Audiences Of All Ages Will “Love” Shout! Factory Kids’ New Pound Puppies DVD

Courtesy:  Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Kids/Shout! Factory

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner yet again.  For many that means the annual barrage of candy, flowers, and cards.  For children, it means the annual “holiday” parties if they still have them.  Regardless of whether or not schools still hold the parties in question, Shout! Factory Kids has a new DVD on the way next Tuesday that the whole family will *ahem* love to watch together to celebrate the big day.  Pound Puppies: Puppy Love will be released next Tuesday, February 3rd on DVD.  The compilation, the sixth from the hit Discovery Family series, offers plenty for audiences to enjoy beginning with the writing behind the episodes.  The Pound Puppies face some of their biggest challenges in this compilation.  From having to get the most puppies adopted ever in one episode to facing off against a megalomaniacal dog catcher voiced by Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and having to navigate a nasty dispute between two neighbors in order to unite a puppy with its perfect child, the writing in each episode is more than enough reason for audiences to pick up this collection.  As if those challenges aren’t enough, love is also in the air for Niblet and Lucky.  Twice over, Lucky and Cookie have to admit their feelings for one another.  And in another episode, Niblet has to face a big decision when he meets a female sheep dog.  Collectively, the writing in the episodes culled for this DVD more than makes it worth adding to any family’s home library.  As impressive as the writing is, the work of the voice actors adds even more enjoyment to the presentation.  This includes the extensive list of guest stars that make appearances.  Last worth noting of this new compilation that makes it so enjoyable is its bonus printable valentine.  The DVD’s box art is used for the dual-sided card.  And audiences need only have Adobe Reader to open the card and print it out.  After printing it out, young audiences can give the card to their favorite pet or to their own parents or even a friend.  Regardless of who receives the bonus printable card, it proves to be one more reason for any family to add Pound Puppies: Puppy Love to their own home library.  Together with the work of the voice actors and of the show’s writers, it proves to be another great new release from Shout! Factory Kids.

Shout! Factory Kids’ latest collection of episodes from the hit Discovery Family series Pound Puppies is a welcome addition to any family’s home library.  This is the case whether on Valentine’s Day or any time of the year.  The central reason for its enjoyment is the writing behind its episodes.  The episodes culled for this compilation see the Pound Puppies face some of their biggest challenges yet.  The simply titled episode “The General” presents just one of those challenges.  This episode sees the Pound Puppies facing the massive challenge of getting some sixty-seven puppies adopted.  Of course it just so happens that McLeish is forced to hold an adoption fair by the mayor.  Even with the perfect opportunity there, things don’t exactly go fully as planned when Cookie decides to start acting like The General.  The central story is enjoyable within itself because of the challenge facing the Pound Puppies.  The underlying message sent to young viewers about being proud of who they are makes the episode even more enjoyable.  It is a message that viewers of all ages will appreciate.

In another episode, “McLeish Unleashed,” the Pound Puppies have and equally big challenge as they have to face off against the megalomaniacal Milton Feltwaddle (Jim Parsons—The Big Bang Theory) and get McLeish back as the head of Shelter 17.  Milton takes over Shelter 17 when McLeish is promoted to a management position in the city’s wastewater management department.  Any viewer familiar with the classic sitcom Hogan’s Heroes will love the direct tribute to that series as Feltwaddle turns Shelter 17 into a virtual concentration camp.  It the most direct throwback to Hogan’s Heroes yet with Feltwaddle even donning a military uniform, looking almost like Colonel Klink.  Of course the Pound Puppies end up defeating Feltwaddle.  The catch is that they have to rely on some unlikely help.  Fellow veteran voice actor Frank Welker makes an appearance, too albeit in a bit role.  Even in a bit role, Welker shows such expertise and respect for his cast mates.  Of course that will be discussed at more length later.  Whether for the direct throwback to Hogan’s Heroes or for the story itself, it proves to be one more great addition to the compilation, showing even more its value in any family’s home library.

