Groovin’ Saturday Morning Adventures

After the runaway success of Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera tackled characters from Archie Comics for another memorable Saturday morning cartoon. Josie And The Pussycats made its debut in 1970, a groovy animated series about a girl group touring the world with their friends and defeating nefarious masterminds along the way. Borrowing liberally from Scooby-Doo’s formula and using familiar vocal talent like Casey Kasem, Josie and friends get into mischief while saving the day from villains in exotic locations.

Originally created by Dan DeCarlo for Archie Comics, Josie and the Pussycats’ original run played for two years on CBS before ultimately getting a spin-off called Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space. Produced by Hanna-Barbera, the Saturday morning cartoon became known for its music and the distinctive leopard print costumes worn by the girls in the band. The silly fun is backed with catchy and sunny pop music, inspired by antics seen on The Monkees.

Josie and the Pussycats is amusing Saturday morning fare that remains a pure delight for those still young at heart

While the girl group nominally revolves around Josie’s good-natured music, most of the humor and plotting are driven by characters like Alexandra and Alan. Alexander, voiced by Casey Kasem in a manner that sounds almost identical to his Shaggy voice, manages the all-girl musical group.

Alexander’s twin sister Alexandra tags along with the group, a mean-spirited and conniving character that often undermines Josie. Alexandra and Josie vie for Alan’s affection. Alexandra’s snickering cat Sebastian is voiced by Don Messick, the legendary voice actor behind Scooby-Doo. Alexandra’s dirty tricks usually backfire on her.

Traveling across the world from Bombay to the Alps, the teens encounters a wide range of diabolical villains and criminal masterminds in their adventures. The happy-go-lucky teens often defeat the villain during extended musical montages. Darn those meddling kids!

A musical variation on Scooby-Doo’s blueprint of teenagers confronting criminals, Josie and the Pussycats is amusing Saturday morning fare that remains a pure delight for those still young at heart. You could even say it’s an improvement on Scooby-Doo as Josie offers far more variety in its storytelling.

Video

All sixteen episodes of the original Josie and the Pussycats animated show, first broadcast in 1970, are split evenly between two BD-50s, which totals over 300 minutes of wholesome cartoon fun.

Warner Archive’s AVC encode is given generous parameters, soaking up all that space for a transparent compression job without a hint of banding or chroma noise. Unlike corporate sibling Warner Home Video, Warner Archive has never had issues encoding animation on Blu-ray. It’s a groovy presentation that pops with clarity and saturated colors.

Retaining the show’s original 1.33:1 broadcast ratio, Josie and the Pussycats looks fantastic at 1080P resolution. Brightly colored with vivid primary colors and clean line art designed for younger audiences, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon looks fresh as a daisy on Blu-ray. The original animation, overseen by the likes of Alex Toth and other industry legends at Hanna-Barbera, remains in pristine condition. There’s less dust and loose dirt than other Hanna-Barbera productions from its era.

Josie and the Pussycats doesn’t disappoint in its first appearance on Blu-ray. The Saturday morning cartoon’s fresh designs and exotic locations receives a pure film transfer from the original elements in fabulous shape. The vibrant cel animation holds up better than expected, visually outshining similar Hanna-Barbera productions.

Audio

Warner Archive gives the original Saturday morning monaural television soundtrack a fine 2.0 DTS-HD MA treatment. The simple audio design fits the show’s intended Saturday morning cartoon demographic.

Since every episode features a musical montage with light pop music, the lossless audio renders the pleasant music with clean fidelity, excellent frequency response and respectable dynamics. Dialogue is free of distortion with crisp delivery. Josie and the Pussycats sounds nigh perfect in a well-balanced mono mix with full energy and enjoyable smoothness.

It should be mentioned that Josie and the Pussycats was originally broadcast with a laugh track on CBS. Like all home video releases for the show, this Blu-ray omits that laugh track.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.

Extras

Warner Archive includes the entire original series on two discs. One bonus feature is included, a warm retrospective on Josie creator Dan DeCarlo that looks back on his career and work from respected industry figures in animation and comics.

It should be noted this set doesn’t contain the spin-off series Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space. Maybe that will get released if sales for this Warner Archive release justifies it.

The Irresistible Charm of Dan DeCarlo: The Man and His Art (22:56 in window-boxed widescreen SD) – An extended featurette which glowingly covers DeCarlo’s life and accomplishments. Featuring sound bites from Stan Lee, Paul Dini, Casey Kasem and Mark Evanier, it’s a nice summation of DeCarlo’s distinct art style and Josie eventually transitioning from the page to screen.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Josie and the Pussycats
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Another Saturday morning delight with silly musical fun thrown in for good measure from Hanna-Barbera’s peak in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

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