VeggieTales, Scooby, Rankin and Bass on Video

A number of animated films make their way to home video today, including the first big-screen outing for VeggieTales, an all-new Scooby-Doo mystery and two classics from the Rankin and Bass catalog.

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie is set to make a splash on DVD and VHS. A modest success at the summer box office, the film should do well on video where the franchise got its start and has prospered for a number of years.

Special features on the DVD include commentary by co-directors Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, producer Ameake Owens, director of animation Marc Vulcano and stars Larry the Cucumber and Mr. Lunt. There are also outtakes, goofed animation renders and five “making-of” featurettes including Making the Movie, The Studio Process, Jonah and the Bible, Big Idea Tour With Phil Vischer, and Scoring a Movie. Kids can sing along with the karaoke feature and get into the tale with the interactive storybook Even Fishslappers Need a Second Chance. Then there are music videos, the movie script, a progression reel, concept art, family activities, coloring pages and six DVD-ROM games. The Artisan release lists for $24.98 DVD and $19.98 VHS.

The gang of Mystery, Inc. is at it again in the new animated movie Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire. This time the Great Dane and his teenage pals take off to a music festival in Australia, only to find that some of the performers have been snatched by a legendary bloodsucker known as the Yowie Yahoo.

DVD extras include audio commentary by Scooby, Shaggy and Fred; music videos hosted by Scooby and Shaggy; and a Monster Factory Challenge activity containing hidden bloopers. The Warner Bros. release retails for $24.98 DVD and $19.96 VHS.

A pair of rare gems from the makers of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Mad Monster Party (1966) also make their DVD debut today. The Daydreamer, a mix of live-action and stop-motion animation, features an all-star voice cast including Boris Karlof, Burl Ives, Hayley Mills, Ed Wynn, Margaret Hamilton, Patty Duke and Robert Goulet. The story follows a young Hans Christian Andersen, who daydreams himself into some of his famous fairytales like The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes and Thumbelina. The film is directed by Jules Bass.

This must-have for Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass fans is joined by another of their favorites, The Wacky World of Mother Goose. Fairytales come to life again as this 2D animated classic delves into the world of Simple Simon, Jack & Jill, Little Miss Muffet, Humpty Dumpty, Peter Piper and many more. When the magic of the kingdom is threatened by the evil count Warptwist, it’s up to Little Jack Horner and Mary of little lamb fame to rescue Old King Cole’s beautiful daughter and save the day.

Both Anchor Bay releases are presented in full-frame and contain two-page booklets with background information about the films. Each DVD lists for $14.98.

Also hitting shelves today is the 1974 special It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. The Paramount release also contains It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown and a “Meet the Animals” game.

For fans of horror and special effects, there’s the DVD and VHS debut of DreamWorks’ The Ring, which includes 15-minute experimental short film created by director Gore Verbinski exclusively for video. It is said to reveal additional clues to the mystery. To coincide with the premiere, DreamWorks is also releasing the original 1998 Japanese version, Ringu.