DVD Review "Help!…It's The Hair Bear Bunch!: The Complete Animated Series"

Creators: Hanna-Barbera
Starring: Daws Butler, Paul Winchell, Hal Smith, Joe E. Ross, William Callaway, John Stephenson
Distributed by: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 328 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I am a big fan of pretty much anything Hanna-Barbera. I have to admit, I guess I am too young but I have never heard of “Help!…It’s The Hair Bear Bunch!”, which dates back to 1971. It only lasted one season and 16 episodes on the air. Even though it may not be Hanna Barbera’s best product, they have appeared in various other programs including Hair Bear’s cameo in “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law”. There was even a reference in “The Brady Bunch” to the show. After watching all 16 episodes I have to admit, I went to grab the next disc for more episodes. So to me that means that I really enjoyed this show. It is zany, silly and just plain fun. It also features great voice legends like Daws Butler (who takes a page from his Yogi Bear voice), Hal Smith (who was one of the original voices of Winnie the Pooh). I would recommend checking out this DVD.

Official Premise: In the Wonderland Zoo there are the certain bears who stay at home every night and never quarrel or fight, aw, they don’t even bite! So don’t yell “Help! Help!”, it’s the Hair Bear Bunch! Yep – it’s the heppest, savviest and silliest ursines to ever crash out of a zoo, Hair, Square and Bubi Bear. Their bear cave transforms from stone and straw to a swinging, scientific bachelor bear pad at the touch of a button – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Quick-talking Hair (voiced by Daws Butler), befuddling curlicue talker Bubi (voiced by Paul Winchell) and master of the invisible motorcycle, the zen-drawling Square Bear (voiced by William Callaway) are more than a match for their “keepers” Mr. Peevly (voiced by John Stephenson) and Botch (voiced by Joe E. Ross) – with or without the other delightful denizens of Wonderland Zoo, who are always ready to help the Bears in their bigger-than-the-zoo schemes. This two-disc, 16 episode collection contains all the mod bears madcap extra-zoohicular adventures.

This complete series are said to be newly restored but I am not doing back flips with the transfers. They are good but they look like they are still dated from 1971. The colors are a little muted but work enough to enjoy the series. The episodes are presented in full screen 4×3 with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1. This is the first time that this series has been released on DVD, so I am thrilled enough just to see it get some love. Thanks as always to Warner Archive. They are always responsible for pulling out some very unique and rare shows from the vaults and give them a new life. I can’t wait to see what they come up with yet. This release is available on only on WBShop.com and is MOD, which means “Manufactured on Demand”.  So if you are a fan of this show there is no telling how long they will be available so get it now.

Theater Review "Hair" Kauffman Center For the Performing Arts – Kansas City, Missouri

Hair
Kauffman Center For the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri
February 5, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to the 1960’s, the decade of free love, flower power, psychedelics, the Vietnam War, and long flowing hair! Even though it was written in 1967 and debuted on Broadway in 1968 the story and underlying symbolism of the musical “Hair” holds true even in this decade and for my own generation.

“Hair” is an ensemble/audience interaction event and an experience all in its own. Credited with being the first “Rock Opera,” “Hair” is the story of a group of young adults who are living the life of freedom, drugs, love and no responsibilities or, as they were better known at that time, hippies. Their only job is to live their life and protest the ideas of the conformist government and their conservative parents. Their retaliations range from protesting and draft card burning to something as simple as growing their hair long… the longer the better.

The main characters of the story are two young men: Claude (Noah Plomgren) and Berger (Brian Crawford Scott). They both find themselves attracted to young socialite Sheila (Mary Kate Morrissey). The struggles in conflict arises when Claude is drafted by the U.S. Army to serve his country in Vietnam. He struggles with the life he has led vs the life and path ahead of him.

The cast in this production of “Hair” was downright amazing, with every cast member in stunning form vocally. Unlike some touring productions, this cast is much more than just decent actors with good voices, Plomgren and Scott also show a fantastic gift for comedic timing as well as captivating emotion. Sheila and Woof (Jason Moody) were the two performers who really stood out to me. While many of the songs in the show are so familiar as to encourage the audience to sing along, when those two sang the audience sat silently and took their voices in.

What I enjoyed more than anything else at this performance was watching the audience. You could see the majority of the crowd were the same age as the cast during the”age of Aquarius” Being 28 I really got a kick watching the sixty-somethings with their gray hair and tied ties, now seemingly professional and clean cut, as they filled the auditorium. You could see them having literal flashbacks as the show progressed. A good laugh here at free love, a snicker there at a reference to “getting stoned” and even a whispered conversation between husband and wife during the song “Hashish” (the only lyrics being the various drugs popular in the 1960s) ending with an audible laugh. By the end of the show the audience was captivated by the story, the music and the cast. The show ends with a grand performance of “Let the Sun Shine In” with the cast inviting the audience to join in the fun and dance with them on stage.

The audience consisted of people of all ages, proving that after all these years “Hair” has stayed relevant from generation to generation…passed on from parents to their children (although as a child I never believed my parents were as cool as they said they were). This show offers an opportunity for any parent or grandparent whose kids always doubted their cool stories to introduce them to the life and times that now can only being read about in history books.

This show definitely earned 5 out 5 stars in my opinion, especially taking in the whole experience of the cast, the music, the performances, the venue and the people I shared this show with. It is an experience that I won’t forget and I’m sure in 40 more years the story of “Hair” and its ideals will still hold strong. “Hair” continues in Kansas City through Sunday, February 10. Below is a list of cities the show will visit soon.

For more information or to purchase tickets go to www.hairontour.com

February 19 – Opelika, Alabama
February 20 – Montgomery, Alabama
February 24 – Columbia, Missouri
February 26-27 – Kalamazoo, Michigan
February 28 – Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
March 1 – Toledo, Ohio
March 2-3 – Detroit, Michigan