Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Roger Ramjet - Hero of Our Nation |
Deluxe Collector's Edition
Actor: Roger Ramjet
Genres: Kids & Family, Television, Animation
For the first time ever, 120 of the greatest Roger Ramjet cartoons ever are collected on DVD. It's all here: Roger Ramjet and His American Eagle Squad - Yank, Doodle, Dan, and Dee -- taking orders from the Pentagon's Ge... more »
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LEAPIN' LOMPOC! ROGER RAMJET FLIES AGAIN!
Jonathan Cohen | Brookline, MA United States | 04/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Roger Ramjet" just might have been the quirkiest cartoon of the '60s. A homegrown Hollywood product, created and executed by UPA artist Fred Crippen and a gaggle of top L.A. comedy writers and radio pros, this is truly a 'toon like no other. Where else could you find the simplest sort of animation, an old-time radio feel, soap-opera organ music, and some clever MAD magazine-level scripts? Roger, that "All-American Good Guy and Devil-May-Care Flying Fool", is a scatterbrained superhero who's put into all kinds of places: period movie/TV landmarks (the Blunderosa Ranch), outer-space places (a space ship that steals beauty queens), a tennis match against a kangaroo ("Pancho Pouch")...you get the idea. I know I'd have loved this back in the day, but I don't believe it even aired here in New England.
It's never too late to discover a lost cartoon, however, and "Roger Ramjet"- whose likably-crude animation, cleaned up nicely here, made the work of Hanna-Barbera and Jay Ward look like Looney Tunes technicolor (check out the misspelled dialogue cards!)- is very enjoyable primarily due to the writing, all of which was done by a prolific comedy writer and L.A. kiddie-show host named Gene Moss, and one of the best groups of voice talent I've ever heard in the medium. First among them, of course, is one of my lifelong idols, the incomparable Gary Owens. In the mid-'60s, Gary was just making his name as a very witty drive-time deejay on local radio. His million-dollar voice and patented delivery of silly sayings with same really makes it. So does Dave Ketchum, a real sitcom warhorse with acting and writing credits longer than your arm, who took the stentorian narrator role in the tradition of "Bullwinkle"'s William Conrad and tweaked it with little winks and nods that showed he was having a great time pulling kids' legs. Gary and Dave are joined by Moss himself (as mini-mobster Noodles Romanoff), Bob Arbogast(an unsung comedy hero who created the "Question Man"/"Carnac" skits) and several others to give "Ramjet" an uncanny radio comedy sketch tone that not only would have been at home on many period AM stations, but gave these sometimes-dumb episodes a surprisingly classy feel. These were some of the best yuk-meisters in Hollywood cutting up after hours for kids of all ages.
An impressive 120 episodes (out of 156) appear on these CDs. There are no extras whatsoever, unless you count the little foam glider inside (talk about an el-cheapo bonus!) The episodes are listed by title only, and there's no way you can skip over the "Yankee Doodle"-style theme song which opened and closed each one. Fortunately, the menus- all rendered in old-time movie title-card form- neatly split the shows up into six or seven-episode clusters.
And what of Lompoc? That real-life town in central California was Roger's home base, along with his sidekick kids, the American Eagles. The kids are appealing side characters- Yank, Doodle, Dan and Dee (get it?) And, once every three episodes or so, you might catch not only some lame puns or non-PC guests (Beef and Chicken Enchilada, anyone?), but some great name-drops (Vera Hruba Ralston, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, even Rusty Warren). Like I said, these guys were pros who wrote for everyone from Bob Hope to Carol Burnett in non-'toon life.
If you're a fan of old-time radio comedy, classic TV variety/comic skits, or vintage MAD-level satire, "Roger Ramjet" is truly a lost find. Anyone who could slip the name "Rusty Warren"- a sassy singing comedienne (and classically-trained pianist) who was anything but kid stuff in the '60s- into a cartoon is OK by me. The lack of extras and bare-bones look keep this from getting a higher rating, but- OK, I'll admit it. I love Gary Owens. So ends this belated review of these 100-plus insegrevious episodes and adventures of "Roger Ramjet and the American Eagles!" (Cue Roger stumbling over a bucket)."
Missing a few titles, but Roger still rules
joseph Corey | Raleigh, NC United States | 10/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So from what I've been able to figure out of the 156 Roger Ramjet cartoons, 120 are featured on this set, 30 of them are on the Image collection of 2 DVDs and the remaining 6 are either lost or too damaged to put out. Judging from the quality of some of these shorts, i buy that story. This is not to be confused with the restoration job done on the Looney Tunes.
I really get a kick out of these cartoons. Gary Owens has the perfect voice for the pill popping Patriot. And I enjoy seeing the various ways they cut corners to make the limited animation work.
The only bad thing is that unlike Image, the Wonder folks didn't come up with a way to play all without the theme song. So we're talking 240 plays of the Roger Ramjet theme in a complete viewing. Kinda frightening to think I have 150 of these adventures on my shelf."
A long-forgotten TV animation gem
Christopher Barat | Owings Mills, MD USA | 06/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm delighted to see this extremely funny show from the mid-60s back in circulation again. It's very much in the vein of the Jay Ward shows (topical references, limited [not to say sloppy] animation, mock-dramatic voice work), but I happen to think that it's even better than most of those. The fact that each cartoon is a self-contained entity imposed a certain amount of discipline on the creators, and they responded by packing as many gags as possible into each and every square inch of footage. Roger's constant use of the Proton Energy Pill to augment his physical abilities (while, it must be admitted, not improving his limited mental processes one iota) is, of course, the reason this show fell out of favor with syndicators and children's show producers not long after it was originally released in 1965, but to condemn the show for somehow promoting drug use is to preach the same sermon that has rendered so many modern "children's TV spokespeople" ridiculous. You might as well condemn The Powerpuff Girls for encouraging kids to search for a "Chemical X" that will turn them into preschool superheroes. Parents could always explain to their kids that it's just a cartoon (and, for good measure, keep the pills in the medicine cabinet out of children's reach). The pill-taking and villain-bopping was always the least interesting thing about the show, anyway (well, that and the relentlessly chipper theme song). I'd rather dwell on the droll use of Yiddish phrases, the frequent references to old-time TV and radio series, and the heroically silly figure of Roger himself.
The packaging is cute and amusing, but the set has absolutely no behind-the-scenes material or commentaries, and mine was unaccountably missing the promised "Official Log Book" and "Roger Ramjet foam glider" (personally, I hold Noodles Romanoff and his band of No-Goods responsible). Also, be aware that the set does not contain all the episodes. You may have to obtain the missing eps from other sources."
THE FUNNIEST TV CARTOON OF ALL!
Mel Smetko | US, Eh? | 03/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you were to ask me (in fact, some HAVE...YOU might) what I thought was the funniest made-for-TV cartoon, you might expect...oh...a Jay Ward thing...early H-B...Beany & Cecil? All fair guesses, but as much as I LOVE those cartoons, they would not be my answer.
ROGER RAMJET would be. I really love it. It makes me--minimally---grin real big, AND (at least ONCE per episode) LAUGH OUT LOUD. I almost NEVER laugh out loud at ANYTHING.
The characterisations are great, the voice acting is really great, and the writing overall is unbelievably great.
It's been on a coupla DVD releases, but last night I bought the Deluxe Set. If you like funny cartoons, you should too.