Swing into action with Jay Ward?s last-produced, classic series, George of the Jungle! Join dim-witted, but big-hearted George as he saves his jungle friends with the help of wife, Ursula, his friend Ape and his "dog", She... more »p the elephant. All 17 shows are complete with episodes of Tom Slick, the coolest racecar driver this side of Frostbite Falls, and Super Chicken, who?s always there to save the day when fowl play?s afoot! It?s a jungle of fun with a cartoon series kids and adults can enjoy!« less
"Looking for a fun DVD set for your kids? You can't do much better than this one. You get a lot of video (17 22-minute programs), all of it filled with the same decidedly offbeat, narrated storytelling style creator Jay Ward made famous in his earlier "Rocky & Bullwinkle" programs. Though "George of the Jungle" doesn't have the sly adult themes of Bullwinkle, it still has plenty of appeal, to kids as well as parents.
My 13-year-old daughter offers this review: "Silly. And 4 and a half out of five stars."
Of the show's three cartoon series ("George of the Jungle," "Tom Slick" and "Super Chicken"), my personal favorite is "Super Chicken." Its far-fetched premise suits Ward's dry sense of humor to a tee. I've read where some parents fear Super Chicken because they think the lead character's continual need for "super sauce" may be a hidden drug reference. Maybe it is, but I can't imagine today's kids being influenced by it. In fact, the whole '60s sense of humor is what makes these shows so funny in the first place. Many of the throwaway lines are simply gems. "The pearl went back to the museum," explains the narrator after a villainous mollusk is captured, "and the oyster went to jail to serve every month with an 'R' in it for the next 30 years."
The show originally aired in 1967 and 1968 on ABC.
As far as these two DVDs go, they're pretty much just what you'd expect. The video is a little fuzzy but it's not bad unless you've got a really large-screen television. For each episode you can either Play All three cartoons, or cherry-pick them out individually. A great plus: There's only one commercial to sit through, a short promo for the new "George of the Jungle" series on the Cartoon Network.
Disc 2 has two neat bonus features -- the pilot cartoons of both "George of the Jungle" and "Super Chicken." The "George" pilot lacks the familiar theme song, but includes a caricature of, of all people, Humphrey Bogart as an elephant hunter. The "Super Chicken" pilot has even more Superman-style premise and, though plenty watchable, is not quite up to par to its later shows. Both pilots, by the way, look tremendous, with brilliant color and crisp definition.
The only two things not to like on the DVD set: There are no subtitles (I am not hard of hearing but I love watching television with subtitles on), and as you start each episode, the "George of Jungle" theme plays twice in a row. You see, and hear, it once as a 60-second show open, and then immediately again as a 30-second introduction to the first cartoon. The theme song is one of the catchiest ever, but hearing it twice in a row every time you play an episode gets old.
After watching these old shows I noticed one of my favorite things about them was their character voices. They're so familiar! George, Tom Slick and Super Chicken are voiced by Bill Scott, best known as the voice of Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and Mr. Peabody. Tom Slick's girlfriend Marigold (and nearly every other female) is June Foray, the voice of Rocky and Nell Fenwick. Best of all are the contributions of Paul Frees. In the world I run in (note my byline) Frees is best known as the Ghost Host at Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion, but he also supplied the voice to hundreds of television characters, including the Pillsbury Doughboy. Here he provides, among other things, a dead-on impression of Ed Wynn (the Mad Hatter in Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" and Uncle Albert in "Mary Poppins") for the character of Super Chicken's lion sidekick Fred. Frees did the same voice for Captain Peachfuzz of "Rocky & Bullwinkle" fame."
Howie | Arkansas | 12/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"More than 6 hours of classic "George of the Jungle", "Super Chicken", and "Tom Slick" cartoons plus the never-before-seen pilot episodes of both "George of the Jungle" and "Super Chicken"!
Running for 17 episodes, George of the Jungle was a spoof of the Tarzan story. A "show" consisted of three unrelated cartoons, each running about six minutes. They are "George of the Jungle", "Tom Slick", and "Super Chicken".
