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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Animals > Literature > TV > Child Care > Satire > Spies > Shorts > Babar: The Complete First Season (1989/E1 DVD Set)/The Happiest Baby/Toddler On The Block (Lionsgate DVDs)/Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp – Complete Special Collector’s Edition (1970/Film Chest DVD set)/

Babar: The Complete First Season (1989/E1 DVD Set)/The Happiest Baby/Toddler On The Block (Lionsgate DVDs)/Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp – Complete Special Collector’s Edition (1970/Film Chest DVD set)/My First Collection V.3 w/Chicken Little (Scholastic DVD Box Set)


Picture: C/C/C/C+/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D/C/C/C+/C+     Episodes: B-/B-/B-/C/B-



Here are the latest children’s titles.



After some singles, E1 has issued Babar: The Complete First Season (1989) which is basically more of the same, but the classic series is obviously popular enough as is the child-safe character.  It is a nice set and the show is just fine, so fans will likely want to go for this set and its likely follow-ups instead of singles.  There are no extras across the two DVDs, but you can read more about the show at this link on one of the singles we covered:





In the special interest category, Lionsgate has issued the latest titles on the best way to make child care work.  Whether I actually agree with The Happiest Baby On The Block and The Happiest Toddler On The Block is another story as I found some of the advice suspect, so you should only take these releases so seriously, but they at least get one to think about the subject, which is a start.  Host Dr. Karp answers key questions on both volumes as their sole extras.



At the tail end of the spy craze of the 1960s, the somewhat bizarre Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp (1970) was produced with various chimpanzees walking around being voiced over in a TV series spy spoof that has a cult following, but I was never the biggest fan of.  This Complete Special Collector’s Edition comes from Film Chest and has all 17 episodes (starting as hour long shows, the series became a half hour in the end) over the first two DVDs and third and final DVD has extras as Lancelot works for APE (a spoof of U.N.C.L.E.) and battle CHUMP in all the shows.


Besides being too late, it is a one-note gimmick show, but apes, chimps and monkeys were the rage for some at the time thanks to the circus, their novelty and even Tarzan.  Lancelot and Mata Hairi (hairy, not Hair, get it???  Do you want to?) also had a rock band with a name to tick off many uptight people: The Evolution Revolution.  Points for the show there, but the idea of using these animals were starting to peak, as proved by TV series bomb Me & The Chimp with Ted Wass (of That Girl fame) and a decade later, the abomination that was NBC’s insane bomb Mr. Smith.  See this one at your own risk and know it is unusual at any rate, but it still deserves a DVD release and has a solid one here.


Extras include 17 vignettes from that band including the “Chimpies” from the show, slideshow tied to the show from Allan Sandler and Life Magazine, separate interviews with Producer Sandler and Musical Director Bob Emenagger, footage of Link & Sandler at the Wildlife Waystation in 2011 and the Jeff Krulik/Diane Barnard documentary “I Created Lancelot Link”.


Hope this leads to the release of Curiosity Shop from the same producers.



Finally we have the latest Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD box set, My First Collection V.3 w/Chicken Little, a 3 DVD set including their recent take on the classic short story (inspired by Disney no doubt) and 12 other shorts.  Little is joined by Great White Man-Eating Shark, Three-Legged Cat and Dooby Dooby Moo, while the Bark George disc has that short narrated by John Lithgow, Dot The Fire Dog, Angus & The Ducks, Whistle For Willie and No Roses For Harry!  The Katie Loves Kittens disc also has Scaredy Squirrel, Roberto The Insect Architect and The Cow Who Fell In The Canal.


There might be occasional overlap with other releases in the series, many of which are reviewed elsewhere on this site, but these are nice sets and ever child-friendly.  Extras include read-alongs on all three discs, interviews with Rebecca & Ed Emberley on the Little discs (the wrote and illustrated this version) and Katie author/illustrator John Himmelman and Squirrel author/illustrator Mélanie Watt have their respective interview clips on that disc.


The 1.33 X 1 image on Babar and the Block singles are softer than I would have liked overall, finished on analog video, while the same on Lancelot and Little may not be perfect al the time, but look better and were more to what I expected from them.  All have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound with stereo in all cases but Lancelot as it is the oldest, but they are all on par with each other, having their various flaws and limits.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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