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Video Cassettes

cosby_video2.jpg (79998 bytes)1926?/98? Aesop's Fables (Volume 1). Eight Paul Terry Aesop's Films. Commonwealth Pictures. 2061. $14.50 from Nostalgia Family Video, Baker City, OR, through Ebay, June, '00.

Included are "Up in the Air" ('26), "Flying Hoofs" ('28), "Rooster and the Eagle" ('28), "Wicked City" ('26), "Red Hot Sands" ('28), "Hitting the Rails" ('28), "Runaway Balloon" ('28), and "Fable of the Alley Cat" ('28). I am presuming that the numbers "26" and "28" in parentheses indicate the year of each cartoon. These are typical Terry work in the series "Aesop's Film Fables." In what I watched this time, there is plenty of music but never any spoken speech. There will be an occasional written expression from one character. These are not traditional Aesopic fables, but rather stories about animals playing tricks on people. There is delightful fantasy here, as when a mice musician plays some notes and then climbs them like steps of a ladder.

1926?/98? Aesop's Fables (Volume 2). Eight Paul Terry Aesop's Films. Commonwealth Pictures. 2273. $14.50 from Nostalgia Family Video, Baker City, OR, through Ebay, June, '00.

This tape's label is incorrect. It has a different number from the first volume but then lists the same cartoons. In fact, the tape presents a new set of cartoons, beginning with "Jungle Sports." In it, an explorer and an ape play games and then get into a fight.

1926?/98? Aesop's Fables (Volume 3). Eight Paul Terry Aesop's Films. Commonwealth Pictures. 2274. $18.50 from Nostalgia Family Video, Baker City, OR, through Ebay, June, '00.

This tape lists only its name and number on the label. At least there is no mistake!

1930? Aesop's Fables: Fly Hi. RKO Pathé. Produced by the Van Beuren Corporation. By John Foster and Harry Bailey. Synchronization by Gene Rodemich. Black-and-white eight-minute film short transcribed onto video tape for John Carlson. Gift of John Carlson, Nov., '98.

"Fly Hi" is a nice play on words, as two romantic flies say hi to each other musically over the phone, meet at her place, and then listen to music played by an insidious German-accented spider. After playing classical music for them on two pianos -- with four hands, of course -- the spider chases them, but is arrested by fly-paper. The film seems to rejoice in being a "talkie." There seems to be a simple pleasure in hearing music and voices. As the male fly goes to visit the female, the flowers and bugs along the road join in on his song. The film has nothing to do with Aesop that I can figure out!

1934? Walt Disney Silly Symphony: The Tortoise and the Hare. Ten minutes? No sound. Gift of an anonymous donor. One extra copy at the same time.

The version Disney offers here is the one familiar from his early print publications of this fable. Toby Tortoise and Max Hare appear first at their training camps. Much of the cartoon centers on Miss Cottontail's boarding school. Here Max beats his own arrow to the target, hits his own pitch and then catches it, and plays tennis with himself. The cartoon ends with a celebration of the tortoise and does not go further, as does one of the early print presentations of this film.

1935?/98? Video Scrapbook #46: The Best of Aesop's Fables. Black-and-white. 100 minutes. Paul Terry. Aesop's Sound Fables. Pathé. RCA Photophone. Van Beuren Corporation. £10 from Hollywood's Attic, Burbank, CA, through Whatamibid, April, '00.

I watched one or two of these cartoons. They include some talking, usually done very carefully and deliberately. There is a heavy accent on song-and-dance numbers and very little accent on plot. Typically a cartoon will end with a proverb, which we are meant to take as Aesop's moral. Just after that "Aesop's Fables" are presented as "Sugar Coated Pills of Wisdom."

1962?/90? Vincent Van Moose. Volume 3 of "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." Burbank: Buena Vista Home Video. $9.95 at Washington Video, Georgetown, Dec., '91.

The "Aesop & Son" portion here is the story of the dog and his shadow (5:20), a playful parody of the original about the dog losing a bone. The son tells Aesop the original fable in ten seconds, and so Aesop feels that he has to create something different. His fable, of questionable fable value, has a dog losing his shadow and buying one "hot" from thugs. The interplay between dog and shadow provides for all sorts of good duet games. This section comes about thirty minutes into this forty-four minute tape, after "Dudley Do-Right," Rocky and Bullwinkle at a missile-launching station, and Bullwinkle's "rabbit from a hat" trick--and just before a missile-station guard is gassed.

