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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Shorts > The Joe McDoakes Collection (1942 – 1956/Warner Bros. Archive Collection DVD)

The Joe McDoakes Collection (1942 – 1956/Warner Bros. Archive Collection DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: D     Shorts: C+



Live-action comedy shorts do not always hold up as well as their animated counterparts, though Our Gang (reviewed elsewhere on this site) are a rare exception.  One formulaic series that was quite successful for Warner Bros. involved the misadventures of Joe McDoakes.  He never spoke and was always accompanied by comic narration (by the great voice actor Art Gilmore) about what he was doing next.  As played by future George Jetson voice George O’Hanlon (ironically never heard here), he was the everyday guy (and sometimes dork) trying different occupations, other seemingly simple activities or deal with other situations.  All the shorts are now on DVD for the first time in The Joe McDoakes Collection.


This set has all 60 shorts over 6 DVD-Rs available exclusively through the Warner Archive website.  It is not a bad series and the better shorts depend on the subject.  The attempts at being a detective, bodybuilder, dancer, build a model railroad, be on the radio when there were still dramas & comedies on it and making movies are among the ones to watch.  Every title starts with So You…


Director Richard L. Bare helmed each (some of which he wrote) with some energy and moved on to TV where he directed on several hits including Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone and comedies like Green Acres and Nanny & The Professor.  He had a knack for making these visually interesting, which is why we are still talking about them.  The camera liked O’Hanlon and some visual gags are good.  You might find these a hoot or just a time killer, but now you can get them all without watching TCM and see for yourself.


The 1.33 X 1 image on average is softer than expected, though the prints actually look like they are in good shape.  Definition always has slight noise throughout despite the fact that Video Black is not bad.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also dis appointing with slight distortion and a lower volume than they should be at, so be careful of playback and audio switching.    There are no extras.



You can order this and other Archive releases at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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