BIG NEWS: “Herman and Katnip” on DVD

Stop the presses, hold the phone: It’s greatest news since the invention of the Digital Video Disc itself! Unlike the post below, this is NO JOKE! My friend David Lambert at TVshowsonDVD.com is reporting that Classic Media will be releasing Herman and Katnip: The Complete Series on September 6th.

Herman and Katnip were a knock-off of MGM’s Tom and Jerry by Paramount’s Famous Studios. They are some of the most violent cartoons ever created – so much so, they are acknowledged as the inspiration of The Simpsons‘ Itchy and Scratchy. I posted about my favorite Herman and Katnip moment back in 2009. This is not first time these cartoons have appeared on DVD (which their press release implies), they were part of Classic Media’s incomplete Harveytoons Complete Collection. This new single-disc release will cost at measly $7.93, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com. They will be presented as originally shown in theaters and on television: in full-screen 1.33:1 video format and with English mono audio. Supposedly this is the box art (above left), using the cover of an old Harvey comic book, instead of commissioning a new image. For $7.93, what do you expect?


  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    What a shocking bit of news.
    These oddly fulfilling, unpleasant cartoons are fun.
    The price is right.

  • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

    These will probably be the same time-compressed, neutered, HARVEYTOON SHOW versions at that price. But you’re still getting a ton of killer animation, catchy soundtracks, great color styling, and mind-numbing brutality, so it’s not all bad. SKIDDLE DIDDLE DEE!

    • Daniel

      did you not read the article? It said they will be released as originally shown in theatres.

      • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

        So with Paramount titles, eh? At that price? You are naive, friend. We all know what “original” means with Classic Media. Just like the Bullwinkle DVDs are how they were originally shown on TV.

      • Jon

        The way I interpreted that message was that it was describing the screen size, not the paramount credits. If you notice it states, which is how it is listed on TVShowsonDVD.com “They will be presented as originally shown in theaters and on television: in full-screen 1.33:1 video format”.

  • Daniel

    This is too good to be true. Cant wait to see the original Noveltoon intro’s again. Hopefully we they will put some of the best non Herman Katnip Noveltoons on them as bonus cartoons. In a time when nothing of interest has come out on dvd since the popeyes and LTGC this is great news.

  • eeteed

    i’m very excited about this news! famous studios is my personal favorite of all the golden age studios, and was a big influence on my work.

    now if only a certain somebody would finish a certain book that they have been working on…

  • Inkan1969

    Will that include the eps of Katnip vs. that crow?

    • http://artnote.blog.com Stephen

      Buzzy the Crow…{shudder}

    • http://justforspite.blogspot.com GeneRasputinHole

      if they included every cartoon with either herman or Katnip, including the Buzzy crow ones, that’d be about 48 ‘toons. There are 21 with both Herman and Katnip in them; that alone would take up plenty of room on a single disc set.
      For them to include all 48, it’d have to be a flipper disc. I’m hoping it’s not a flipper, because those are so much more susceptible to damage.

  • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

    Wow, this is so out-of-the-blue! It’s always nice to hear about a new classic cartoon DVD, and the price is great. This’ll be a definite purchase.

  • dbenson

    Herman and Katnip are the true parents of Itchy and Scratchy. Like Baby Huey, they had trouble finding the line between funny and disturbing.

    On the music: Is that the same Hal David who wrote a ton of songs with Burt Bacharach?

  • Greg Chenoweth

    I encourage all readers to purchase this DVD release to let Classic Media know that there is a demand for these older cartoons. Now, if only they would release Linus The Lion-Hearted!?!

    • David Breneman

      Sorry, no. These cartoons were the nadir of theatrical shorts. There is such a sadistic mean-spiritedness to these things you have to wonder if the people that made them were on the verge of going postal.

  • http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com David Gerstein

    At that price I’ll take it, but Classic Media wouldn’t know “complete” if it gouged their eyes out with a scalpel and replaced them with glass substitutes. “I can’t see! I can’t see!”

  • droosan

    One of the very first DVDs I ever bought (about 12 years ago!) is titled HERMAN & CATNIP & FRIENDS. It was released by Digital Disc Entertainment.

    It only has four cartoons: NAUGHTY BUT MICE, SUDDEN FRIED CHICKEN, TO SPRING (a ‘non-Herman’ toon featuring generic elves), and HEP CAT SYMPHONY. All have their original Paramount/Noveltoon/Famous Studios title cards.

    Definitely glad to hear of this new release, though..!

    • R.J.

      Funny you mentioned that… Alpha Home Entertainment (under their New Age Video label) released those same cartoons (HEP CAT SYMPHONY was on another half-hour compilation) almost verbatim. Such is the life of P.D. animated shorts. That brings up an interesting 2-part question though…

      1) If they are going for the complete series, does that apply only to the cartoons from the Herman & Katnip umbrella series, or will the Noveltoons be included in the mix?

