On Sunday April 16th, around 2:00 pm, I started what will be a very long project. I am going to watch all the DVD’s in my collection in alphabetical order. Right now I have 248 DVDs in my collection and it’s growing all the time. Though what exactly is 248?
A lot of these are not single movies, there are a lot of TV shows and box sets among them. Some of these (let’s take “1776” for example) are single movies on a single disk, each season of Seinfeld counts as 1 DVD but consists of 4 disks each, wings is the whole series X disks long, each “Lord of the Rings” is a single movie but spread over 2 disks with another 2 disks of bonus material. My 200 classic cartoons (the first DVD on the list – see below) has 4 disks but each disk is close to 5 hours long, while the standard max run time is closer to half that. In total there are actually 487 disks in the DVD collection. The full amount of time they represent I’m not even going to try and calculate, though I can estimate. Assuming that each disk is on average 2.5 hours long (taking into account the very long play DVDs from bargain box sets and double sided disks) then the total collection would be about 1200 hours or 50 days straight of video.
What will not be watched – As I make my way through this collection I will not (in most cases) watch any movie that I have not already watched. The general idea behind this project is to keep these videos on in the background, if it’s a movie that I haven’t seen before I like to give it my full attention, but unfortunately I have other things to do (writing, video games, audiobooks, vinyl, etc.) so I can’t give it my full attention. I am going to make an acceptation with the TV shows, as most of them are sitcoms or cartoons and are generally meant to be played in the background anyways. Also like in Lord of the Rings (and other movies) I won’t be watching much or any of the bonus material, regardless if they are on the same disk or another. I will be noting the DVDs that are skipped and why when they come up. Most will be for reasons relating to what has been mentioned above, but not all.
This Episode will be shorter than the others I expect, I’m only introducing the project and covering the first 2 DVDs that fall in the numeric category of the alpha list. So without further adu, let’s jump into it.
200 classic cartoons – this is one of those awesome mill creek DVDs, 4 disks, some 20 hours or so of cartoons, for 5$. I got it back in the winter of 2013, and it took me quite a while to get through it. There’s some great stuff on here if you’re a fan of old toons.
The first disk is Popeye and Betty Boop (improperly labeled on the back of the box as having Betty Boop first). Several of the Popeyes were on my VHS 4 pack that I watched the hell out of back in the winter of 97 (I think) like “Privet eye Popeye” and “Shuteye Popeye” and there’s some good ones I’ve never seen before like the two Arabian Nights themed Popeyes, and a Popeye sing along, there’s even several black and white Popeye episodes to, always good to see.
Speaking of black and white up next we have Betty Boop (of which I only had a very limited exposure to before this DVD). I find her to be a provocative symbol of femininity even some 90 years later. Interesting to note that in the 20’s, she was usually seen in her short dress with garter, but in later 30’s era toons, thanks to the Haze Code, she is scene much more dressed with fully buttoned collared pantsuits and such. There are two particularly good cartoons that stand out among the rest (though they’re all pretty good). “Judge for a Day” in which Betty describes in verse the way she would ironically torture the people who bother her on a daily bases, such as chaining a man into a bathtub of ice water. This toon also strikes me as funny the way she leaves here houses singing, I can only imagine what the image of an adult woman walking down the street singing a completely made up song would look like. The other one is “Pudgy Picks a Fight” in which Betty’s cute puppy thinks he kills a fox that is actually a Fox fur, it’s darkly funny kind of like the near end sequence of the famous Looney Tune “Feed the Kitty”.
Disk 2 has an assortment of several toons from several series. Most notably the 14 new Three Stooges toons (which I have a VHS of from probably 91), and I may be the only person to say this but I actually like the toons more than the live action stooges shorts, not by too much though I like them both, but seeing cartoons hit each other seems funnier than live people doing it, I don’t know. The DVD is missing the mummy episode, which is a problem because it shows a short clip from it in the slideshow in the menu screen.
Another stand out portion of this Disk is the Mr. Piper cartoons. A very short lived Canadian children’s show hosted by Alan Crofoot, a large tenor opera singer who plays the titular Mr. Piper, his story is a sad one, and the full show is not shown on the DVD, just the theme song, introduction and cartoons. The cartoons are poorly animated and that’s being generous, and they are supposedly based on fairytales, but the only one I even recognize is the 40 Thieves toon. Peter and the Horn is a good one with its very strange convoluted story, almost fractured fairytales in nature (we’ll get to then much much later).
There are 3 Casper episodes on the disk, the first (both on the disk and historically) “There’s Good Boos Tonight” is notoriously sad and I’ll never watch again, but the “Casper and the Moon Men” I like a lot, check it out.
The last 3 toon’s in the disk are from “Mr. Bang, the Skipper and Katrinka” they are new to me from this disk each one involves the three titular characters: the skipper a kind hearted Bumbling old man (w/ corncob pipe), Katrinka his large Eastern European transplant wife, and Mr. Bang an overstressed business man with a short fuse. The skipper runs a trolley and I really like how he refers to the electric company as “dang blasted privateers” classic cartoon cursing.
Disk 3 and 4 unfortunately do not work, they’ve worked in the past, I don’t know why they don’t here. For now I’m watching these on my PS2, and there have been a few DVDs that it won’t read. I plan on getting another real DVD player and moving the PS2 to the den at some point, and I can finish the DVDs at the very end of this project in the “leftovers” post, 2 maybe 3 years from now. But I have a lot of others to get through before that.
1776 – This is my all-time favorite musical and one of my all-time favorite movies. I’m not a huge fan of musicals in general, I don’t have anything against them, but they aren’t something I’m really drawn to either. If you don’t know, the movie is a musical telling of the birth and signing of the Declaration of Independence. If the audio commentary can be believed (which I’ve watched before, but not this time around) it’s extremely accurate. I’ve seen this movie many times, renting it from blockbuster on VHS (how dated of a statement is that?) when I was maybe 10 years old and really really into American history. My interests in both America and History have waned considerably over the recent years, but my feelings for this movie have not. I paid full price (almost 30$) when it first came out on DVD (the restored directors cut) when I saw it on a field trip in high school, when I got home I watched it many times in a row after that. I still watch this movie every Fourth of July, and I’ll be doing so again, gladly in almost exactly 2 months-time (from the day of writing this post). The movie is both funny and serious, with a very heavy (though understandably not surprising) ending. As most people know, there is subtle cross platform reference from this movie to a TV show I watched growing up. The main character of the movie is John Adams (my personal favorite president btw) who is played by William Daniels. Daniels also played Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World and was the principle of John Adams High School, also both the movie and the tv show take place in Philadelphia. Furthermore Danials was the president of the Screen Actors Guild, and this position was also held by Ken Howard who played Thomas Jefferson in 1776, and who was also an American president. John Addams was one of the oldest living presidents dying at the age of 92, Daniels is currently 90. There are other Erie coincidences surrounding these two historic figures, but I won’t be going into them here.
For future posts with relatively few DVD’s I’ll combine a few letters into one. I figured with the lengthy introduction and lengthy first DVD, thus is probably a good place to stop for this episode. Tune in for more of the Mega DVD Marathon.