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Photo: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Scooby-Doo and the gang have been through a lot over the years and yet, Fred still insists on wearing that ascot and Velma will not get contact lenses. In the Halloween release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, “Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales – Run for Your Rife!” features a mixture of the good, the bad and ugly of the franchise.
Masters of limited motion animation, Hanna-Barbera, stumbled upon something great when they created the first “Scooby-Doo, Where are You?” series back in 1969. Unfortunately, not completely realizing what they had, the duo kept coming up with new “versions” of Scooby and the gang, each with weaker animation and storylines. Even on this collection, some coloring errors are evident. Fortunately, Warner Bros. discovered this when they took over the Hanna-Barbera titles years later. Warner improved the production quality and storytelling greatly. The quality of each episode varies greatly on the 2 DVD set.
The high point of this set is the new 22 minute episode, “Scooby-Doo! And the Spooky Scarecrow.” It has all the elements that made the original series so fun but with much better animation. The next best are the episodes of the original series (about 5) followed by the 2003 television special, “A Scooby-Doo Halloween” despite the fact that the rock group KISS makes an appearance.
On the downside, this DVD set features some of the worst Scooby-Doo cartoons including a few shorter ones with Scooby’s annoying nephew, Scrappy Doo. These shorts dropped the rest of the cast and took out the mystery element so all you have left is Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy running away from monsters.
Two episodes are from the “13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo” series where the trio are joined again by Daphne is a new hair-do and pink jumpsuit and Flim-Flam, a Spanish child who is also a con arrest. The only “cool” thing about these stories is that they all featured Vincent Price as Vincent Van Goul. “13 Ghosts” is set up with Scooby opening up a chest of demons, releasing them out in the open. The best part of the previous Scooby-Doo show, was that there was a reasonable explanation for the sightings of monsters. All were created by a criminal wanting to scare others. But “13 ghosts” went completely away from that concept making them real. This alone may make some parents want to skip the purchase of this set, but they are the two last episodes, so they would be easy to skip.
The bottom line is that though you get 13 stories, only about half of them are worth watching, but that is still pretty good considering.