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Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Sony Family Wonder presents
Richard Scarry's Best ABC Video Ever! (1989)

"Now, is everyone ready for Alphabet Day?"
- Mrs. Honey

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: November 29, 2001

Stars: Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm
Other Stars: Banannas Gorilla, Sergeant Murphy, Mrs. Honey
Director: Tony Eastman

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:24m:24s
Release Date: October 16, 2001
UPC: 074645130194
Genre: educational


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- BC-C+ D-

DVD Review

Richard Scarry's work has always held a special place in my heart. As a child, I was endlessly amused by his busy, brightly colored drawings, all of them packed with amusing, anthropomorphic characters. Things That Go! was a favorite, as was Busy, Busy Town. Of course, way back in my day (the early 1980s), we didn't have this new-fangled animation, and I had to enjoy my Richard Scarry in print form. Today's kids, however, can view them in motion.

Its Alphabet Day at school, and each child is prepared with their own letter. Conveniently, there are 26 children in the class, each of whose name begins with a different letter. Mrs. Honey calls on them one by one, from Amanda, to Freddy, to, uh, Yolanda, and each offers a word that begins with their letter. Each word then plays a role in a story about a day in Busy Town. It seems Bananas Gorilla is, oddly enough, desperate for some bananas, and to get them he'll use a Firetruck, a Motercycle, and even a Zipper.

The animation is pleasant enough to look at, but the rather bland, simplistic drawings retain little of the unique, detailed charm of Scarry's work. Still, the fantastic character designs remain, and kids should enjoy the huge cast of animal characters. The focus of the program is an introduction to the alphabet, and not much else—this would make a great introduction to letters and word sounds, but might be boring for kids who've already memorized the alphabet song. There's some cute gags in the banana storyline, and things move briskly from letter to letter, so kids shouldn't have much time to get fidgety.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This appears to have been transferred from a video master (the FBI warning at the beginning even makes reference to a videotape), and the results are none too pleasing, but they get the job done. Colors look rather dull and washed out. The animation is a bit rough in some scenes, and DVD makes the jittery lines all the more apparent. Aside from a rather soft look, the picture is fairly clean, with no obvious marks or scratches.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
PCMEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is a perfectly serviceable 2-channel mix. Dialogue is clear, but at times sounds a bit harsh. Sound effects are frequent and sound fine, though don't expect any directional effects. With a mix like this, you get much the same result you would from standard TV speakers.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Extras are nonexistent, save for a menu listing other available Richard Scarry DVDs.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Though Richard Scarry's wonderful drawings lose some of their intricate charm when animated, this is still a fine choice for introducing very young children to the alphabet. Recommended for ages 1-3.

 


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