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The Best of the Electric Company

Jim Boyd , Morgan Freeman    Unrated   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 57.95
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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Title Says What It Means Feb. 21 2006
By A Customer
It is truly the best of the "The Electric Company".It brings back memories of sitting in front of the television after
school watching this wonderful show.It was very entertaining
as well as educational.I never forgot the show or the songs
that were sung on it.It is something to see again since it
went off the air some 25+ years ago.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives me the Warm and Fuzzies!!! March 15 2006
I just got my Electric company dvd!!!
I recomend it to everyone it has all the great skits and songs that made it so fun to watch ( and learn)
I remember watching this show as a child and my sister and I to this very day always go on about "Who is it??? It's the plummer I've come to fix the sink !" I remember my sister even had the board game. I am in my early 30's and have a soft spot for anything that brings my back to my youth and The best of the Electric Company does it for me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  158 reviews
150 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey You Guys! It's about time! Aug. 25 2005
By David Michael Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
As any child of the 70's will tell you, "The Electric Company" was a milestone in educational TV. Its educational emphasis was on basic word recognition, spelling and pronunciation. The fact that so many adults recall specific scenes from the show (as evidenced on numerous message forums) attests to the show's potenecy.

What really set "The Electric Company" apart was its high standards. The cast included many acclaimed actors (including oscar-winner Rita Moreno and Bill Cosby) and actors who earn their star status later (such as Morgan Freeman and June Angela). As for the music and dialogue, it was nothng short of brilliant. The show made frequent use of humor that could be appreciated by all age groups. Contrast that to most children's fare today, which talks down to children and seems designed to alienate adults.

One aspect that stood out for me was the frequency of inter-racial couples in the show's skits. Not only did such couples appear (which you rarely see today) but the characters did not make a big deal about it, unlike say, Sesame Street, where they seem to insist on applauding themselves every time two people of different ethnicities interact.

My one concern is the comment that they are targetting the adult nostalgia market. It makes the show seem dated. I used to watch the show on Noggin with my daughter, and I can truthfully say that the show is every but as effective, and as enjoyable, as it was back in the day.
91 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Previews not kid appropriate Feb. 20 2006
By M. Gingras - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a great set of DVD's for this show. However, I do think parents should be aware of the previews for other shows that seem targeted to the 30-something crowd and not something I would want my 4 and 7 year old to see. For example, there is a scene in one of the preview ads for a show where a girl asks a guy, "so, you want to have sex?" NOT a DVD that you can just pop in for your little kid and walk away. I was VERY disappointed in this marketing ploy.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A POWER THAT NEVER GOES OUT ONCE ACQUIRED! Feb. 26 2006
By LaShawn N. Hardy - Published on Amazon.com
As another child of the 70's that grew up on this show, and learned to read before beginning school, I have to say that I am so suprised that it took till 2006 for this show to be released on dvd. Better still, I fail to understand why it is not still running on television. Sesame Street has been on the air since 1969. Why not have the next level on as well. The Electric Company was one of the BEST teachers of reading. In one episode you got MANY skills: phonics...decoding...pronunciation...blends...sentence structure...capitalization...punctuation...all included in fun sketches and musical selections. I VIVIDLY remember the Punctuation song...and BOOM...as well as Letterman and Spiderman. My teachers would have us watch the Electric Company *and the Letter People* just about EVERYDAY as a part of our reading program.

I am now a teacher of grades 7 and 8 in a Pre-K - 8 building. And for 8 years one of the struggles is getting the kids to read...and helping them read upper level material when they don't have the skills they should have gotten at an earlier age. the kids don't understand the material they have to read because they can't understand the words they are reading...they can't sound them out...they don't have the simple decoding skills that we all got as kids with the help of strong phonics programs and shows like The Electric Company and the Letter People. How can we expect them to get the meaning of the text when they can't get past, "What is this word and what does it mean?" So believe you me when I say that there is a market out there for The Electric Company today. And for those critics that say that the show is too dated:

I did a little experiment:

The Question: Does the time period of the show take away from it's importance to education?

