Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

A blog dedicated to the making of the first animated Christmas special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magoo on TV DVD boxed set

The demise of DVDs has been forecast for several years now due to streaming but as anyone who’s tried to stream much content through the various services can tell you, the bulk of filmed content can still only be found on DVDs.  Not only that, but some aspects of the DVD market are thriving as companies continue to release material that can’t be found anywhere else.  Tomorrow’s release of Magoo on TV, an 11 disc boxed set is one such item.  Someone at Shout Factory saw an unmet need and decided to fulfill it by releasing Mr. Magoo’s entire television career on one complete boxed set, featuring cool retro-inspired cover art.

A rundown of what’s in the box:

The Mr. Magoo Show-All 130 five minute shorts from the 1960 syndicated series, including the original opens, closes and bumpers.  Commentaries in this set include animation historian Jerry Beck on Beatnik Magoo, Blithering Heights, Magoo and the Beanstalk and Magoo Meets Boing Boing while I add my two cents on Magoo Meets Frankenstein.

The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo-All 26 half hours from the 1964 series, including the original titles and show lead-ins with Mr. Magoo, which have never before been released in their entirety to home video.  For years, the multi-part episodes were cut together as single longer episodes and released as a single unit, much like the Robin Hood episodes were only available as Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest.  Commentaries on this set include Don Morgan, series layout artist, discussing Moby Dick; Bob Singer, series layout artist, discussing Robin Hood; and me discussing William Tell and Doctor Frankenstein.

Uncle Sam Magoo-The 1970 NBC special along with a new 16 minute featurette produced especially for this set, Oh, Magoo, You’ve Done It Again! which discusses TV animation production and includes interviews with layout men Bob Singer and Don Morgan, production head Richard Krown, production coordinator Paul Carlson, animation historian Jerry Beck and me.  There’s also a small gallery of still art and images of Magoo.

What’s New, Mr. Magoo?-All 16 half hours of the awkward 1977 De-Patie Freleng series.

18 page illustrated booklet on Mr. Magoo’s TV career, including the special, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.

And now for the inevitable questions:

Have Benny Rubin’s comic Cholly tracks for The Mr. Magoo Show been restored?  Solly, Cholly, I regret to report that Shout Factory was unable to gain access to the original negatives and had to make due with the 1980s USA Network transfers.  Only about a third of the shorts feature the original Charlie voice.  

Has this material been re-mastered or restored?  No, Shout Factory was only able to use existing transfers.  The expense of re-mastering from the original negative is more than special interest releases like this can afford.

Have Mr.  Magoo’s television commercials been included?  Unfortunately, no.  Most of them are difficult to find, some may even be lost.  There has been no archive kept of any of his commercial work, including the hundreds of GE spots he made over several decades.  Once the material is found, permission must then be obtained from often apathetic corporations for its use.

Why wasn’t Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol included in the set?  Classic Media just released a new Blu-Ray transfer of the classic special last year and preferred not to compete with itself by having it included in this set.

The two highlights of this set for me are the documentary in which some of the last remaining artists from UPA discuss the production of the TV cartoons and the complete, never before released series,The Famous Adventures of Mr.  Magoo.  You can buy it here.
Coming next summer from Shout Factory, a new boxed set featuring the complete series of Mr. Magoo’s theatrical cartoons including the long out of print,1001 Arabian Nights and rare bonus material.

UPDATE! As a promotional giveaway, Shout Factory is offering a boxed set to the first one to correctly answer this question:

There were three credited actresses who provided the female voices for the Famous Adventures series but only one appeared only once.  Who was she and in what episode did she provide the voice? 


Anonymous said...

The Correct answer to the Question Is Henny Backus Jim's wife , she played Noah's wife on the Noah's Ark episode of the Famous Adventures Of Mr. Mago0. The Mago0 Admirer.

Darrell said...

We have a winner! Contest closed.

Anonymous said...

In anticipation of the release of the M.M.Show(by Classic Media)back in 2005 I wrote to them asking if there was anyway I could obtain a copy of the DVD's. To my amazement/delight a nice gentleman there sent me a copy (to"review")months before it was ever officially released.
After watching the DVD's I inquired of my contact as to the reason Cholly(who is in 39 cartoons)has his original voice in only 17 of these. His response was that after diligently searching thru all the existing film elements the other 22 cartoons with Cholly's original voice could not be located.He told me the people working on the release at that time loved classic cartoons and were themselves "very dissapointed" they had to release them that way. DJA

Darrell said...

One would have to go back to the original negatives rather than 30 year old transfers to find the original tracks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Darrell,

You mentioned that Shout Factory was unable to gain access to the original negatives for The Mr. Magoo Show and had to make due with the 1980s USA Network transfers with edited Charlie voice track. Where are the original negatives and/or why can access not be gained? Thanks!

Tim Lones said...

This set would be completely worth it to me, if only for the complete Famous Adventures Series..Also I didnt expect Christmas Carol to be included..Looking forward to getting this..