‘Sesame Street: The Magical Wand’ Will Work Magic On Audiences Of All Ages

Courtesy: Sesame Workshop/Shout! Factory

PBS’ hit educational series Sesame Street has for decades, been a source of great educational and entertainment for audiences of all ages.  From teaching numbers and words to teaching equally invaluable lessons about cultural diversity and more, Sesame Street has proven time and again to be one of the most important series on television.  Even as the decades have passed and times changed, the series has changed along the way to stay up with the world, but has not changed to the point of losing any of what it has done.  The show’s latest DVD, Sesame Street: The Magic Wand Chase is proof of that, both in its primary and bonus content.  Each item will be discussed here, as each is equally important to the DVD’s overall presentation.  Those items make the DVD’s average price point, the last of its most important elements, money well-spent.  Each item is important in its own right to the DVD.  All things considered, they make Sesame Street: The Magic Wand Chase more proof of why Sesame Street remains today one of television’s most important programs.

Sesame Street: The Magic Wand Chase is an enjoyable new offering from Sesame Workshop and Shout! Factory that clearly proves the series remains today, one of the most important series on television.  That is even considering programs in other genres.  This statement is supported in part through the DVD’s primary content, the feature presentation that gives the DVD its name.  The primary content finds Abby Cadabby, Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover and Rosita chasing down a bird in order to recover Abby’s magic wand after Abby accidentally drops the wand during a balloon ride.  Abby and the others were taking a balloon ride in a trip of balloons, and when she tried to get herself and her friends back to Sesame Street, she dropped the wand, leading to the chase.  Looking at the “movie” from an analytical standpoint, this is actually a good way to set up the chase that follows.  As Abby and company chase down the bird, who uses Abby’s wand to hide her identity at points, the group encounters children with various ethnic backgrounds – Chinese, Mexican and African – leading to lessons about their people’s cultures and the value of those differences.  Of course there is plenty of hilarity along the way thanks to plenty of family friendly jokes (including a laugh riot tribute to Benny Hill), and Abby eventually gets her wand back.  Those lessons of cultural diversity, though, is the most important item to note.  As noted previously, this is nothing new for Sesame Street.  What is important here is the way in which the show’s writers executed the lessons.  They used a new, enjoyable way to present the lesson on cultural diversity.  To that end, the story and its familiar and welcome lessons promoting cultural diversity form a solid foundation for the DVD.  The bonus content included with the DVD strengthens that foundation even more.

The bonus content included with Sesame Street: The Magic Wand Chase strengthens the DVD’s foundation even more because it picks up right where the DVD’s primary content leaves off.  The full-length featurette “Elmo’s Alphabet Challenge” continues Sesame Street’s long-running focus on teaching the alphabet and words to young viewers.  As with the DVD’s primary content, it does that here once again, but in a fashion that is in line with the current age.  Telly, Elmo and Abby are pulled into the video game world while deciding on a game to play on Abby’s tablet.  Over the course of roughly an hour, Abby and her friends go through a variety of different video games, which are takeoffs of video games, such as Super Mario Brothers, Angry Birds and World of Warcraft in order to find letters that align with each letter of the alphabet.  The ultimate goal is to defeat a character named ABC-More in the process so that they can get back to their world.  Obviously it has a happy ending.  The video game spoofs will entertain grown-ups while the additional (yet possibly latent) lesson about pride – ABC-More constantly calls himself the greatest, leading to a starting point on that noted lesson about pride – and the primary lesson teaching about the alphabet and words join in to make this bonus feature in whole just as entertaining for the whole family as the DVD’s primary story.

“The Golden Triangle of Destiny,” the second of the DVD’s bonus features, is just as certain to entertain the whole family.  It is also the shortest of the DVD’s features, both primary and secondary.  It is a full-on spoof of the Indiana Jones movie franchise that finds Telly going on a search for the titular triangle around Sesame Street.  Along the way, he has to avoid a giant boulder (yes, a boulder), a bunch of “exploding” washing machines and determining the shape of each figure that he finds.  So what audiences get here is the basic geometry lesson as its educational content alongside a fun movie spoof that will entertain audiences of all ages and likely be a favorite watch for those audiences.  When it is coupled with the lead video game-based bonus, the two bonuses together succeed solidly in offering plenty of entertainment and education at the same time.  When the bonus content is considered alongside the DVD’s primary content, the whole of the content offers plenty for audiences of all ages to appreciate throughout the DVD’s two-hour-plus total run time.  Keeping all of this in mind, the DVD’s average price point proves to be another positive for the DVD.

