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DVD Shopping Bag: Dragons Lair The Complete Series

Dirk the Darings Adventures

By Robert T. Trate     November 29, 2011
Source: Mania.com

 

In 1983 a Laser Disc Video Game became all the rage. The title, as you have probably guessed, was Dragon’s Lair. Most of you will more likely remember the arcade game that littered boardwalks and shopping malls in the eighties. It was a game completely animated by Don Bluth, an ex-Disney animator, which gave the player a which-way adventure. It was your choice to choose left, choose right, duck, and draw your sword. You were then forced to watch your decision play out in front of you. It was cool to watch, impossible to play, and one of the most unique games of the eighties.
 
With the excess that defined the eighties, no property was without a tie-in. It was only natural that a cartoon video game would have a cartoon series. In 1984, Dragon’s Lair appeared on ABC’s Saturday Morning cartoon line up. It used to be a Ruby-Spears Production, but is now a part of the Warner Archive Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection. The DVD Shopping Bag was set up with this classic cartoon series and it sparked more than just a few thoughts.
 
I did the play the game here and there in my lifetime. It was always something that looked cool, but I constantly failed at it. It’s great that the game has endured and is now available on iTunes. I have gotten much further than ever before and love not only the quality of the graphics, but the fact that I can carry it anywhere. After playing the game again, I wanted to see this old cartoon. It wasn’t one I watched and, as a result, I had little to no idea of the show’s premise.
 
Dragon’s Lair is the adventures of a knight named Dirk the Daring (voiced by Bob Sarlatte). Dirk is in the service of King Ethelred (Fred Travalena) and is constantly trying to impress Princess Daphne (Ellen Gerstell). The Princess, the quests, and even the main villain (Cinge the Dragon) are all part of the game. The addition of Squire Timothy (Michael Mish) gives Dirk some backup, a straight man, and someone else to get into trouble (besides the princess). It’s sad that the cartoon follows into the standard formula of the time. Princess Daphne is tough and smart, but since she is a girl she will forever be the damsel in distress. Squire Timothy is more the brains of the two where Dirk just bumbles through everything. The 13 episodes are fun enough, but this series lacks any lasting appeal.
 
It did offer a few things that got me thinking though. The first was a great sense of nostalgia. Dragon’s Lair just had that perfect pace for what a Saturday morning cartoon should be. It was light fun and packed with tiny adventures. This wasn’t G.I. Joe or the Transformers, which is obvious, but at the end of each episode I felt as if I saw the comedy for today’s Saturday line up. Next up I wanted a mystery with Mr. T (also available on the Warner Archive) and then some web swinging action with Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Dragon’s Lair set the mood for those Saturday morning cartoons of old.
 
Since I grew up in the eighties, I watched a lot of now classic cartoon series. I love hearing the voices and trying to pick out the different actors. Cinge, in Dragon’s Lair, was clearly the voice of Destro (Arthur Burghardt) from the G.I. Joe cartoon series. However, double checking a few other voices wasn’t so easy. IMDB only lists a few of the actors doing voiceover work in a cartoon series such as this. One episode (the first) is usually the standard. However, when you are trying to find the voice of Lizard King from episode two, you are out of luck. Is this a professional choice by the actor? Or is it just a lack of records and research by IMDB and the studio? Whichever it is, it’s frustrating.
 
Finally, I thought about sharing this show with my nephews. They are under five so I started to analyze if they could handle it. Dirk’s adventures are silly and not on the scary side at all. Dirk never punches anyone, which is always a key in getting it past their mother, my sister-in-law. However, Dirk wielding a sword to slay monsters is where I might run into trouble. It’s a new way of watching cartoons, thinking about the characters and their repercussions on children. I guess it will come in handy in the future.
 
Dragon’s Lair is a quick trip down memory lane as it will return you to that Saturday morning mentality. Sadly, it is only Dragon’s Lair that you are getting and the desire to move on to other channels and more serious adventures will prevail. I suggest picking up Dragon’s Lair and a few others from Warner Archive. Why? Well to program your own Saturday morning for you and the kids, of course.   
 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
 
1. Horror Express DVD/BLURAY Combo [Blu-ray]
2. 70s Grindhouse Black Exploitation (Box Set)
3. Chillerama (Unrated) [Blu-ray]
4. One Day [Blu-ray]
5. Chaney Double Feature: Nomads of The North (1920) / Flesh and Blood (1922) (Silent)
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
 
5 Days of War Starring Rupert Friend, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Val Kilmer
 
5 Days of War [Blu-ray]
 
Beyond the Border Starring Harry Carey
 
Canyon of Missing Men (Silent) Starring Tom Tyler
 
Chaney Double Feature: Nomads of The North (1920) / Flesh and Blood (1922) (Silent) Starring Lon Chaney
 
Flying Guillotine Starring Chen Kuan-tai, Wang Yu and Liu Wu-chi
 
Hawkeye & The Last of the Mohicans 5 Starring John Hart and Lon Jr. Chaney
 
Jackie Chan 4 Film Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Jackie Chan
 
