The Very Cool "Cool McCool"
Cool McCool is one of those 60s shows that faded quickly from the public consciousness soon after airing. Even though it was created by Bob Kane, I had amazingly never heard of it until this DVD release, despite my great interest in his work since childhood.
Be that as it may, the series is interesting not just because of who worked on it, but because it’s also a fun show.
Cool McCool is a bumbling secret agent (the show’s like an animated Get Smart at times) who battles an eclectic group of super villains, including a cat lady and an owl man. Where Kane got the inspiration for those oddities, I don’t know. Stylistically, the series shares a lot in common with Wacky Races and Rocky and Bullwinkle. A lot of the episodes run together, so it’s hard to pick out individual things that work, but the show has its charms and I greatly enjoyed watching it.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy to recommend, but it offers up a great example of 60s animation at its finest. Which is little surprise coming from the director of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.
This relatively low-profile release certainly packs a hefty bunch of extras. It includes two commentaries (on episodes one and eight) with voice artist Chuck McCann and moderator Wally Wingert. The commentaries are a real treat to listen to, especially when McCann starts doing voices. Among the neat facts they point out: the entire show amazingly needed only three voice actors, despite the wide variety of characters.
McCann also introduces each episode, giving plot rundowns, quick facts and neat behind-the-scenes tidbits along the way. If more sets had these types of intros, I’d be more forgiving when they didn’t have commentaries. It’s amazing how much McCann can remember about this show, as it’s been over forty years since it was produced.
McCann is also the subject of two highly informative featurettes, one an interview and the other a profile of his long career in movies, television, commercials, animation, theater and music. There’s also a Wally Wingert music video that features a McCann appearance, and trailers for other Ink & Paint releases.
The packaging is bright, colorful and attractive to look at, including individual disc art and inserts for each of the thin-paks. You even get a big and colorful “KA-BOOM!” on the sleeves that hold the discs. Ink & Paint really went above and beyond on this release.
The menus are easy to navigate and extremely colorful, just like the show. Despite some occasional interlacing and a slightly soft image, the video and audio quality for this release is surprisingly good given the age of the material.
Overall Cool McCool is very entertaining. It definitely has replay value, which is always nice for these larger DVD sets. Considering the modest MSRP under $20, it’s worth a blind buy, even if you happen to sell it again later down the road. It shows you just how funny and charming these older cartoons can be.