1962?/90? Le Grande Moose. Volume 5 of "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." Burbank, CA: Buena Vista Home Video. $9.95 at Washington Video, Georgetown, Dec., '91.

The "Aesop & Son" portion here is the story of the dumb mule who gets the last laugh on two jokester jackrabbits (5:30). The mule is a water-serving innkeeper in the desert. The jackrabbits run up huge bills with him but manage to get him three times to smoke exploding cigars. When they return from having spent all their riches in Paris, they fall down his well. This section comes about thirty-five minutes into this forty-six minute tape, after and before Rocky and Bullwinkle are depth-charged at sea. I am not aware of an Aesopic original behind the story.

1962?/90? Canadian Gothic. Volume 6 of "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." Burbank, CA: Buena Vista Home Video. $9.95 at Washington Video, Georgetown, Dec., '91.

The "Aesop & Son" portion here is about a wolf and a dog. The wolf tries various ploys and finally steals Mauler the sheepdog's false teeth. Ultimately a lamb bites the wolf with false teeth. "Nothing dentured, nothing gained." The fable lasts 5:40. It comes about five minutes into the tape, after Dudley Doright delivers a bag of crabgrass to the inspector and Bullwinkle juggles--and before Simple Simon. We are a pretty good distance here from any Aesop I know!

1962?/90? Whistler's Moose. Volume 7 of "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." Burbank, CA: Buena Vista Home Video. $3.15 from George Gates, Paragould, Arkansas, through Ebay, Feb., '00.

The "Aesop & Son" portion here is "A Mice Trapped Cat."

1962?/90? Norman Moosewell. Volume 8 of "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." Burbank, CA: Buena Vista Home Video. $3.15 from George Gates, Paragould, Arkansas, through Ebay, Feb., '00.

There is no "Aesop & Son" portion listed here on the slipcase.

1962?/90? Banana Formula. "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." Burbank, CA: Buena Vista Home Video. $6.38 from Brian Owen, Jackson, MS, through Ebay, Feb., '00.

The "Aesop & Son" portion here, so the slipcase says, is a catastrophic fable.

1967 Aesop's Fables I-III. Metal master tape and two videotape copies of three sixteen-millimeter films. No author, illustrator, or reader acknowledged. Living Prose Series. In collaboration with Lumin Films. McGraw-Hill, Inc. Gift of John Carlson, Dec., '95.

See my comments under "Films."

1971/86 Aesop's Fables. Starring Bill Cosby. About 30 minutes. #127. Irvine, CA: Karl-Lorimar Home Video. One extra.

The best of the tapes I have. A delightful composition of animation and photography. Wonderland (where you have to take your shoes off!), songs, the personality of "Mr. Aesop," two main fables, and a little wisdom about life (especially about having a dream) work together to make a good film. In fact, the integration of the two fables with each other and with the other elements is superb. "The Turtle Who Wanted To Fly" (8:30 long) begins with springtime in the pond. Romantic interest leads the tortoise, on the advice of the hare, to want to impress a female tortoise with his flying. The eagle will give the tortoise only a start. Stealing feathers becomes a major portion of the story. The tortoise has good wings and actually flies for a bit before he loses the feathers, slides into the pond, and learns to be just a slow tortoise. Proud to be himself, the tortoise promptly challenges the hare to a race. The hare stops just short of the finishline in order to get the victory celebration, including dinner, going. Dinner includes many kinds of carrots. The hare: "The tortoise is as good a runner as a flier." Bad weather, spans without bridges, rivers, and overnight make the race an ordeal for the tortoise. An over-filled belly gives the hare his own ordeal. Good antics along the way. The tortoise gets the girl; in fact we soon see a whole tortoise family. The second fable takes 9:30. The box lists the copyright as 1986, the tape as 1971.

1971/91 Aesop's Fables. With Bill Cosby as Aesop. About 26 minutes. Fairlawn, NJ: Alpha Video Distributors Inc. Gift of Greg and Kathy Grant, Summer, '92.

