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Caveman: V. T. Hamlin & Alley Oop

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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(Nov 18, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Here's the fascinating story of Vincent T. Hamlin, the innovative Iowa-born cartoonist who created the long-running comic strip ALLEY OOP-now celebrating its 75th Year! With a lively rock score, pop art imagery and a cast of celebrated cartoonists, CAVEMAN explores the history of the dinosaur-packed comic that inspired the popular '60s song, and paved the way for THE FLINTSTONES and JURASIC PARK. Filmmaker Max Allan Collins knows the world of comics, writing the world-famous DICK TRACY strip and creating the classic graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION basis of the Academy Award-winning Tom Hanks film.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Max Allan Collins, Vincent T. Hamlin, Jack Bender, Carole Bender, Will Eisner
  • Format: Animated, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B001F7XHZ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,154 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 23, 2008
I must admit that I don't read the comic strip "Alley Oop" in the newspaper. My knowledge of this "caveman" came - like anyone else over 50 years old - from the Hollywood Argyle's # 1 hit single with that title. (Heck, until I watched this DVD, I didn't even know that the character had a first and last name It's: "Alley" and "Oops". But YOU probably already know that.).

So I approached this well crafted - and delightful - 53 minute documentary as a novice (though I am a big fan of graphic artists). I was not only entertained, but educated as well. There were interviews and commentary by Comic book authorities as well as Oop's creator V.T. Hamlin's daughter (a librarian). Lots of commentary by Hamlin's two successors as well and the story flowed evenly.

The bonuses are truly extensive. There is a LENGTHY (43 minute!) interview with graphic artist Will Eisner - his last! And a full 50 minute panel discussion held in Iowa (Hamelin's hometown) on the 75th Anniversary. There are TWO commentary tracks too! - though I haven't gotten to those yet.)

There are more details in "Mr. Bill" `s review which preceded mine so I won't repeat those.

This is another fine release from VCI which has been doing lots of interesting releases over the last few years. Not all are restorations of old films and TV shows. This one is neither and is recommended for Alley Oops fans as well as those who only knew him from that "Oop, oop" song!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic
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VCI Entertainment presents the 75th Anniversary Edition - "CAVEMAN:V.T. HAMLIN & ALLEY OOP" (2008) (96 mins/Color/B&W) (Dolby digitally remastered) --- Vincent Trout Hamlin (10 May 1900 - 14 June 1993) creator of the comic strip Alley Oop, was born in Perry, Iowa on 10 May 1900. In 1918, he served with the American Expeditionary Forces in France --- After the war, he attended college, and worked at various jobs around the country, including working in the oil fields of Texas, and on various newspapers as a reporter, photographer and cartoonist --- In 1925 he married high-school sweetheart Dorothy Stapleton --- He created the Alley Oop comic strip in 1932 while working at the Des Moines Register, and he wrote and drew the strip (sometimes with the help of assistant Dave Graue) until 1971 --- Hamlin died in Florida in 1993 at the age of 93.

V. T. Hamlin wrote and drew Alley Oop through four decades for NEA (Newspaper Enterprise Association) --- Initially, Alley Oop was a daily strip which had a run from December 5, 1932 to January 3, 1933 --- Beginning August 7, 1933, the early material was reworked for a larger readership --- The strip added a Sunday full page, on September 9, 1934 --- It also appeared in half page, tabloid and half tab formats, which were smaller and/or dropped panels --- During World War II, the full page vanished due to the drive to conserve paper, and it was reduced to a third of a page.
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Before watching Caveman: V.T. Hamlin & Alley Oop, my knowledge of the comic-strip cave-dweller was limited to the hit single by the Argyles (with a few additional raunchy lyrics I heard from my dad). But Max Allan Collins has produced quality indie-film work in the past -- mostly crime-genre films like Mommy and Real Time but also another documentary, Mike Hammer's Mickey Spillane -- so my interest was definitely piqued.

Caveman (originally shown at special screenings and on PBS affiliates) combines Collins's nearly career-long work in comics and his passion for independent filmmaking. Collins wrote Dick Tracy for 15 years, created Ms. Tree, and wrote the original Road to Perdition graphic novel. (He finally meshed comics and mystery novels in books like Strip for Murder.)

Collins was first intrigued by Vincent Trout Hamlin when he discovered that the artist was a fellow Iowan. To this Midwestern kid aspiring to a career in writing, knowing that someone else nearby had made a success of it provided a boost of confidence.

Caveman approaches its subject, and to a lesser extent comics in general, from the viewpoint of the uninitiated. Narrator Michael Cornelison (Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life) gently delves into the history of Alley Oop for the benefit of neophytes, tracing comics (aptly enough) from their beginnings on cave walls.

The film touches on Hamlin's beginnings and covers his life and that of his creation through his huge success, his antagonistic relationship with his assistant (Dave Graue, who would eventually take over the strip), Hamlin's eventual death, and how Alley Oop has carried on into the modern day through the writing and artistry of husband-and-wife team Jack and Carole Bender.
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