      2) If they do decide to have the Noveltoons, will there be some from the ’40s as well, including solo shorts? (which means they’ll have to license those from Republic)

  • Larry T

    Well if buying this would also mean we’re giving the sign to Classic Media that there’s an interest in the Paramount Library to be released on DVD…. throw one in my cart!!!

  • FleischerFan

    I am buying this set no matter what it might tell Classic Media about anything.

    And yes, I agree with Thad, these will probably be the same butchered for television prints, not the original theatrical releases…but I’ve always been a “glass half-full” kind of guy!

  • Martin Juneau

    I will paid for this but i just hope it’s not the same speed-up films prints we used to watch in years. There is even one or two Herman/Catnip shorts when they have the films look remastered in the old Harveytoons Show DVD.

    The mayhem violence and adult contents of this theatrical series made more the MGM’s Tom and Jerry as a entertainment for kiddies in comparaison.

  • James Ciambor

    Who cares if there not in their original state I just want it on DVD as bad as the Popeye’s a couple years ago regardless of sales. This is distinctly different from Tom and Jerry in its own right in fact the violence that Tom and Jerry is lauded for is cranked up even further on here. More excessive violence but also its own distinct style that MGM is to over-polished and streamlined to successfully execute they are to reminiscent of Disney in terms of animation style. Not as abrasive like this and once we get to Superman these staff cease having anything to do with the Disney brand so much for Myron Waldman’s cuteness factor. Because that was his specialty I wonder how he made himself useful with such cartoons as this.

  • Dave

    I don’t think I’ve EVER seen the original Paramount/Noveltoon opening for a H&K cartoon. As a child of the 1960s, all I ever first saw were the Harveytoon openings. I’m assuming the title cards were replaced just as they were for Modern Madcap cartoons. Point being, I’ve never seen these cartoons in their “original” opening form and would love to see them.

    Hopefully we’ll get some verification beyond the press release as to what we’re going to be seeing. Over the months and years, I’ve looked on YouTube for Herman and Katnip cartons, seeing very little, and none of the aforementioned theatrical opening versions.

    • J Lee

      Several of the Herman & Katnip cartoons and other Harveys with original/recreated titles were posted on YouTube last year, but were taken down.

      IIRC, there are three of the H&K shorts that either didn’t make it onto the Harveytoons disc or showed up in truncated form. So they’ll have to go back and find full prints of those, even if all the others are simply ripped from the prints done for the TV series.

      • http://www.davemackey.com Dave Mackey

        Those title recreations, though not often of the best quality, were my doing. I even answered a challenge from someone who claimed a Casper with original titles would never show up on YouTube…. it was “Boo Kind to Animals”.

        It took a couple of stern warnings from Classic Media, but they stayed up as long as they could.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Duhhh…Dat sounds logical!

  • Justin Delbert

    I did not buy the Harveytoons set because, well you know. I bought a couple of family Casper releases (you know, mom and kids and not for collectors) and I wasn’t thrilled of them either (although I do like the Casper and Wendy Scare Up Some Fun disc). I am definatly buying this regardless. I only have those public domain Hermans. Here’s to you cousin Herman (pronounced Hoiman).

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I’m reminded of the time I borrowed “Casper and Wendy’s Ghostly Adventures” from the library and the only good thing I would have to say for that was to see a rather pristine copy of the “Harvey Films/Casper” opening sequence at the very beginning. It’s like they went back to the original neg. on that one alone, yet I kinda think the entire thing should be just that, presenting these cartoons more the way we would’ve seen ‘em back on TV in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s. I wouldn’t mind seeing them that way as long as it feels like an honest try from Classic Media.

  • Brad

    Very pleasantly surprised. Classic Media pretty much never does these releases the way we would like though. They’re best efforts are clearly the R&B season sets and even those are flawed. But even so, for that price I’m in. I don’t expect Paramount titles but could they at least use the full Harveytoons openings and 100% unedited cartoons? I’m sure inclusion of the earlier Noveltoons entries to make it truly complete is waaaaaay too much to ask.

  • http://willfinn.blogspot.com/ Will Finn

    Funny you should depict the sheet music cover. As a kid watching these old shorts on TV, I recall being startled to notice that Hal David, who wrote the words for the insipid, dopey, yet unforgettable H & K theme song, was the same person who wrote most of lyrics for the “sophisticated” pop songs of Burt Bacharach, which were insanely popular at the time.

    Then on second though, given how awful the lyrics of those Bacharach songs are, it made perfect sense. (Hunt down the soundtrack for the LOST HORIZON movie musical and you’ll see what i mean)

    • John A

      Chuck Jones must have loved those awful LOST HORIZON songs, he used a few of them on his “Curiosity Shop” program.

