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The Hanna-Barbera cartoon format soars to its best-ever! Medalmedalmedal...
on 3 November 2009
Like many people, I remember these stories from my childhood - a comic chaos of cartoon characters flying wacky planes around to "stop that pigeon". Which they never achieve.
On a residential course at a management school, I learnt more from this series (then on in the mornings) about management technique than from the formal lectures - rewarding staff ("medalmedalmedal"), retribution for failure (general's fist bops Dastardly on the head), and not thinking outside the box, trusting instead only in building ever sillier things to achieve team objectives!
What happens is usually genuinely unpredictable and normally hilarious. It's a long time since I laughed so much at a cartoon.
Like the other Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the sixties and seventies, this is very colourful, but quite low on detail, and the lighter areas like character's faces often show blobs. The action happening in the sky avoids "Scooby-Doo just went past that vase for the fifth time" syndrome.
The episodes are at their very best in English - it came as a surprise to learn that only two people did all the voices. Paul Winchell (who was also Fleegle in the Banana Splits and Gargamel in the Smurfs) was Dastardly and the General, and Don "Boo Boo" Messick was *absolutely* everyone else including the Stanley Unwin-type talking Klunk. Nevertheless, you can watch in French or Italian if you like karaoke "Stop that Pigeon" and can live with Klunk talking more normally. Subtitles include Dutch.
As for extras, there is a short piece on how this show was originally conceived without the double-dealing do-badders Dastardly and Muttley, and two complete shows with commentary by the original team.
It's a hoot! Get that DVD! Rootly-toot-de-toot!