Seems to be exactly identical with the Lorimar tape listed under 1971/86. Thus it contains "The Tortoise and the Eagle" and TH. Explicitly declared as public domain work not authorized by the original copyright owners. There is a crazy "Chipmunks Christmas" advertisement at the end.

1980? Fantastic Fables. Six Individual Aesop's Fables. Henry Honeybear and Company. With Cliff Walinski. Minneapolis, MN: Specialty Cassettes, Inc. $4.95 from Pam Wilkinson, Houston, TX, through Ebay, April, '00.

Henry and Cliff seem central to most presentations. In BC, Cliff reads the story to Henry. Further stories are enacted, with heavy dependence on an appropriate set projected in the background. Further stories include TH, "The Lion in Love," CW, FK, and "The Boy Who Wanted to Tremble."

1985 Aesop's Fables. Magic Window. Produced by Simon Nuchtern and Carmen Ventura. Edited by Arshes Anasal. Burbank, CA: RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video. Turner Program Services. 60 minute animated video cassette. $4.99 from Galaxy of Games II, Hamden CT, through Ebay, March, '99. One extra copy in a slightly larger clamshell for $5 from Barry Rieger, Buffalo Grove, IL, through Ebay, April, '99. Two extra copies in more usual cardboard slipcases dated with an 1989 copyright, one of them for $3.25 from Dr. Rob Tingle, Easton, MD, through Ebay, Feb., '00, and the other for $1.40 from Charles Evans, Bogalusa, Louisiana, Sept., '00.

Little Aesop, perhaps ten years old, likes mischief, like tying together dogs' tails. He himself tries the "Wolf!" trick when he starts his first job as a shepherd. The wolf chases him into a dark woods, where he falls through a hole into a new world. There he meets Skitter the Country Mouse, Silkwing the Flower Elf, and Hayhee the ass. Their adventures include an invitation to a City Mouse meal, where the master of the house is a cat. As the three travel, they run into a tortoise and hare arguing. The three soon get work along the way delivering salt; Hayhee's second load is cotton. They meet a fiddling grasshopper who entertains the whole pondside, all of whom join in ridiculing the ants who keep chanting "No time, no time!" Hayhee finds a lion's skin and plays dead when a bear approaches the foursome. In winter, the ants accept an apology and give the travelers food and warm clothing and send them on their way across Terror Mountain, where Winter becomes the North Wind and Spring becomes the Sun to play out a bet. Spring gives Aesop storytelling power and brings him home. As Silkwing reminds Aesop on arriving back home, the animals back here cannot talk. She has lost her wings and will live with him forever. There is a clever attempt here to weave a number of fables into a continuous narrative. Part of the price is to make Aesop into a small boy who, with friends, needs to learn lessons before he can return to his mother. I enjoy the attempt, though I am sorry to see fables turned into a fairy tale. The prose on the slipcases of the extra copies has little Aesop meeting not a Flower Elf but a Flower Elk. That kind of mistake makes me wonder about the claim "Duplicated, Packaged and Printed in USA."

1985? The Tortoise and the Hare/Hill of Fire. Reading Rainbow. TH: illustration by Janet Stevens. Narrated by Gilda Radner. Hosted by Levar Burton. Hill of Fire: Author Thomas P. Lewis. Illustrator Joan Sandin. Hosted by Levar Burton. Stamford, CT: Children's Video Library 1555. $9.50 from George Minkalis, Round Lake, IL, through Ebay, Nov., '00.

This is a complex video that brings together many things, even within the separate stories that it presents. Burton is training for a bicycle race, and the story supports him. Little children give various morals. The whole TH segment lasts perhaps twelve minutes. The TH segment proper within that uses stills from Stevens' book. The one time that I notice something done perhaps for the video presentation occurs when the sleeping rabbit opens his eye.

1986 Aesop's Fables of Contentment & Kindness. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse; The Lion and the Mouse. Golden Book Video. About 25 minutes. ©1986 Dolmatch. Racine: Western Publishing Company. One extra copy.