One more major challenge that the Pound Puppies face comes in the form of “Rebound’s First Symphony.”  Veteran Actress Betty White joins comedienne Margaret Cho and veteran voice actresses Cree Summer (Clifford The Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, Tiny Toon Adventures) and Grey DeLisle (Clifford The Big Red Dog, Curious George, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy) in this episode that sees the Pound Puppies trying to unite a musically gifted puppy named Yo Yo with a girl named Sumalee.  Sumalee is a gifted violinist.  But pressure from her mom is making her not enjoy playing her violin.  What’s worse, Agatha’s (Betty White—Hot in Cleveland, The Golden Girls) dog Rebound (Brooke Goldner—Pound Puppies, Littlest Pet Shop) enjoys Sumalee’s playing, too.  Her love for Sumalee’s talents is so much that it leads to a growing fight between Agatha and Sumalee’s mother Mrs. Wattana (Margaret Cho).  The fight in question doesn’t make the Pound Puppies mission to unite Sumalee and Yo Yo any easier.  But they do bring them together.  The fight between Agatha and Mrs. Wattana is pretty funny in itself.  It will have audiences of all ages laughing.  And the story that sees the Pound Puppies’ mounting challenge makes this episode even more enjoyable.  The secondary message about the pressure placed on young people is something to which so many viewers will be able to relate.  It makes the episode even more welcome an addition to this compilation, thus making even more reason for any family to add the DVD to their home library.

The challenges faced by the Pound Puppies in their latest group of adventures make for more than their share of reason for audiences to check out Pound Puppies: Puppy Love.  Being a Valentine’s Day-themed compilation, there are a couple episodes that see love in the air.  Cookie and Lucky finally have to admit to their feelings for each other not once but twice in this collection in “The General” and “When Niblet Met Giblet.”  The latter of the two episodes also sees Niblet falling for a female sheep dog named Giblet (Ashley Johnson—Ben 10: Omniverse, Teen Titans Go!, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien).  This episode presents something of a bittersweet story Niblet ends up having to make a very difficult decision. As bittersweet as the story proves to be in the end, it still reminds viewers that love is possible.  Cookie has to admit her feelings for Lucky in the prior of the pair when the General, who turns out to be a female dog, calls on the Pound Puppies.  These two episodes in conjunction with the others already noted show once and for all just why the writing in the episodes more than makes Pound Puppies: Puppy Love worth adding to any family’s home library.

The work that went into the writing in each of this disc’s episodes is more than enough reason for audiences to make it the latest addition to their home libraries. As impressive as the writing proves to be, the work of the show’s voice cast is also worth noting. Whether it be the series’ main cast or the extensive list of guest actors enlisted for these episodes everyone involved in bring the episodes to life is well deserving of their applause. Jim Parsons’ portrayal of the megalomaniacal Milton Feltwaddle is hilarious. Any viewer that is familiar with Parsons’ portrayal of Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory will love seeing that same character style expressed in this setting. Parsons shows not once but twice in this set why he is one of the most respected comedic actors out there today in his role as Feltwaddle. Betty White’s Agatha is a recurring character in Pound Puppies. White’s work with famed comedienne Margaret Cho in “Rebound’s First Symphony” is just as entertaining. It’s obvious that White and Cho had fun working together on this episode as their characters’ conflict increases. There is something about the pair’s back and forth as the conflict escalates that shows how much fun the women had making the episode. It is just as obvious when Mrs. Wattana is forced to rely on Agatha in order to get her daughter. On another note, veteran voice actor Frank Welker appears in a bit role as a young girl’s father in “McLeish Unleashed.” Even in a bit role, he is still entertaining. He doesn’t try to ham up his few lines, instead letting his cast mates hold the spotlight. Considering that Welker (Curious George, Scooby-Doo Where Are You, The Real Ghostbusters) has spent most of his career voicing central roles, his control in this episode shows his professionalism. In turn, it makes it even greater to see and hear him at work in this setting. Lauren Tom (Futurama, Friends, The Joy Luck Club) makes an appearance in one episode, too. And it goes without saying that she is just as entertaining in her role. Her acting and that of the rest of the voice cast in these episodes adds to the episodes’ overall enjoyment. Together with the work of the show’s writers, both the writing and acting make for plenty of enjoyment in these episodes and even more proof of why this new DVD is a welcome addition to any family’s home library.

