Featuring the smash country hit 'My Honey Went to Heaven in
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 07/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The early 80s...the groovy 70s were over, and we were unceremoniously dumped into the gimme gimme greed is good era, rife with yuppies, Iran/Contra hearings, and jellybeans (President Reagan's favorite treat), and we all laughed at the antics of a diminutive (in size, but not in heart), adopted, African American boy named Arnold Jackson as he posed the question we all wanted to know the answer to in 'What choo talkin' bout, Willis?' Yes, what were you talking about, Willis? Anyway, After School Specials, dramatic programs designed especially entertain and teach pre-teens about life and issues they could have very well faced, in terms they could understand in an hour-long format (approximately 45 minutes, without the commercials), were now a television staple. Networks, seeing the potential in reaching a younger audience, began airing primetime sitcoms, that, while they were still comedies, often included more serious tones like drug and alcohol abuse, teen age pregnancy, and so forth in shows like Diff'rent Strokes (1978), The Facts of Life (1979), Family Ties (1982), and so on... this set comes with two DVDs, each containing 2 episodes, or 4 episodes per set. The series (I believe there were something like 26 episodes) was created and produced by Martin Tahse, and won a slew of awards, was really unique in that it was programming for young people that wasn't created to tie into products or sell merchandise, but to speak to them about situations difficult to understand or comprehend, treating its' audience with the respect and intelligence not often seen, not talking down to them but relating to them on a level they understood and appreciated.
The episodes in After School Specials 81-82 Vol 5, are as follows;
A Matter of Time (Originally aired 2/11/1981) stars Karlene Crockett (Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen) as Lisl Gilbert, a girl struggling to cope with the very real fact that her mother is suffering from a terminal illness (the big C), has to go outside the family (never go against the family) to find the support she needs, as her father is about as emotional as a tree stump. With the help of guidance counselor, Lisl begins to come to terms with her families' plight by means of documenting her experiences with the intention that someday she may become a well known writer, thus using a painful, personal experience as a means of improvement...talk about putting a happy face on a bad situation...good thing Lisl didn't go to my high school as the only advise my guidance counselor ever gave me was to become a poultry farmer...Rob Lowe also appears in this one, apparently free of the parental responsibilities he aquired in an earlier episode titled Schoolboy Father (released a year previously)...
First Step (Originally aired 9/23/1981) aka She Drinks a Little, stars Amanda Wyss (Silverado, Better Off Dead...) as Cindy Scott, who, along with her younger brother Brett, live with their mother, who likes the drink just a bit too much, subsequently Cindy is stuck taking on a lot more responsibilities than she should, and also trying to keep her mother's embarrassing problem a secret from the outside world Despite the burdens, Cindy manages to land the lead in the school play, to which her mother actually sobers up (apparently mom once had theatrical aspirations) and appears to be on the road to recovery, until opening night when mom shows up blotto...oops...oh mom, you so crazy! Anyway, a disheartened (to say the least) Cindy learns of a program, from one of her peers, called Alateen, one that helps embarrassed children deal with alcoholic parents, and proves invaluable to Cindy in her understand of her mother's all consuming disease.
Tough Girl (Originally aired 10/28/1981) stars Karin Argoud ("Mama's Family") as Renie, the titular `tough girl', living with her divorced mother and her mother's latest boyfriend (of which there have been many, or so I got the sense). Anyway, after a run in with The Man, Renie is slapped with a seemingly lenient sentence of having to live with her father in the `burbs, but is unable to get along with her stepmother and her really annoying, prissy stepsister. Feeling all unloved and what not (gee, what teen didn't feel this way?), Renie decides to hit the bricks, but comes across a damaged critter in the form of a puppy, to which, with help and friendship of a hearing disabled (in my day we said deaf) college student/future veterinarian, Renie's tough girl act fades as she learns she's not the center of the universe.
The Night Swimmers (Originally aired 3/3/1982) aka Daddy, I'm Their Mama Now, stars Mallie Jackson (Hollywood Harry), Trey Wilson (Vampire Hookers), Jason Lively (European Vacation), and Jason Hervey ("The Wonder Years"). It seems recently widowed country singer Shorty Rollins (Wilson), has a hit on his hands called `My Honey Went to Heaven in a DC-3' (oh bruther) and thus is unable to spend much time with his family, consisting of his older daughter Retta, short for Loretta, as in Loretta Lynn (Jackson), and his two, younger sons Roy `Acuff' (Hervey), and Johnny `Cash' (Lively)...seriously, they named their kids after country and western singers...anyway, Retta is stuck watching her brothers, and the three of them begin taking secret nighttime swims in a neighbors pool, until, like mom always said, `It's always fun until someone gets hurt.'...actually she said `It's always funny until someone gets hurt.', but that didn't really fit so I modified it...this results in Shorty seeing the errors of his ways, i.e. what a crummy father he's been, and subsequently inspired him to write the hit single `Lordy What a Lousy Parent I Am'...actually I made that last part up, but I thought it was a better ending than that actually provided.
The quality of the video on these DVDs is not the best, but it is as how it was when originally presented, and given these were teleplays made to be presented on television in the 70's, you really can't compare it to today's standards. The packaging is really cool, as the DVDs, enclosed in a regular DVD case, come in a detailed reproduction of a school yearbook. Printed on the inside and the back is a brief synopsis and airdate for each episode, along with the key talent, and the name of the original author for each story.
If you're interested in picking up all these sets (there are six total), there is a bundled package coming out in August 2005, with all the sets enclosed in a replica of a little, yellow school bus, like the one I used to ride..."
Not what I thought
Laurette E. Gaberman | 11/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The item was not what I thought. You should put more details in your description that include what stories are on the DVD. But the quality is great and I hope to find a use for it."
D. C. Jones | sherrill ny | 03/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I seem to remember in the 80's special one named stoned with scott baio. Does anybody else remember this one? Maybe I'm mixed up with another series"