Simple, even rudimentary animation. The framework is provided by three monkeys, who appear before the first fable, between the two, and after the last. TMCM (about 10 minutes) presents little Mike bored in the country telling his mama that he needs to go see the world. The train takes him to town, where he meets cousin Max fresh from being chased by a cat. They eat well--chocolate and cheese!--in Max's well furnished hole. Mike is frightened at night by an "owl" clock and next morning by traffic and a ringing bell. They sneak past the sleeping cat only to be chased. A woman attacks with a broom. Mike is happy to return to Mama. The monkeys moralize variously, even contradictorily: "Sometimes things are better than you may think, and we should all appreciate what we have. Follow your heart but be prepared for the consequences. Mike had to find out for himself that country life wasn't such a bad thing after all." In LM (about 10 minutes), Malcolm is bringing cactus fruit home to his sick mother. He is followed and then chased by a fox into a hollow log, which the fox rolls over the cliff. Malcolm staggers home. His sister Amanda goes back ahead of him to get the cactus fruit; by now the fox has it on a string. Amanda jabs him in the foot. In running off, Amanda runs onto a lion. Malcolm begs the lion to spare her. The lion does not laugh but yields since they would not make much of a meal. Amanda soon announces that the lion has been caught. After being released by them, the lion apologizes.

1986 Aesop's Fables of Patience & Honesty. The Wolf and the Lamb; The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Golden Book Video. About 25 minutes. ©1986 Dolmatch. Racine: Western Publishing Company. One extra copy.

Simple, even rudimentary animation. The framework is provided by three monkeys, who appear before the first fable, between the two, and after the last. About ten minutes each for the two fables. In WL there is lots of flute-playing before a rabbit ever shows up. There is wonderful lamb-dancing and leaping. I think this version of the story misses the "creative suggestion" character of the lamb's asking the wolf to play the flute, since the wolf has been holding the flute for a long time before the lamb is caught. Flattery helps lead to the wolf's downfall. Moral: "One thing at a time." In BW Nathan begins by falling into a river. There he thinks he sees a wolf. He goes to town and brings the people back, but the wolf is nowhere to be found. The mayor has come out without putting on his pants. The next day Nathan wonders what to do for excitement. Now he runs into town crying "Wolf!" The mayor is soon up a tree, falls, and is laughed at. The next day Nathan plays his trick again. The mayor cuts his moustache in half. "Your joke wasn't funny!" When the wolf does show up, Nathan runs through town: there is a great chase and great desperate screaming. The chase is going on as the fable ends.

1986 Aesop's Fables of Pride & Perseverance. The Hare and the Tortoise; The Vain Crow. Golden Book Video. About 25 minutes. ©1986 Dolmatch. Racine: Western Publishing Company. One extra copy.

Simple, even rudimentary animation. The framework is provided by three monkeys, who appear before the first fable, between the two, and after the last. TH features Scamper McRabbit and Thelma Tortoise. Scamper plays a sports announcer. There is a strong element of sports-TV parody all the way through the tape, including slow motion at the end. The tape's narrator clarifies early that "tortoise" is the same as turtle and "hare" as rabbit. Scamper stops for some of the mice's egg-salad at their picnic. Scamper has racing car sounds for his movements. Thelma hums along her way. A rain storm drives the hare to a tree. Scamper catches up to Thelma six times along the way! Scamper gets chased by a fox, loses direction, and finds his way to a bunny fast-food counter. There are many puns along the way. Moral: "Be sure but steady." About ten minutes. In "Vain Crow," King Zeus announces that he will appoint a king of the birds. The crow sleeps as attention goes to the owl and the eagle. The crow notices ducks' feathers in the river. He picks them up and is soon stealing feathers, especially peacock feathers, in funny ways. The crow dreams of himself as king. At the contest itself, the crow shows up late, looks stupid, and gets initial admiration. Zeus declares him the king of the birds. The peacock recognizes his own feather. All gang up and strip away all his feathers. Moral: The crow lost by not being himself, by trying to be what he was not. About ten minutes.

1986 Fables and Legends: Aesop's Fables, Volume One. 30 minutes. VHS 80462. Milliken Publishing Company. Universal City, CA: MCA Home Video. $3 from Theresa Thomas, Lakeland, FL, through Ebay, Feb., '00.

Six stories are offered here: "The Lion and the Statue," LM, TH, DS, BW, and "The Fox and the Goat." A videographed group around a campfire gives the setting before and between the fables. Once a campfire character starts to tell a fable, we switch to watching stills of that fable, done by various visual artists. The voice of the narrator sounds vaguely like that of Leslie Nielson.

