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- Published on Amazon.com
The episodes always began in the same fashion: On a stormy night, a disembodied voice welcomes us to an obviously haunted yet strangely colorful castle called Horrible Hall. A vampire bat flies across a full moon and attempts to enter a window, which inexplicably moves, causing the bat to crash into the stone wall, revert to vampire form, and fall to the ground. The vampire looks at the viewer and gripes, "This place is driving me BATTY!"
The vampire, of course, was Count Drac, one of the hosts of Filmation's GROOVIE GOOLIES, a 1970's favorite which is the latest new release under BCI's Ink & Paint brand. This cartoon, a spin-off of the then-popular THE ARCHIE SHOW and originally paired with the adventures of SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH, is a long-awaited release that has finally come to DVD in a package featuring the complete series on 3 discs.
An exponent of the classic Universal Monsters craze that began in the 1960's (and was still going strong in the '70's), GROOVIE GOOLIES was a gang of friendly, rock-and-roll-playing monsters whose adventures acted as a sort of monsterized kids' version of ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN, following almost the same format right down to the wall of windows (here christened "Weird Window Time") where the characters told jokes and one-liners. In addition to Drac, the other Goolies were Frankie (the friendly, sweetly goofy Frankenstein's Monster), Wolfie (a hip, surfing, hot-rod-driving, practical-joking Werewolf), Mummy, Boneapart (a skeleton who fell apart as often as not), the sexy Vampira-inspired Bella LaGhostley, wacky witch-cook Hagatha, and a host of others. Sabrina makes appearances as well, along with some of the other characters from her show (which deserves its own release as a companion to this set, as the Goolies originated on SABRINA). The pacing of each episode is frenetic, which helps with some of the humor; many of the jokes are enormously corny, but the delivery and speed with which they are told makes them funny, and the character voices are top-notch talent, featuring Howard Morris and Larry Storch doing most of the characters.
Each episode also featured fun, cute and funky soft-rock songs that were usually somehow related to the show (two per episode), and the Goolies actually scored a Top Ten hit during the '70's with "Chick-A-Boom," which is also here. The episodes have been well restored, with vibrant color, and the artwork, which Filmation has usually excelled at, really stands out.
Extras include commentary for two episodes, featuring Lou Schemier (head of Filmation during its run),historian Darrel McNeil, monster expert Bob Burns and GOOLIES head writer Jack Mendelsohn, hosted by voice-over artist Wally Wingert. Wingert also appears as one of the stars of a "docu-comedy" called GOOLIANS, which combines documentary material with a sitcom format. In this feature (which runs almost like a GOOLIES episode) Wingert and fellow Goolian Daniel Roebuck (of LOST), both self-confessed monster freaks, are sent on a mission to gather information about the Groovie Goolies to cure their classic monster fixation. From my point of view, there isn't anything wrong with a classic monster fixation, but along the way we hear from Mendelsohn, Schemier, Alice Cooper (who originated the monsters/rock music connection), Ron Chaney (grandson of Lon Jr.), Forrest J. Ackerman (ex-FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND publisher) and more, so maybe it's a good thing.
If you're looking for a way to introduce your kids to the idea that sometimes scary can be fun, grab this set; it's a great Halloween treat and a wonderful return visit from some old fiends. To quote Frankie, "We NEEDED that!"