    • Bob Nelson

      And Hal’s brother Mack, together with Jerry Livingstone, wrote the “This is It” theme for
      Bugs Bunny show in 60s. (And lots of other cool
      stuff; I think they wrote Caspar theme, too)

      On YouTube, the Herman and Katnip short “Mice
      Meeting You” has a big blooper about 5:16 in:
      Herman’s feet and tail stay on floor as he walks away
      (they remain behind)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CEJFLCSGH0

      • Zartok-35

        Mack and Jerry Livingston have written lots of music for anaimtion, They did alot of work for Disney too, Cinderella and Alice in wonderland and the like.

  • http://youtube.com/user/Mesterius1 Mesterius

    What really shocks me here is that Herman and Catnip gets a complete DVD release before Hanna and Barbera’s Tom and Jerry or Tex Avery’s MGM cartoons.

  • John A

    It’s a shame they waited until Arnold Stang is no longer with us. I would have loved to hear him comment on some of his old cartoons. Oh well, even a “no-frills” disc is better than none at all.

  • http://technologizer.com Harry McCracken

    I had forgotten–or perhaps never knew–that my favorite pop lyricist, Hal David, co-wrote the Herman and Katnip theme song. Is it too late to get Dionne Warwick to sing it?

    –Harry

  • Durward

    WB is waiting for Tex to come back from the dead so he can do a free audio commentary for them on the next Scooby Doo DVD. To be fair, they suck.

  • Andrea Ippoliti

    A nice idea would be to add the Buzzy cartoons and the Katnip solo short too.

  • God

    The DVD Cover Art is good. CBS/Paramount Home Entertainment should have digitally newly restored and remastered all of the Herman and Katnip cartoons, uncut! And why not have extras, documentaries, interviews with the late great comics Arnold Stang and Sid Raymond (both voiced the 1950s cartoon cat and mice duo)? They were the first cat and mouse team that ever spoke – and way better than Tom and Jerry if you ask me. Screw T & J – they weren’t funny because they mute.

    • http://youtube.com/user/Mesterius1 Mesterius

      “…they weren’t funny because they [were] mute.”

      Yep, that’s fantastic reasoning. Pantomime and visual comedy simply can’t be funny.

  • http://www.tomsito.com Tom Sito

    HERMAN AND KATNIP?! At LAST, My Life is Complete!

    Years ago when the Simpson’s were first getting started, David Silverman and I had a conversation about what were the most gratuitous, mindlessly violent moments in cartoon history? We’d inevitably return to Herman & Katnip.

    I’m sure there was much more discussion involved that I was ever privy to, but I like to think H&K had a little to do with the creation of Itchy & Skratchy.

  • http://www.inthebalcony.com Clifford Weimer

    Well, I have the new Vivendi “Complete Collection” DVD, and since they didn’t tell you what’s on it, I will!

    Apparently, Herman had been around for years in Paramount cartoons before Katnip was introduced into the animation mix; like Laurel & Hardy’s first films, Herman & Katnip then became an “unofficial team” before their official teaming. There are four Herman & Katnip cartoons from the Noveltoons period:

    Mice Meeting You (1950, Katnip’s film debut)
    Mice Paradise (1951)
    Cat Tamale (1951)
    Cat Carson Rides Again (1952)

    There are two 1952 cartoons that feature Katnip without Herman, City Kitty and Fast and Furious.

    Then, there’s the complete set of Herman & Katnip cartoons:

    1952
    Mice-Capades

    1953
    Of Mice And Magic
    Herman The CAToonist
    Drinks On The Mouse
    Northwest Mousie

    1954
    Surf And Sound
    Of Mice And Menace
    Ship A-Hooey
    Rail-Rodents

    1955
    Robin Rodenthood
    A Bicep Built For Two
    Mouse Trapeze
    Mousieur Herman

    1956
    Mouseum
    Will Do Mousework
    Mousetro Herman
    Hide And Peak

    1957
    Cat In The Act
    Sky Scrappers
    From Mad To Worse
    One Funny Knight

    1958
    Frighty Cat
    You Said A Mouseful

    1959
    Owly To Bed
    Felineous Assault
    Fun On Furlough
    Katnip’s Big Day

    I have no way of telling if the cartoons are uncut; a couple have what looks like original openings, but mostly they just have the “Herman and Katnip” title cards. The disc is 208 minutes long.

  • Stephen Rhodes Treadwell

    I disagree very much w/ the one who said Herman & Katnip are way better than Tom & Jerry & T&J aren’t funny because they don’t talk. T&J are way better than H&K, mostly because H&K cartoons are more one-sided & not talking did not keep T&J from being funny! They’re 2 of the funniest cartoon characters ever created; much funnier than H&K!