1986 Fables and Legends: Aesop's Fables, Volume Two. 30 minutes. VHS 80463. Milliken Publishing Company. Universal City, CA: MCA Home Video. $3 from Theresa Thomas, Lakeland, FL, through Ebay, Feb., '00.

Seven stories are offered here: MM, BC, WSC, GGE, DM, MSA, and "The Hare with Many Friends." The same group is around the campfire, but in different positions from those of the first video. They still give the setting before and between the fables. Once a campfire character starts to tell a fable, we switch to watching stills of that fable, done by various visual artists. The voice of the narrator sounds vaguely like that of Leslie Nielson. MM involves a splashing sound-effect decidedly too long for the spilling of a simple pail of milk.

1987 Aesop's Fables II: The Lion and the Stag and Other Tales. Fully animated. Rewritten for today by Victor J. Tognola. Illustrated by Adelky. No. 1563. ©1987 Children's Video Library, Inc. $5.95 from Chet Burtch, Fresno, CA, through Ebay, June, '00. Extra copy with no jacket for $2 from Rachael Houdroge, Portland, OR, through Ebay, March, '00.

Originally copyrighted apparently by Blue Lion and SSR-RTSI in 1981. See my comments on Volume III. The first fable of nine here, "The Lion and the Stag," is again highly dramatic. The lion weeps over losing the hare while he has chased a stag in vain. The "II" in the title appears only on the tape itself. Now I have the first tape in the series still to find, though I cannot be sure whether there is a fourth too!

1987 Aesop's Fables III: The Hen with the Golden Eggs and Other Tales. Fully animated. Rewritten for today by Victor J. Tognola. Illustrated by Adelky. No. 1564. ©1987 Children's Video Library, Inc. $2.25 from Rachael Houdroge, Portland, OR, through Ebay, March, '00.

Originally copyrighted apparently by Blue Lion and SSR-RTSI in 1981. I suspect that there may have been an Italian original behind this now-English presentation. While the voice-over narration is in English, I suspect that there may have been an Italian original behind this presentation. The first fable of nine here, "The Lion in Love," has lots of Italian songs and, I think, some Italian muttering and cursing. It is unusual that the title fable does not come first. The presentations are highly dramatized, as here when the lion sings arias or the girl laughs at the toothless lion. The animation work is simple. In the second fable, the kid rather than the wolf plays the flute before the wolf's dinner. The "III" in the title appears only on the tape itself.

1987 Five Lionni Classics. 30 minutes. Stories and Images by Leo Lionni. Animation and Direction by Giulio Gianini. Music by Egisto Macchi. Italtoons Corporation. Random House Home Video. ©1986 and 1987 Giulio Gianini/Leo Lionni. $9.99 from the Migomi Corporation, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, through Ebay, Feb., '00.

The presentation is faithful to the delightful approach that Lionni's books take. Thus in the first story, "Frederick," the mice walk on their back legs and often form bucket brigades to move things from one place to another. The other four stories are "Cornelius," "It's Mine!," "Fish Is Fish," and "Swimmy."

1987 Foxy Fables. 75 minutes. Claymation. ©Frame by Frame, Denmark, 1986. ©1987 Hi-Tops Video, a Division of Heron Communications, Santa Monica, CA. HT 0055. Produced by Mike Filderbaum. Directed and Animated by Rony Oren. Co-ordinated by Teresa Appleton. $6.50 from Dana Priddy, Louisville, KY, through Ebay, April, '00. Extra copy for $3.50 from Randy Lanser, St. Rose, LA, through Ebay, June, '99.

Delightful fables following traditional tales, though sometimes with new characters. Apparently, each fable receives an extensive repeated introduction, as though they were made not for seeing all at once but rather for individual viewing, say, one each week. I watched three. FC is very well done; it spends significant time on the theft of the cheese by Cranium the Crow. The second fable presents a story of "Guarding the Cherry Tree" that has Brixton the Hare talking the poor bear into untying him and taking his place. The third fable has the fox dividing a cake between two litigants who come to him for a judgment. Of course he is the one who eats the cake.

1987 Once Upon a Fable. 52 minutes. Wembley, Middlesex: Visionpower, Ltd./Crestshaw, Ltd. £2 from Video Vault, through Ebay, Feb., '02.