The work put in by the voice cast and the writers in the episodes culled for Pound Puppies: Puppy Love collectively makes for plenty of reason for any family to add this DVD to their home library. For all of the enjoyment that they garner, they still are not all that make it worth the purchase. The DVD’s bonus printable valentine rounds out the entire package. The double-sided card uses the DVD’s box art for its artwork. And the message that “you’re top dog, Valentine” will put a smile on anybody’s face whether it be another child or a parent. All a person needs to print out the valentine is Adobe Reader. It’s that easy. All a person has to do to get there is open the disc from “My Computer” and open it manually to get to the valentine. The valentine comes complete with specific folding instructions to make things even easier. Parents can help children fold the card once it’s printed out. Or if parents think their children are old enough, kids can print out the card and fold it themselves before giving it to a friend or to their parents. It’s the finishing touch on a DVD that even without it would still have been a great valentine from any parent to any child. The addition of the valentine just makes it that much more enjoyable. Together with the work of the show’s writers and the voice actors, it is the last part of the whole proving why any family will want to add the DVD to their home library this Valentine’s Day.

Whether for the work of the show’s writers or that of the voice cast, the work of both shine in their own way in every episode culled for Pound Puppies: Puppy Love. The addition of a bonus printable valentine adds an extra touch to the presentation in whole. It is an extra touch that will allow parents and their children to spent even more time together and could even bring them together emotionally too after the valentine is printed out and assembled. The combination of all of these elements makes Pound Puppies: Puppy Love yet another solid release from Shout! Factory Kids. They show without a bit of doubt why Pound Puppies: Puppy Love is one more welcome addition to any family’s home library. It will be available on DVD next Tuesday, February 3rd. It can be pre-ordered now direct from Shout! Factory’s online store at More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory Kids is available online at:





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New PBS DVD Shows The Importance Of Knowing One’s History

Courtesy: PBS/Inkwell Films/Kundhart McGee Productions/Ark Media/WNET Thirteen

America is a melting pot.  Its history is made up of the stories from the immigrants who settled here from its earliest days.  Sadly, many of those stories have been lost because we as a nation have forgotten our roots.  We have forgotten from where we came.  Now thanks to PBS, a new special has been released that will hopefully re-ignite the fire among Americans to learn their family roots. 

“Finding Your Roots”, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a ten part special spread across three discs.  Gates interviews many of this great nation’s most famous names, discussing their family roots with them.  The famous names come from the world of music, acting, politics, and more.  One of Gates’ most interesting interviews comes in the segment featuring musicians and friends Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis.  Another was his interview with actors Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal.  And one of the most interesting cross sections shown in this ten-part special comes in his interviews with Doctor Sanjay Gupta, comedian Margaret Cho, and famed personality Martha Stewart.  They, along with the other unmentioned interviews, make this special one of PBS’ best to date.

“Finding Your Roots” starts with gates interviewing musicians Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis.  Starting the mini-series with this pair of interviews is more than just an interview with a pair of famous musicians.  What gates and those behind the camera intended to do with this segment was to try and bridge the racial gaps of our nation.  The connection between Connick and Marsalis shows that while people may have different color skin, that’s all that really separates us.  Connick admits in his interview that he wanted to be black.  He says that he dressed and acted the part.  What’s really interesting about this is the discovery that one of his ancestors, James Connick, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.  On the good side, it should be noted that James Connick  did not fight for slavery.  He fought solely for economic reasons.  He wasn’t even a slave owner.  He was just trying to support his family.  Apparently, Harry didn’t know this.  But it raises what becomes a very interesting trend that viewers will see as the special moves to other notables.

