Wait Till Your Father Gets Home: The Complete First Season – DVD Review

DVD available at Amazon.com

Executive Producers:
William Hanna & Joseph Barbera

Cast:
Tom Bosley….Harry Boyle
Jackie Earle Haley….Jamie Boyle (episodes 1 – 11)
Willie Aames…Jamie Boyle (episodes 12 – 24)
Kristina Holland….Alice Boyle
Joan Gerber….Irma Boyle/Sara Whitaker
David Hayward….Chet Boyle
Jack Burns….Ralph Kane

Warner Home Video presents Wait Till Your Father Gets Home: The Complete First Season. Twenty four episodes on 4 DVDs. Episodes aired from Sept. 12, 1972 to Feb. 20, 1973. DVD released June 5, 2007.

The Show

Before Homer Simpson, Hank Hill and Peter Griffin, there was Harry Boyle. He was the original animated dad trying to sort things out in a contemporary 2-D world. He thought he’d achieved the middle class dream with his house in the suburbs and restaurant supply business. But he never dreamed his family would push him towards insanity. His son Chet has been out of college for a year, but doesn’t want to rush into choosing a career. Daughter Alice declares herself a liberated woman, but still wants a pipeline to his wallet. Youngest son Jamie is constantly hustling angles to bulk up his piggybank. Wife Irma constantly gets caught up in the various cultural changes. She’s no refuge of calm for Harry. He’s left unprotected against hippies, nudists, swingers, muggers, vigilantes and the record industry. He’s not living in a normal Hanna-Barbera cartoon world. He’s battling 1972.

The show gets unfairly described as an animated version of All In the Family, but Harry Boyle isn’t close to being Archie Bunker. Harry’s not a loud mouth bigot. If anything, Harry’s the predecessor to Howard Cunningham on Happy Days, coincidentally also played by Tom Bosley. There is an Archie Bunker character, but it’s Ralph Kane, the next door neighbor. Ralph leads a vigilante group that’s out to protect the community from commies, minorities and non-Christians. Harry tolerates Ralph’s non-silent majority sentiments, but doesn’t want to side with them. Harry just wants to be a traditional guy in turbulent times. When the show was introduced on Love, American Style, the segment was titled “Love and the Old Fashioned Father.” That’s the best way to describe the show.

“The Fling” deals with Harry trying to go the extra mile for a regular customer by driving her home. Irma fears her husband had an affair since the trip involved a hotel stay. Harry has to go the extra mile to prove his faithful nature to his wife. “Alice’s Dress” has dad going nuts when his daughter wants wear a sheer dress. What father wouldn’t have an issue with his daughter appearing nearly naked at a social event? Naked bodies return in “The Beach Vacation.” A trio of sun worshipers decide to strip naked in front of Harry’s rental cottage. The kids are cool with the free expression of nude sunbathing, but Harry wants a little decency since he paid $400 for the vacation. “The Commune” has Alice leave the nest to serve a spiritual guru. Harry can’t allow his little girl to work on the farm. “The Music Tycoon” has Chet finally getting a job as a band manager. In a matter of days, he becomes a bigger success than Harry has ever dreamed. “Mama’s Identity” has Irma wanting to get a job and be more than a wife and mother. Ralph blames this all on the commies. “Papa The Patient” copes with the insane costs of health care. Harry discovers that his great insurance policy doesn’t quite cover what he needs. That’s still a contemporary storyline. There’s a really tasteless subplot with Ralph thinking hospitals are converting whites into blacks. This series isn’t entertainment for a second grader.

Unlike The Flintstones and The Jetsons that lasted decades in syndication, the 48 episodes of Wait Till Your Father vanished from most markets before disco died. It was too adult to be passed off as kiddie programming. And what station manager wants to run a cartoon for adults? For many folks, the series faded from their memories until someone at a party would ask, “Do you remember seeing a cartoon series in the ’70s with this theme song?” Unlike shows that gain fans during their numerous repeats, most folks who know Father‘s catchy theme song learned it back in 1972. Even when Boomerang decided to run the show a few months back, they scheduled it for 3:30 a.m. At that hour, it’s hard to attract a new audience outside of insomniacs and TIVO machines of middle aged fans. While the show can easily be seen as an artifact of the ’70s like the Pet Rock or Foster Brooks, Father has come back in vogue. Many of the show themes are still being discussed on Jerry Springer and Montel. College graduates are moving back in with their parents. Daughters are wearing Paris Hilton hooker clothes to formal events. Even the Russians are scaring us with their threats. Isn’t Ralph now embraced as Bill O’Reilly? The 1970s are back and its not merely in the form of Kiss performing at your local venue. This series will help you understand how people coped with these issues the first time around. Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was one of the rare moments that Hanna-Barbera took a risk and created a show that wasn’t just four kids and a talking pet roaming the country in a groovy car solving mysteries. The only mystery here is how Harry Boyles didn’t go nuts.

The Episodes
The first season includes “The Fling,” “Alice’s Dress,” “The Hippie,” “The Beach Vacation,” “Help Wanted,” “Love Story,” “The Victim,” “Chet’s Job,” “Chet’s Fiancée,” “The Mouse,” “Duty Calls,” “Expectant Papa,” “The New Car,” “The New House,” “The Prowler,” “Mama’s Identity,” “Papa The Patient,” “The Swimming Pool,” “Sweet Sixteen,” “The Commune,” “Music Tycoon,” “Accidents Will Happen,” “Papa in New York” and “The Neighbors.”

The DVD

VIDEO:
The picture is 1.33:1 full frame. Quite possibly some of the dirtiest animations that Hanna-Barbera ever made. It’s almost on the level of first season Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes with the amount of crud on the animation cells. Did the cell painters eat lunch at their desks?

AUDIO:
The soundtrack is Dolby Digital Mono. There’s a slightly muffled feel to the soundtrack. It doesn’t seem as crisp as The Flintstones DVDs. They have closed captions.

EXTRAS:

Animation for the Nation (10:03) attempts to put this series in context with the turbulent ’70s era. They mix in tons of stock footage with an odd collection of talking heads. Why did they have to drag in Leif Garrett? Shame they couldn’t talk with either voice of Jaime. Willie Aames is still famous from Bible Man and Jackie Earle Haley was Oscar nominated for Little Children. Where’s Tom Bosley reminiscing about the times? Luckily Michael Mallory (author of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons) gives the history of how the show was developed.

Illustrating the Times (6:34) explains how the series didn’t use the normal Hanna-Barbera animation style. Why don’t the Boyles look like the Flinstones or the cast of Scooby Doo? Turns out they brought in Marty Murphy, a Playboy cartoonist, to create the characters. We get a peek at Murphy’s s original sketch book. Mallory and Iwao Takamoto speak about how these drawings became animated characters.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Wait Till Your Father Comes Home:
The Complete First Season
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

9
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

8
OVERALL
8
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
This cartoon pushed the envelope for TV animation with its storylines. Judy Jetson was never mauled by her charming date. Wait Till Your Father Gets Home is an obscure gem that you should rediscover if you enjoy ’70s sitcoms.