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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Animation > Mystery > TV > Music > Automobiles > Toys > Dogs > Educational > Fable > Predjudice > Anima > Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan (1972/Hanna-Barbera/Warner Archive DVD Set)/Car’s Life 3:The Royal Heist (2013/E1 DVD)/Charlie: A Toy Story (2013/E1 DVD)/Magic School Bus: All About Earth (Scholastic/New

Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan (1972/Hanna-Barbera/Warner Archive DVD Set)/Car’s Life 3:The Royal Heist (2013/E1 DVD)/Charlie: A Toy Story (2013/E1 DVD)/Magic School Bus: All About Earth (Scholastic/New Video DVD)/Once Upon A Rhyme (Nickelodeon DVD)/The Point (1971/MVD Visual DVD)/Wow Wow Wubbzy! – Best Of Walden (Nick Jr. DVD)


Picture: C+/C+/C/C/C+/C+/C+     Sound: C+/C+/C/C/C+/C+/C+     Extras: D/D/D/D/D/B-/C     Main Programs: B/C+/C-/C+/C+/B-/C+



PLEASE NOTE: The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan is only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Now for the latest round of children’s DVD titles…



Though the film series and character get strange criticism to obnoxious to go into here, I am a fan of Charlie Chan, loved the Fox film series, think the character and books are among the best detective fiction of its time and the character remains both classic and enduring.  Up there with Sherlock Holmes, he is also one of the most well known even to this date.


Hanna-Barbera needed to have more hit shows like Scooby Doo and were competing against themselves as well as the underrated Filmation for what used to be the great Saturday Morning TV market.  Pop/Rock was featured on all their shows, including Filmation’s Archies and the huge hit spin-off, Sabrina & The Groovie Goolies (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) so lossy Hanna-Barbera had to quickly come up with a winning show.


The result was The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan (1972), which had Charlie (now voiced by Keye Luke, the teacher from the hit TV series Kung-Fu, the first #1 son from the Fox movie series (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and the first and only Asian actor to date to play the character even by now!) voicing Chan and his ten children helping him with each case, acting as a variant of the Scooby Gang down to a fun dog named Choo Choo created a diverse and convincing family of fun siblings that added to the energy and joy of the series.


Love that semi Asian-flavored Soul/Pop theme song too.


The kids even have a band called The Chan Clan, though they never okay the theme song, but it should be noted that that title refers to their growing detective work as well.  I remembered the show being charming and fun, but it has appreciated very well and no one 40+ years ago could have imagined how ahead of its time it would have been as China was just about to open up.  Like the famous “Ancient Chinese Secret” detergent commercial, this series smashed stereotypes and the family here is full-fledged, lovable and one anyone in their right mind would want be a part of.


Besides the Hanna-Barbera regulars, writers included Max Hodge (he created Mr. Freeze for the Batman franchise) and actor Jamie Farr in a rare behind-the-camera role, plus additional voices included then child-star Jodie Foster and Brian Tochi, later of the great Saturday Morning TV hit Space Academy (also reviewed on the site).  The transforming vehicle gag debuted here as a van, soon to show up on the classic Hong Kong Phooey (also reviewed on the site) as his trusty car.


The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan is a classic animated TV gem and in this great DVD set, one worth going out of your way for, no matter what your age.  Oh, and it makes Chan the only other classic detective besides Holmes to have an animated series!


There are sadly no extras, but maybe if they make a Blu-ray edition…



Car’s Life 3:The Royal Heist (2013) has nothing to do with the Disney/PIXAR franchise, though the problems with Cars 2 has allowed smaller competitors to take a shot at the money that would go to that franchise otherwise.  The animation is very simple here, though color use is not bad and the story of Queen Limousine (looking like Lady Penelope’s Fab One Rolls-Royce from Thunderbirds somewhat) attending a drag race is amusing and the 85 minutes here are all child-friendly and more watchable than expected.


Of course, this has a built-in automobile fan crowd and will be a curio.  Nice to know this is a pleasant surprise, running a watchable 85 minutes.  There are no extras.



Charlie: A Toy Story (2013) on the other hand is the weakest entry on the list with its phony sense of family, bad acting, bad script and cluelessness on the potential of what to do with this tale of the dog that helps keep watch on the family toy shop.  Unfortunately, no group of people has ever been so bored or boring who owned a toy shop in TV history.


At least the dog does not talk, but the people do and this was a total dud.  There are no extras.



Magic School Bus: All About Earth simply collects three episodes and one bonus show from the hit TV series and offers it as this single DVD.  That’s fine and all, but after the release of the nice Complete Series DVD box set, this is anti-climactic and obviously offered for young children and those who are not big fans of the show.  The choices are just fine and these are educational, respecting the intelligence of young viewers.  I just recommend the box (reviewed elsewhere on this site) instead.


There are no extras.



Once Upon A Rhyme and Wow Wow Wubbzy! – Best Of Walden are two compilation DVDs from Nickelodeon that show off their current slate of hit shows.  Rhyme has fairy tale episodes from Bubble Guppies, Team Umizoomi!, Fresh Beat Band, Dora, two from Wonder Pets! and one from Blue’s Clues, while Walden offers six shows from the Wubbzy! series focusing on the popular character.  This is all child-friendly and good entertainment, though older fans might just stick with larger box sets of said characters.  Like School Bus above, are offered for young children and those who do not want to buy box sets.


There are no extras on Rhyme, but Music Videos, Coloring Activity Sheets and bonus episode are extras on Walden.



Following in the vein of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine (1968, reviewed elsewhere on this site) but made for TV and aimed at families, Fred Wolf’s The Point (1971) features music and singing by the late, great Harry Nilsson (based on a story he came up with) and voice acting by Ringo Starr, all of whom were involved in what really is the first animated feature for TV.


Oblio (voiced by Mike Lookinland of Brady Bunch fame) is the main child character, who has a round head, but wears a pointed hat to fit into the Land of Point and its people, but he is considered an outcast and some angry, mean royals have him sent away with his dog Arrow (the song “Me & My Arrow” is the productions big hit) which takes them on an absurd adventure, all read by Starr as a father talking to his son who happens to look and sound very much like Oblio.


Running 74 minutes, it is a charming, if inconsistent work and though the animation might be dated and limited, the color and ideas are not fitting in with the new style of the time, surreal and even a bit psychedelic.  It has more than enough highlights to see it at least once and now it is back on DVD with new extras that amount to four featurettes:  Who Is Harry Nilsson?, Pitching The Point, Making The Point and Legacy Of The Point.


If you have never seen this and love animation and music, it is a must-see.



The 1.33 X 1 on Chan and Point have some of the best color on the list (Chan is my favorite, never looking better here), but Bus seems a little weaker, esp. versus the picture quality on the box set and the Nickelodeon DVDs are somewhere in between but looking good with decent color and all have some aliasing errors.  Chan and Point have some minor print issues.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the rest of the DVDs are as good at best, but no better and Charlie is especially soft throughout.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is offered on all the newer titles, while Chan, Bus and Point have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.  They are all on par with each other sonically when all is said and done, though Charlie and Bus are weaker than expected, sp be careful of volume switching.



To order The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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