Jay Ward’s Dudley Do-Right Makes His Way to DVD

Since 1959, Jay Ward’s characters Rocky and Bullwinkle have delighted animation fans. One component of their TV series was episodes of The Greatest Mountie of Them All, Dudley Do-Right. Now, he’s made his way to DVD with Sony Wonder’s The Best of Dudley Do-Right Volume 1.

Fifteen Dudley Do-Right episodes are featured on the disc. Nine of these have already been available via the first two Rocky and Bullwinkle DVD box sets. Dudley, arch villain Snideley Whiplash, Nell, Inspector Fenwick and of course Dudley’s Horse all appear in this DVD. William Conrad of Jake and the Fatman TV fame is the narrator for nearly half of the toons here.

Show business figures in the plots of a few of the cartoons. Snidely becomes a silent movie star in Matinee Idol. Unfortunately, talkies come in, and Snideley’s voice on screen is heard as Dudley’s! Nell tries a singing career in The Masked Ginny Lynne.

Discouraged by her father, Inspector Fenwick, she wears a mask to disguise herself to perform on Major Snideley’s Amateur Hour (his version of American Idol).

In Lure of the Footlights, Snidely and Dudley become a popular comedy duo. Dudley likes his new work so much that he quits the RCMP for the bright lights of entertainment.

The most unusual episode on the disc is the rare and controversial, Stokey the Bear. The episode was broadcast just once in 1961. Snideley has hypnotized the formerly good bear to set forest fires. The U.S. Forestry Service was not pleased with this takeoff of Smokey the Bear, and the episode was pulled from the series.

Picture quality on the disc is good. Like the Rocky and Bullwinkle sets, a small “RB” logo appears at the right bottom of the screen during the first few seconds of each Dudley toon, It’s not a major annoyance, but it still would have been nicer to not have them on the disc. The bonus feature is nearly four minutes of the original Bullwinkle puppet introductions to the episodes.

All in all, a highly recommended DVD. A collection of cartoons with fellow Rocky and Bullwinkle Show characters Peabody and Sherman was also released concurrently with the Dudley disc. Hopefully, Ward’s “George of the Jungle” series will make its way to DVD soon.

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