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Other DVDs

2003?  Aesop's Fables + free stuff.  DVD?  Teaching aids including tests concerning 15 fables and the correct answers.  Also a word document offering 91 pages of digitized fables from a standard source.  Unknown source.

Here is a surprising assortment of teaching helps from letter forms antonyms to all sorts of word games and tests.  I believe I have seen, somewhere in our collection, the same digitized 91 Word document pages of standard fables, including a short introduction quoting four lines of Latin.  The pdf files on fables are doublets of each other: one a fill-in-the-blank quiz on one of the fifteen fables, and the other the appropriate answers.  We can say to Aesop with Dr. Seuss "My, the places you will go!"

2004  Cartoon Craze, Vol. 18.  DVD.  Mighty Mouse/Heckle and Jeckle: Wolf Wolf.  Digiview Productions.  Made in China.  10 cartoons, mostly Paul Terry.  Unknown source.   

This dvd should not be confused with the several Van Beuren dvd's with similar titles.  It offers ten colored cartoons from the 1940's.  "Wolf! Wolf!" in 1944 brings together several traditional stories and rhymes, including "Little Bo Peep."  I do not find fables involved here or elsewhere in this dvd.  This story involves contemporary elements significantly, particularly wartime elements like periscopes and cannon.  There is also an emphasize on contemporary jazz, which can lure the lost sheep into the wolves' lair.  I also enjoyed "Cheese Burglar" (1946).  Though it has nothing to do with fables, it has fun with Herman the Mouse.  62 minutes. 

2004  Foney Fables.  7 cartoons.  Warner Brothers: Merrie Melodies.  Double D Distribution.  $6 from Redmon & Vincent, Cadillac, MI, through Ebay, Oct., '05.

Here, more simply packaged is a DVD already in the collection in a larger jewel case with a date of 2006.  Since the front cover is identical with the jewel case, I will show the back cover here, appropriately smaller.  As I wrote on that version, produced later but viewed earlier by me, to my surprise, the title cartoon "Foney Fables," second among the seven cartoons here, features several fables.  It was directed by Fritz Freleng in 1942.  In GA, the cicada answers the ant's critique of being lazy by pulling out a series of war bonds.  He will not starve!  By the way, I noticed this time through that there is no reference at all to music as the grasshopper's activity.  He just rests.  BW interrupts the series of reinterpreted stories several times.  The last time has us encountering not the obnoxious laughing boy but a laughing wolf picking his teeth.  The wolf in sheep's clothing meets a second wolf in sheep's clothing already working this herd.  The goose who laid golden eggs has converted to aluminum eggs, to help the war effort.  By the way, Mother Hubbard's dog turns her in to the authorities.  It turns out that she has been hoarding food!  Good color.

2004  Tales of Magic.  EastwestDVD video.  Five classic tales identified by country.  $10 from Susan Carlough, Easton, PA, through Ebay, June, '10.

Primitive colored cartoons from Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Italy, besides GA from Greece.  The dvd dives right into the first story without introductory material like a T of C.  This extended version of GA offers some different elements not usually found in the classic fable.  the fun-loving grasshopper in spring makes a violin and plays with a whole orchestra of insects, while animals love his frequent dance parties.  During one of their parties, ants make noise by working.  The grasshopper and other animals mock them this time and often in the future.  The grasshopper's sister feels sorry for the ants and invites one into the party.  The grasshopper makes fun of the ant and trips him.  As the weather turns, other animals leave the grasshopper's party to prepare for winter.  The grasshopper never does any chores.  When he runs out of food and shelter in winter, the grasshopper carries his sister and his violin.  When they come upon the ants' home, he trusts that the ants will take them in.  His sister says "They won't help us now."  Soon the grasshopper realizes "I deserve to be left out."  The two walk away from the ant home without even knocking on the door, and the ant is never even aware of their plight.  The two grasshoppers spend the winter cold and hungry.

2005 Rammie Reads Aesop's Fables.  DVD.  Nine Aesopic fables and several exhortations from Rammie, the mascot of the Derby County Football Club.  Ages 4-9.  Film Studios, Duffield, UK.  £2.99 through Ebay, Nov., '06. 

