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There's no need to fear; Underdog is here
Gord Wilson | Bellingham, WA USA | 09/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm convinced there's a patron saint for fools and animators," says Underdog creator Joe Harris in the bonus feature interview on disc one ( Perils of Sweet Polly), also available separately, as are the other two discs in the Ultimate Collection. What surprised me in the interview was Joe holding up a copy of Animato!, a late, great animation magazine I used to write for, and of which the publisher sent me a signed copy of Joe's wonderful Underdog cover. This interview is the number one reason to get this set, but there are plenty more.
Underdog hit the airwaves in 1964 with humble and lovable Shoeshine Boy, AKA Underdog, voiced by kid favorite "Mr. Peepers", Wally Cox. This box set includes three discs, each with six two-part Underdog episodes (three story arcs) and about ten supporting cartoons drawn from various incarnations of King Leonardo and His Short Subjects and Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. Those include The Hunter, Klondike Kat, Tooter Turtle, the King and Odie, Tennessee and Chumley, and Commander McBragg. The favorite was probably Go Go Gophers, voiced by NY kids' TV host Sandy Becker, and which spun off as its own show in 1968. These supporting cartoons include titles, but not their original theme music. Although these shows came from Total Television, the whimsical, stylized look was so similar to the Jay Ward shows, both inspired by the modern UPA cartoon style, that reviewers often confuse them with such Ward characters as Rocky and Bullwinkle, Hoppity Hooper, and George of the Jungle. They were known as "cliff-hanger" cartoons because they drop off at the end, so that each Underdog story runs for two two-part episodes (four parts).
The only thing slightly annoying about this set is that the discs open with ads for the Harveytoons Collection and a new CGI Casper movie, Casper's Scare School. The amazing thing, however, is how good the Harvey 'toons from Famous Studios look, and the Casper film, unlike many CGI direct to DVD films, seems to be reaching for the high standard of the Pixar- raised bar. This set comes through Classic Media, now part of Entertainment Rights (although Classic has a lot better logo) and is released through Genius Entertainment. The opening Underdog theme is also the abbreviated one used for syndication. Disc two, however, includes a bonus feature Underdog sing-a-long.
A previous three DVD Underdog set, also released as three individual discs, appeared in 2002 from Classic Media through Golden Books and Sony Wonder. The three discs were called Collector's Edition, The Underdog Chronicles, and Underdog Nemesis, and collected cartoons previously released on VHS. The surprising thing is that these are not the same 'toons as on the Ultimate Collection. Joe Harris says there were 124 segments of Underdog made, meaning 62 episodes. 18 episodes down in this set leaves, amazingly, 44 episodes to go. there's reason to hope they will all be forthcoming, as the new logo for Underdog on this set ties in with the live-action Underdog movie. All in all, this set is a great deal, with 18 Underdog two- part episodes and about 30 other cartoons, not to mention numerous extras and great packaging.
The Underdog cartoons in this set include:
Volume One, Perils of Sweet Polly: the Big Dipper, The Gold Bricks, Fearo the Ferocious
Volume Two, Simon Says Melt: the Great Gold Robbery, The Big Shrink, The Marbleheads
Volume Three, Riff Raff's Greatest Hits: Weathering the Storm, Riffraffville, Round and Round."
UNDERDOG: The Ultimate Letdown
William G. Tyler | Washington, DC USA | 05/07/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The box reads UNDERDOG: The Ultimate Collection which led me to believe that it would be the complete series. When Underdog originally aired there were 62 episodes each containing 4 to 5 segments each.
This "Untimate Collection" contains the following segments but not in chronological order,
* Underdog #12 (The Great Gold Robbery/Part 1)
* Underdog #13 (The Great Gold Robbery/Part 2)
* Underdog #14 (The Great Gold Robbery/Part 3)
* Underdog #15 (The Great Gold Robbery/Part 4)
* Underdog #16 (Fearo/Part 1)
* Underdog #17 (Fearo/Part 2)
* Underdog #18 (Fearo/Part 3)
* Underdog #19 (Fearo/Part 4)
* Underdog #20 (The Big Shrink/Part 1) (not Shrinking Water)
* Underdog #21 (The Big Shrink/Part 2)
* Underdog #22 (The Big Shrink/Part 3)
* Underdog #23 (The Big Shrink/Part 4)
* Underdog #37 (Weathering The Storm/Part 1)
* Underdog #38 (Weathering The Storm/Part 2)
* Underdog #39 (Weathering The Storm/Part 1)
* Underdog #40 (Weathering The Storm/Part 2)
* Underdog #41 (The Gold Bricks/Part 1)
* Underdog #42 (The Gold Bricks/Part 2)
* Underdog #43 (The Gold Bricks/Part 3)
* Underdog #44 (The Gold Bricks/Part 4)
* Underdog #81 (Riffraffville/Part 1)
* Underdog #82 (Riffraffville/Part 2)
* Underdog #83 (Riffraffville/Part 3)
* Underdog #84 (Riffraffville/Part 4)
* Underdog #93 (The Big Dipper/Part 1)
* Underdog #94 (The Big Dipper/Part 2)
* Underdog #95 (The Big Dipper/Part 3)
* Underdog #96 (The Big Dipper/Part 4)
* Underdog #101 (The Marble Heads/Part 1)
* Underdog #102 (The Marble Heads/Part 2)
* Underdog #103 (The Marble Heads/Part 3)
* Underdog #104 (The Marble Heads/Part 4)
* Underdog #109 (Round And Round//Part 1)
* Underdog #110 (Round And Round//Part 2)
* Underdog #111 (Round And Round//Part 3)
* Underdog #111 (Round And Round//Part 4)
Which seems like a lot but there are still 88 missing Underdog segments from the original series not counting the filler with other characters such as Cauliflower Cabby, Commander McBragg, Gene Hattree, Go Go Gophers, Klondike Kat, Tennessee Tuxedo, and the Sing-A-Long Family."
Lawrence Ore | Pleasant Hill, Missouri United States | 11/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Do you want your children to view television programs you enjoyed as a child? If so, and Underdog was one of your treasured memories, this three DVD-set will introduce your kids to the joy of Underdog.
Is it chronological? I don't know. Is it exactly in the original format with the exact in-between cartoons? I don't know. It does have Tennessee Tuxedo, Go-Go Gophers, and Klondike Cat along with others I don't recall.
If you do purchase this set, please take the time to set down with your children and share in the experience of watching your children watch a good, clean, all-American superhero cartoon: Underdog!"
Underdog is awesome
Steven Bolinger | Lansing, Michigan USA | 03/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a cartoon collection that takes you back to when cartoons for kids
were worth watching. The shorts and the main episodes are entertaining,yet
you get positive behavior and moral reinforcement. Love that Underdog."