Wacky Races-Volume 1 (1968)

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Released 2-Mar-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 126:05
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Joseph Barbera
William Hanna
Charles A. Nichols
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Larz Bourne
Tom Dagenais
Michael Maltese
Dalton Sandifer
Daws Butler
Don Messick
Chikao ‘tsuka
John Stephenson
Janet Waldo
Dave Willock
Paul Winchell
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Hoyt S. Curtin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Swedish Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Swedish
Dutch
Arabic
Greek
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† One of the favourites from Saturday morning cartoons over many years (at least when I was growing up it was), Wacky Races has finally made it to DVD for all those nostalgia buffs in their 20s and 30s to experience all over again and maybe a few new fans to become acquainted with. For those intimately familiar with the series, we can all finally decide just what it was that made Penelope Pitstop everybody's favourite rev head and of course remind ourselves what a classic laugh Muttley had.

††† The show was a simple one, but did differ from many of the other cartoons of the time by offering not one real star character, but a whole series of ensemble characters who sort of took turns at starring each week.

††† Each episode of the cartoon featured a different road race heading to a new and equally obscure location somewhere in the US. The same field of cars and drivers took part every week with the likes of inventor professor Pat Pending and his wacky convert-a-car, the Ant Hill Mob, a bunch of tiny gangsters in a 1920's bullet-proof bomb, the Arkansas chug-a-bug with Luke and Blubber Bear, the Slag brothers in their bouldermobile, my favourite Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the buzz wagon and of course always bringing up the rear and up to no good was Dick Dastardly and his dog Muttley in their mean machine.

††† Each episode lasted around 11 to 12 minutes (usually two episode were book-ended together to form a half hour show). The same narrator kicked off each episode with the same intro, followed by a quick preview of the race and where it was headed. With the race underway the narrator gave an overview of what was happening every few minutes, before finally letting us know who won at the end. Along the way all manner of crazy slapstick hijinks occurred with Dick Dastardly using any means possible to stop the other contestants from winning.
†††
††† A fun cartoon, that offered something a little different from your run-of-the-mill Saturday morning offerings. Unfortunately Warner Home Video has decided to release just 11 episodes (there were 34 episodes made all together) in a one volume set. This is dramatically different to how the series has been presented in Region 1.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The video transfer quality here is probably best described as average. It is colourful and clear, but is marred by quite a few film artefacts.

††† All of the episodes are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and are not 16x9 enhanced.

††††The image is sharp and reasonably detailed throughout, with bold primary colours giving vivid and bright appearance. There is no evidence of any problems with colour bleeding or cross-colouration.

††††Compression artefacts are completely absent. Unfortunately, artefacts in the form of scratches, flecks and several black marks are present pretty much throughout all of the episodes.

††††There are several subtitles available and the English variety are quite accurate and well placed on the screen.

††††This is a dual layered disc, with the layer break placed between episodes.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† The audio transfer is half-decent considering it is anchored firmly in the centre channel only.

††† All up there are four audio tracks, all of which are Dolby Digital 1.0 (192kbps) mono efforts. They are English, French, Spanish and Swedish. The English track appears to have undergone some form of cleaning up since compared to the other three tracks it sounds considerably clearer with less background hiss and noise.

††† The dialogue is excellent, being clear and easily understood throughout. Of course with animation, audio sync is not really something to get overly concerned with.

††† There is no surround or subwoofer use.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† Not one. A shame made even more annoying by what is included on the Region 1 release (read on).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† A very sad state of affairs when looking at the similar disc available in Region 1. That release has some really good extras included in a really nicely packaged set. First and foremost, rather than just releasing a few episodes as Volume One as is the case in Region 4, the Region 1 release spans three discs and covers all 34 episodes of the series.

††† The Region 4 disc misses out on;

††† The Region 1 disc misses out on;

††† The harsh treatment given to the Region 4 release is a real shame, since this is one of the handful of animated series from the 1960s just crying out for a properly restored and packaged set aimed fair and square at collectors. If that sounds like you it is hard to go past the Region 1 version.

Summary

††† Wacky Races Volume One contains 11 episodes of the 1968 cartoon series. Compared to the three-disc set featuring all 34 episodes available in Region 1, this Region 4 release is not really worth the money.

††† The video and audio are at best described as average, while there is not a single extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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