Rammie starts by warning children not to go off with strangers – and finishes by urging them not to run out onto the road between parked cars.  In between Rammie tells nine fables in various pastoral settings in the Derbyshire Dales countryside.  Some fables may be so animated in their telling that the motivation gets obscured.  Does the fox really invite his good friend the stork because he wants others to know his great soup and then decide to make sport of his friend?  The mischievous boy in BW is never allowed to have fun again!  The video segment turns amateurish in an attempt, for example, to simulate the panic of fearing an approaching wolf.  Rammie's big message tends to be "Reading is fun!"


2006  Foney Fables.  7 cartoons.  Warner Brothers: Merrie Melodies.  Double D Distribution.  $1.99 from Lowell Kotko, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, through Ebay, Oct., '07.  One extra copy.

To my surprise, the title cartoon "Foney Fables," second among the seven cartoons here, features several fables.  It was directed by Fritz Freleng in 1942.  In GA, the cicada answers the ant's critique of being lazy by pulling out a series of war bonds.  He will not starve!  BW interrupts the series of reinterpreted stories several times.  The last time has us encountering not the obnoxious laughing boy but a laughing wolf picking his teeth.  The wolf in sheep's clothing meets a second wolf in sheep's clothing already working this herd.  The goose who laid golden eggs has converted to aluminum eggs, to help the war effort.  By the way, Mother Hubbard's dog turns her in to the authorities.  It turns out that she has been hoarding food!  Good color. 


 2006 The Hare and the Tortoise. Quality Information Publishers. DVD reprint of a 1947 film by Encyclopedia Britannica films. $6.99 from Quality Information Publishers, Asheville, NC, through eBay, Oct., '08.

This DVD presentation of TH in ten minutes has the unusual feature of using live animals in its black-and-white movie. There is a one-voice narration. The owl directs the fox to create a hard course. Both wait -- for a long time -- at the finish. The tortoise has difficulty managing the hard terrain, especially when it involves a drop-off to the next level. Racoon, skunk, rooster, and goose all get into the story. The moral gets clipped off at the end after only “Slow and s….”

2007  Aesop's Fables: Classic Cartoon Collection Featuring Three Classic Cartoons.  30+ minutes.  From Encyclopedia Brittanica in the 1960's.  Manufactured by P.C. Treasures, Oxford, MI.  $.01 from Pat John, Minneapolis, through Ebay, April, '08.  Extra copies from Charles Laskey, Howell, NJ, and an unknown source. 

One of the three fables here is a set of three fox fables: FC, FG, and FS.  In FG, the fox jumps and jumps.  In FS, the fox's offering is a pond, and the stork's is deep inside a hollow tree trunk.  Both the whole film and TH are labelled as "Second Edition."  All three videos feature music and narration in rhyming couplets, the music often too strong for the vocation narration.  In LM, the mouse is wandering at night and happens into what he thinks is a "graveyard."  It is, the lion's leftovers!


2007?  "The Hare and the Tortoise."  DVD of a black-and-white film by Encyclopedia Britannica Films in 1947.  In collaboration with Grace Storm.  Length 10:22 minutes.  Distributed by the University of Alabama.  From Lake Orion, MI, through Ebay. April, '08.

I may well have seen this film when I was in early grade school.  It is a photographic video with narration, using largely posed animal footage.  The tortoise can stand the rabbit's boasting no longer.  The owl asks the fox to lay out a difficult course, and we watch its key points, including the hollow log and the creek.  The tortoise plops more than once along the way.  The hare's friend the raccoon awakens him, just a little too late.  Unfortunately, the film cuts off in the middle of the pronouncement of the moral!  It is curious that the DVD producers reverse the title of the film on their DVD.

2008  Aesop's Fables: Animated Moral Stories.  DVD.  60 minutes.  11 fables.   Manufactured by Ananth Electronics, Mumbai.  Super Audio (Madras).  Unknown source.   

Here are eleven stories listed on the jacket and jewel-box.  In both the introduction and BS, the music tends to overwhelm voices.  Very simple animation and announced morals.  In AD, the ant thanks the dove face-to-face, and the dove gives the ant further food after the river rescue and before the bite that saves the dove.  The donkey prays to God for a different master, from herb seller to tile maker to tanner.  He understands his mistake too late.  BS has a demonstration that converts the four boys on the spot. 

