Classic animation buffs may snipe about the overall production quality of Harveytoons, but there’s no denying the overwhelming quantity of cartoons contained on this new DVD collection. Sprawling over four densely-packed double-sided DVDs, the collection boasts over 19 hours of the animated adventures of classic Harveytoons characters including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Herman and Katnip, Baby Huey, and Little Audrey. At an affordable suggested retail price of $39.98, that works out to about $2 per hour of animation, a fantastic value by any measure.
Harveytoons is a generic title that was applied to the stable of 1950s Paramount/Famous Studios theatrical cartoons when they were sold to Harvey Comics and broadcast on TV back in the 1960s. The toons appeared in syndication throughout the years and eventually ended up repackaged in a series called The Harveytoons Show that was broadcast on Fox Family Channel beginning in 1998 and Boomerang beginning in 2001. That show format is the basis for this new collection, as the shorts are organized in the same sequence. So, each side of a DVD contains 6-7 of these shows that each contains 4 shorts. There’s where the math and “complete” claim get a little fuzzy.
The Harveytoons Show ran for 78 episodes and included Richie Rich and Casper shorts made exclusively for TV. The DVD collection contains only 52 episodes and no Richie Rich. However, in spite of its misleading advertising, viewers are still getting a tremendous treasure trove of animation in one concise package.
Casper the Friendly Ghost is the star of the set, the breakout hit from the group who went on to his own feature film success. The other characters are readily identifiable as knockoffs of other established cartoon stars, most obviously apparent in the Tom and Jerry antics of Herman and Katnip. The Harveytoons characters don’t bring anything new to the table, but they’re occasionally amusing and sure to delight children and the adults who grew up watching them.