Warner Home Video
Extras: Jukebox sampler, Trivia Challenge, Recipes, Music Video
Now, some thirty-one years after its television debut, Warner Home Video and the Cartoon Network have teamed up to bring us "Scooby-Doo’s Original Mysteries" on DVD. This DVD features the first five episodes of "Scooby-Doo Where Are You?", which premiered in 1969, and serves as an excellent primer for the show.
The DVD of "Scooby-Doo’s Original Mysteries" contains the first five episodes of "Scooby-Doo Where are You?" from the 1969 season. All five episodes are presented in their entirety and they each average about 22 minutes.
The second episode is entitled "Hassle in the Castle" and represents the nadir of the collection. The group is shipwrecked on a small island and go to a castle for help. There, they are chased by a ghost of the white-sheet variety, until they catch it and expose its identity. That’s it. There’s not a whole lot of story going on in this episode and the ghost isn’t intriguing at all. Talk about a sophomore slump!
With the next episode, "A Clue For Scooby-Doo", we get the best episode of the group. The gang go to Rock Point Beach to have a party. While surfing (!), Scooby is accosted by a glowing ghost in an antique diving suit. The group investigates the mystery by visiting an old hermit and the widow who lives in the spooky lighthouse. They learn that the ghost is Captain Cutler. Cutler’s ship went down after he ran into a yacht from the local marina. Now, he’s seeking his revenge by making yachts disappear. (Wait a minute… rich people sunk his boat and now he’s seeking revenge from beyond the grave… get John Carpenter on the phone!) Donning the diving gear (yes, even Scooby!), the group set out to find the ghost and the missing yachts.
The next episode is "Mine Your Own Business", which has the group visiting a Western ghost town. It seems that the ghost of the "Miner 49er" (give me a break) has been haunting the town and scaring off the tourists. Of course, the kids and Scooby have to check it out and try and catch the ghost. Of the five episodes, this one has the most convoluted explanation as to why the ghost is doing what he is doing. Also, the "Miner 49er" isn’t very scary. He looks a lot like Dan Haggerty. Oh wait, maybe that is scary.
The Warner Home Video DVD of "Scooby-Doo’s Original Mysteries" presents all five episodes in their original full-frame format. The picture is clear, but the digital transfer process reveals all of the flaws in the source material. We see dirt, hairs, and various white specs on the original film. When a character moves across the screen, you can even see the specs change as the cels were changed. I realize that you shouldn’t expect a 30-year old Saturday morning cartoon to be in mint condition, but one can’t help but wonder why the masters weren’t at least cleaned before this transfer was done. The audio mix on the DVD is a <$DD,Dolby Digital> Mono, which may be disappointing to audiophiles, but actually helps to recreate the feeling of watching the show in the 70s.
The DVD has several extra features. There is a music video of the "Scooby-Doo" theme song which is actually from the recent film "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island." There is a five-question trivia challenge (with some questionable answers). There are four sampler songs from Rhino’s "Snack Tracks" CD. And finally, we have some recipes from "Mystery Inc." for things such as Shaggy’s sandwich and, of course, Scooby Snacks!
The DVD of "Scooby-Doo’s Original Mysteries" is a perfect example of taking the good with the bad. The five episodes on the DVD aren’t the best of the series and the quality of the transfer isn’t top-notch. But, it’s certainly great to have any "Scooby-Doo" episodes on DVD and I can only hope that Warner will follow up this release with more compilations.
And now, one final question. The culprits are always hauled off the jail at the end of "Scooby-Doo". If you are committing no other crimes, is it really illegal to dress up like a ghost and scare people?