Unfortunately, this videotape seems to contain no fables at all. The items featured on the tape are "The Magic Mirror," "Three Clumsy Hunters," "Brave Whistle Stop," "Sleepy Keeper," "Dinosaur Hunt," "The Two Magicians," "The Santa Visit," "Wheels," and "Life in Dogywood."

1990/91 The Cat and the Old Mouse. Aesop's Fable. Introduced by Bill Cosby as Aesop. Plus a Sing-A-Long Cartoon. About 30 minutes. #40001. Freehold, NJ: ©1990 Trans Atlantic Video. Anaheim: ©1991 Diamond Entertainment Corporation. Gift of John Carlson, Christmas, '91. Extra copy for $2.50 at Nebraska City Mall, Nov., '92. Extra copy for $2.50 at Nebraska Crossing, Nov., '93.

This series uses the same Cosby framework as the earlier Lorimar tape but presents only one interrupted fable and adds a cartoon at the end. This tape features excellent animation work. The rhymed fable's words begin with the beginning of the animated portion of the tape. The fable takes some twelve minutes. A mouse school studies the cat. A wind-up, radio-controlled mouse is let loose into the cat's territory. There is good cat-and-mouse play. The cat uses a TV to monitor mice movements. One mouse gets drunk and almost caught. The cat hangs from a beam. An old mouse uses a vacuum cleaner to reveal the cat in flour-disguise. This tape helps to show that all of these Cosby fable tapes were originally French La Fontaine fable tapes. The closing cartoon is "The Golden State."

1990/91 The Eagle and the Owl. Aesop's Fable. Introduced by Bill Cosby as Aesop. Plus a Sing-A-Long Cartoon. About 30 minutes. #40002. Freehold, NJ: ©1990 Trans Atlantic Video. Anaheim: ©1991 Diamond Entertainment Corporation. Gift of John Carlson, Christmas, '91. Extra copy for $2.50 at Nebraska City Mall, Nov., '92.

This series uses the same Cosby framework as the earlier Lorimar tapes but presents only one interrupted fable and adds a cartoon at the end. A viewer watches for a long time in this almost twelve-minute story before coming anywhere near a recognizable fable. At the start, the owl cuts off the eagle's shaving water, and the eagle puts trash and a mouse down the owl's chimney. The two continue to trade annoyances. After going to court, the two decide to be friends for life and to spare each other's young. Asked to describe his, the owl says that they are beautiful and gentle. The eagle finds them unknowingly, and eats the ugly little birds. The monkey is judge.

1990/91 The Rat Who Retired from the World. Aesop's Fable. Introduced by Bill Cosby as Aesop. Plus a Sing-A-Long Cartoon. About 30 minutes. #40003. Freehold, NJ: ©1990 Trans Atlantic Video. Anaheim: ©1991 Diamond Entertainment Corporation. Gift of John Carlson, Christmas, '91. Extra copy for $2.50 at Nebraska City Mall, Nov., '92.

This series uses the same Cosby framework as the earlier Lorimar tape but presents only one interrupted fable and adds a cartoon at the end. This fable helps make it clear that what we are really dealing with here is La Fontaine's fables; here is one of his more famous, and all the words around are French. A long introduction motivates the man's withdrawal. He struggles with crowds, the phone, papers, the boss, solicitors, fuses, and his wife. He is fired from his job. When he withdraws, he finds a lovely cheese, soon laid out with lovely cheese furniture. The fable moves on to cats in fighter planes. The association of this person with a "man of God" is not well established. When the film returns after the fable, the standard moral "Give it your best" does not exactly fit this inserted fable. The fable lasts 10:40.

1990/91 The Hare and the Frog. Aesop's Fable. Introduced by Bill Cosby as Aesop. Plus a Sing-A-Long Cartoon. About 30 minutes. #40004. Freehold, NJ: ©1990 Trans Atlantic Video. Anaheim: ©1991 Diamond Entertainment Corporation. $2.50 at Nebraska City Mall, Nov., '92.

This series uses the same Cosby framework as the earlier Lorimar tape but presents only one interrupted fable and adds a cartoon at the end. Typically the animated introduction to the fable-world, with music but no words, is some six minutes long, while the fable takes less time--here less than five minutes. The animated introduction here includes a storm, frightened rabbits playing games with their shadows in their castle, mice helping to stop the flood there, and rabbits frightened of mice. Within the fable there is a great frog band with frog singers on the pods.

