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Schoolhouse Rock!: Special 30th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: August 27, 2002
Run Time: 221 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: Insidious melodies worm their way through your head, accompanying simplistic animation and causing you to accidentally learn things.


  • All new song: I'm Going To Send Your Vote To College in 5.1 DTS
  • Special Top Ten Jukebox
  • Play All and Shuffle All features
  • "Lost" song The Weather Show
  • Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips 3-song cycle
  • Behind-the-scenes documentary for I'm Going To Send Your Vote To College
  • Top 20 Countdown
  • "Earn Your Diploma:" Schoolhouse Rock trivia game
  • "Arrange a Song" puzzles
  • 4 music videos by contemporary artists, including Better Than Ezra
  • Emmy Awards Featurette
  • Nike Commercial using "3 Is A Magic Number"
  • Audio Commentary

    Tech Specs: fullscreen 1:33:1, DTS 5.1 Digital Surround (for I'm Going To Send Your Vote To College), English subtitles.

    One gray Saturday morning in 1972, between episodes of Super Friends and The Funky Phantom, ABC introduced a groundbreaking series of shorts. Little did we watching realize. All we knew, sitting in front of our Zeniths, was that man, these songs are good.

    The shorts, of course, were collectively known as Multiplication Rock, and as other subjects got added over the years, the series morphed into Schoolhouse Rock. And a generation was never the same, so obsessed they even turned it into a stage show.

    Stop anybody younger than 35 on the street and start singing "Conjunction Junction" or "I'm Just A Bill," and it's likely that they'll sing along. Of course, if you stop someone on the street to sing that song you've got other issues. But at least you know sort of how the federal government works.

    In honor of the series' 30th Anniversary (and the fact that Disney now owns them), Disney will release one heck of a great DVD package. With more extras than you would have thought possible for such a straightforward show, this is one solid investment.

    After the kids have watched all 46 songs on Disc One, you can turn them loose on Disc Two. And if you don't have kids, I challenge you to Disc Two first. Among the extras piled on are two trivia games. One requires you to put song lyrics in order, which is a test of your nostalgic abilities. The more straightforward trivia game first tests how much you've actually learned, and then starts going into detail about the cartoons themselves. Foolhardily, I plunged in without re-watching most of them, and failed miserably.

    Aside from some "lost" episodes -- The Weather Show and Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips (sadly a bit outdated - who knew?) - the disc features a reunion of the original Schoolhouse Rock! team. In the wake of the 2000 election, it was clear that a new song and a new mascot had to be born in order to help children (heck, and a lot of adults) understand just what happens in a presidential election.

    Therefore, meet Boothy, voiced by series regular Jack Sheldon (I'm Just A Bill), telling viewers I'm Going To Send Your Vote To College. It's not exactly the catchiest of the songs, but it's still cool to see these guys all putting it together one more time. The animation has gotten a little slicker, and Disney includes a "Making of…" documentary, introduced by CEO Michael Eisner. (Long ago, a pre-Disney Eisner was in charge of ABC Children's Programming. The smartest decision he ever made was to listen to animation great Chuck Jones and buy this weird Multiplication Rock thing.)

    What really matters is the cartoons themselves. Everything's here, and in reasonably good shape. Like a lot of television animation from the seventies, time has not been particularly good to the prints. Despite not being re-mastered, there is a kind of charm to seeing them slightly faded. Better yet, they are as good as you remember.

    The menu offers a variety of interfaces to view them, including a Top Ten Jukebox you can program to play a few select favorites over and over. Three is a magic number, so play the song three times if you want. But don't forget that Junction.

    By all means, buy this disc and wallow in its nostalgic glory, or just use it to brush up on your facts.

    Darn. That's the end.

    Get Schoolhouse Rock! At Amazon.com

    Derek McCaw


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