Thursday, March 14, 2013

DVD REVIEW! HONG KONG PHOOEY, THE COMPLETE SERIES (Warner Brothers)

Whenever I watch some television creation of the past that I haven't seen in quite some time, my thoughts uncontrollably rush back to the days when I first espied a certain series or perhaps even an episode as the case may be of the program that I am watching. Like whenever I would watch, say,  SUPERCAR, I am naturally reminded of my happy turdler days when I'd be glued in front of the set viewing that airborne auto in awe undoubtedly thinking that by the time the year 2013 rolled around we'd all have one in our garage. I can go on and on about how viewing certain movies even today will remind me of what I was doing and what my state of mind was when they first popped up on the tube, and nary a day goes by without me digging up a whole load of reminiscences that have to do with certain programs and where my head might have been at when I'd watch 'em whether or not I wanted to back during my misguided and waste of time growing up days.

As far as HONG KONG PHOOEY goes well, considering how I pretty much gave up on Saturday AM cartooning by the time this one was being aired in the mid-seventies, I will admit that the only reminiscences that came back to me had to do with opening up a can of tamales for lunch! Y'see, as far as I can recall HONG KONG PHOOEY aired around the lunch hour, and more often than not either this program would be airing while I'd chow down one of many meals that would sustain me throughout the day. I could be wrong because I also remember watching BIG BLUE MARBLE while eating my MSG, and I know that the local station used to quit airing the ABC feed around eleven or so for whatever reasons so maybe I never did watch HONG KONG PHOOEY while gobbling down my late-morning repast and the whole thing is just one massive false memory that's been lodged in my brain!

As far as Saturday Morning mid-seventies television series go, HONG KONG PHOOEY never was anything I'd call "special" even with the talents of such stalwarts as Scatman Crothers and the cringe-inducing Joe E. Ross on voice duty. Then again I never cared for THE HAIR BEAR BUNCH either and Ross was all over that one as the dimwit sidekick who made sitting through yet another Hanna Barbera attempt at hipster relevance at least slightly appealing. It's just that HONG KONG PHOOEY, along with Saturday morning kid television, was heading down the pooper chute into seventies gulcheral nada at this time, even with its "timely" subject matter and less-then-stellar animation which, while as cheaply produced  as the early HUCKLEBERRY HOUND and YOGI BEAR ventures, lacked those titles' style and at least honest attempts to look good despite the financial hazards in producing cartoons for the television market.

And whatever you do, DON'T buy into that "ALL 31 EPISODES" bull spread across the front of the DVD box...I mean, there were 31 HONG KONG PHOOEY stories made, but in actuality there were two episodes to one entire 20+-minute program (the rest of the half-hour being filled with what seemed like the zillionth rerun of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK) and only about sixteen programs made it out en toto. ABC really got their milage outta this 'un rerunning these HONG KONG PHOOEYs over and over for a couple of years, probably boring your typical Saturday AM cartoon kiddie to the point where he'd probably even would have found relief switching over to the other channel to watch Kathryn Kulhman heal some inbred's chancre sores.

Gotta say that the memories I got watchin' this 'un weren't exactly the crowning point of my youth, but then again there weren't that many points to crown back then. Until then I'm gonna keep digging for some old television programs that just might get the few good growing up memories a flowin' once again. But gee, I don't know where in the world to start looking for that NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PRESENTS THE BEST IN TOPLESS TAHITIAN HULA GALS special...now that 'un was truly a highlight of my youthful television viewing days, at least until mom walked into the room!

4 comments:

django said...

If Hong Kong Phooey isn't enough early 70's Hanna Barbera joy for you (and I get the feeling that it'll do for the time being), the Warner Archive has also reissued THE HAIR BEAR BUNCH and YOGI'S GANG in recent months. The ONLY thing I remember about HONG KONG is that Scatman Crothers was in it...

Christopher Stigliano said...

Ah, YOGI'S GANG, that's the one where Yogi and the sixties Hanna Barbara cartoon crown fly around in that hippo's balloon fighting pollution, bigotry and other seventies hoohahs with sanctimonious smirks! I still recall the episode on prejudice where none other than Ranger Smith utters the infamous line "Oh how I hate people who are different than I am!"

django said...

Oh, so they make Ranger Smith the bigoted fall-guy? Sorry to hear that...

Christopher Stigliano said...

I believe that Ranger Smith was under the spell of Billy the Bigot and thus was not responsible for his opinions. Of course everything worked out fine in the end.