In 1985, the Western Publishing Company, famous for its series of children's literature, the Golden Books, cashed in on the home video trend of the 1980s with a series of videos that adapted many of its Golden Books
. These Golden Book Videos typically utilized the pictures from the books, with limited animation effects added (a forerunner of Adobe Flash
animation), such as eyes blinking or an animal's tail wagging, etc. They also often featured musical numbers made for the video, sometimes featuring on-screen lyrics inviting the audience to sing along.
The Golden Book Video series also featured sing-along videos, usually containing old public domain or original children's songs, with a semi-animated original story to carry along the songs, as well as the "Golden Step-Ahead" video series, which were educational videos that taught subjects like basic math, learning to read, and what school is like. These video series also utilized the same partial animation as the book adaptations did.
Some Golden Book Videos also adapted books featuring popular children's characters or franchises, such as Masters of the Universe
, Sesame Street
, the Care Bears
, the Pound Puppies
and the works of Richard Scarry
These series provide examples of:
- BGM: The majority of the background music on these videos were stock music cues taken from the Associated Production Music library, including familiar tunes from Spongebob Squarepants, The Mighty B!, KaBlam!, and The Ren & Stimpy Show.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: Usually added for "dark" scenes, most often not featured in the original books, perhaps most notably in What Was That!
- Deranged Animation: Sometimes the pictures may be altered a bit for dramatic effect, or additional clips such as creepy moving silhouettes or eyes-in-the-dark shots are added to the story.
- Limited Animation: Lots of it, sometimes the only animation would be someone's eyes blinking, or a dog's tail wagging, or someone sliding by to look like the character is "walking," etc.
- Stock Sound Effects: The videos made frequent use of the Hanna-Barbera sound effects library.