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Thursday, October 16, 2014

'Loopy De Loop: The Complete Collection' DVD: Rare Vintage Hanna-Barbera Animated Shorts

Loopy De Loop: The Animated Series
One uber-awesome thing about the 48-cartoon 2-disc DVD set of the Warner Archive release "Loopy De Loop: The Complete Collection" is that it validates the theory that Archive is the "magic" Easter basket of DVD releases regarding vintage Hanna-Barbera (HB) cartoons. Just as you always find another jelly bean or chocolate egg nestled in the plastic grass of an Easter basket after thinking that you ate them all, Archive digs up another HB release after you think that that company has exhausted that supply.

Another awesome aspect of "Loopy" is that HB voice genius Daws Butler, who can be considered the Mel Blanc of that studio, provides the voice of the titular French-Canadian wolf. Butlers' long list of classic HB characters includes Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and the even more sexually ambiguous Snagglepuss.

The history of "Loopy" is that it is a series of theatrical shorts that HB produced from 1959 to 1965; HB re-released them as a syndicated television series in 1969.

The concept of "Loopy" is that the titular lupine is a self-declared "good wolf" whose attributes include kindness and charm. His motives behind his good deeds extend beyond wanting to help an innocent to include a desire to demonstrate that not every wolf is evil.

The following preview clip, jointly courtesy of Archive and YouTube, of "Loopy" provides a sense of the theme of this shoulda-been-a-classic. The sheep lust and the elements of "The Flintstones" regarding the overall look, looping (no pun intended) backgrounds, and music of this clip make it especially fun.

The wonderfully cynical message that underlies every roughly seven-minute "Loopy" presentation is that people are too narrow-minded and prejudicial to accept the goodness in individuals regarding whom they have a bias. "Loopy" demonstrates this theme both in having a character either panic or soundly thrash our hero on his merely offering to help or administering a beat down after such assistance is rendered and said "rescued" individual learns that a wolf is his or her savior. (For the record, the roughly 12 cartoons watched for this review do not have Loopy donning sheep's clothing.)

The aforementioned cynicism is especially prevalent in "Life With Loopy." This one has Loopy masquerading as a dog to be a pet for a single man. Despite Loopy (still in that guise) doing all the household chores and thwarting a burglary, his new master violently turns on him on Loopy "coming out."

Many other episodes have Loopy interacting with classic fairy tale characters, including Little Bo Peep and Hansel and Gretel, in an effort to dispel the bad images of wolves. These stories are especially cute.

An episode in which Loopy and Prince Charming compete to be Cinderella's hero is both particularly typical of HB fare and has one of the best lines in any "Loopy" cartoon. The humor regarding this relates to Loopy commenting that Charming is hardly in any position to derogatorily refer to anyone else as a wolf.

An episode in which Loopy tries to balance the competing needs of both Snow White and the evil queen has similar good humor. Needless to say, Loopy does not get another bite of the poison apple.

The fact that "Loopy" is at least as good, if not better than better known HB fare (such as the annoying Yakky Doodle shorts) makes one wonder why this series did not do better. Loopy would have been right at home with the do-gooders of "Yogi's Gang" and would have strongly contributed to the "Yogi Yahooeys" on "Laff-a-Lypmics." A possible explanation is that Hanna and Barbera share the same prejudice as those who clobber Loopy on screen.

As a bonus, Unreal TV is sharing the following fall-on-the-floor hilarious YouTube video of the "Robot Chicken" short that combines "Lympics"  with the film "Munich."

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Loopy" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

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