1990/91 The Oak and the Reed. Aesop's Fable. Introduced by Bill Cosby as Aesop. Plus a Sing-A-Long Cartoon ("Strolling through the Park"). About 30 minutes. #40005. Freehold, NJ: ©1990 Trans Atlantic Video. Anaheim: ©1991 Diamond Entertainment Corporation. Gift of John Carlson, Christmas, '91. Extra copy for $2.50 at Nebraska City Mall, Nov., '92.

This series uses the same Cosby framework as the earlier Lorimar tape but presents only one interrupted fable and adds a cartoon at the end. The animated introduction to the fable-world, with Nutcracker Suite music but no words, is over eight minutes long, while the fable takes about three minutes. The animated introduction here presents the bad-guy oak, the friendly reed who rescues a falling chick, and waterbugs working on a dam and defending themselves with ingenious animal artillery against a dive-bombing and fire-bombing bird. The fable itself is done in poetry.

1990/91 The Cat, the Weasel and the Little Rabbit. Aesop's Fable. Introduced by Bill Cosby as Aesop. Plus a Sing-A-Long Cartoon. About 30 minutes. #40006. Freehold, NJ: ©1990 Trans Atlantic Video. Anaheim: ©1991 Diamond Entertainment Corporation. Gift of John Carlson, Christmas, '91. Extra copy for $2.50 at Nebraska City Mall, Nov., '92. Extra copy for $2.50 at Nebraska Crossing, Nov., '93.

This series uses the same Cosby framework as the earlier Lorimar tape but presents only one interrupted fable and adds a cartoon at the end. A viewer watches for a long time in this story before recognizing a fable. The pre-fable section involves extensive conflict between the rabbit and the mouse. Ultimately the weasel takes the rabbit's house and argues that possession is nine points of the law. The cat arbitrator claims bad hearing, draws the litigants closer, and eats them both. Incongruously, the Cosby kids talk after the fable about the characters living happily ever after!

1991 Aesop's Fables: The Hare and the Tortoise; The Vain Crow. Golden Book Video. About 25 minutes. ©1986 Dolmatch. Racine: Western Publishing Company. Found somewhere in early '95.

This is a simple re-issue of the 1986 tape titled Aesop's Fables of Pride & Perseverance, including the monkey-games that occur before, between, and after the fables. The tape package gets the Hare's name wrong; he is Scamper, not Speedy, McRabbit. See my comments there.

1991 Aesop's Fables: The Wolf and the Lamb; The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Golden Book Video. About 25 minutes. ©1986 Dolmatch. Racine: Western Publishing Company. $2.25 from Tina Pardi, Sumter, SC, through Ebay, Oct., '99.

This seems a simple re-issue of the 1986 tape titled Aesop's Fables of Patience & Honesty. See my comments there.

1991 Aesop's Fables: The Ant and the Grasshopper; The Wind and the Sun. Golden Book Video. About 25 minutes. ©1986 Dolmatch. Racine: Western Publishing Company. $2.25 from Tina Pardi, Sumter, SC, through Ebay, Oct., '99. Extra copy for $2 from Edward Price, Pennsauken, NJ, through Ebay, June, '00.

This tape seems to reproduce a 1986 original that I have not found.

1992 The Lion and the Mouse. Children's Animated Classics Library. Goldstar Video. Freehold, NJ: Little Red Schoolhouse. $1 at "Every Thing's a $1," Kansas City, May, '93.

Three sections. The first two are introduced as "European Folk Tales": "Green Mountain" and "The Ass and the Stick." Each lasts about eleven or twelve minutes. The third is LM, produced in 1976 by ACI Media. It runs about nine minutes. Two mice, Leah and Mac, meet, get married, and have five children. Mac tunnels to put in an extra escape route and disturbs the lion as he comes up. The whole family chews the lion's ropes. Simple animated cartoons throughout.

1992 The Tortoise and the Hare. Children's Animated Classics Library. Goldstar Video. Freehold, NJ: Little Red Schoolhouse. $1 at "Every Thing's a $1," KC, May, '93.

