Customer Reviews: The Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection (1949-1959)
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VINE VOICEon May 2, 2014
The Theatrical Collection includes 53 color shorts, produced for theaters, from 1949 - 1959. The shorts take up three one-sided discs, while the forth disc is devoted to the long-awaited Mr. Magoo movie, 1001 Arabian Nights. However, they are packaged rather oddly, with the three discs in one snap case, and the film disc in another, both cases sliding into an attractive slip case. Never fear, though, they are safely packaged. Perhaps this was done so that the movie could be released separately. At any rate, the movie disc is loaded with extras, including an interview with Leonard Maltin, a Magoo documentary featuring historians such as Gerry Beck and Darrel Van Citters, and A Princess for Magoo, an early black and white TV teaser for the upcoming film with Jim Backus, voice of Mr. Magoo, as the host.

Needless to say, both the film and the shorts are dazzling. The initial shorts were directed by John Hubley, but most of the later ones are directed by Pete Burness, who also directed a 1952 short in a series of UPA one-offs known as Jolly Frolics UPA: The Jolly Frolics Collection [DVD]. But the most amazing thing is Jim Backus ad libbing through the shorts, making good use of his sense of humor and voice talent from radio. An early writer was Bill Scott, one of the main writers later on Rocky and Bullwinkle. The Magoo shorts really hit their stride under Burness, with sumptuous colors and modern design from former Disney animators, artists and designers, who eagerly fell in with the modernist motifs of UPA and producer Steven Bosustow. Since the stories are usually so much better, the Magoo shorts are, in many cases, more representative of UPA's intent. This is ironic, as UPA's initial idea was to make every JF short different, with no continuing characters. However, in the process, they created one that is still continuing today.

So popular was Mr. Magoo, that his second full-length movie, Mr, Magoo's Christmas Carol, was the first animated Christmas special (yes, even predating A Charlie Brown Christmas). Darell Van Citters has written a book about it (now unfortunately being scalped for way too much money) Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition, as well as interviewed principal players on the deluxe DVD reissue MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL (2011),MR. MAGOOS CHRISTMAS CAROL COLLECTORS EDITION BD/DVD COMBO [Blu-ray]. In addition, his recent book on Jay Ward Studio animation traces some of the animators and artists from Disney to UPA to Jay Ward Studios The Art of Jay Ward Productions.

Guess who plays Aladdin in the film? Dwayne Hickman, and Shout has just released the box set of the entire series of his most famous and delightful show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis: The Complete Series. As one of the historians says in the documentary, the only thing missing from this Magoo set are the commercials for GE light bulbs, in which Mr. Magoo used to say, "it's easy to see, the best bulbs are GE."
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on December 3, 2011
This collection of Mr. Magoo's complete theatrical shorts (that is the ones that were produced for the movie theaters), is a long time coming! It seems every major studio has issued an abundance of there very best animated shorts except for Columbia Pictures, and Paramount Pictures TerryToons Mighty Mouse, Heckly and Jekyll, et al (That's left best alone for now). But anyway Shout! Factory are the folks behind this Magoo release. According to the Cartoon Brew WEBSITE, run by Jerry Beck, these DVDS will include 2 Oscar winners, When Magoo Flew and Magoos's Puddle Jumper, as well rare pencil tests, and audio commentaries by the likes of Emily Hubley, John Canemaker, AND Charles Soloman. According to the book OF MICE AND MAGIC written by Leonard Maltin, there are about 51 Magoo shorts on this collection. Of course the voice of Magoo is by Jim Backus of "Gilligan's Island," fame. Backus worked with some of the greats like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. A talented actor. OH, Magoo you've done it again! This is a can't miss collection! I also heard that 1001 Arabian Nights, a 1959 feature film starring Mr. Magoo will also be featured as an additional bonus. UPDATE!!! E-mailed Shout! and they said they are still waiting for Sony to remaster these cartoons. THEY HOPE TO HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT IN A FEW MONTHS. July/2013. Another UPDATE! They have finally set APRIL 22, 2014, as the official release date!!! F I N A L L Y! It was well worth the wait. The TECHNICOLOR transfers look amazing. Money well invested, folks!
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on April 22, 2014
I have never seen any of the Mr. Magoo theatrical shorts until today. I enjoyed the made for tv Magoo shorts when i was a child in the 1970's. I was excited to hear that the theatrical shorts were coming to dvd because I heard they are far superior to the tv ones. Knowing my package was coming today, I actually kept looking out for the mailman, such was my excitement. Well, the excitement was justified. I am loving each short I see. The tv Magoo shorts can't touch these original theatricals. I am extremely pleased with this set and every Mr. Magoo fan needs to add it to their collection.
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on April 22, 2014
The release of Shout Factory’s "Mr. Magoo: The Theatrical Collection" is a cause for celebration. It’s been delayed for almost two years now (when I was driving home through New Jersey with one of the people who worked on transferring the negatives, he indicated that the work had been completely done ages ago), but whatever the circumstances were, it’s out and a purchase is in order.

I detect no vandalism to the cartoons I’ve viewed thus far in the way of DNR or aspect ratio distortion. Everything looks excellent and uncensored. THESE, not the TV cartoons, are the Magoo cartoons you want: the ones that won acclaim and awards and cemented the character's popularity in the first place. The bonuses are first-rate, and the inclusion of "1001 Arabian Nights" was welcome.

