Monday, July 4, 2022

Getting Schooled: Liberty's Kids (2002)

 We had this up some time back, but it was taken down by YouTube and Dailymotion due to copyright issues and/or user rights being terminated. Now, however, it's back.

Liberty's Kids was produced by DIC, initially for PBS, but the 40 episodes were later reissued for syndication. It's a star studded cast that leads young viewers through the early days of the US. The series turns 30 this year, making this return even more special.

DIC was able to bring together an array of talent including CBS news legend Walter Cronkite, and actors Michael Douglas, Ben Stiller, Annette Benning, Billy Crystal, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gulf War hero General Norman Schwarzkopf made his acting debut in the series.

We're skipping past the two part series opener, and going to "United We Stand", with guest stars Crystal (as John Adams), Benning (Abagail Adams), and Douglas (Patrick Henry). 

The inestimable Cronkite won a Daytime Emmy for his work as Ben Franklin.

Rating: A.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Getting Schooled: The world's youngest songwriter---ELMO! (2009)

 The other day, the staff of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert dubbed over an old Sesame Street skit to poke fun at Texas Senator Ted Cruz after Cruz picked another losing battle on Twitter with perpetual 3 year old Elmo over his COVID vaccination.

Well, we've found the original footage, dating back as far as 2009. Here's "Elmo's Song":

Friday, July 1, 2022

Tooniversary: Fat Albert meets the Prankster (1972)

 Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids marks its 50th anniversary, as far as being a series goes, in September. In this episode, Albert and the gang meet Otis, a prankster whose idea of tomfoolery can and will backfire.

Didn't see this the first time. No rating.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Game time: Remember when Atari was all about home video games? (1978)

 In the 70's & 80's, Atari was a big name in video games. Both in arcades and home video.

To promote an early iteration of their video entertainment system, Atari recruited baseball star Pete Rose, then with Cincinnati, and TV icon Don Knotts, playing a convict.

Of course, Atari's long since left the playing field for Nintendo and Sony Playstation.

Getting Schooled: Elmo takes the vaccine (2022)

 Seven, nearly eight, months after Big Bird was shown getting the COVID vaccine, another Sesame Street character has followed.

Now that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which joined forces with Sesame Workshop to produce the following PSA, has authorized vaccines for younger children, the long running series, seen on PBS, HBO, HBO Max, & PBS Kids, used Elmo, a Muppet character nearing his 40th anniversary (debuted in 1984), to illustrate not only how safe the vaccine is for preschoolers, but also having his father, Louie, express his concerns when Elmo is off camera.

Unfortunately, Texas Senator Raphael "Ted" Cruz (we call him Timex Cruz over at The Land of Whatever) had a cow over this, and took to Twitter to whine about it, just like he did in November after Big Bird got his shot. Cruz doesn't get it, doesn't want to get it, and doesn't want to let any other Muppet characters (i.e. Ernie) get a shot without him getting his two cents in, if you will. Once again, Cruz is piggybacking off Sesame Street doing the right thing.

Well, I've got a solution. I'd like to see Sesame Workshop invite Cruz and a few other Republican peabrains (if you follow The Land of Whatever, you know who I mean) to appear on Sesame Street to get formally schooled with the rest of us. On the other hand, when is Cruz going to learn to stop picking fights on Twitter he can't win? That may be a harder question to answer than how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Summertainment: Bear de Guerre (The Inspector, 1968)

 The Inspector goes hunting, solo, in the pentultimate short in the series, "Bear de Guerre". He goes into a forest area that clearly is prohibiting hunting, but his single minded pursuit has him running over a ranger, and running afoul of a talking bear.

Pat Harrington, Jr. (Journey to The Center of The Earth) and Marvin Miller (Aquaman) were the only actors in this short, and would work together on Fantastic Voyage that fall. The Inspector's incompetence in the forest, we must note, makes Elmer Fudd look like a genius by comparison.

Rating: B-. They were clearly out of ideas.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Summertainment: Dune Bug (Ant & The Aardvark, 1969)

 All Charlie Ant (John Byner) wants to do is enjoy a day at the beach, like anyone else. The Aardvark (Byner) has other ideas. Unfortunately, he also has to get around a lifeguard who thinks the blue furred antagonist is a dog.

Here's "Dune Bug":

Rating: A.