Customer Reviews: Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition)
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on July 20, 2003
This is a list of all the songs in the video. This list is arranged by subject. In the video, the songs are arranged by popularity.
America Rock:
Elbow Room
Mother Necessity
Great American Melting-pot
No More Kings
The Shot Heard 'Round the World
The Preamble to the Constitution
I'm just a Bill (my personal favorite)
special bonus: Electoral College
Grammar Rock:
Rufus Xavier Sasparilla (pronouns)
Unpack your Adjectives
A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing
Interjections! (my other favorite)
Lolly Lolly Lolly (adverbs)
Conjunction Junction
Science Rock:
Them not-so-dry bones
Telegraph line
Interplanet Janet
Math Rock and Money Rock:
Naughty Number 9
Dollars and Sense
Elementary, my dear
Here I come (counting by 5s)
Figure 8
My Hero Zero
Three is a magic number
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 10, 2002
This material does seem a bit dated, so it's easy to forget that this was a radical idea when it first came out -- learning can be fun! It still is, thanks to the reissue of the material found on this two-disc set. Shortly after receiving a complimentary copy, my husband was singing along to old favorites and our toddler was having a grand old time learning the songs. All original 46 songs from the show are here, as well as the brand new "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College", about the electoral college, and a lost song, "The Weather Show". There are also three songs with the series' only continuing characters, Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips.

You can view a full selection list or see items grouped into categories of Grammar Rock, Science Rock, Multiplication Rock, America Rock or Money Rock, and a jukebox capability allows you to make playlists of songs to be played in order or on shuffle. There's a short trivia game with quizzes and word scrambles, puzzles, four music videos (by the Lemonheads and others) singing SHR songs to the SHR video, a featurette about the show's Emmy wins, a Nike commercial using a SHR song, and fun, interesting commentary by several of the SHR team. This dvd version is terrific, demonstrating that the Schoolhouse Rock team is still just as dedicated to quality programming and education as it ever was. The accompanying booklet is packed with color and information -- including the words to eleven songs.

Very nicely done and highly recommended, not only for nostalgic value, but for its continuing ability to inform and entertain.
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VINE VOICEon October 5, 2004
Schoolhouse Rock is an unusual American cultural phenomenon. Nearly every person who grew up after the late Sixties is familiar with the series. How ubiquitous is it? I would predict that if you started humming "Conjunction Junction," "I'm Just a Bill," or "Three Is a Magic Number" in a room of a dozen people, three-quarters would know the reference and at least a couple would probably join in humming or singing the words.

This is unimpeachable stuff. To say that this 2-disc set is definitive is to do injustice to the word "definitive." EVERYTHING you would ever want to know about Schoolhouse Rock is here. All forty-six cartoons ever done for the series are included, even the "Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips" series that looked at computers. The electoral college toon that was done later is part of this collection, too.

The extras on the second disc are outstanding. In addition to Scooter Computer and the rarely seen "The Weather Show," you get a behind the scenes look at the electoral college song, a Top 20 countdown of the best in the series, a puzzle game that features the songs, four music videos of the songs arranged by contemporary pop/rock groups, a feature on the Emmy Awards won by the series, commentary by the creators, and more.

The navigation design of the DVD is superb. Only want to see the "Multiplication Rock" or "America Rock" toons? You can select the specific series you want, play all within a series, or pick each specific toon from a series. You can also choose to play all forty-six toons or just the ones chosen by fans as the top ones. There's a built-in shuffle feature as well. Every DVD should be this easy to navigate and use.

Even the booklet that comes with this edition is helpful. The lyrics for the top ten toons are included as is the history of Schoolhouse Rock. A chapter breakdown is included at the end of the booklet.

Schoolhouse Rock is virtually impervious to review due to its unbiquitous nature within a whole generation or two of Americans. The cleverness of the animation enlivens the topic discussed, not to mention holding the attention of young children. The songs are exceptionally catchy; I'm still amazed at how they managed to do such a great job marrying the Preamble of the Constitution with a hummable melody. Definitely a reflection of the musical styles of the day, songs like "Verb: That's What's Happening" (done in the style of the soundtrack of "Shaft") or "The Preamble" (70s Folk/Rock) capture the era perfectly. It makes those of us who grew up in those days misty-eyed for a return of that AM radio sound to today's music.