The average price point for Sesame Street: The Magic Wand Chase is $11.75.  That price is attained by averaging prices from Shout! Factory’s online store, Walmart, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble.  The DVD is not listed – at the time of this post – at Amazon, Target and Books-A-Million.  Considering the breadth and depth of the content presented over a total run time of more than two hours (specifically, two hours, two minutes), that price is not overly expensive.  When one takes into consideration that the DVD also includes a downloadable .pdf file of The Magic Wand Chase for families to enjoy any time they want, that price becomes that much more affordable and welcome for every family.  Keeping this in consideration along with the primary and secondary content featured in the DVD, it is just one more positive for the DVD.  Keeping this in mind, all three elements come together to make the DVD overall another successful offering from Sesame Workshop, and an equally welcome new offering from the new partnership between Sesame Workshop and Shout! Factory.

Sesame Workshop and Shout! Factory’s recently launched partnership is proving to be a positive match for the organizations.  This was already recently proven with the new Elmo’s World DVD released through that partnership.  The new full-length feature The Magic Wand Chase supports that statement even more.  As has been discussed here, that is proven through the primary and secondary content collectively featured on the disc.  The affordable average price point supports that statement even more.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the DVD.  All things considered, Sesame Street: The Magic Wand Chase is another successful offering from Sesame Workshop, and more proof of why Sesame Street remains today, one of the most important series on television, genres aside.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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More information on this and other titles from Sesame Workshop is available online now at:

 

 

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/sesameworkshop

 

 

 

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There’s Plenty To Discover And Enjoy In The Latest Trip Into ‘Elmo’s World’

Courtesy: Sesame Workshop/Shout! Factory

Everyone’s favorite fuzzy family friendly TV figure (say that five times fast), Elmo has another new DVD on the way early next month, thanks to a new partnership between Sesame Workshop and Shout! Factory.  The DVD, Sesame StreetElmo’s World: Elmo Explores is only the beginning of the new Elmo’s World collections set for release through that partnership.  It is also a very good start for what is hopefully a long-running partnership.  This is proven in part through the DVD’s primary content.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included in the DVD is just as important to proving the DVD is a good first effort from the companies.  It will be discussed a little bit later.  The DVD’s average price point also serves to show what makes this DVD a good start for Shout! Factory and Sesame Workshop.  Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Sesame StreetElmo’s World: Elmo Explores.  All things considered, they make the DVD a welcome addition to any family’s DVD library.

Sesame Workshop and Shout! Factory’s new Sesame Street DVD Sesame StreetElmo’s World: Elmo Explores is a good first release for the companies in what is hopefully going to be a long series of DVDs from the series.  That is thanks in part to the DVD’s primary content, which teaches a wide variety of lessons and does so in a fashion that makes them accessible to target audiences.  The lessons featured in the DVD’s primary content range from music to the different kinds of families out there to population diversity to the different kinds of homes in which people live, the seasons, colors and more.  What’s interesting here is that while the lessons themselves are basic, Sesame Street’s writers managed to do more than just present the basic lessons.  Case in point that lesson on skin.  It teaches young viewers about skin on the surface (no pun intended).  That lesson in turn, leads to the aforementioned lesson on diversity in populations.  The lesson on the seasons includes a discussion on things that are associated with each of the four seasons, adding even more enjoyment for young viewers.  One could go on from there.  Considering that we live today in an all digital world, each lesson is taught through Elmo looking up information on his friend Smarty the Smart Phone, so that helps the show connect even more with young viewers.  The writers are to be commended for paying attention even to that detail.  Keeping all of this in mind, the primary content presented in this DVD forms a solid foundation for its presentation.  The bonus material included in the DVD strengthens that foundation even more.