Three sections. The two Aesopic sections handle their fables differently from their usual tellings. The first section is TH, produced in 1976 by ACI Media. It lasts about eight minutes. The boasting hare is laughed at when the elephant stops him in mid-leap. The hare suggests the race to the tortoise. Taunting questions "Afraid?" and "Lazy?" get the tortoise angry. The rabbit decides to take a nap. Helping the tortoise, the elephant sucks up dust and blows it out straight. The confused, sleepy tortoise runs back to the starting point. The middle tale is introduced as a "European Folk Tale" from Hungary: "The Enormous Lie." After the king believes all sorts of outrageous fibs from a farmer's son trying to win his daughter, the young man finally says "I came to ask you to be my dad's swineherd" and the king cannot believe him. The king gives him his daughter. The third is TMCM, about seven minutes in length, produced in 1976 by ACI Media. The town mouse drives a car; they have an accident on the way into town. The country mouse gets his tail caught in an electric socket. They watch TV while they eat. The country mouse runs from a cat on TV--all the way home. Simple animated cartoons throughout.

1993 Lamb Chop's Play-Along Jump into the Story. Shari Lewis. Produced by Bernard Rothman. Directed by Michael Watt. "The Lion and the Mouse" by Lan O'Kun, ©O'Kun Music Corp. Hollywood: A & M Records. Purchased as part of a set for $39.95 from Time-Life, Oct., '93.

Set includes wrapping paper, a greeting card, a puppet, Lamb Chop's Fables, and Lamb Chop's "Sing-Along, Play-Along" cassette. LM is the sixth of the seven presentations on this half-hour tape. It is a song with audience participation. Shari cleverly uses a backyard geodesic hemisphere as a prop to work on and around, while Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy, and Charlie Horse model participation. No animation or pictures or fable puppets are involved. The tape shows some overlap with both the book and the cassette.

1993 The Country Mouse & the City Mouse. An HBO Storybook Musical. Starring Crystal Gale and John Lithgow. Music Composed and Arranged by David Evans. About twenty-five minutes. First aired in Fall, '93. Produced by Michael Sporn Animation for Random House Home Video. NY: Random House, Inc. Gift of Pack Carnes, Oct., '94. Extra copy taped from HBO by Tom and Diann Greener, Fall, '93.

A sentimental animated development of the TMCM story, set at Christmas in the 1930's. The mice have fancy clothes and mice-sized furniture but live in the big-sized human world. Emily from the country accepts cousin Alexander's invitation to visit him at Antoine's in New York. She uses a horse-drawn wagon, train, and parachute-umbrella to get there. Alexander is an uppity, condescending tour guide who likes to drop French phrases. Emily is swept into Macy's and gets lost. She loves the city but misses home and the children there and sings the first of two songs, "When someone you love is far away." The chef at Antoine's hates mice, gets a Christmas cat, and declares war. After a narrow escape, Emily invites Alexander out to the country, where the children, missing her, have left cheese and gifts. Second song: "Christmas is where the heart is."

1994 Muppet Classic Theater. Where 6 Fairy Tales Take A Wacky Twist. Jim Henson Productions. 68 minutes. $4.99 from Sandra Gates, Paragould, Arkansas, through Ebay, Feb., '00.

BW, one of the six offerings here, is the only fable. In it the shepherd, played by Gonzo, becomes known for overreacting. During the presentation he has shouted "Earthquake!" and "Tidal Wave!" over small occurrences. When he comes shouting "Wolf!" the townsfolk claim that he is just overreacting again and list many more instances from the past. There is thus none of the usual motif of fooling people or making fun of them. The wolf gives this shepherd one day to get help. The townsfolk (where Kermit is mayor) sing a good song "Who do you think you're fooling?" At the last minute Cousin Norman, a very large sheep, is enlisted to confront and stop the wolf. Typically enjoyable Muppet fun!

1996? Jeep television advertisement using TH. 30 seconds. Gift of the advertising department at Jeep.

The tortoise takes a Jeep and crosses the line first. The producer of the spot advertisement assured me that no animal was harmed in the filming of this advertisement. I think she first read me on the phone as an activist against what she had done. When she found out I was only a harmless collector, she was happy to send me a copy of the advertisement. I will keep this entry also under "Advertising."