2008  Hitopadesha: Animated Stories: Fables from the forest.  DVD.  60 minutes.  8 fables.  Super Audio (Madras).  Unknown source.   

This DVD is done by the same firm that did the DVD "Aesop's Fables: Animated Moral Stories" in the same year.  Here are eight stories listed on the jacket and jewel-box.  Again, there is rudimentary animation.  Particularly with actions like speaking, the animation here seems primitive by comparison with what one sees, for example, in the late "Silly Symphonies."  I enjoyed four stories here.  "A Friend in Need" picks up the key episode in the cycle of stories of four friends, the liberation of the turtle caught in a net.  "The Clever Idea" comes from the fox and saves two crows, who had twice lost their eggs to a serpent.  The animator here has particular fun with the snake's movement.  In "The Talkative Tortoise," the tortoise himself, not identified as particularly talkative, comes up with the idea.  He dies when he responds to people's question "Does he think he can fly?"  In "The Lion, the Fox, and the Ass," the fox brings the ass to the old lion twice and eats his ears and his brain as a way of claiming the reward for his part in the capture.  He outwits the lion, as he outwitted the ass by promising an eager bride.  Good musical background and good, varied voices.  

2008  The Tortoise and the Hare: The Rematch of the Century.  DVD.  The Jim Henson Company.  Alliance Films: The Weinstein Company.  76 minutes.  $10 from Maud Bourgeeais, Rosemere, Quebec, Nov., '09. 

Here is a feature film using the voices of Jay Leno, Dannuy Glover, and others.  Special features include "How to Draw a Character" and "The Making of Tortoise vs. Hare."  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the whole animated feature.  It pits the families, now neighbors, against each other in the "Mount Impossible Adventure Race" fifteen years after Walter Tortoise beat Murray Hare.  Murray keeps running into the dreaded "Slow and steady wins the race" statement.  The adventure race has many twists and turns, including a surprise winner.  The start and finish are provided by two stork sports announcers, Rex and Bob, who report throughout.  Good fun, based on the fable.  Part of a trilogy including "Goldilocks" and "Three Pigs and a Baby."


2008?  Aunt DeeDee Tells Aesop's Fables and Other Tales.  DVD.  Debbie Deane.  Down Memory Lane.  $10 from Down Memory Lane through Ebay, May, '09. 

This DVD offers vigorous tellings of eight Aesop's fables along with two others.  The fables are GA; BW; TMCM; FG; GGE; LM; SW; and TH.  The two other tales are "The Old Hag's Long Leather Bag" and "The Little Old Lady and Her Pig."  The stories are accompanied by a wild proliferation of images of various sorts.  The tellings are vigorous and include a variety of voices, all presumably from Deane.  There is a written moral at the end of each fable followed by a vocalized slide "The end."  The first day's cry in BW brings his mother and sister.  The next cry brings men and boys with pitchforks.  In TMCM, the city cousin drives a car with a windup key in its trunk.  The cat attacks once, and the country mouse says good-bye.  Here is one more evidence of how much people love Aesop's stories and keep them alive with their lively presentations.

2010  Animal Stories: The Complete 52 Episode Series.  Episodes written and directed by Tony Collingwood and produced by Chris O'Hare.  Collingwood O'Hare Productions Ltd.  Made in the USA.  $10 from an unknown source.

Winner of "The Best Pre-School Animation 2001 -  BAFTA."  The first two episodes both deal well with sensitive matter: being a fat pig and have – as frogs do – 3004 children at once!  Rhyming couplets. 


2010  The Boy Who Cried Wolf and more children's fables: 5 stories.  Scholastic Storybook Treasures.  A Read-Along DVD.  74 minutes.  Illustrations by Boris Kulikov, Marcia Brown and others.  $10 from Richard Nelson Auctions, Arnold, MO, through Ebay, Nov., '10.

