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Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Volume 4 - Spooked Bayou DVD Review

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Volume 4: Spooked Bayou DVD cover art -- click to buy DVD from Amazon.com Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: Volume 4 - Spooked Bayou
Show & Details

Producers/Directors: Joseph Barbera, William Hanna / Associate Producer: Lew Marshall

Story: Ken Spears, Joe Ruby, Bill Lutz / Story Direction: Chris Howard Swift

Regular Voice Cast: Nicole Jaffe (Velma Dace Dinkley), Casey Kasem (Shaggy Rogers), Don Messick (Scooby-Doo), Vic Perrin (Miscellaneous), Hal Smith (Miscellaneous), John Stephenson (Miscellaneous), Jean Vander Pyl (Miscellaneous), Frank Welker (Fred Jones), Stefanianna Christopherson (Daphne Blake)

Running Time: 88 minutes (4 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated

1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Aspect Ratio), Dolby Digital Mono 1.0 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French; Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
DVD Release Date: October 19, 2010 / Suggested Retail Price: $14.98
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Episodes Originally Aired December 1969 - January 1970
Episodes also available in The Complete First and Second Seasons ($64.98 SRP)
and coming soon in The Complete Series Collection ($79.98 SRP)

Buy Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! from Amazon.com:
Volume 4: Spooked Bayou The Complete First and Second Seasons The Complete Series (available Nov. 9)


Few would dispute that Scooby-Doo deserves mention in a list or discussion of the best or most popular animated television series in history. But unlike other certain candidates like "The Simpsons" or "The Flintstones", which boast long, clear runs, the question arises, "Just what Scooby-Doo are we talking about?" The most obvious answer to that is the original series, "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!",
but remarkably that ran for just two short seasons and a total of 25 episodes. It remained in the Saturday morning lineup, however, and its popularity would lead to a new incarnation getting introduced every few years. Even today, there is a Scooby show being produced, Cartoon Network's "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated."

As on most properties, Scooby's earliest material remains his most highly regarded. And while the franchise continues to thrive in live-action and animated direct-to-video movies, distributor Warner Home Video also keeps returning to the original TV series that started it all. The entire 25-episode run came to DVD back in March of 2004 and on November 9th, Warner will revisit it in a Complete Series set that includes the 16-episode "third season" produced as part of 1978's "Scooby's All Stars" and an exclusive bonus features disc, all groovily packaged in a model replica of the iconic Mystery Machine van. That sounds like a pretty sweet collection, but I don't think we'll be reviewing it. What we are reviewing here and now is "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: Volume 4 - Spooked Bayou.

The original and still most familiar Scooby-Doo cast is comprised of these five, clockwise from top left: Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, and Velma. In "Spooky Space Kook", the gang tries to figure out the source and nature of the glowing green footprints on this cranky farmer's land.

Early last year, Warner began issuing chronological 4-episode compilations of the original 1969-70 series. With the way that DVD prices have dropped in recent years, you might think that the 25-episode set would be inexpensive enough to make smaller samples unnecessary. But actually, the 4-disc The Complete First and Second Seasons DVD still carries its original $64.98 list price which even with Amazon's generous discount is close to $40, far out of no-brainer territory for Scooby fans who want just a bit of nostalgia.

True, the individual volumes could fit twice as many episodes without requiring a second disc or sacrificing quality.
But Warner has decided four 40-year-old episodes at a $14.97 retail price is a reasonable alternative to the bigger, pricier collections, which are naturally the better value.

As you should know, "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" centers on four teenagers -- cowardly slacker Shaggy, All-American leader Fred, bespectacled Velma, and redheaded Daphne -- and their expressive, easily-frightened dog Scooby-Doo. Together, the five neatly solve mysteries. The episodes play out in a standard fashion, with Scooby and the gang encountering some gruesome baddie(s), outwitting them, and revealing the villains' true identity and how the puzzle pieces fit together. This Hanna-Barbera production is not all that different from stauncher whodunits, but it's played for light laughs and never gets scary or too intriguing.

Volume 4 contains episodes #13-16. Let's take a look at what those are...

