Series / Kidsongs

Kidsongs is an American children's media franchise which includes Kidsongs Music Video Stories on DVD and video, The Kidsongs TV Show, CDs of favorite children’s songs, song books, sheet music, toys and an ecommerce website. Kidsongs was created by producer/writer Carol Rosenstein and director Bruce Gowers of Together Again Video Productions (TAVP), both of whom are music video and television production veterans. The duo had produced and directed over 100 music videos for Warner Brothers Records (WBR) and took their idea of music videos for children to the record label. Warner Brothers funded the first video, “A Day at Old MacDonald’s Farm”. Shortly thereafter, a three way partnership between TAVP, WBR and View-Master Video was formed with TAVP being responsible for production and WBR and View-Master responsible for distribution to video and music stores, and toy stores respectively.

The home video series was launched with four Kidsongs Music Video Stories episodes at New York's Toy Fair in January 1, 1985. "A Day at Old MacDonald’s Farm” was one of those first four and has sold over 4 million copies and won the Vira Award. Each half-hour Music Video Stories episode features 10 to 15 songs, in a music video style production starring talented kids. They sing and dance their way through well known children's songs, nursery rhymes, and covers of pop hits from the 50's, the 60's and the 70's—all tied together by a simple story and theme.

The TAVP/WBR/View-Master Video (Viewmaster was acquired by Tyco in 1992-1994) partnership produced fifteen Kidsongs episodes of the Music Video Stories. In 1995, WBR and TAVP bought out Tyco's distribution rights and produced an additional 3 View-Master videos: "Country Sing-Along", "Billy Biggle's Favorite Songs", and "Boppin' with the Biggles" and 2 Kid Vision videos: "Let's Put on a Show" and "Baby Animal Songs", as part of a new venture with another division of Warner Bros.—Warner Vision. In 1997, TAVP acquired all rights from WBR/Warner Vision and become the sole owner of all Kidsongs properties.

Later in 1997, TAVP entered into a distribution/production agreement with Sony Wonder which resulted in the production of four more titles: "I Can Dance!", "I Can Do It!", "Adventures in Biggleland: Billy's Birthday" and "Adventures in Biggleland: Meet the Biggles". That agreement ended in 1998 and in 2002 distribution rights were licensed by Image Entertainment who continues to distribute the videos.

From 1985 to 1998, 25 Kidsongs home video episodes encompassing 300 children's songs, nursery rhymes, and cover versions of adults' pop songs were produced featuring a variety of subjects that are of interest to kids: animals, birthdays, the zoo, the amusement park, camp adventure, fantasy, vehicles and general silliness. 14 have been certified platinum by the RIAA, with 5 of them having sold more than 2 million copies. As of now, the videos have sold over 19.5 million copies.

The following is a list of Kidsongs music video titles originally released on VHS, and now currently available on DVDnote :

  • A Day at Old MacDonald's Farm (A Day at Series Video) (1985)
  • I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (1986)
  • Good Night, Sleep Tight (1986)
  • Cars, Boats, Trains and Planes (1986)
  • Sing Out, America! (1986) (Retitled "Home on the Range" in 1990 and later "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in 2002)
  • A Day with the Animals (A Day at Series Video) (1986)
  • What I Want to Be! (1986)
  • The Wonderful World of Sports (1987) (Retitled "Let's Play Ball" in 1990)
  • A Day at the Circus (A Day at Series Video) (1987)
  • A Day at Camp (A Day at Series Video) (1989)
  • Ride the Roller Coaster (1990)
  • Very Silly Songs (1990)
  • A Day of Fun (A Day at Series Video) (1991) (VHS Release Only)
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas (1992)
  • Play Along Songs (1993)
  • If We Could Talk to the Animals (1993)
  • Country Sing-Along (I Can Series Video) (1994) (Retitled "I Can Go to the Country!" from 1997-1998)
  • Billy Biggle's Favorite Songs (1994) (Retitled "My Favorite Songs" in 2003)
  • Boppin' with the Biggles (I Can Series Video) (1994) (Retitled "I Can Bop with the Biggles!" from 1997-1998)
  • Let's Put on a Show (I Can Series Video) (1995) (Retitled "I Can Put on a Show!" from 1997-1998)
  • Baby Animal Songs (I Can Series Video) (1995) (Retitled "I Can Sing Baby Animal Songs!" from 1997-1998)
  • I Can Dance! (I Can Series Video) (1997)
  • I Can Do It! (I Can Series Video) (1997)
  • Adventures in Biggleland: Billy's Birthday (1998)
  • Adventures in Biggleland: Meet the Biggles (1998)

This franchise provides examples of:

The Music Video Series

  • Album Title Drop: While it's a music example, it's also a non-album example. Good Night, Sleep Tight features the song "Tomorrow is a Dream Away" (a Kidsongs original), which features the lyric, "Good night, sleep tight / It's the end of a busy day".
  • An Aesop: Shows up every once in a while, notably in "A Day With The Animals" and "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing".
  • As Himself: It's safe to say that all the kids played themselves, but the most notable one is Chris Finch.
    • Downplayed in "Good Night, Sleep Tight" and "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" where some of the kids are given character names.
    • "A Day at Old McDonald's Farm" may have at least one—the girl referred to as Mary may not in fact be named Mary. Not sure?
  • Bowdlerise: Some of the more adult-oriented pop songs covered by the kids had to be slightly rewritten to be more family friendly.
    • "Achy Breaky Heart": "You can burn my clothes when I'm gone" gets changed to "You can just forget me when I’m gone"; "He might blow up and kill this man" gets changed to "I might break down and cry today"; "You can tell your dog to bite my leg" gets changed to "You can tell your dog I'm gone for good"; "Or tell your brother Cliff whose fist can can tell my lip" gets changed to "Or you can tell your brother Cliff I've given him the slip".
    • "At The Hop": "You can slop and you can stroll it" gets changed to "Do the stomp and even stroll it"; "Where the jockey is the smoothest" gets changed to "Where the jumpin' is the smoothest".
    • "C'Mon And Swim": "Bobby's gonna show you how to do the swim" gets changed to "We gonna show you how to do the swim"; "Pretend you're in the water and you go like this" gets changed to "When you’re in the water, you go like this"; "Just like the dog but not so low" gets changed to "Kinda like the dog, but not so low"; "C'mon baby now, and swim like a fish" gets changed to "When you’re in the water, you swim like a fish"; "A do the swim baby, now work it on out" gets changed to "Do the swim now, just work it on out". In addition, the first chorus and second verse are switched around, and the last few verses are removed.
    • Not a pop song, but in "Cars, Boats, Trains and Planes" the lyrics to the "U.S. Air Force" song were heavily edited. For example, the line "Off with one helluva roar" became "Off with one mighty roar."
  • Costume Porn: Some of the costumes are quite appealing, even for a kids' series.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Done quite often. One instance is "The Yellow Rose of Texas" from "I Can Dance!"; the "rose" mentioned is the singer's love interest. The show changes its lyrics to make it a dance.
  • Dangerous Device Disposal Debacle: The song "The Thing" is about this.
  • Edutainment Show
  • Food Porn: Invoked by the "Fast Food" song from "Ride The Roller Coaster".
  • Group Picture Ending: Inverted in "A Day with the Animals" where a group photo is taken just before the first song.
  • Scenery Porn: Manages to slip in occasionally, especially in the older videos.
    • "Cars, Boats, Trains, and Planes": The carousel is breathtaking to look at, as are the many hot air balloons, most likely due to the beautiful lighting and editing effects.
    • "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" boasts marvelous, if not entirely realistic, Christmas scenery, but one standout has to be the fantasy shots in "If I Had A Pony For Christmas".
  • Something We Forgot: "Cars, Boats, Trains and Planes" has Uncle George and the kids taking the bus back home... only for "Mom" to tell George that he drove them to the park, meaning he has to go back to get his car.

The TV Series

  • Added Alliterative Appeal / Alliterative Name: Billy Biggle.
  • An Aesop: Wheareas the original 1987 syndicated series strongly focused on an MTV-esque song countdown for every program, the 1994 PBS reboot incorporated a lesson into some episodes, notably in its first season.
  • Chroma Key: Used for the Biggles.
  • Continuity Nod: If someone on the show's staff was in a music video, they'll happily say so.
  • Edutainment Show: Particularly the PBS version, which fills most would-be commercial time with edutainment material.
  • Gossipy Hens: Two of the female crewmembers in the 1987 series often like to gossip about Todd (the director).
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The Biggles.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Ruby and Billy Biggle.
  • Series Continuity Error: In the 3-part "Mrs. Dipplewhite" episode of the 1987 series, Mrs. Dipplewhite's first name is Mildred in part 1, but for some reason, it ends up being "Doris" in part 3.
  • Show Within a Show: Both formats involve the kids working on a television show which recycles footage from the music videos. However, the types of studios they're in vary depending on the programs. In the 1987 syndicated series, the kids find an abandoned studio that for some reason was left unlocked, whereas in the 1994 PBS reboot, they instead go to a regular working television station and ask the executives there, Mrs. Wilson (general manager) and Mr. Forbes (director of programming), for permission to use their studio facilities.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In the final season of the 1994 PBS reboot, Mr. Forbes is replaced by a new programming director named Mr. Frost.