"George of the Jungle" Life in the Imgwee Gwee valley is not easy for George (voiced by Bill Scott). He doesn't quite understand his mate Ursula (voiced by June Foray), "that funny-lookin' fella who never shaves". His best friend is an ape named Ape (voiced by Paul Frees) who sounds Oxford educated, and then there's Shep, George's pet elephant who behaves like a lap dog. Also lots of trees...
"Tom Slick" Tom Slick is a clean-living, stalwart hero type (voiced by Bill Scott). Scott also did the voice of Gertie Growler (his only female role), the mother of Marigold, Tom's girlfriend (voiced by June Foray). The villain, Baron Otto Matic, and the Baron's henchman, Clutcher (voiced by Paul Frees) are the bane of Tom's existence. Tom's vehicle, The Thunderbolt Greaseslapper, is an incredibly versatile machine that can be modified into a car, motorboat, airplane, hot air balloon or whatever Tom and Otto are racing. As Tom would often say: "There's no such word as failure in auto racing, Marigold."
"Super Chicken" Mild mannered millionaire Henry Cabot Henhouse III (voiced by Bill Scott) undergoes a transformation to the super-powered fighting fowl whenever he drinks his "Super Sauce". This substance is prepared by his valet, Fred, a lion (voiced by Paul Frees), and is generally drank from a martini glass. As Super Chicken he flies around in his "Super Coop", combatting evil, assisted by the non-super, somewhat cowardly Fred who is constantly reminded by his employer, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred!"
Watch out for that tree!!"
Watch out for that tree!
Gord Wilson | Bellingham, WA USA | 02/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At last, here are all seventeen shows of George of the Jungle. The box says 17 episodes, but that's misleading, because you really get the full half hour shows with supporting segments Tom Slick and Super Chicken. The bonus features are pilot episodes of George and Super Chicken, which show how both shows were later enhanced by their unfogettable theme songs. "Box" is misleading also; the cover opens like a book, with a disc on each side, and an insert with brief info on the shows. Classic Media is now part of Entertainment Rights Group, which has released some Filmation shows. This same simple, attractive packaging was used for Felix the Cat Golden Anniversary Edition, but the George set costs half as much.
The first disc starts with an ad for the new, and very different looking George cartoon running on Cartoon Network. The theme in that version is slightly changed, from "Fellah and Ursula stay in step" to "Maggie and Ursula", probably because in the original George calls Ursula "fellah" and also calls his elephant "Shep", thinking him a doggie. In the pilot, "Fellah's" real name is Jane.
As most fans know, George of the Jungle, which aired in 1967, was the brainstorm of Jay Ward Productions, creators of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Hoppity Hooper, and Fractured Flickers, not to mention commercials for Cap'n Crunch, Quisp, and Quake. The stellar voice cast features Bill Scott, Paul Frees, Daws Butler, and June Foray. One reviewer made a valid point that Classic Media ought to include captioning for deaf viewers. Other than that, unlike so many recent cartoon releases, this one is all good. The menu allows you to play one half hour show or a segment (George, Tom or Super Chicken) at a time. At such a great price, it's a great chance to introduce your kids to, and revisit yourself, a great '60s cartoon."
"All 17 shows are included, including the Superchicken story, "The Laundryman", which featured a Chinese stereotype as a villain. I'd feared that this would have been excised from the collection, and I'm glad they didn't, as it's one of the funniest episodes in the series.
For those who are anal-retentive completists (hi, nice to meet you), you'll notice that the 5-10 second interstitials they played between each cartoon are missing. Often, they consisted of one character introducing another character's segment on the show. Those who bought the "George of the Jungle" videotapes from Fox back in the 1990's will remember these. Why they didn't make it to DVD, I wish I knew.
The big bonuses in this set are the original George and Superchicken pilots. They're VERY worthwhile, though the DVD's producers saw fit to monkey with these. First, there's some inauthentic music clipped onto the end of both pilots. I think they borrowed some music from Jay Ward's "Fractured Flickers" series and pasted it in these pilots to make them appear more polished. Second, there are some wipe transitions in the first minute of the George pilot, where a swinging George character does the wipe. That is very unlikely, given that this is a very sophisticated technique to use in a 1960's pilot which was never meant to be seen by the public. The DVD producers did some similar edits to the audio of the Bullwinkle DVD's, and I ***REALLY*** wish they would just leave the source material alone for future releases.