Shaggy and Scooby-Doo get spooked by a zombie, one of a deserted town's two feared residents in the disc's first episode. The gang takes wild guesses at the password for a section of Redbeard's ghost ship, with the most random being the right one.

1.13. "Which Witch is Which?" (22:02) (Originally aired December 6, 1969)
On their way back from a fishing trip, the gang winds up in a deserted town that houses a witch and a zombie.

1.14. "Go Away Ghost Ship" (22:03) (Originally aired December 13, 1969)
To help out a shipping magnate Scooby and company board the ghost ship of long-dead pirate captain Redbeard.

1.15. "Spooky Space Kook" (22:04) (Originally aired December 20, 1969)
When the van breaks down on a farm, the gang follows the glowing tracks of what they think might be a space ghost.

1.16. "A Night of Fright is No Delight" (21:59) (Originally aired January 10, 1970)
To claim his share of inheritance from an eccentric millionaire he once rescued, Scooby must spend a night in a haunted house.

With his blinking helmet and piercing howl, Shaggy and Scooby believe their pursuant is not THE Space Ghost, but a space ghost all the same. This cryptic mirror note is left by Phantom Shadow, the haunted house haunter of "A Night of Fright is No Delight."

VIDEO and AUDIO

"Scooby-Doo" has a presentation quite similar to other vintage TV animation that Warner has put on DVD. The colors are bright, the lines clean and bold, but the backgrounds are marred by tiny, fleeting white specks and scratches on a regular basis. They're not much of a distraction, but they're noticeable and the only thing keeping the picture from being really praiseworthy. The show still looks quite good for its age and modest methods.

The Dolby 1.0 mono soundtrack is nothing remarkable, but it's fine. It provides an even and lively enough mix of music, dialogue, the occasional effect, and a selective, hokey, indefensible laugh track.

An errant tube of lemon-lime pudding turns space traveling Scooby and Shaggy green, making the minions of phobic Dr. Phibes believe they're aliens in the "Get a Clue!" episode "Lightning Strikes Twice." Like, trailer is just another word for ad, Scoob, so the DVD doesn't have as many special features as it looks like.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

While the two-season "Where Are You!" DVD had plenty of bonus features pertaining to the show, these haven't been ported over to the lighter volumes. But customers don't come away empty-handed.
As on the first three volumes and other Scooby DVDs, a bonus episode is included from the recent Kids WB series "Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!" This disc's episode is 1.06, "Lightning Strikes Twice" (22:04; originally aired October 28, 2006), in which Shaggy and Scooby must journey into outer space to save the world from fierce widespread thunderstorms generated by the evil, lightning-loathing Dr. Phineas Phibes. It's presented in fullscreen and Dolby Surround sound.

The disc opens with trailers for Scooby-Doo!: The Mystery Begins and Scooby-Doo: Abracadabra-Doo. The menu grants special feature designation to ads for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5 toys, and Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword.

In typical Warner fashion, the 16:9 static menus employ different characters against a constant backdrop. The main menu plays not the theme music you'd expect, but other score from the show.

Every episode of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" ends with the gang revealing the bad guys and their motives. It's the Scooby-Doo ending. Scooby and Shaggy, the closest and least brave members of The Mystery Machine gang, embrace as they are known to.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The original "Scooby-Doo" series holds up as cheesy fun that practically everyone can appreciate on some level. The Volume 4 DVD and its predecessors, however, are not for the completists but casual fans. They probably could be better served with more episodes per disc (most would probably prefer a fifth episode or a taste of an older incarnation to the "Get a Clue!" bonus show). At least the episodes are in order, so that everyone's favorite shows should eventually get released this way with no overlap. Scooby fans interested in buying the show's DVDs who do not yet own any would probably do well to wait for the imminent Complete Series set, so long as they're up for spending $60 on 15 hours of episodes.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com / Buy Seasons 1 and 2 / Buy The Complete Series

Buy from Amazon.com

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Video Clip from "Which Witch is Which?":

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Reviewed October 28, 2010.



Text copyright 2010 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1969-70 Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. and 2010 Warner Home Video. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.