Produced and Directed: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Both Episodes Written By: Jameson Brewer (Story), Tom Dagenais (Story), and Ruth Brooks Flippen (Story)
Characters Written by: Joe Ruby & Ken Spears
Distributed by: Warner Home Video, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment UK Ltd.
Runtime: 1 hour 17 minutes
Scooby-Doo, along with the rest of the gang; Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy, have met up with a lot of famous faces in the past during the 1972-73 series ‘The New Scooby-Doo Movies. A series of extended episodes in which the Mystery Inc. gang team up with a new real-life celebrity or popular animated character each week, in order to solve a mystery. The cast of famous names among the roster included The Addams Family, The Three Stooges, The Harlem Globetrotters, Sonny & Cher, Dick Van Dyke, Don Adams, and many more, but of course the two episodes I will be reviewing here, tell a tale of when Scooby and the gang met the Dynamic Duo themselves, Batman and Robin!
These two episodes were first aired in 1979, later added to the VHS collection of the series, and then finally on DVD which was released in 2002.
“The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair”
Scooby and the gang find themselves stumbling across a secret counterfeiting scheme, which crosses their paths with the caped crusader and the boy wonder, Batman and Robin! When a mysterious hooded figure attempts to throw them off the trail, the Dynamic Duo and the Mystery Inc. gang join forces to bring justice to the villains that they soon discover to be none other than The Joker and The Penguin, two of Batman’s most heinous criminals.
However, after capturing the Joker and Penguin, the two villains reveal that they were in fact hired by a third party member, one whose identity is a mystery even to the two criminals. The team of heroes goes chasing more clues and discovers that the hooded figure from the beginning is in fact the mastermind behind it all. The question is, who is hiding beneath the hood?
“The Caped Crusader Caper”
The Mystery Inc. gang is enjoying a camping trip when suddenly, Shaggy and Scooby stumble across the familiar villains of Batman; The Joker, and The Penguin. After meeting up with the dynamic duo once again, Scoob and the gang come across what they believe to be a dryad, a tree spirit of folklore, and a bridge troll.
Joker and Penguin are back to their criminal hijinks again, but this time they’re trying to steal a flying suit. After the kidnapping of Professor Flaky, the villains do their best to throw our heroes off the trail, but their silly antics are no match for the likes of Batman and Robin!
The story is filled with classic Scooby-Doo tropes, from spooky houses, revolving doors, splitting up, and of course, corny humor, making this classic throwback to the early days of Scooby-Doo cartoons a delight to watch for fans of all ages.
Scooby-Doo teaming up with Batman, somehow simply just makes sense. Scooby and the gang are all about solving mysteries and Batman is the world’s greatest detective, so who better to solve a mystery with than Batman.
The dialogue is filled with alliteration and just like any classic Scooby-Doo product, it’s got Shaggy and Scooby at the forefront of the silly antics that occur within every episode. Together, the two of them always manage to accidentally become the heroes of the tale when they stumble across the villains and the victims.
‘The All-New Scooby-Doo Movies’ was the second animated series starring Scooby and the gang and included a large cast of character Hanna-Barbera characters, some of which, such as Batman and Robin, were introduced even before their own Hanna-Barbera shows. The Batman and Robin we see in these two episodes were the iterations of the Dynamic Duo that went on to star in the classic ’70s series ‘Super Friends’, with Olan Soule and Casey Kasem reprising their roles as the voices of Batman and Robin respectively.
As much as we all have a particular voice in our head for characters like Joker, the ’70s animated Joker is a very different voice from the likes of Mark Hamill or even ’66 Joker, Ceasar Romero. Instead, Larry Storch provided a far less terrifying voice, with more corny dialogue and a lot less of the disturbing laugh. Whilst the laugh was there in some cases, it is certainly a far cry from the performances of Romero and Hamill.
The DVD I own, which collects these two episodes together, has some great box art and brilliant menu background. Whilst the DVD itself only has 3 options, which include; Episodes, Play All and Languages.
‘Episodes’ takes you to a sub-menu in which you can choose to watch just one of the episodes available on the DVD. I discovered that in terms of continuity, the DVD actually makes the mistake of playing “The Caped Crusader Caper” first, which is, in fact, the second time the gang meets Batman and Robin, hence why their relationship feels more familiar than it does in “The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair”. However, this isn’t the end of the world if you watch them in the order the DVD plays them in, as they do not reference their previous encounter in a specific detailed way, it’s more a case of familiarity between characters. For example, in the chronological first episode, the gang seem surprised to meet Batman and Robin, whereas, in the second episode, they simply say something like “Look Batman and Robin are here”, without the tone of surprise, which gives you that sense that this isn’t a surprise to them anymore.
The Episodes menu also has a fun little detail added in which the image of Scooby-Doo, cowled with his own Batman costume, actually interacts with your option choices before you confirm the choice you make. When first entering the menu, Scooby-Doo is perfectly positioned in a casual pose in the center of the screen, but when choosing either the left option or the right option, Scooby changes poses to lift his cape on whichever side it is that your cursor or remote is picking.
The DVD I own has a ‘Languages’ option but instead of being able to choose a different language besides English, the menu is more for choosing the option of adding subtitles to the feature you will be watching. The DVD only allows English dialogue options and doesn’t come with any other choices. even on subtitles, which means that if English is not a language you speak, read or even understand, then this DVD is no good for you as it does not give any diversity to the language options or the subtitles.
The languages menu itself comes with another great piece of background menu art though, as this one features a frightened Scooby-Doo beneath the descending Dynamic Duo, on ropes in what appears to be a cave.
Each menu screen also comes with the little added feature of a bat symbol representing which option you are currently hovering over, to help the viewer clearly navigate the DVD’s various options.
The main menu itself is accompanied by a backing track which I can’t seem to find any information on in terms of composer etc. but it is only a short piece that eventually repeats itself over and over, sounding similar in tone to the Danny Elfman Batman theme from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, which was released two decades later in 1992.
The DVD and its collected duo of episodes is a fun little item to own in any fan’s collection of either Scooby-Doo or Batman or fans of both like myself. However, I wouldn’t say it’s a must-see or must-have, as the episodes feel a little sluggish for most modern-day audiences.
The DVD itself is classically empty as many TV episode compilation DVDs often are, with very few features to offer any reason to make you want to buy it. It is however a very cheap DVD to buy and very easy to find online or in second-hand stores such as charity shops or Cex, places like that.
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