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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 11/27/02

Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse:
The Complete Series

1960 (2002) - A&E

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse: The Complete Series Program Rating: C+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): D-/D+/F

Specs and Features

Approx. 720 mins (130 episodes at 5-6 mins each), NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, 4 Amaray keep case packages with slipcase, Bob Kane biography, film-themed menu screens, episode access (32-33 episodes per disc), languages: English (DD 2.0 mono), subtitles: none

Forget Batman, Bob Kane's single greatest comic creation was that furry force of justice... Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse. If you thought Batman had something for every situation in his utility belt, you haven't seen anything yet. Courageous has a wicked catgun for every job there ever could be. And thanks to A&E, we can now breathe a little easier knowing that all 130 episodes of this classic series are on DVD in a 4-disc box set.

For those not in the know, Courageous Cat and his dashing partner, Minute Mouse, are the protectors of Empire City, where they do battle with the likes of Chauncey Frog (with his Edward G. Robinson voice), Phineus Fox, Harry the Gorilla and Robber Rabbit. Every time the bad guys hatch a plan to rob, steal or take over the city, Courageous and Minute swoop in and save the day. No muss, no fuss... just cool 60s pop culture.

When I was a wee lad, I watched this show religiously in syndication on New York's WOR-TV. I grew addicted to the jazzy theme and formulaic plots, and even acted out the episodes. But looking back, I can see that there's nothing particularly exciting about Courageous. I still find it cool, because it's a slice of my pop cultural childhood. But when I showed some episodes to my wife, who had never seen the show before, she stared blankly at me and soon went back to whatever she was doing before I pulled her away. I don't blame her. Sucked into the frenzy of nostalgia, I sat and watched all 4 discs of this set back to back... and I swear I could feel brain cells dying inside my skull. In spoonfuls, this is a fun show. But as a marathon, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse is... well, not as fun as I once thought. Still, I'm glad I have it on disc. Maybe my possibly-in-the-future-kids will enjoy the show as much as I did as a kid.

I just wish these DVDs looked better. As stated above, there are 4 discs crammed with episode after episode (actually, each disc has about 33 to 32 episodes per disc, at about 5 minutes each) in their original full frame aspect ratio. And digitally they look fine - no snub to A&E. But the source prints for these shorts look like they were stored in a garage under a box of potting soil and X-acto knives. These episodes are almost, ALMOST unwatchable. They are scratched, foggy, lacking detail and blown up in spots. It really broke my heart to see this. Time has not been friendly to this series. I'm glad they were "saved" to DVD before they became dust, but the way they look, tells me they were about a year away from being "long lost classics".

The sound isn't much better. Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, there's inherent hisses and pops galore. Again, I don't fault A&E one bit. But as a fan of this show, it's really hurts to see it hasn't been protected through the years.

Extras are non existent, save for a Bob Kane bio on each disc. This is a shame, because with all the cartoon experts out there -cough- Jerry Beck -cough-, A&E should've tapped one of them for a commentary or something. It's a missed opportunity, but I guess having the show on DVD (and complete) is a nice enough thing.

Cartoon fans love Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse for its place in animation history, and they can rejoice in the fact that such a long ago favorite is on DVD. The "new fans" may be limited by the less than stellar animation and storylines... but maybe there's hope out there and I'm just not giving the show credit. The quality of the presentation is sub par, but with an animated show more than 40 years old, I guess that's to be expected. Sad... but expected.

Todd Doogan
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