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The Best of the Electric Company (1971)

Henry Behar , John Tracy (II)  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

The Best of the Electric Company + The Best Of The Electric Company - Volume 2 + Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition)
Price for all three: $76.18

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Product Details

  • Directors: Henry Behar, John Tracy (II), Bob Schwarz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 630 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AA4F2O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,509 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Best of the Electric Company" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Cast Interviews
  • Creative Team Interview
  • Joan Ganz Cooney "Then and Now"
  • Outtakes
  • Karaoke Version of "Silent E"
  • New Episodes Intros by Rita Moreno
  • Show Trivia

Editorial Reviews


If you were between six and ten years old during the years 1971 through 1985, then there is a good chance you learned to read 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
151 of 163 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey You Guys! It's about time! August 25, 2005
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.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A POWER THAT NEVER GOES OUT ONCE ACQUIRED! February 26, 2006
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 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?
Read more ›
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93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Previews not kid appropriate February 20, 2006
Verified Purchase
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.
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76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome video for young kids and early readers. I have purchased this twice and will again.
Published 23 days ago by shopper mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey You Guys!
Just as fun today as it was when it was airing on PBS. And just as useful for getting English basics across to kids in an unfunny way. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robin Hobb
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the most educational show ever made..!
I watched The Electric Company growing up in the '70's and loved it..! I ordered Volume 1 a few years ago when it first came out. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alison J. Falcioni
1.0 out of 5 stars Unhappy purchaser of Best of Electric Company
The Best of the Electric Company should have 4 dvd's. I only received 1 and it was in poor condition. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jeannette Yue
5.0 out of 5 stars Faster than a rolling O.....
Brings back lots of great memories. Great teaching aid. They don't teach like this anymore. Bought for my daughter, and she loves it.
Published 8 months ago by William J Horan, Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Great purchase
I loved this show as a kid, and enjoy it now as a parent. These DVDs definitely helped my oldest child with his reading!
Published 8 months ago by D.L.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best show ever
I watched Morgan Freeman sound out words when these originally aired, and just had to buy them for my daughter, to supplement her educational experience at school (bah to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amy Kalvig
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection
I wish there were programs as 'real' and effective on television for children today. My 8 year old loves to watch these discs.
Published 9 months ago by Ashley
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best early literacy shows EVER!
Both of my kids have watched this set and Volume 2 repeatedly between ages 3 1/2 and 6. They absolutely loved it. Read more
Published 10 months ago by TinaM
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome box set
It was about time that they released the Electric Company on DVD. I know there was only 2 box sets released, but I wish they could release more.
Published 11 months ago by Johnathan Baker
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Topic From this Discussion
Sorry to say, the Volume 2 DVD set does have an "LY" song, but not the wonderful Tom Lehrer version ("You enter a very dark room/And sittng there in the gloom/Is how do you say goodbye?/IMMEDIATELY! IMMEDIATELY! IM-ME-DI-ATE-L-Y!") Ya gotta love it. I certainly... Read More
Aug 16, 2007 by G. Cummings |  See all 2 posts
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