If you have kids (or are just nostalgic at heart), this DVD is essential. I'm using it as homeschool material for our kids. When my son sings the songs, it's great to know another generation will appreciate the merits of Schoolhouse Rock. No question, this 30th anniversary edition of Schoolhouse Rock is truly worthy of five stars.
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on March 10, 2004
After hearing my preschooler memorize and recite pointless nursery rhymes, I decided to put her brain to better use. Enter "Schoolhouse Rock." Now, instead of hearing about four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie, I'm hearing "12x8 is the same as 10x8 plus 2x8... 80 plus 16 is 96." Yes, really. Her grandmother was equally impressed when asked "What's a conjunction?"
Schoolhouse Rock presents Multiplication, Grammar, American History, and Science and Computers in all it's emmy-winning glory. The music -- rock, jazz, bluegrass and country -- are masterfully produced and yes, danceable. The cartoons are hip, funny, well-crafted and support the curriculum well. It's education with attitude.
Here's the best part: it is fun! Give your children the remote and let them repeat their favorites over and over again. Before you know it, they'll have a brain packed full of good stuff. I can't tell you how many grammar quizzes I passed by remembering the lyrics "Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here," "then I unpacked my adjectives," and "a noun is a person place or thing." Many of my friends hummed the tune of "the preamble" to the constitution during history exams.
There is only one drawback -- some of the songs use improper English like "ain't." There is a jukebox feature on each component which allows you to select which tracks to play, so you can omit those if you like.
I'd also recommend the CD Box Set or the individual CDs to reinforce the material, but not in place of the DVD.
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on March 7, 2005
I read a bunch of the reviews for the Schoolhouse Rock DVDs before buying them, but knew I would get them anyway. And I'm glad I did.

Our three kids, 11, 8, and 5, all love these and have hardly stopped watching them since they arrived. That's fairly typical with new videos or DVDs, but this is the first one we've bought where the kids walk around singing about adjectives, the shot heard 'round the world, how electricity works, and interplanet Janet.

Face it. Anyone who watched Saturday morning cartoons in the 70s and 80s probably can still recite the preamble to the US Constitution. And tell you where the piece of paper in "I'm just a Bill" is sitting. And with a bit of coaching, could tell you what the function of conjunctions is. ("Hookin' up words and phrases and clauses," for those who never saw them.)

I haven't seen anything out there today that compares with these as far as teaching kids useful information in an entertaining way. My kids love them. My wife and I still love them. And there are a couple of new ones, including one about the electoral college, and an even better one about Tyrannosaurus Debt, the US deficit, how it started, and how it keeps growing.

I had no trouble with the jukebox format or navigating my way around. I was surprised how easy it was based on some of the other reviews, but no problems here.

If you ever watched these when you were a kid, get these DVDs. If you have kids, get these DVDs. If you've never heard of them but want to watch some entertaining, short, educational cartoons, get these DVDs.

Darn, that's the end.
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on October 10, 2002
And it's even educational! I was so pumped (now that I have a DVD player) to hear that they were releasing a big-time anniversary edition of Schoolhouse Rock in its entirety. I've had four of the videos for years, but this set is so much better. Disc One has all of the original songs--you can play them in order, randomly, just the top ten--and an all-new song about the Electoral College (inspired, no doubt, by the 2000 presidential election). The way you can navigate your way through any and/or all of the songs is very easy and great for when you don't just want to hear about grammar (or history, math, etc. . .).
What really puts this over the top, though, is Disc Two, with a bucket load of extras: the lost "Weather Show," a new computer three-song set, a making-of feaure, top 20 countdowns, an interactive trivia game, music videos by contemporary artists, audio commentaries, Emmy Award footage, etc. . . . I can't wait to explore even more than I got to last night! This will be such a great tool for my 21-month-old daughter (who will know how a bill becomes a law and how to use a conjunction in a sentence!) and a ton of fun for me in the process.
The video quality isn't MONSTERS, INC., but it doesn't have to be. The old animation holds up just fine, as does the audio, which audiophiles could probably complain about if they want to poop the party for the rest of us. What really stands up to the test of time, aside from the basic content, is the music. These guys (primarily) did some really good arranging, little of it in the rock 'n roll genre, ironically. Jack Sheldon delivers some spectacular jazz vocals on several of the more famous tunes. Complicated yet catchy melodies are the strength--that's why we all remember "I'm Just a Bill" and "Conjunction Junction"--with great backing vocals and instrumentation to boot. The contemporary artists' renditions didn't hold up to the originals, but they were pretty interesting to hear. The interactive stuff will be great for kids hearing these songs for the first time. The interviews and commentaries are really interesting, especially in hindsight. Great new additions, discoveries, and formats all add to the charm of the original forty-six songs. How they managed to get all of that factual information into essentially a music video, while keeping the kids (and me) entertained, is still a mystery to me.
Bottom Line: You'll be hard-pressed to find a better combination of education and entertainment. If there are any factual inaccuracies, they are minor enough to overlook and could actually spark interesting conversations. The basic content is right on-the-money. The fact that they'll actually be talking about and be interested in the grammar, history, science, and economics is important enough to overlook any minor flaws.
The fact that my daughter, who two years (and a couple of months) old, actually knows that "Wow!" is an interjection, a fact that most of my juniors (I'm a teacher) wouldn't know off the top of their heads, speaks volumes. . . !
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on April 6, 2007
Well, this is what all School House Rock fans have been waiting for-- a collection of every SHR song ever created. On this first disc is all the SHR songs ever aired as well as a choosing to play all the math ones, or all the grammar ones, etc. You can also choose to play all the songs. However, the songs will play in the order of type, though, not in order of their air date. It's not that big of a complaint for me, though. I personally liked playing them individually, but if you're ever in the mood to play a series of songs, then there's always that option, too. And to answer the other complaint of one of the spotlight reviews, you can easily skip over the trailers by hitting the "menu" button on your DVD remote.