This took a long time to come out... so grab your copy before it goes away again!
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on May 16, 2014
This collection has been long in coming: it's been announced for years. Having watched about one-half of it in the past two weeks, I'm happy to report that it was well worth the wait. I'm no expert, but the remastering looks excellent to me: the animation looks as though it could have been done yesterday--if yesterday you found a studio filled with 100 artists who did everything with pencils, ink, and paint. Here you have, on three discs, all 53 theatrical cartoons (1949-1959), including four Academy Award nominees and two winners. A fourth disc presents the feature-length rarity, "1001 Arabian Nights" (1959), which opened the door to television's "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" (1962) and "The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo" (1964). This set does not include those items or the syndicated UPA television shorts (1960), produced by Henry Saperstein, which are available elsewhere. Though it became more limited over the years, the quality of animation and production design of the theatrical Magoos is far superior to the TV product; the stories (written by Tedd Pierce, among others) and their execution are generally funnier. Supplemented in several instances with commentaries of widely divergent value, the five hours of toonmanship are fascinating: though the incomparable comedy of Jim Backus is the glue that binds Magoo, you can watch the character's evolution from ornery (courtesy of producer-director John Hubley) to sweet (Pete Burness). UPA's use of color and design was extraordinarily modernist and became more so over time. The only thing missing for those wanting the complete Magoo experience are the vintage animated commercials in which he starred for Piel's beer and, especially, General Electric. Kudos to Shout! for continuing to recover our popular culture with products of fine quality at affordable prices.
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on December 28, 2011
After years of waiting, Shout! (and Sony) will finally bring to DVD for the first time, the Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection!!! This 4-Disc set will include all the Mr. Magoo theatrical shorts from 1949-1959, from Ragtime Bear to Terror Faces Magoo. There's rumour that it might even include Magoo's theatrical film 1001 Arabian Nights (of not, you can still buy it through Sony's Screen Classics By Request program). Extras will include commentaries, pencil tests, and more! Your Golden Age cartoon collection won't be complete without this so get yours today!

UPDATE: 4/14/12
Alot are probably asking, what happen to thier order. Well, the set has been delayed to late fall but for good reasons; The folks are going the extra mile to restore the cartoons from higher quality source materials (plus newly discovered elements!). In other words, it'll be worth the wait soon. So the item will be back to pre-order soon.

UPDATE: 1/21/14

After 2 years of waiting, the Shout! website is reporting that the Theatrical Collection will finally be released on April 22nd 2014!!!
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on May 16, 2014
At long last, after nearly 3 years of on-again, off-again waiting, the Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection is finally available! These theatrical cartoons have been hard to find and rare for many years. In a period when the television Magoo cartoons have seen two DVD releases within the last seven years, the theatrical Magoos have remained scarce. Now at last, it is possible to own all of Mr. Magoo's animated adventures.

We see an evolution of the character, from his rough beginnings in "Ragtime Bear," a hilarious romp featuring a prototype of what would become the nearsighted Mr. Magoo. In his earliest appearances, Magoo looks and sounds different, though always voiced by Jim Backus from the very start.

Highlights include the Academy Award winners "When Magoo Flew" and "Magoo's Puddle Jumper." Most of the adventures are wonderfully offbeat and bizarre, such as "Kangaroo Courting" and "Destination Magoo." "Stage Door Magoo" is a charming little gem that features Magoo in a theatrical setting, foretelling his role of an actor in the later TV series "The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo". "Magoo's Masterpiece" is about his foray into the world of art. These stories are clever and funny.

The drawback to the character is that he is essentially a one-joke guy--everything revolves around his nearsightedness. How exactly nearsighted he is varies from cartoon to cartoon--sometimes he can read a sign correctly word for word, but other times he reads it to mean whatever he chooses it to mean. The gags thus tend to be somewhat limited--Magoo mistakes a grizzly bear for his raccoon-coated nephew Waldo, mistakes a walrus for his best friend, etc. He definitely lives in a world of his own. He has a bit of dimensionality, however, in his occasional atruistic motives and his genuine desire to experience life to the fullest.

The collection also includes Magoo's one theatrical feature--"1001 Arabian Nights," a clear forerunner of Disney's Aladdin, and the source, either intentional or unintentional, of many of the concepts and gags that were used in the latter film. The film, though delightful in its individual scenes, is slow-moving in regard to its overall plot--it revels in individual gags but does not truly develop the characters in a compelling manner. It's more like an extended short than a feature film. Fans of Magoo will be very pleased with its inclusion in this set, but modern kids might be bored with it. If you can watch it with an appreciation of its voice talent and clever gags, it can be an enjoyable experience--just don't expect too much from it.

This boxed set is a companion to two other boxed sets--the "Jolly Frolics" collection of the rest of the UPA theatrical shorts, and "Mr. Magoo: The Television Collection," which includes all of Magoo's television cartoons. Add to this "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" and it makes for a complete set of Magoo's animated appearances.

If you are a fan of Mr. Magoo or UPA, or if you enjoy cartoons that are cleverly written and highly satirical, this collection is one not to be missed.
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on August 8, 2014
These are actually better than I expected. The video is perfect and they are fun to watch. Mr. Magoo was always considered a very special cartoon but was seldom shown for many years. It is fun to watch videos from a past era that are done well.
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on October 1, 2014
I had only seen a couple of the classic Mr. Magoo cartoons, but I don't remember their looking this colorful, sharp and bright. The audio is clear and dialogue easy to understand. All in all, this is an outstanding restoration and worth the wait from the folks at Shout Factory. Oh, and the lovable curmudgeon Magoo is as funny as any cartoon of the era.
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on March 20, 2014
Finally we that love Mr. Magoo can order this collection! I've been waiting on this specific collection of Mr. Magoo for a long time. Now I'll be able to watch all 53 theatrical cartoons & the feature film 1001 Arabian Nights, all in one deluxe collection!! Will be great to see Mr. Magoo bumbled his way in his misadventures. Release date will be 4/22/14!!!

Regards Frost
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