Gerald McBoing Boing!... on HELLBOY???
In what has to be the most obvious connection for animation and comics headz alike, UPA cartoons are finally available on DVD... on the HELLBOY DVD, of course! Now, don't you see the connection? It totally makes sense, doesn't it? I mean, it's so obvious!
Okay, I can't lie. It's just as perplexing to me as for the next galoot. So I decided to do some investigatin' on this matter. It seems that the director of HELLBOY, Guillermo DelToro, is a big fan of the UPA shorts, particularly the Gerald McBoing series. (And I guess that the character Hellboy is a cartoon fan, but since I don't read the comic I'm not so sure about that one.) And it was very convenient that Columbia TriStar, who released the film obviously owns the rights to the Columbia shorts library. (Jerry Beck says they have absolutely no clue what treasures they have in their vaults. No clue. And that is sad, as this may be the only way of seeing any classic UPA shorts on DVD.)
The shorts available are: the original Gerald McBoing Boing short, written by Dr. Suess, How Now Boing Boing, Gerald McBoing Boing and Planet Moo, and for a darker touch, The Tell Tale Heart, from the short story by Edgar Allen Poe. The transfers are the best I've seen of these films, which is not saying much, as these short films have not been given the restoration treatment that they deserve. Plus, I've only seen two of these four on a crappy VHS tape of Columbia short classics released sometime in the 80's (I think), and also in streaming video at this site. The Planet Moo short is in glorious Cinescope, which shows off the stylized backgrounds very well, but cannot save the story one lick (It seemed at this point they were searching for story ideas, and what was big at this point in time? Space! Hey! - I know, let's put Gerald in space! Yeah, that's it!). Just check out the very cool background here (full aspect ratio):
And I really loved checking out The Tell Tale Heart, which I'd never seen before. It's amazing how much tension and suspense the filmmakers created here with hardly any animation. Very cool. Worth checking out.
To find these wonderful gems, put in HELLBOY disc 1, and go through the menus until where it says: From the Den: Hellboy Recommends. (NOTE: This is for the 2-disc Special Edition. Not sure about the just-released Director's Edition.) Enjoy!