At last, a fitting tribute to one of the great cartoon teams: Beany, (the precocious boy wearing a propeller cap) and his best pal, Cecil (the seasick sea serpent), on their 50th anniversary in show business! This special edition is also a tribute to Beany and Cecil's creator, Bob Clampett. Formerly a veteran director at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio where he was the father of Tweety Bird and one of the fathers of Bugs Bunny, Clampett set off on his own in the late 1940s with the dream to create what he called "dimensional animation." The result was "Time for Beany." The wild success of the show spawned several other shows, including one about a superhero horse, "Thunderbolt the Wondercolt," and the first puppet variety show, "Willy the Wolf." Bob Clampett's "Beany and Cecil: The Special Edition" will entertain cartoon fans of all ages from the casual viewers that want their kids to see the show they grew up with to the hardcore fans that want to revel in the pop culture of their generation. Jam packed full of over three plus hours of entertainment, including over a dozen of the original "Beany and Cecil" cartoons, plus some of the earliest episodes from "Time for Beany" which have not been seen since their original airing over fifty years ago. New transfers have been made from the original 35mm camera negatives.
Bob Clampett's Beany and Cecil
(ABC, 1962-67) ranks among the most beloved cartoon shows of the baby-boom era, and adults and kids will enjoy the 12 shorts in this collection. The animation is extremely limited and the plots are often thin, but neither matter. People watch these cartoons for the strings of wincingly terrible puns, the lively vocal characterizations, and the comic villainy of (nya-ha-ha
) Dishonest John. In these selections, Beany, Cecil, and Captain Huffenpuff encounter beatnik artist Go Man Van Go, So What and the Seven Whatnots, and the Singing "Dinasor" (who inhabits the No Bikini Atoll).
The animated Beany was based on Clampett's puppet series "Time for Beany," which began in 1949. The episodes and clips here suggest this program has aged less gracefully. Although it was both a critical and popular success in its day, black-and-white footage of hand puppets is unlikely to hold modern viewers' attention. Much of the disc (over three-and-a-half hours) is devoted to Clampett's long and distinguished film career, including intriguing tests for an animated version of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Mars novels and several never-realized programs, plus home movies, still photos, and an oral history. The material is interesting but viewers would probably prefer more cartoons. --Charles Solomon