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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Best Of The Electric Company - Volume 2
The Best Of The Electric Company - Volume 2
Shout Factory // Unrated // November 14, 2006
List Price: $39.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Crichton | posted November 27, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
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One might think it's nostalgic hyperbole if I were to say the 70's was the golden age of children's television. However, I truly believe that. And i'm not talking about animated efforts, i'm referring to educational children's television. Along with such mainstays as Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street, I was pretty darn fond of the Electric Company and thanks to Shout! Factory, fans of the show are treated to another 20 episodes that illustrate how children's television should be done.

the Best Of the Electric Company Volume Two is spread over four discs, with five episodes totaling (roughly) 155 minutes on each disc. Only five of the six seasons are represented in volume two, which left me wondering what happened to season six. However, once I popped the discs and was reunited with old friends Letterman and Easy Reader, I didn't mind at all. In fact, since I was so young when I first watched these episodes (and there were no such things as VCRs or DVDs back then), watching this was a surreal experience - almost like deja vu.

Anyways, there's enough nostalgic goodness on here to keep you busy and teach you something - and not just for those of us who were around when they first aired. When I popped in the first DVD, my kids (ages 3 & 4) came running into the living room right after Rita shouted "Hey you guyyyyys!!" and watched the entire disc with me. In addition to Letterman and Easy Reader, I was surprised to see Carol Burnett, Lorne Greene, Carroll O'Connor & Jean Stapleton make appearances; as well as hearing Mel Brooks narrate a cartoon. Here's the tracklisting and original airdate for the episodes in this collection:

Disc One:

  • Episode #12
    Original Broadcast Date: November 9, 1971
    Features: the Florist, Looming Violets, "Shoo Shoo Sunshine" song, Once Upon A Time There Was A Dog animation, Wild Guess, Who Wears A Glass Slipper, Love Of Chair and Easy Reader's Birthday Party.

  • Episode #73
    Original Broadcast Date: February 2, 1972
    Features: Milt the Stilt, the Director: All For One And One For All, Fargo North Decoder: Watch Out For Falling Rocks, "Jelly Belly" song, Julia Grownup, "You Can Make Up A Word" song and J. Arthur Crank: Blixit.

  • Episode #150
    Original Broadcast Date: November 17, 1972
    Features: Mona & Harold Look For An Apartment, "the Sweet Sweet Sway" song, Easy Reader: A Wall Full Of Words, "I'm A Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy" song and Wanted: Robin Hood Of Sherwood Forest.

  • Episode #166
    Original Broadcast Date: December 11, 1972
    Features: A Very Short Book: See Sally's Knee, Archie & Edith with Carroll O'Connor & Jean Stapleton, "A Pitcher We Know" song, "Silent E" song, Wilt Chamberlain and Victor Borge: Punctuation.

  • Episode #197
    Original Broadcast Date: January 23, 1973
    Features: Wax Museum, the Athletic Athlete, A Cup Of Coffee And A Sweet Roll animation, Elephant Sneeze animation, I've Come To Robe You, Humpty Dumpty animation and the Adventures Of Letterman: Woman Bites Bear.

Disc Two:

  • Episode #223
    Original Broadcast Date: February 28, 1973
    Features: Gary Owens, Big Bad Baby Blocks, Dean Martin, Goldilocks, Robber And the Lady, "My Broken Down Bronco Bruce" song, Mel Mounds, "You Oughtta Try Two" song and Letterman: Hands Full.

  • Episode #227
    Original Broadcast Date: March 6, 1973
    Features: Message Man: Beware Of Dog, Norman Neat Man On the Street, "LY" song, Take A Stride skating film and song, "Punctuation" song and Love Of Chair.

  • Episode #230
    Original Broadcast Date: March 9, 1973
    Features: Taxi, T-Towel animation with Mel Brooks, I've Got A Secret Sound game show, Mad Scientist And Monster, A Very Short Book: Humpty Dumpty, J. Arthur Crank and Love Of Chair.

  • Episode #232
    Original Broadcast Date: March 13, 1973
    Features: Millie the Helper: Flying School, Cinderella, Julia Grownup: Scrambled Eggs, Fargo: Your Diner Is Biter and Love Of Chair.

  • Episode #253
    Original Broadcast Date: April 11, 1973
    Features: Gorgeous Gidget, Slip Of the Lip game show, "Whimper And Whine" song, Cinderella And the Glass Slipper, Haunted House: I Smell Danger, "Dangerous Dan" song and Easy Reader.