Just as Harry Connick, Jr.’s roots proved to be rather interesting, so did those of Branford Marsalis.  Interviews with Branford’s famed father Ellis Marsalis, reveals that Branford may have actually gotten his musical abilities not so much from his father, but from his mother.  Or rather, he got his talent from her side of the family.  What’s more, it’s also revealed that one of his ancestors was actually the result of a relationship between a white man and black woman.  This brings this very first pair of interviews full circle.  Gates tells audiences that despite the popular belief, far fewer African American males were born of Native American blood than believed.  Many more will find that they have deeper African American and European roots than Native American.  What it seems that Gates is getting at in this first segment is that while the color of our skin is different, blacks and whites may be far more closely related than we think.  We need only take the time to look back and find our roots.

Gates’ interviews with Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis are both entertaining and very insightful.  They’re just one part of what makes “Finding Your Roots” so impressive.  Another interesting pair of figures interviewed for the special is Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal.  It’s revealed that both are descended from Jewish ancestry.  What’s more, Gyllenhaal’s Jewish ancestry is one hundred percent pure Jewish.  She admits in her interview some interesting facts that reveal ancestry and genetics play directly hand in hand.  Again, viewers will see this pop up a lot throughout all ten parts of the mini-series.  What’s really interesting to learn about Maggie Gyllenhaal is that apparently she’s descended from nobility.  It’s revealed through investigations and Gates’ interview with her, that Maggie Gyllenhaal is actually descended from King Henry I.  And somewhere along the line, she’s also linked to both George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, as well as Shirley Temple, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  She showed that she had no clue about any of these links, and just how amazed she was by all of it.

Robert Downey, Jr., on the other hand, had much different roots.  He and Gyllenhaal both are children of film makers.  And like Gyllenhaal, he too has Jewish roots.  It’s also revealed that he has Swiss roots.  Unlike Gyllenhaal’s roots, though, he can’t claim connection to any real famous historical figures.  Ironically enough, he himself has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood throughout his career.

Musicians and actors were only a tiny portion of the whole that makes up “Finding Your Roots.”  Gates also interviewed Sanjay Gupta, Margaret Cho and Martha Stewart.  This feature offers perhaps some of the most interesting material in the series.  These segments reveal to both the celebrities in question and to viewers some rather unexpected and surprising information.  One of the most interesting pieces of information is that Martha Stewart has links back to the Mongols.  She laughs in discovering this as she admitted to Gates that her dog is actually named Genghis Khan.  What’s more, many of her ancestors also had professions that involved much of what she does today.  As noted in previous segments, it seems yet again that there is at least some link between one’s ancestry and one’s own personal genetic makeup.  Maggie Gyllenhaal admitted her pleasant surprise at her link to her Jewish ancestry due to her own recent personal choices before her interview.  Branford Marsalis’ parents told Gates that he got his musical abilities from his mother’s side of the family.  That link is explained in the connection to specific well known acts from the rich history of music. 

The roots discovered in conversations with Martha Stewart are the revelations of Margaret Cho’s family.  Her interview reveals that one of her distant ancestors was a very well respected member of his community.  What’s most interesting in her discussions is that members of her family are not actually Korean.  They came from other regions of Asia.  She shows her surprise, laughing about it.  She tells Gates that this was a surprising revelation, being that her parents always claimed such national pride for Korea.  This discovery is made through genetic testing.

Sanjay Gupta’s interview was one of the most moving of the entire mini-series.  Gupta shows just how amazed he is by all of the information discovered through the research done for his interviewed.  At one point, he even begins to tear up.  That single moment is perhaps the defining moment of this entire special.  The emotion that he shows is the entire point of the presentation.  So few Americans are aware of their families’ histories.  It doesn’t matter if someone is related down the line to this famous person or that, or if they are simply related to some random person.  It’s that discovery of one’s past is the most important.  It can make all the difference in a person’s life.  It adds that much more to the nation’s already rich history as a whole.

Gates’ interviews with members of the entertainment community reveal some very interesting notes about them.  It also reminds viewers that they might be just as interested if they take the time to do some research into their own family roots.  There’s no telling what viewers might find if they take that time.  “Finding Your Roots” is proof of that.  “Finding Your Roots” is available on DVD now.  It can be ordered online at

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