The second disc has a ton of specials, such as the collection of the not as well known "Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips" episodes, a Nike commercial featuring music from "3 is a Magic Number" and new animation when pressing on random things on the menu screen like the water faucet or light switch. There's also the latest SHR song about the electoral voting system.

The only major complaint I can think of is "how come the footage wasn't remastered?" Disney's been releasing their older movies remastered, so you think they'd do the same with this series as well. Regardless, the music videos are still watchable, but you can definitely tell that they could have been improved upon, especially when comparing the brightness with the later "money rock" songs.

As for how effective the songs are to viewers, I still think this was one of the best ways I was able to learn about some stuff way back when. But the key factor for how effective this stuff will be to your kids all depends on what they're interested in. For those of you showing these to students, I suggest showing them to the younger kiddies who haven't been as affected by the dribble on TV.

All in all, this is a pretty good set that has better than average special features.
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VINE VOICEon September 28, 2006
Are you a parent now that remembers these from your childhood and you're asking yourself, "Could Schoolhouse Rock! possibly still be as captivatingly educational as it was in the 70s?" or perhaps you're saying to yourself, "These are so dated my kids would never stay tuned." Let's put it this way...This is one of my kids' most requested DVDs (ages three through seven), and they walk around the house singing about nouns, the branches of the government, counting by 5s, electricity and the National 'Tyrannosaurus' Debt.

The songs in this compilation of shorts that used to run between regularly scheduled shows on Saturday mornings on ABC mainly during the 70s actually helped me in school. Schoolhouse Rock! is a series of 46 educational shorts featuring easy to sing along to songs about grammar, science, math, economics, history, and politics. Money was added in the 90s and computers to the 2002 DVD release.

My preschooler--because of this DVD--can count to 100 by 5s and my second grader knows what a noun is and that all he needs to do to describe nouns is "unpack his adjectives".

Each song is apx 3 minutes or less of straightforward education. And since the songs are so brief and the lyrics are so easy to remember, kids retain a lot of information from some very short, simple lessons.

This is an essential purchase if you have young children.

Side note: The ads at the beginning of the DVD are indeed a pain, but easily circumvented by pressing the STOP button TWICE on your remote as soon as the first ad starts, then pressing your MENU button instead of PLAY to get the DVD going again; this brings you right to the main menu where you can play the DVD by topic, mix up the songs or play them in order.
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on June 27, 2000
I don't remember these from when I was a kid, but I'm sorry I missed them. From Tyrannasaurus Debt which talks about how how the national debt got started to pay for the Revolutionary War to how it grew to monsterous size, to how to manage your allowance, buy stocks, plan a budget, and mangage your checking account, this video chock full of advice and information that even helped this 28 year old.
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on August 27, 2002
I *love* schoolhouse rock! I grew up on these songs, and most everyone who grew up in the 70s and 80s did so as well. These songs helped to define our generation, and you could probably pick any random young adult, and he would be able to hum or any sing one of these tunes! I am SO glad that schoolhouse rock is out on DVD. I have the VHS tapes from a decade ago, but it's nice to have all the songs (49 total, just about) together. Some of my favorites were Conjunction Junction, Interplanet Janet, Sufferin' Till Suffrage, Elbow Room, Figure Eight, I'm Just a Bill, The Preamble (I can still recite the US Constitution's preamble thanks to this!), A Noun is a Person/Place/Thing, Shot Heard around the World, and A Victim of Gravity. Everyone will have their own favorites!
The DVD is a 2DVD set. The 1st one has 49 songs, which can be listened to individually, by subject matter, and all together. You can even choose up to 10 songs (or repeat a few) to be played. My favorite method is the random jukebox, which plays random songs - you never know what's going to be played next, just like on the old ABC saturday morning cartoon days. The 2nd DVD has a "lost" song, a new song, 3 forgotten computer songs, a few featurettes, commentaries on a bunch of songs. There's also a trivia game - kinda fun, and it unlocks a mini-song. Also a few fun easter eggs around. All in all, it's a fun disc to look over, and the kids will like it, too. There's even a top 20 songs shuffle count-down, too.
I'm glad I have this DVD. Five stars all the way and this is one DVD that will get plenty of replay time, especially if you have kids in the house!
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