Special 30th Anniversary Edition
Review by Michael Jacobson
Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Lynn Ahrens
Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio: Walt Disney
Features: See Review
Length: 283 Minutes
Release Date: August 27, 2002
Junction, what’s your function?”
I was growing up, Saturday morning cartoons were a way of life, and an
unforgettable staple of them was Schoolhouse Rock. Each week brought a new song that taught something about
grammar, science, or American history, and each tune was singable and
unforgettable…they’d be rolling off our tongues until the next Saturday came
it was never even its own show…just a tiny vignette tucked away on ABC every
week in between other cartoons. You
couldn’t look it up in your television guide, but somehow, we never missed it.
Now, thirty years later, we can look back at the Emmy-winning series and
rightfully call it a classic.
knows if the fact that I grew up to be an English major came out of my Saturday
mornings singing “Conjunction Junction”, “A Noun is a Person, Place or
Thing”, “Interjections”, or “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs
Here”? Amusing cartoons one and
all, each with a terrific musical hook, each with something to say about
grammar…all these years later, I still know them up and down!
Rock” was only one part of the Schoolhouse Rock curriculum.
For most of us kids, our first taste of history came from “America
Rock”, including “The Shot Heard Round the World”, “No More Kings”,
“The Preamble”, and the ever-popular “I’m Just a Bill”.
But I also learned about women’s rights in “Suffering Til Suffrage”
and the system of checks and balances in “Three Ring Government”.
Rock” taught us our times tables, and to this day, I still sing “Ready or
Not, Here I Come” when I count by fives…occupational hazard of being a kid,
I guess. But we also learned that
zero could be a hero, and that three was a magic number.
Rock” gave us the memorable “Electricity, Electricity”, “A Victim of
Gravity”, “The Body Machine”, and one of my all time faves, “Interplanet
Janet”. Later seasons would also
add “Money Rock” to the mix.
Schoolhouse Rock went off the air in 1986, but for those of us who grew
up with it, we’ve never forgotten our favorite songs or the lessons we learned
from them. An album of modern
groups doing covers of the original songs was only the first indication that the
popularity of the series was anything but waning. Now, with this definitive collection, parents and kids alike
can sing along, laugh, and learn, without commercials or product placement.
bowl of sugary cereal would compliment the viewing nicely.
the age of some of the shorts, they’ve held up pretty well, and translate to
DVD quite nicely. I noticed no
transfer problems…the only video shortcomings are the result of age, but even
they aren’t terribly distracting. In
other words, this doesn’t look as good as Toy Story, but who could
expect it to? Safe to say, it’s a
bright, colorful romp, and a satisfying viewing experience.
not much to say about the audio…the songs are mixed a tad quietly, but a few
clicks up on your sound system will compensate. The tunes are a bit thin, as you might expect given the age
and the original mono presentation, but the lyrics all come across nicely.
A decent but unspectacular presentation.
double disc set excels in the extras department, including giving you many ways
to enjoy the shorts! You can watch
them all, you can select your favorite category (“Science”, “America”,
etc.), you can find your favorite songs, you can play them randomly in a
shuffle, or (on Disc One), you can watch the top ten, or (on Disc Two), count
down the top twenty!
discs include a brand new song, “I’m Gonna Send Your Vote to College”, but
Disc Two features a 5.1 DTS mix for it. The
second disc also includes a pair of almost forgotten programs from the Schoolhouse
Rock creators, including “The Weather Show” and the three-part short
series “Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips”.
You can earn your diploma by playing an interactive trivia game, you can
listen to audio commentary by the creators on 10 of the more popular tunes, you
can see a featurette on the Emmy awards (the series won in four different
years), put a few of the songs in order (if you can), some behind-the-scenes
footage, enjoy four modern remakes of SHR songs, or watch the Nike
commercial that featured the “Three is a Magic Number” song.
addition, the menu screens are nicely done and feature both voice and printed
instructions (for the kids), and the booklet contains the lyrics to the new
song, plus the top ten. A great and
fun family package!
"Darn! That's the end..."