Disc Three:

  • Episode #322
    Original Broadcast Date: January 29, 1974
    Features: "Sign" song, Do Not Bother This Giant Person, First Day As A Police Woman, Mel Mounds, Easy Reader: At the Junk Store and Letterman: What A Dragon.

  • Episode #375
    Original Broadcast Date: March 29, 1974
    Features: Early Gibbons, Lester Hester Jester Vest, Customs Inspector, Paint Store: Train Paint, Blue Beetle, "Pull/Push/Up/Next Car" song, A Very Short Book: Tom Sawyer and Haunted House: Yes, Yet, Yell.

  • Episode #502
    Original Broadcast Date: March 25, 1975
    Features: the Used News, Easy Reader: Grab Bag, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Clown, "Green Gremlins" song, Vaudeville: I'm Taking My Case To Court, Watch Your Hat And Coat, "There's A Hole At the Bottom Of the Sea" song and Letterman: the Corniest Concert.

  • Episode #27A
    Original Broadcast Date: November 25, 1975
    Features: "Yankee Doodle" song, Valley Forge, Spidey Meets the Yeti, Mad Scientist, A Very Short Book: Cinderella and "I Would Die For A Piece Of Your Pie" song.

  • Episode #35A
    Original Broadcast Date: December 5, 1975
    Features: Burglar With Clock Mask, Letterman: In A Pickle, "Knock Knock Rock" song, and A Very Short Book: the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe.

Disc Four:

  • Episode #57A
    Original Broadcast Date: January 6, 1976
    Features: Where Words Come From: Grouch, A Very Short Book: Hansel & Gretel, Letterman: the Wigged Out Lady and "Nitty Gritty" song.

  • Episode #60A
    Original Broadcast Date: January 9, 1976
    Features: Silhouettes: Pr-int, Jennifer Of the Jungle, the Corsican Twins, Letterman: Having A Ball and the Movie Set: Is This the Bus Stop?.

  • Episode #77A
    Original Broadcast Date: February 3, 1976
    Features: "Big Bad Ben" song, Letterman: Silver Threads Among the Bold, "the Story Of Boris the Boxer" song, Roy the Toy Boy, This Is Mr. Smith's Hat animation, King Howard the Hungry, "Right On" song and "I Feel Light As the Air" song.

  • Episode #105A
    Original Broadcast Date: March 12, 1976
    Features: Julia Grownup: Bake It U-Self, Rub-A-Dub-Dub, A Very Short Book: Old Mother Hubbard, "Pete's Pickle" song, "My Brother's Mother Is My Mother Too" song and Mr. Vinton's Pants.

  • Episode #122A
    Original Broadcast Date: October 6, 1975
    Features: Mad Scientist And Igor, Letterman: Small Talk, Spidey Meets the Prankster, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Clown, Junkers Cereal, Silhouettes and Breakstone the Magician.

Video: If you are expecting a crystal-clear, HD-DVD 1080p picture, you'll be terribly disappointed. However, it's not as bad as you think. The picture does show its age, and there is dirt and various other artifacts present at times, but it's nothing that takes away from the enjoyment of the show.

Audio: There isn't much to say about the audio for the Best Of the Electric Company Volume 2. It's in its original mono mix and, while it would've been nice to have some sort of fancy "remastering", it's an adequate audio track for this collection. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles - which is a shame.

Supplements: Each episode begins with a different cast member talking about the episode selected - sometimes it's things (or people) you should keep your eyes out for, other times it's remembrances or recollections. At the end of every episode, viewers are treated to a bit of trivia about the show. In addition, three of the four discs contain special features. Disc One contains Remembering the Electric Company (17:23), a featurette where cast members Luis Avalos, Jim Boyd, Judy Graubart, Skip Hinnant and Hattie Winston talk about the show and their experiences on it. Over on Disc Two, the Electric Company Documentary (27:30) was an slightly interesting documentary about the show's impact on children when integrated into the school's curriculum. However, it is a part of the Electric Company's history, therefore i'm glad it's on here. I just don't plan on watching it more than once. The final extra, on Disc Three, is a two and a half minute clip of Bill Cosby on the Dick Cavett Show (November 10, 1971) where he discusses the Electric Company.

Conclusion: To tell the truth, after the surprising sales of the first volume, I was hoping that Shout! Factory would start releasing season sets instead. However, with about 780 episodes produced, it might not be financially feasible - but it would be greatly appreciated. Regardless, I had a great time watching these episodes that were a big part of my childhood and was impressed by Shout! Factory's presentation of the material. Whenever I have the opportunity to review discs that might be "nostalgic", I try to take into consideration if the material still holds up today. Thankfully, I have two children to use as an impartial barometer. They, and I, highly recommend this collection.

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