Two of the five stories here seem to me to be fables.  There are extras, including an interview with Boris Kulikov on his development of the classic fable, including architecture and costumes from various periods and introducing a fly who appears several times during the fable.  The shepherd boy is bored with the sheep's "munch, munch, munch."  They do not want to play.  For the first day's trick, he reports one wolf, which people seek but do not find.  The second day he reports two wolves.  On the third day there are three wolves, and they are thinking "lunch, lunch, lunch."  There is no report of losses after the third incident.  In fact, one can see most of the sheep up in the tree!  There is also Marcia Brown's classic "Stone Soup," mistakenly reported on the clamshell as narrated by her.  As in her book, there are three soldiers and they convert selfish townfolk who at first hide their food from them.  This fable has distinctly French settings and names.  The disk advertises having been done with Russian resources and help.

2010?  Nancy Schön's Aesop's Fables: Morals to Live By.  DVD.   Retold by Anita Diamant.  Video produced by NKP Media, Inc.  Gift of Nancy Schön, Sept., '10.

This set of 24 sculptures is a real labor of love.  Through them I have become a good friend of Nancy, and I have come to realize that these sculptures represent some of the humane wisdom by which she has lived and about which she has created.  Nancy's career demonstrates a combination of passion and whimsy that fits Aesop perfectly.  I have sought to find the benefactor who brings these 24 sculptures to Omaha.  They would be a perfect ornament to this collection!  I have since come to see the sculptures firsthand.  They are an artistic triumph!

2010?  The Tortoise and the Hare.  Disney DVD.  Buddha Video.  Intercontinental Video Limited.  Six Disney Silly Symphonies, including "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "Toby Tortoise Returns."  $9.14 from David Deng, Singapore, through Ebay, Nov., '02.

This DVD offers six Silly Symphonies, including "Three Little Wolves"; "Peculiar Penguins"; "Water Babies"; and "Father Noah's Ark."  Though both the disc and the packaging say that English is an option, I could not engage it.  Several random subtitles appeared without my asking for them.  The paper insert for a large jewel-case came with the disc, but without the jewel case. 


2012  Fairy Tales from Around the World.  DVD?  Phoenix E-Books UK.  206 books, each with its own pdf showing each book from cover to cover.  Plus two further sections on the books of various colors by Andrew Lang and a set of Japanese tales.  Unknown source.

It has taken me a long time to get to cataloguing this unassuming disc.  The long wait has only reinforced my surprise at finding the immense treasure-house here!  From the fable world, I find at least four important books.  First is "An Argosy of Fables" by Frederic Taber Cooper in 1921 with colored illustrations by Paul Bransom.  Next is Percy Billinghurst's "A Hundred Fables of La Fontaine" from 1898.  Then there is a version of Benjamin Rabier's presentation of La Fontaine in French, featuring some fully-colored and some duochrome illustrations.  Finally there is Fredk. Colin Tilney's "The Original Fables of La Fontaine" from 1913.  Do not judge a book – or a disc – by its cover!

2015? Lotte Reinigers Märchen & Fabeln.  AbsolutMedien. 2 DVD discs offering Reiniger's short silhouette films from 1921 through 1961.  €14.90 from Merkheft, Frölich & Kaufmann. Feb., '20.

This pair of DVD's present the delightful and awe-inspiring silhouette films of Reiniger, from early silent films into the more developed silhouette films of the 1950's.  Among the latter is the only fable I find among these offerings, "Der Heuschreck und die Ameise," apparently produced in London in 1953/54.  As the accompanying booklet by Absolutmedien points out, Reiniger adapts this story quite substantially.  The ant dismisses the grasshopper in summer and in winter.  As he lies dying in the snow, a mouse and a squirrel carry him into their home and revive him.  He immediately starts fiddling.  The ant hears and stops by to enjoy interaction.  Though the mouse and squirrel reject her, the Heuschreck accepts her in.  "You worked all summer; now you can dance in winter!" 


2015? Storytellers' Favorite Fables: Folktales from around the World!  Organic Kids Company. DVD.  62 minutes.  Eight tales.  $3.60 from Leonardo Hernandez, Hialeah Gardens, FL, through Ebay, July, '18.

Storytellers do lively presentations here with the help of a guitarist and a small audience of children.  The fifth of the eight tales is "Bone Day," a lively retelling of DS with plenty of musical participation.