidden Palms a little earlier than thought. Currently airing Wednesdays at 8, with encores Sundays at 8, it will now be doubled-up Wednesdays at 8 & 9pm on June 20 and 27, so it can end its run after the July 4 airing. Ouch, last episode will air on the 4th of July. Who will watch?? The encores on Sundays will be replaced by 7th Heaven repeats, while Reba repeats will take the 7pm hour effective immediately (June 17).
Jericho, CBS's drama about how residents of a small, peaceful, Kansas town band together to survive in the wake of a nuclear explosion, will return to CBS beginning Friday, July 6 at 9:00 PM, ET/PT. Rebroadcasts of episodes from the first season will air in the Friday, 9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT time period for the remainder of the summer.
Jericho, which last week received a seven episode mid-season order following an impassioned display of fan support, will return on July 6 with a rebroadcast of the pilot episode. Watch it now so CBS won't have to cancel it again!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

TV Land Details TV Land Confidential Season 2 and New Series Back to the Grind; TV One Weddings with Amen and Good Times

Today TV Land announced the episode info and details for two new original series coming this July. The second season of the addictive TV Land Confidential and the series Back to the Grind, where classic TV stars actually go work in their classic TV character's profession!
Why was Ray Romano so reluctant to go to Italy to shoot Everybody Loves Raymond? What did Michael Jackson confess to Donny Osmond? What made the dance scenes in Saturday Night Fever so hot? TV Land, the network dedicated to building the ultimate Baby Boomer entertainment brand, answers these questions and reveals the untold stories behind viewers' favorite TV guest stars, finales, blockbuster movies and hit songs when the original series, TV Land Confidential, returns on Wednesday, July 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. This six-episode series, premiering with back-to-back episodes -- "Oddballs" and "Movies" -- airs every Wednesday at 10 p.m. through August 8.
For complete episode descriptions of the second season, click HERE.

What happens when Sherman Hemsley spends the day sweating it out at a real dry cleaning establishment? Can Loni Anderson really hack it as a receptionist at a top radio station? And does the courtroom listen when Harry Anderson starts hitting the gavel? Viewers will find out when TV Land airs Back to the Grind, a new original series premiering Wednesday, July 18 at 10:30 p.m. This half-hour series challenges iconic TV performers to actually work in the jobs their TV characters held on shows like The Jeffersons, Night Court and WKRP in Cincinnati. Other performers featured in the series include Erik Estrada (CHiPs), Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons), Betty White (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Mark Curry (Hangin' With Mr. Cooper), Bea Arthur (The Golden Girls), Ed Begley Jr. (St. Elsewhere) and Jimmie Walker (Good Times).
This sounds good actually, and to learn more about the episodes, click HERE!

June is of course known for lots of things...Father's Day, First Day of Summer, among other things, but it is also a very popular month to get married! TV One celebrates with classic TV weddings from two very popular sitcoms...Amen & Good Times! See classic engagements, weddings, and more on Saturday from 2pm-10pm on TV One with happenings like Thelma finally marrying the Reverend on Amen! See eight episodes each of these two classic sitcoms!

We'll be back tomorrow with TV Land August details and later in the week details on TV One July.

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