Man's Country Starring Jack Randall and Marjorie Reynolds
 
Needle Starring Travis Fimmel, Michael Dorman, Ben Mendelsohn
 
Pace That Thrills Starring Bill Williams, Robert Armstrong, John Hamilton
 
Raiders of the Border Starring Raymond Hatton and Johnny Mack Brown
 
Strike Back 1 & 2 [Blu-ray]
Strike Back Project Dawn [Blu-ray]
 
The Future Starring Miranda July and Hamish Linklater
 
The Wave Starring Jurgen Vogel, Frederick Lau and Max Riemelt
True Grit Starring Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges
 
Via Pony Express Starring Lane Chandler and Jack Hoxie
 
Wild Horse Canyon Starring Jack Randall
 
ANIME
 
K-ON! Volume 4 [Blu-ray] Starring Aki Toyosaki, Ayana Taketatsu, Minako Kotobuki
K-ON! Volume 4 [DVD] Starring Aki Toyosaki
 
Loups=Garous [Blu-ray]
 
Loups=Garous
One Piece: Collection Three Starring Colleen Clinkenbeard, Christopher R. Sabat, Eric Vale
 
Star Driver Part 1 [Blu-ray] Starring Jun Fukuyama
 
Star Driver Part 1 [DVD]
 
Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Starring Sho Aikawa, Riisa Naka and Kyoka Suzuki
 
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
30 Minutes or Less Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Danny McBride
 
30 Minutes or Less [Blu-ray]
Our Idiot Brother Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel
 
Our Idiot Brother [Blu-ray]
 
The Smurfs Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Anton Yelchin, Jayma Mays
 
The Smurfs / The Smurfs: Christmas Carol (Three-Disc Combo Blu-ray / DVD )
 
The Smurfs (Two-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD)
 
Criterion Collection
 
Eclipse Series 30: Sabu! (Elephant Boy, The Drum, Jungle Book) (Criterion Collection) Starring Selar Shaik, Roger Livesey and Valerie Hobson
 
HORROR
 
Children of the Corn 4 Film Series [Blu-ray] Starring Terence Knox, Daniel Cerny, Ron Melendez and Paul Scherrer
Chillerama (Unrated) Starring Richard Riehle, Ray Wise, Eric Roberts and Joel David Moore
 
Chillerama (Unrated) [Blu-ray]
 
From Dusk Till Dawn 4 Film Collection [Blu-ray] Starring Robert Patrick, Quentin Tarantino, George Clooney
 
Hellraiser 4 Film Series [Blu-ray] Starring Craig Sheffer, James Remar, Nicholas Turturro
Horror Express DVD/BLURAY Combo [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing
 
House of Seven Corpses Starring John Ireland and John Carradine
 
Kidnapped Starring Guillermo Barrientos and Dritan Biba
 
Needle Starring Travis Fimmel, Michael Dorman, Ben Mendelsohn
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil [Blu-ray] Starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk and Katrina Bowden
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
 
Wes Craven 4 Film Series [Blu-ray] Starring Christopher Plummer, Jason London, Jonny Lee Miller
 
TV LAND
 
30 Rock Season 5
 
30 Rock Season 5 [Blu-ray]
 
Mission: Impossible - The '88 TV Season Starring Peter Graves, Thaao Penghlis, Bob Johnson and Jane Badler
 
The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 1 Starring Richard Anderson, Lee Majors and Martin E. Brooks
 
Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season [Blu-ray] Starring Tom Welling, Erica Durance and Justin Hartley
 
Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season
 
Weeds: Season Four Starring Mary-Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Alexander Gould
 
BOX SETS
 
70s Grindhouse Black Exploitation: TNT Jackson (1979) / The Black Godfather (1974) / Black Cobra (1981) / Black Cobra 2 (1990) / Black Cobra 3: The Manila Connection (1990) / The Black Gestapo (1975) / The Black Six (1974) (3-DVD) Starring Jeanne Bell, Rod Perry, Jimmy Witherspoon
 
Smallville: The Complete Series Starring Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum
 
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
1 
metalpause 11/29/2011 9:28:14 AM

I watched a guy beat the entire game in an arcade when I was in high school. Very cool!

doublec 11/29/2011 10:59:41 AM

Amazingly weak release week considering we're now fully in the holidays. Most of the major movies of the summer are already out , Rise of the Apes and The Help being virtually the only two left. Wonder what that'll do to sales.

7thGuest 11/29/2011 5:30:57 PM

I remember playing Dragon's Lair when it first came out, and I also remember sucking at it. But I liked that game so I watched the cartoon and even dressed up as Dirk the Daring for Halloween one year. However I'm not going to buy the show now because I have a feeling it will be like a lot of the cartoons I watched as a kid. They were great then, but now they suck.

themovielord 11/29/2011 6:25:25 PM

 doublec, Fright Night, Rise of the Apes, Cowboys and Aliens, the Rocketeer Blu-ray... all coming this month. But you are right, today, sorta lame. 

redhairs99 11/30/2011 7:38:22 AM

 I see the folks at WB decided to release the latest (and final) season of Smallville until after Black Friday.  That just ticks me off because Black Friday was always when I'd buy the lastest season of Smallville because it was marked down to $15.99 or $19.99! 

 

DAMN YOU WARNERRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSS!

jnager 3/13/2012 1:56:46 PM

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