DVD Review: Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Ruh-Roh-Robot!

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The last few weeks have been a veritable feast for Scooby-Doo! fans. Late-August saw the release of the all-new feature film Scooby-Doo: Stage Fright. Earlier in September we had a new compilation, 13 Spooky Tales: Run for Your ‘Rife!. Now Scooby-holics can add Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Ruh-Roh-Robot! to their collections. It’s another two-DVD collection from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment containing, as you might’ve guessed from the title, 13 cartoon shorts.

As with Run for Your ’Rife!, Ruh-Roh-Robot! contains one brand new, 22-minute episode that kicks things off. “Scooby-Doo! Mecha Mutt Menace” is a fast-paced, action-oriented episode featuring Scooby, Shaggy, and the Mystery Inc. gang at a science expo. Fred has a chance to flirt with a pretty scientist while competing with his new electro-magnet contraption. As is usually the case with Scooby mysteries, things aren’t what they seem. The “Mecha Mutt” is a gigantic robot dog, which ends up wreaking havoc at the expo following a demonstration.

Scooby Doo funland (380x285).jpgUnlike Run for Your ‘Rife!, which had only a few new-to-DVD episodes, collectors should be pleased by the fact that most of the dozen vintage shorts on Ruh-Roh-Robot! are making their DVD debut. In fact, the episode following “Mecha Mutt,” “Foul Play in Funland,” is the only one that has been recycled (it comes from the first season of Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? from 1969 and has appeared on numerous previous DVD releases). The remaining ten shorts come from various shows spanning 1979 to 1984 (the entire second disc is comprised of segments from The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries from ’84).

Scooby Doo new mysteries (225x170).jpgKeep in mind, the downside is that most of these are not complete episodes. For instance, the closing two-parter, “A Night Louse at the White House,” is in fact one 22-minute episode that has been split in two parts for this disc. In most other cases, the segments are the first or second half of a given episode, meaning they run anywhere from eight to 12 minutes (though they are, thankfully, self-contained stories).

This has led to some apparent confusion over the set’s running time. A sticker on the front of the package boasts “over four hours of cartoon fun,” while a quick glimpse at the fine print on the back of the case shows a running time of 163 minutes (much closer to what I calculated as approximately 175 minutes). In other words, the content could’ve easily been contained on a single disc.

Note that many of the shorts here feature Scrappy-Doo, a character that has had a polarizing effect on fans over the years (if you don’t like the little guy, some of these episodes might grate on your nerves!). Best to take Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Ruh-Roh-Robot! for what it is: a hodge-podge collection of various shorts highlighted by the brand new “Mecha Mutt Menace.” And if you haven’t heard the theme song for The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries in a while, you’re in for a funky, danceable, oh-so-‘80s treat.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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