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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Richie Rich/Scooby Doo Hour: The Complete Series, Vol. One
The Richie Rich/Scooby Doo Hour: The Complete Series, Vol. One
Warner Bros. // Unrated // May 20, 2008
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted June 1, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

Harvey Comic Books' Richie Rich made his television debut on November 8, 1980 as half of the Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show, an hour long animated series that contained six stories per episode starting with a Scooby-Doo tale, then with a Richie Rich story, and alternating back and forth.

Those accustomed to the classic Scooby-Doo cartoons may be upset to learn that the adventures in this show feature only Scooby, Shaggy and Scappy (Freddie, Thelma, and Daphne are nowhere to be seen, though at least the Mystery Machine pops up once or twice) but the spirit of the material remains the same. Our three heroes stumble into trouble and then manage to stumble their way out, periodically solving crimes and eating sandwiches along the way. Anyone even remotely familiar with the series will know just exactly what to expect and it remains a lot of fun even if by this point in the characters' history things have gotten to be a tad bit predictable.

Richie Rich, on the other hand, had never appeared on television before and it was through this show that the (slightly tweaked) character was introduced to a Saturday morning audience. Rich is an interesting character. The wealthiest kid in the world can more or less do whatever he wants however he wants to do it. Most of the plots revolve around his nemesis, Reggie Van Dough, trying to outdo Richie and steal his girlfriend, but thanks to his inept dog, Dollar (who sports a diamond collar and for some reason has dollar signs on his fur), and his inventor pal, Professor Keenbean, Reggie's attempts always fail. There are, of course, stories that don't involve Reggie - in one vignette his robotic butler, Iona, is replaced by Demona, a sinister robot up to no good. Richie means well and he comes across as a nice enough kid and all, but it's hard to have much sympathy for someone who runs rampant on a 'one hundred mile estate' and has a chauffeur to drive him around whenever he wants. The kid's got his own privtae museum, a bicycle built for six, and a weekly allowance that is larger than the annual income of some countries. He always gets the girl, he's got an array of Bond-like gadgets at his disposal, and things always go his way - that makes him a little tough for the average middle class kid to relate to and at times you can't help but want the bad guys to win.

The pairing of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Scrappy with Richie and friends is in odd choice, as they two couldn't really be farther apart despite the 'dopey dog' quotient that both characters have in common. That said the Scooby content that's in this set hasn't been syndicated to death and is on the more obscure side, making it of interest to fans and completists. It also holds up fairly well and makes for entertaining viewing, even if some of the Richie Rich cartoons are a little more irritating than they are entertaining.

Disc One:

Episode One: Scooby Goes West/Piggy Bank Prank/Swamp Witch/Muscle Beach/Waxworld/Robotnappers

Episode Two: A Close Encounter With A Strange Kind/The Rare Scare/A Fit Night Out For Bats/Kitty Sitter/The Chinese Food Factory/One Of Our Ancient Carriers Is Missing

Episode Three:Scooby's Desert Dilemma/Spring Cleaning/Stuntman Scooby/Silence Is Golden/Mummy's The Word//The Shocking Lady Strikes Again

Episode Four: The Old Cat And Mouse Game/The Blur/Scooby's Three Ding-A-Ling Circus/Cur Wash/Hang In There, Scooby/The Kangaroo Hop

Disc Two:

Episode Five: Scooby's Bull Fright/Irona Versus Demona/Stow-Aways/Chef's Surprise/Long John Scrappy/The Snow Bounders

Episode Six: Scrappy's Birthday/The Abominable Snow Plan/Sir Scooby And The Black Night/Miss Robot America/A Bungle In The Jungle/Constructo

Episode Seven: Scooby In Wonderland/Counterfeit Dollar/Scooby's Fun Zone/The Greatest Invention In The World/Scooby's Fantastic Island/Who's Afraid Of The Big, Bad Bug

The animation in the series holds up well and is up to the usual Hanna-Barbera standards. The six stories in each episode are generally quick paced with an emphasis on sight gags and slapstick, making them enjoyable for kids of all ages. None of this material is even close to deep or though provoking but then again, it doesn't have to be. It was meant to entertain young kids back in the eighties and it did just that. Amazingly enough, it still successfully serves the same function today and it makes for quality family viewing.

The DVD

Video:

The seven episodes presented on this two-disc set are shown in their original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio, just as they were originally broadcast on television a few decades ago. Aside from minor specks here and there the image is clean and clear. Color reproduction looks nice and accurate with reds and yellows looking nice and bright without appearing overcooked. Detail levels are fine if unremarkable and the black levels stay strong throughout playback. There aren't any noticeable problems with mpeg compression artifacts or heavy edge enhancement to complain about and all in all, this material looks quite nice on DVD despite the fact that, tisk tisk, the image hasn't been flagged for progressive scan playback.

Sound:

Dolby Digital Mono tracks are supplied in English and French and optional closed captioning is provided in English only. The audio is fine across the board, there aren't any problems with hiss or distortion and the levels are well balanced. Dialogue stays clean and clear and if there is some periodic sharpness higher up in the mix, it's sporadic and not a constant problem.

Extras:

The only really substantial supplement on this two disc set is a nine and a half minute featurette entitled The Story Of Richie Rich which is a fun look at the origins of the character. A few of the people who worked on the show talk about the differences between the character as he appears on this animated series versus his comic book counterpart and they discuss how and why changes were made.

Aside from that, there are trailers for a few other Hanna-Barbera DVD collection releases, some static menus, and episode selection. Each disc allows you to watch an episode individually or to use the 'play all' button to watch the entire disc's contents in succession.

Final Thoughts:

Not every episode is a winner but the nostalgia factor for this will be through the roof for those of us who remember it from our childhood. More supplements would have been nice but at least the episodes look and sound decent enough and The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show Volume One comes recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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