Warner Bros. // 1972 // 292 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // July 13th, 2013
When in Rome...
Hanna-Barbera created some pretty terrible cartoons in their heyday. So many of their programs are fondly remembered by those of us in our 30s and 40s because...well, nostalgia will do that to you. Just because you remember something from your childhood with warmth doesn't necessarily mean it was a high quality show. The fact is, when you sit down and watch most of the Hanna-Barbera shows, they don't hold up very well. Although there were certainly memorable characters -- Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, Fred Flintstone -- the plots, dialogue, and animation were rickety at best. Such was the case with 1972's The Roman Holidays, a Saturday morning cartoon that lasted a grand total of thirteen episodes, and for good reason: it was bottom of the barrel kid's programming.
The Roman Holidays dealt with the Holiday family, a group of Romans who got into all kinds of wacky misadventures. The family consisted of Gus Holiday (Dave Willock, Hush, Hush...Sweet Charolette), his ever patient wife Laurie (Shirley Mitchell, Summer Camp Nightmare), their precocious daughter Precocia (Pamelyn Fredin, The Toolbox Murders), and their hip and happening teen son Happius (Stanley Livingston, Bikini Drive-In). The Holidays live in the Venus de Milo Arms apartment complex which is overseen by Mr. Evictus (get it?!?), their gruff landlord. Gus Holiday toils away for the Forum Construction Family, where he works in marble, and the whole show features modern themes set in a Roman time period. They even have a tamed pet lion named Brutus (the late Daws Butler, The Jetsons) that is essentially the show's version of Paul Lynde. To my knowledge, no Christians were eaten during the making of this cartoon.
I'm going to be brief and brutally honest: The Roman Holidays: The Complete Series isn't worth your time or money. Essentially, you're getting a sub-par version of The Jetsons or The Flintstones, only in a Roman setting. There's very little to this show other than bad puns, silly names, and some rather middling musical numbers (featuring rather cheesy early 1970s tunes). The stories are barely worth mentioning (double dates, work troubles, family misunderstandings, etc.) and the characters are wholly forgettable. It feels like the minimal amount of effort was put into the show by its creators.
The dialogue in each episode of The Roman Holidays consists of quips like, "I don't let my daughter go out with any Tom, Dick, or Herrod." Har-har. 'Cause if I know anything about kids, it's that they LOVE them some old time Roman puns. So many of the 'jokes' -- and I'm using that term very loosely -- consist of the characters riffing on Roman surroundings in a modern day way. Much like what The Flintstones did (stone age vs. modern age), but far less successfully. At least The Flintstones had The Honeymooners as a springboard of inspiration. Apparently, the only inspiration available to The Roman Holidays was Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and we all know how hysterical that was.
Each of the thirteen episodes of The Roman Holidays: The Complete Series are presented in their original 1.33:1 full frame version. On par with many Warner Archive releases, the transfer on these episodes is passable, and little else. The colors and black levels are mostly solid but not overly impressive. Fans should just be happy this has been released on DVD. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono in English. Each episode features solid dialogue, music, and effects work; which is the best that can be said for these front heavy mixes. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are included. There are no bonus features.
If you feel the need to check out Hanna-Barbera's back catalog of animated shows, check out anything else but The Roman Holidays. Audiences know a stinker when they smell one, and this show was one big animated turd that needs to be flushed pronto.
Needs to be stabbed in the back. Et guilty, Brutus?
Review content copyright © 2013 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 292 Minutes
Release Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: Not Rated