BEST OF THE ELECTRIC COMPANY
Review by Michael Jacobson
Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, Bill Cosby, Luis Avalos, Jimmy Boyd, Lee
Chamberlain, Judy Graubart, Skip Hinnant
Creator: Joan Ganz Cooney
Audio: Dolby Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Shout! Factory
Features: See Review
Length: Four Discs, 20 episodes
Release Date: February 7, 2006
a fun-filled trip down memory lane for me...The Best of The Electric Company is
an absolute blast!
always considered it the best children's show ever, even better than The
Children's Television Workshop's other masterpiece Sesame Street.
The Electric Company was cool, hip, and sublimely educational.
Millions of American children got their start learning to read from this
stars like past Oscar winner Rita Moreno, future Oscar winner Morgan Freeman,
and the always affable Bill Cosby, The Electric Company boasted a
first-rate ensemble cast. They
sang, they danced, they made us laugh, but most of all, they taught us the basic
tricks of reading. Who knows if my
formative years watching this show on PBS was what eventually led me to being an
English major in college?
a better question...who could ever forget the great characters the show paraded
into our consciousness? Whether it
was Fargo North, Decoder cracking down on messages with missing letters, Easy
Reader showing us how cool reading could be, Jennifer of the Jungle having wacky
misadventures with Paul the gorilla, or J. Arthur Crank bringing a bit of
grumpiness to the proceedings, we loved 'em all...and they always had good
things to teach us.
who could ever forget The Adventures of Letterman (featuring voices from Gene
Wilder, Zero Mostel and Joan Rivers), or the live-action adventures of
Spider-Man? Or the silhouetted
profiled faces spelling out words one syllable at a time?
Or the Short Circus and their songs that drove the words home for us?
was all good. Even as an adult, I'm
still delighted by what the show had to offer, and I almost wished I had kids so
I could introduce them to The Electric Company. I don't have them, but many of you do, and believe me
when I say: there's no better DVD
you can get them than this one...four discs' worth of 20 classic episodes from
the show's fantastic seven year run.
Electric Company had me reading at a first grade level when I was four years old.
And there's nothing special about me.
This show can do the same for kids today, even more than thirty years
after it first hit the airwaves. There
just aren't shows like this for little ones anymore, and that's a shame.
But The Best of The Electric Company will keep the spirit of
reading alive in your home today, and for more generations to come.
TRIVIA: Look for a young Irene Cara
in the Short Circus!
THE PLUMBER!! I'VE COME TO FIX THE
far as a public television show from the 70s can go, this DVD offers about what
you would expect. It's not
outstanding, but still colorful and more than effective for what it wants to get
the dummy writing this show?!"
same goes for the audio...the dialogue is clear, the songs still sound great,
and the theme song is welcome to play out in my sound system any day of the
week. Perfectly suitable.
are you coming from, Spider-Man?"
of the episodes have a nice bit of trivia and a remembrance from the great Rita
Moreno at the opening. Disc One
also has a featurette with her and even more delightful memories.
There is also a reel of outtakes.
Two has a featurette with the show's creator.
Disc Three features a sing-along version of "The Silent E
Song", along with looks back from the show's executive producer Sam Gibbon
and head writer Tom Whedon. And
lastly, the fourth disc features remembrances from Short Circus member June
Angela, the only member of the group who was there from the beginning to the
WARNING: If you're watching this disc with your little ones, SKIP the previews on Disc One. They aren't suitable for younger audiences. Whoopsie...
TRIVIA II: Tom Whedon is the father
of Josh Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
"And what about...Naomi?"
may call it dated. I call it
classic. The Best of The
Electric Company is sure to delight adults who grew up with the show, as
well as their kids who can still benefit by the fun and powerful teaching tool
it was. I can think of no better
DVD to pick up for you and your kids. Turn
it on and let 'em bring you the power. Highest