Sunday, October 28, 2007
LONG AWAITED CARTOON RETURNS ON DVD
BY Ra SHAWN CHISOLM
With many television and cartoon series being released on DVD, many cartoon fanatics are celebrating the anticipated and long-awaited release of "Josie & the Pussycats-The Complete Series" (Warner Brothers), which will have fans reliving their childhood memories.
Recently dubbed the original Pussycat Dolls, the group and series began as a comic book created by the late Dan Delcarlo, who based the characters on his real life widow Josie and sister Millie, which became a huge hit with both readers and viewers as well as made history by being the first cartoon series to feature a Black character, who was almost not featured by the show’s producers who wanted Valerie to be white. That changed when the music producers threatened to quit if they didn’t allow Valerie to be like, and after seeing how serious the producer was, they relented, and the show became a huge hit for the season it was on air. I first saw the show when I was nine years old, and what made me become attached to the show was the group’s attire and songs (especially “Lie, Lie, Lie” and “You’ve Come Along Way Baby”) which had a great combination of Pop and Soul that had me dancing and singing (though I wasn’t blessed with a singing voice) around in my bedroom and memorizing all of the character’s lines.
The show’s plot features Pop Singing trio Josie, Melody and Valerie who along their roadie/security guard/producer Alan, manager Alexander Cabot, his sister Alexander and their cat Sebastian, always finding themselves in the middle of stopping some evil villains schemes during their concert tours, which would consist of them being captured, escaping, being featured in a chase and run scene while their music is being performed by Cathy Douglass, Cheryl Ladd of “Charlie’s Angels” and the late Patrice Holloway, sister of Motown legend Brenda Holloway, who died from a heart attack last year. After the villains are captured, they managed to make it to their next concert gig without a single scratch on their clothes or body.
What makes the show interesting are the cast’s characters and personalities;
Melody’s the blond who’s naïve and somewhat ditzy, but has a laugh that you can’t help to enjoy. (Episode 3 is the highlight when she’s hypnotized and calls her master "great mustard.")
Their manager Alexander dubbed Chicken Little for his fear of helping fight the villains, but he would try to take all the credit whenever the authorities would arrive to make himself look good, but his sister Alexandra one of television’s bitchiest characters who’s jealous and scheming attitude is what makes fans tune in. Unlike her older brother, Alexandra wasn’t afraid to back down from fighting the villains, and when she wasn’t reading the villains, she was trying to be the center of attention. Obsessed with Josie’s boyfriend Alan and with wanting to be the star of the group, she always comes up with plans to get Alan away from Josie and trying to savatage the group’s performance by usually having Sebastian participate in her schemes which usually backfires and causes the rest of the gang to laugh at her. Plus she’s also known for her sarcastic by insulting the Pussycat’s music and Josie for having the things that she desires to have; fame and a good man like Alan on her side. Her trademark line is “Oh! That Josie manages to get next to Alan!” She also does anything to be near him, In Episode 2, the group stumbles into Dr. Green Thumb’s lab and wanting to keep them from alerting the authorities, Thumb decides to have Alan, Alex and Josie walk through his garden with deadly creature plants, but Alexandra knowing that she was taking a risk of being harmed or killed decides to be a part of the first group that he sends to the garden. ”Just a minute Green fat” she says in a desperate and sarcastic tone. “Alan and I do everything together. He stays with me!” Talk about being desperate to be with a man who had no romantic interest her!
A great aspect of the cartoon was having Valerie’s character being a talented and smart Black woman; yes there was times when her sassiness and ghetto side came out. Especially when Alex and Alexandra were assigned to help her with rewiring machines, she would always create gadgets to help the group get out of trouble as well as help put the villains out of business and I commend the music producers for fighting to keep Valerie Black which was a smart move being that the show premiered during the Black Power and women liberation movement.
The set is was well packaged, but it would have been better had the producers would have included interviews with the singers, musicians and producers. It would have been great for viewers to see and hear how their feelings about being a part of a historical cartoon and movement, but the set is good for cartoon and music lovers to add to their collection and relive their childhood memories.
This review is dedicated to the memory of Patrice Holloway