Here's hoping that we won't have to wait much longer for Jay Ward's other animated series, Hoppity Hooper, to come out on DVD."
CAN IT BE?....AT LONG LAST THE WHOLE THING
N. N Wahlert | seattle, wa United States | 02/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Can it really be? ....One of the most unique comedy OR cartoon series ever, in its entirety, uncensored, finally available on the medium of choice?! Part of me's almost still in denial of it, I swear.
This is the series which I came back to again and again as a gradeschooler; the swift tangles of dialogue I forever longed to unravel, not to mention the frenetic pacing, inventive storylines and the most offbeat trilogy of animaniacs ever to hit the boob-tube: George, Super Chicken and Tom Slick.
Series producer-writer Bill Scott (who additionally VOICED this trio) said that he and co-producer Jay Ward took enormous pride in having rendered subversive an entire generation. And, when inquired why his studio would never get another network show after this '67 effort, Ward answered, "CBS doesn't like us; ABC hates us; NBC despises us."
A true shame, for whenever voice artists Scott, Daws Butler, Paul Frees and June Foray got together at a microphone, the results were inevitably comedy gold. Happily, their work graced every Quaker Oats cereal commercial of the late 60s and 70s.
After four decades, it's still not difficult to see why the commercial networks didn't want such an apparently intelligent cartoon--its dialogue occasionally filled with double entendre (indeed, there was even something raunchy with the way George rippled his pecs at the beginning of every episode). The scripts even seemed to dare the viewers to gasp or groan at the numerous puns it got away with. In fact, in episode #11, in which George and Ape set out to rescue the missing Dr. Alfred Spritzer--who practiced in the small village of You-Wanna-Buy-A--Ape grins in embarrassment when referring to the missing surgeon as "the You-Wanna-Buy-A doc"!
But again: the real miracle is that myself & so many others can finally watch this underrated series completely at will....no sticking around for special revivals (apparently, it became an immediate success and a cult classic in syndication, but from my neck of the woods, there were no such rebroadcasts, apart from a selection of only the "George" episodes and not the Super Chickens or Tom Slicks). There were VERY brief revivals on Fox & ABC in the 90s, but if you so much as blinked you missed them. MY only outlet in those days was across-the-map tape swapping. And that was for only 4 episodes.
Tom Slick's been virtually a lost series these last few decades; Super Chicken's been fortunate enough to have half his episodes on YouTube.
Some miscellaneous trivia connected with this series' original run on ABC: after 1968, some network affiliates mysteriously deleted the George cartoon from Episode #14, as well as the Super Chicken from Episode #2, never repeating them again. But the MOST outrageous piece of censorship occurred when certain rural states like Colorado and Wyoming BANNED the Super Chicken cartoon from Episode #3--where the hero battles the villain Wild Ralph Hiccup (a John Wayne lookalike and soundalike). Some in these states found distasteful the whole idea of John Wayne being depicted as a villain, so it TOO was deleted in its original network run!
Be sure to look for the caricature of Jay Ward as the title villain in the Tom Slick from Episode #9, "The Sneaky Shiek"; and also the caricature of Bill Scott as the "simple country witch doctor" in the George cartoons from Episodes #1 and #12 (Scott also voices THIS character).
Also, the 30-second intro which started every George cartoon in syndication, wasn't actually used in episodes #2 to #9 (though it was in the others).
The only (minor) complaints I have with this 2-DVD set is that the three 15-second trailers in the original series trumpeting the scenes from "next week's episode" could EASILY have been included here (AND the two still pictures preceding each program, advertising it "IN COLOR"....yes, folks, it was still a novelty & status symbol in those days). Also, watch out for discs with (very minor) picture-jump. 'Twould be nice if it had captioning, too. "