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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Fantasy > Science Fiction > Myths > Japan > Children > Puppets > Education > Mysterious Cities Of Gold (1982/VCI DVD Set)/Sesame Street Old School, Volume Three: 1979 - 1984 (Warner DVD Set)

Mysterious Cities Of Gold (1982/VCI DVD Set)/Sesame Street Old School, Volume Three: 1979 - 1984 (Warner DVD Set)


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



Now for the return and continuation of two children’s TV hits that also appeal to adult collector’s…



After a successful release a few years ago that went out of print, the 1982

Mysterious Cities Of Gold (1982) which was a moderate hit in its time and has become a cult animated series since.  If you are unfamiliar with the show, here is our coverage of that previous DVD set release with extended episode guide:




Needless to say that is from one of the big fans of the show, which I am not, but I do understand and see the appeal of the series and it is one of the early post-Speed Racer Japanese import animated successes (as well as an early Saban hit) so it has a special place in the heart of Animé fans.  It does not have the extras of the previous set, but that set had no extras on the discs and this one does including featurettes, stills, development footage and interviews about the show, plus the DVD case has a nicely illustrated color booklet with episode guide and character descriptions so fans will want this set too.



We also have Sesame Street Old School, Volume Three: 1979 - 1984 from Warner Bros. following up the previous two volumes including Volume Two which we covered at this link:




This is also a solid set and shows the series moving taking advantage of portable analog NTSC video cameras and doing location shows like the gang going to a marathon, Big Bird going to summer camp and Maria going to Puerto Rico.  This was a big deal for a show that already was about taking children to places they had never been before and further cemented the classic status of the show.  I was no longer watching the series, but actually heard about these event shows in the last years before cable, satellite and home video expanded the market, so they were serious events indeed.


There are still reuses of classic animated and live-action shorts throughout the episodes here, plus the return of skits updated, but we still have enough moments that you would not see today on the show that it justifies this set.  However, I wonder how many more sets they can do before it is the modern show that is totally child safe?  Still, the early shows are worth revisiting and parents can decide if they are appropriate for their children.


Extras include a bonus booklet with more text on the show, never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage, the “Goodbye – Mr. Hooper” clip, a new interview with Carroll Spinney (who voices Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch among others), Sonia Manzano’s audio commentary on the Puerto Rico episode and an on-screen version of the Oscar The Grouch storybook How To Be A Grouch.



The 1.33 X 1 on Gold is a little softer than I remembered from the original set, but not by very much and since these shows were made on film along with these new extras often being anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1, I hope this means VCI will have a Blu-ray version coming out sometime in the near future.  The same frame on Sesame is colorful and a little better, but the video can show its age and the limits of low-def video of the time.  Still, it looks good.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on both shows are pretty much what we’d expect from shows of the time with good, but not great sonics, but Gold is a little weaker and more limited, possibly down a generation.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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