The Test: I took about ten first grade students in my building...and about 12 eighth grade students and put them in a room to watch The Electric Company...the GR 8 kids were there to "help" me with the little ones...keeping them on task and what have you...

What I found was great news...

Not only were the Gr 1 kids paying attention to the show...singing along to the songs...they've NEVER heard of before...and repeating the sounds and words...BUT

So were the Gr 8 kids...

To the Gr 1...it didn't matter that the people were wearing 70's clothing...dancing like they did in the 70's or saying 70's lingo...all that mattered was that the show captured their attention...

To the Gr 8...once they got past the 70's clothing, dancing, music and lingo...which didn't take them long...they too began to sing along and repeat the sounds and words...

My Gr 7 kids...ASKED me to show them the show...they ATE IT UP!

Both gr 7 and 8 kids admitted to learning words they had never even heard of before!!!

The GR 1 kids asked me WHEN THEY COULD COME BACK AND WATCH AGAIN?

The GR 8 and 7's want to produce their own version of the show to help the struggling readers...esp in gr 1, 2 and 3 (6, 7, 8 :D)!!!

BTW...some favs among the kids were...

Greedy Greg grabbed the green grapes.

BOOM

PUNC TU A TION!!!...pun...pun...pun...PUNC TU A TION!!!...they are the little marks that use their influence...to help a sentence make more sense!

and of course...sillouettes...ch...irp..chirp!...YEAH!

THIS DVD IS WELL WORTH ITS PRICE!!!

One of the successes of The Electric Company was that it was aired twice a day...once during the school day...and again after school...(backed with 3, 2, 1, Contact...another good show that should be on the air still)...Kids got a double dose of the skill taught earlier in the day...reinforcement is good. Back all of this with good parents who encourage reading books (like I had)...and you have a kid on the road to reading success.

Now How Cool is That?!
76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars we're gonna turn it on......we're gonna bring you the powwwwer!! Nov. 22 2005
By David M. Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The Electric Company was just what it's name implies: a company of players, presenting an energetic show of fun sketches and animation with word sounds and letters on an almost electric level. I used to love to tune in to this show, even at the age of 4 which was earlier than the show's target audience of 6- 7. So many reviewers here have commented on the show's obvious appeal to even adults, but it's so much more than that. The fast paced show is obviously tuned to the merits of Sesame Street's 1970's approach to smart children's programming but unlike Street which is so heavily geared towards very young kids, Company pays off huge dividends in entertainment for anyone who is a fan of sketch comedy.

As for the reviewer discussing hidden agendas or messages in the show, come on, lets get real here. The Electric Company was designed to be a phonics teaching medium that is STILL light years ahead of any of the many boring, pedantic excuses for learning systems or shows of today. The message is fun, and as a professional in the field of alternative modes of education for developmentally or crisis challenged kids, I can tell you that if you make learning fun and the child doesn't know he or she is learning, that's the most winning formula there is. Bottom line: if you are a fan of the show, buy the "best of" dvd's so that they get the message that we want ALL of the episodes of the show, not just what they consider the best ones. If you never have seen the show but are curious about it or love sketch comedy, check the show out. I promise you, you won't be disappointed. For the rest who want so much to find something wrong with ANYTHING positive, please go elsewhere to find your negative dosage. If you want to tear down children's shows, I assure you, there are many more worthy candidates that really WILL have you actually reaching for alcohol to numb your brain of the stupidity elsewhere that passes for children's programming. I seem to remember there is a large, bulbous headed purple dinosaur who deserves to have the stuffing ripped out of his idiotic suit.....why not start there instead?
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Purchase for Both Children and Adults! Feb. 7 2006
By S. Rock - Published on Amazon.com
A long time ago, children's television was fresh and innovative, thanks in large part to Children's Television Workshop (now called Sesame Workshop). Today, children's television, is condescending and artificial, including, sadly, many shows produced by the once innovative Sesame Workshop. What happened?

