20 OF THE BEST EPISODES FEATURING BILL COSBY, MORGAN FREEMAN, RITA MORENO, SPIDER-MAN and More! If you were between six and ten years old during the years 1971 through 1985, then there is a good chance you learned to rea... more »d with help from The Electric Company. Comedy sketches, music, animation and special effects were the tools of this "video" classroom. Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Spider-Man Road Runner and others were the teachers. The Electric Company was a product of its time ? perennially cool and hip, while never wavering from its educational goals; it was full of wit and energy and made learning to read fun. So, take a trip back in time with Spider-Man, Letterman, J. Arthur Crank, the Short Circus, Jennifer of the Jungle, DJ Mel Mounds, Easy Reader, Paul the Gorilla, Lorelei the Chicken and all the rest with THE BEST OF THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. DISC 1: #1 (10/25/71); #10 (11/5/71); #14 (11/11/71); #21 (11/22/71); #26 (11/29/71) Special Features: Rita Moreno Remembers: The only female performer to have won an Oscar®, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy, Rita looks back on her experiences with The Electric Company. DISC 2: #109 (3/23/72); #131 (10/23/72); #181 (1/1/73); #285 (11/23/73); #321 (1/14/74) Special Features: Joan Ganz Cooney Then And Now: From 1971 to the present, the founder of The Children?s Television Workshop has never wavered in her commitment to early education. DISC 3: #379 (4/3/74); #386 (4/15/74); #391 (10/21/74); #437 (12/24/74); #453 (1/15/75) Special Features: "Silent E" Karaoke: Sing along with Tom Lehrer?s unforgettable and imaginative song. The Creative Team Remembers: Executive producer Sam Gibbon and head writer Tom Whedon reminisce. DISC 4: #491 (3/10/75); #72A (1/27/76); #110A (3/19/76); #79B (2/3/77); #130B (4/15/77) Special Feature: June Angela Remembers: "Julie" in The Short Circus; June Angela was with the cast for the entire run of the show.« less
"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."
We're gonna turn it on......we're gonna bring you the powwww
David M. Rossi | 11/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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?"
Previews not kid appropriate
M. Gingras | Cincinnati, OH | 02/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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."
" tr " . . ... . . " ip " . . ... . . " TRIP "
My Uncle Stu | Boston | 04/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Growing up, I think I was a little resentful of the baby boom childhood nostalgia being foisted on us. Leave it to Beaver, Kuklah Fran and Ollie, Howdy Doody... never did it for me. So I found myself feeling a little sheepish ordering the Electric Company on DVD and trying to convince myself it was for my children.
I love this show. I am stunned at how vivdly I can recall these episodes when I see them. Sesame Street gets a lot of credit for educating my generation, in part because of its longevity and overall decency. However, I think I learned a lot more watching the Electric Company. It's probably where I learned to spell. That's nothing for the producers to feel proud about since I'm a lousy speller, but I was pretty good back in those first few grades, when mastering concepts like the 'silent E' got you pretty far.
I was surprised at how flashy, trippy, and rapid-fire the show was. I don't know exactly where I stand on the argument that TV has caused an epidemic of ADHD. Viewing hours as a prime cause seems an over-simplific stance. I think there are probably far more complex variables to take into account. I'm sure too much of the wrong kind of stimulation can trigger it in susceptible individuals. Conversely, a moderate amount of good, educational TV can also be benificial. I watched a lot of TV as a kid. That TV was on a lot more than my parents would admit to, and I bet this is true for many people my age. And I'm a working, functioning member of society. On the other hand, I don't have the greatest attention span. So, maybe... I don't remember where I was going with this.
I do agree with some of reviewers who have pointed out that both the episode selection and the bonus features suggest that they were marketing this DVD package more for nostalgic parents than for children. That's understandable from a business point of view. But I do wish, instead of a collection of episodes from each season, that they just chose a sampling of bits and sketches from each season that would represent a balance of the more educational, more entertaining, and more memorable bits. That would make it a little easier for me to pretend I was buying this for my children and not myself.
But it is what it is, and on the whole it's good, worth the price. "
A POWER THAT NEVER GOES OUT ONCE ACQUIRED!
LaShawn N. Hardy | OHIO | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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.
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.