The bonus material included in the DVD strengthens its presentation in that it features additional content associated with the primary content as well as two episodes of Sesame Street’s British spin-off, The Furchester Hotel.  The extra lesson content encourages creativity through art as it shows kids coloring with crayons and their fingers in association with colors and painting.  There is also additional content in relation to the lesson on music that encourages children to try music in different ways.  There is even a bonus lesson promoting literacy among children included as an extra that audiences will enjoy.  As if all of that is not enough, the DVD’s bonus material also includes two bonus episodes of Sesame Street’s British spin-off series The Furchester Hotel.  The episodes – ‘Space Alien Party’ and ‘The Count’s Vacation’ – are both taken from the series’ second season.  ‘Space Alien Party’ finds the “famed” Furchester Hotel hosting an “Alien Party” that receives a pair of interstellar guests who older fans of Sesame Street will find very familiar.  When the two aliens join the party, Cookie Monster’s cookies suddenly and mysteriously disappear.  Of course, Cookie Monster finally finds out what happened.  In “The Count’s Vacation,” the seemingly ageless Count and his wife the Countess go on vacation at the hotel, but the Countess does not want him to count anything.  Of course that doesn’t exactly happen, leading to plenty of laughs and even learning.  Both episodes are surprisingly entertaining and engaging, and considering that the late great Jim Henson started his career in Great Britain, it’s fitting that the latest bunch of Muppets come from there.  It leads one to wonder if perhaps American audiences will ever see more episodes of that series get a domestic release.  That aside, the bonus episodes add their own education and entertainment value to the overall presentation of this DVD.  When this is considered along with the DVD’s primary content, the overall content gives audiences of all ages more than enough to appreciate.  Keeping this in mind, that invaluable content makes the collection’s average price point, the last of the DVD’s most important elements, worth the money.

The DVD’s average price point, using prices from Target, WalMart, Best Buy, Amazon and Shout! Factory, is $11.99.  Tax added in, that average price pushes to just over $12.  That is not bad considering the amount of content provided to audiences with this DVD.  Looking at the different retailers, the most common price is $11.99 and the least expensive is $9.99.  Keeping this in mind, it makes that average price that much more affordable and welcoming.  When this is considered, again, with the DVD’s overall content, the whole package proves well worth the money, even if one has to order it online.  It is a DVD that every family will find itself welcoming into their DVD library.

Sesame Workshop and Shout! Factory’s new Elmo’s World DVD Sesame StreetElmo’s World: Elmo Explores is a presentation that every family will welcome into their home library.  That is proven in large part through its content.  This includes its primary and secondary (bonus) content.  Between the primary and secondary content, audiences are given a total of roughly two hours of educational and entertaining content.  The relatively affordable average price point of $11.99 is well worth the money considering all of that content.  Keeping all of this in mind, Sesame StreetElmo’s World: Elmo Explores proves to be a DVD that every family will appreciate owning.  It will be available Oct. 2 and can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

More news, printables, activities and more from Sesame Street is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory, Sesame Workshop Partner For New ‘Elmo’s World’ DVD

Courtesy: Sesame Workshop/Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory has partnered with Sesame Workshop to release a new Sesame Street DVD featuring everyone’s favorite fuzzy friend.

Sesame Street — Elmo’s World: Elmo Explores is currently scheduled to be released Tuesday, Oct. 2 on DVD.  The single-disc presentation features two hours worth of Elmo’s World segments from Sesame Street.  Topics such as painting, cooking and habitats are addressed throughout the collection, with help from Elmo’s friends Mr. Noodle, Smartie the smartphone and Elmo’s goldfish Goldie.

Along with two hours of content, the DVD also features a handful of bonus material including extra episodes of Elmo’s World and two episodes of the Sesame Street spin-off, The Furchester Hotel.  This marks the first time ever that the bonus Furchester Hotel episodes “The Count’s Vacation” and “Space Alien Party” have ever been released on DVD.

The Furchester Hotel features Elmo and fellow Sesame Street favorite Cookie Monster along with the series’ lead cast, The Furchesters.  The Furchesters — Funella Furchester, the owner of the “almost world class” hotel, her husband Furgus Fuzz, their daughter Phoebe Furchester-Fuzz and Isabel — do their best to meet their guests’ every need and request.  Those efforts include lots of problem solving skills from which young audiences will learn.

