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Article:    Blasts From the Past - Classic Children's Videos/DVD

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These videos feature stories that many of today's parents enjoyed when they were young. The good news is, today's kids seem to be just as enamored with them! The bonus: parents can revel in nostalgia as they enjoy these video classics along with their kids -- and kids will be seeing movies their parents once enjoyed, with "new" eyes.

Chin Up!

Charlotte's Web is based on the classic book by E.B. White. The tale is told with affection, and is supported by wonderful songs and delightful animations of animal antics. Paul Lynde is unmistakable as the voice of Templeton the Rat. This animated movie stars Wilbur the pig, who was a born a runt. He is nursed to full pig status by a young girl named Fern. When Wilbur meets a friendly and wise spider named Charlotte, whose favorite expression is an encouraging "Chin up!", his life changes completely. Children will enjoy this classic video, especially its tender and silly moments. Charlotte's death, however, is very sad. Parents may want to be sure their kids are ready for this scene. This movie was originally released in 1973, so expect some older-style animation. However, kids won't mind one bit. Read our full review.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Charlotte's Web (VHS) or Charlotte's Web (Full Screen Edition) (DVD) at]


Puff the Magic Dragon features a painfully shy young boy named Jackie who befriends a magical dragon. Puff takes Jackie on a fantasy journey in which Jackie faces and overcomes his fears through the power of imagination. The movie was inspired by the hard-to-forget song of the same name by Peter, Paul, and Mary ("Puff the magic dragon/lived by the sea..."), and is just as emotionally-charged and triumphant. Though the animation is not up to today's standards, this video is worth it for the story line and music.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Puff the Magic Dragon (VHS) at]


The Flight of Dragons is for lovers of fantasy. This feature-length animation is based on the book by Peter Dickinson. A man named Peter (whose voice was provided by John Ritter) travels back in time to a world filled with fire-breathing dragons and magic. There, he must battle the Red Wizard Ommadon (whose voice was James Earl Jones) and save the old world using new world logic. 

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: The Flight of Dragons (VHS) at]


Turtle Power!

coverThe turtles are back! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume One (Season One) has been released, and includes the first five episodes from the classic animated series produced in 1987, as well as bonus features on the DVD edition: four episodes produced in 1996. This DVD premiere features 110 minutes of full screen Ninja Turtles action. What fun! See our full review.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DVD) at]


An Unforgettable Mongoose

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, narrated by Orson Welles, is based on Rudyard Kipling's story about a mongoose who saves his family from cobra snakes. This mongoose, Rikki, is an adopted pet of a British family living in India. After they save him from near death, he returns the favor -- more than once! Note that very young children may be frightened by the cobras. Also, this is an animated short running for about 30 minutes, not a full feature movie. Otherwise, the story is exciting and the mongoose is full of personality.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (VHS) at]

Oompa Loompa

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a bit bizarre, filled with surreal fantasy elements, and appeals to kids and parents alike. Based on Roald Dahl's novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder stars as the world's greatest chocolate maker, Willy Wonka, who has hidden five golden tickets in chocolate bars. Even though Charlie, who is poor as poor can be, cannot afford to buy more than one chocolate bar, he wins a golden ticket. He, along with four other children, earn entry into the fantastical Chocolate Factory. Inside, the children meet up with the factory's chocolatiers, the Oompa Loompas, and discover a world of fantastic contraptions. Charlie's polite and wholesome character (in contrast with those of the other children, who are spoiled in different ways), gets rewarded. The movie features plenty of song and dance. Best for kids 9 and up--there are some unusual and potentially disturbing moments for young children.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory... (VHS) or Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory... (DVD) at]

The Last of Her Kind?

The Last Unicorn features a beautiful unicorn (voiced by Mia Farrow) who, after hearing that she may be the last of her kind, embarks on a journey to prove that all wrong. To most, her horn is invisible (because they don't believe in unicorns), and she appears as a white mare. During her quest, she meets and enlists the help of some human characters, one of whom is a bumbling magician. This movie is a treat, and its dialogue is delightfully sophisticated -- perfect for boosting the vocabulary of children, and, at the same time, making the movie all the more appealing to adults.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: The Last Unicorn (VHS) at 2004: Now available on DVD as well: The Last Unicorn (DVD)]


Elementary, My Dear

Schoolhouse Rock! Multiplication Rock Many of today's parents remember learning their times tables and other academic concepts through the Schoolhouse Rock! Saturday morning cartoons. In this multiplication edition, kids learn to multiply by the numbers 0-12 (missing are the 1 and 10 times tables) through song and visual aids. The songs are catchy and surprisingly effective. This video runs for approximately 30 minutes.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Schoolhouse Rock! - Multiplication Rock (VHS) at]



Children's Musical

Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang is sugar-coated, light fare. In this world, everyone smiles, obeys, and sings! Still, the musical numbers are so catchy, young kids will ask to see this video many times over. Dick Van Dyke stars as a somewhat eccentric inventor who constructs a magical car that actually flies. This musical is entertaining and full of spirit, and the title song is a tune that will stick in your brain long after the television is turned off.

[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (VHS) or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (DVD) at]










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