Well, I could write pages on this stuff, but I won't bore you. Basically, here are my thoughts in a nutshell: Basically, children's television was hit with a double whammy some time ago: the death of genius composer Joe Raposo in 1989 and, even more importantly, the death of Jim Henson in 1990. Once Jim died, it seemed as if everyone in children's television said to themselves, "Now that we don't have to compete with Jim and his crew, we don't have to work as hard." Then along came Barney in 1992, and children's television was destroyed. This was followed by a bunch of greedy for-profit companies far more interested in parting young parents from their hard-earned dollars than in whether children are actually learning, jumping in on the kiddie TV bandwagon, and children's television has yet to recover.

Exacerbating this situation is the fact that Children's Television Workshop, rather than continuing to develop innovative and fresh shows after the success of Barney, decided that they were going to make their shows just like all the other new kiddie TV shows: syrupy, artificial, and condescending. What were (are) they thinking? Then they make a bad situation worse by dragging their feet for years on releasing their classic television shows on DVD, despite begging and pleading from millions of fans. And what happens when someone tries to create a site honoring such great shows and maybe puts up a picture or a small video? SW hits them with "cease and desist" orders. What a way to run a railroad.

Well, I'm hopeful that CTW/SW is finally starting to wake up, and this collection is hopefully the first of many classic CTW shows to be released on DVD. For those of you unfamiliar with The Electric Company (and probably anyone under 25 is), The Electric Company was a program designed for post-Sesame Street students (approximately ages 6-10) in order to get them to read. The show placed a heavy emphasis on phonics, and used comedy, music, and animation to encourage students to read. As was a trademark of CTW shows before Henson's death, the show was designed to appeal to adults as well as children.

This set contains 20 episodes. There are some nice extras, like introductions of each episode by Rita Moreno, short but sweet interviews with Rita Moreno, June Angela (one of the Short Circus children on the show throughout its entire run), some great bloopers (REAL ones, not fake ones like on other classic shows, where they claim things like a number off center on a house is a "blooper"), and some of the writers.

It would have been nice if audio commentary was included as well as some interviews with some cast members who have seemed to disapper after the show ended. (I'm particularly interested in the whereabouts of Jimmy Boyd and Skip Hinnant.) The episodes are completely intact as well, from the opening show numbers to the original copyright messages to the classic 1971 PBS bumper with the creepy Moog theme. (If you've never seen or heard the theme to this logo before, prepare yourself. It's a bit scary.)

Also, when you produce 780 episodes of a show, almost all of them brilliant, some beloved stuff is going to be left out. Shout Factory and SW did a good job in selecting episodes, and there is very little repetition, but some favorite skits are left out, such as the "TION" song (tion-tion-tion-tion) Tom Lehrer's "LY" song (although "Silent E" and "I Like to Sneeze" are both included), and my favorite Electric Company song of all time, "Molly Lick a Lolly". Hopefully these classic skits will be released on future collections.

One of the previous reviewers mentioned that he/she was an educator. I am one as well. I just recently got transferred to an elementary school after working in a middle school for several years. I have been telling everyone at my school that as soon as this collection came out, I was going to show it to the kids to see how they reacted. I wasn't sure how the kids would react. First of all, I work in an urban school district, with a large population of poor children who have a lot of problems both inside and outside of the classroom. Could a show over 30 years old really hold their attention? Well, I showed my first episode to the kids today. They LOVED it, and they were absolutely mesmerized. Some of the biggest problem children in the school sat SILENTLY as they watched Spider Man battle The Spoiler and Paul the Gorilla accidentally blow up an Electric Company sign. This would have NEVER happened with any of the sissy children's TV shows on today.

As I said in my title, this is an ESSENTIAL purchase for both children and adults. Adults will relieve some great memories and still find both the comedy and music enjoyable. Children will love this show because there hasn't been anything like it on TV in a long time, and the sissy stuff of today is garbage compared to this show. Hopefully the people running CTW/SW will pull their heads out of the sand and start releasing all of their classic shows on DVD: 70s Sesame Street, Villa Allegre, and more volumes of the Electric Company. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, Shout Factory and Sesame Workshop, we NEED these shows on DVD! Please don't delay any longer! Get these shows out ASAP! Thanks for reading.
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