Pre-orders for Sesame StreetElmo’s World — Elmo Explores are open now via Amazon.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Being Elmo is fuzzy fun for the whole family

He’s red.  He’s fuzzy.  And he’s one of the most beloved characters on television today.  For those who perhaps haven’t already figured it out who is being referenced here, it’s Elmo!  Yes, Sesame Street’s Elmo.  Elmo is just as well known and beloved–if not more than–Big Bird, Oscar The Grouch and the rest of the gang on Sesame Street.  And now, thanks to docurama films and New Video, fans and families world wide finally get a glimpse behind the scenes at the man who has made Elmo a house hold name in the documentary, “Being Elmo:  A Puppeteer’s Journey.”

“Being Elmo:  A Puppeteer’s Journey” is a wonderful, touching look into the life and career of a man who is a star unlike any other.  Kevin Clash is the very body behind Elmo.  His love of the craft and art of puppetry has made what would have otherwise just have been another puppet into a worldwide phenomenon.  Yet in it all, audiences see in this documentary, a man who is entirely humble, and wants only to entertain.  It’s his love for his art that has brought joy to children and adults the world over, including a young terminally ill child.  It’s that same love of performing and entertaining that brought tears to the eyes of not only that child, but to those of Clash himself.  And it’s that same love that has even given Elmo his very own segment in the “new” version of Sesame Street.  That love of the art of puppetry all began thanks to the legend himself, Jim Henson.

Audiences will be enthralled as they experience Clash’s journey from backyard puppet shows to a spot on Captain Kangaroo to his amazing start with Jim Henson’s company after having turned down job offers from Henson himself twice.  Yes, twice.  Most people wouldn’t get a second chance after turning down such a legend only once. But for whatever reason, Henson believed so much in Clash that he gave Clash a third offer.  He offered to let Clash work on his movie, “Labyrinth.”  Clash took the job, and impressed Henson so much that he was offered a spot on Sesame Street.  The story of how Clash eventually became the voice and life of Elmo is just as interesting as the story of how he reached that point.  What’s even more interesting is the impact that he has had to this day as Elmo’s puppeteer.  There are lots of funny moments in that story.  And there’s also an equally touching story of the impact that he and Elmo had on a young, terminally ill child.  Seeing the tears welling up in his own eyes as the little girl smiled while she hugged Elmo will bring even the strongest person to tears, too.

While the documentary about how Kevin Clash came to basically be Elmo is so impressive, one can’t ignore the bonus features included in the documentary.  One might think what could bonus features add to this documentary.  But the bonus features here really do add a whole extra dimension to Kevin’s story.  Audiences learn that a lot of Elmo was influenced by Clash’s own parents.  His parents constantly showed love and support to him.  That love is reflected in Elmo’s love for children.  What’s more, even in public audiences see how genuine Clash is about wanting to make children smile.  It’s another truly touching moment.  On the opposite hand, one of the funniest moments comes when it’s explained that his mother’s love of something as simple as mowing lawns was infused into Elmo.  That childlike love of the simple things in life made Elmo relateable to young audiences. 

Elmo’s relateability to young audiences is wonderfully exhibited in a combination of the bonus features and the final sequence of the documentary.  As the documentary closes, Clash welcomes a young viewer into his office who he took under his wing, just as Kermit Love took Kevin under his own wing years prior.  That young man got his first taste of fame as he joined Clash and the other Sesame Street Puppeteers in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  He was the actor behind the Baby Bear character in the parade.

“Being Elmo:  A Puppeteer’s Journey” is a wonderful piece of family entertainment.  It does hold a “PG” rating though.  However, parents should note that that is mainly thanks to a clip from the Rosie O’ Donnell Show.  The clip was taking during the height of the Tickle Me Elmo craze.  A star had asked her about getting a Tickle Me Elmo doll.  To that, she joked that she felt like a drug dealer.  Other than that brief moment, “Being Elmo” is an otherwise wonderful documentary for parents and kids alike. 

So much could be written and spoken of this documentary.  But doing so would take entirely too long and would take far too much space.  So audiences would be best to experience it for themselves.  From the story itself, to the equally  entertaining bonus features, “Being Elmo:  A Puppeteer’s Journey” is one of the best documentaries of 2012, if not the best. 

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