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With: Don Messick, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Heather North, Nicole Jaffe, Ted Knight, Olan Soule, Larry Storch, Daws Butler, Pat Harrington Jr., Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts, Phyllis Diller, Sandy Duncan, Sonny Bono, Cher, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Scatman Crothers, Johnny Williams, Davy Jones, Jerry Reed, Mel Blanc, Joe Besser, Tim Conway, Don Adams, Mark Hamill, 'Mama' Cass Elliot, Dick Van Dyke (voices)
Written by: Jameson Brewer, Tom Dagenais, Ruth Brooks Flippen, Fred Freiberger, Willie Gilbert, Bill Lutz, Larry Markes, Norman Maurer, Jack Mendelsohn, Ray Parker, Gene Thompson, Paul West, Harry Winkler, etc.
Directed by: Joseph Barbera, William Hanna
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 986
Date: 06/04/2019

The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)

3 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

When I was a kid, there were two things I hoped to see every time I watched TV. I hoped that the current episode of "The Electric Company" would include Spider-Man, and I hoped that Scooby-Doo would run into Batman. I had no idea that there were only two Scooby-Doo episodes in which that happened, and that it was an entirely different series than 1969's Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! That original show lasted only two seasons, and then in 1972, Hanna-Barbera launched a new series, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, with a running time of an hour, and with a special guest star in every episode.

Pioneers in animation, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera had once been at MGM, making their excellent Tom & Jerry cartoons before moving to television and pioneering a way of making cartoons faster and cheaper for the small-screen format. However, on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, they appeared to have cut corners even more — perhaps doing double-time for the longer episodes — and the quality is arguably the shoddiest and cheapest-looking of anything they ever produced. It's hard to get around.

But that doesn't stop these episodes from being an occasional blast. It's difficult to get excited today about 1970s guest stars like Sandy Duncan, Sonny & Cher, or Jerry Reed, and younger viewers probably won't know who most of the others are, but at least the Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, the Harlem Globetrotters, Josie and the Pussycats, and — of course — Batman & Robin, are timeless. And I have a soft spot in my memory for Davy Jones, Don Knotts, Jonathan Winters, Tim Conway, and Dick Van Dyke.

One episode I would love to have seen is called Wednesday Is Missing, guest starring the Addams Family. It's the reason this Blu-ray release is called "(Almost) Complete"; it can't be included because Warner Bros. does not have the rights to release the Addams Family. Hopefully this can be corrected someday. (Meanwhile, it can be found on YouTube.)

Warner Home Video has released 23 episodes (from two seasons) in a two-disc Blu-ray set, with three bonus features: "The Hanna-Barbera Kennel Club Roasts Scooby-Doo," "Uptown with Scooby-Doo and the Harlem Globetrotters," and "Girls Rock!" This set will retail for $59.99. Warner has also released a two-disc DVD set called "The Best of the New Scooby-Doo: The Lost Episodes," a misleading title; it contains eight of the 23 aforementioned episodes for $29.98. (It doesn't contain the Addams Family episode, nor does it contain either of the two Batman episodes.)

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