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Western Animation / Journey Through the Jungle of Words

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Journey Through the Jungle of Words (or Working with Words) is a 1987 Golden Step-Ahead Video that teaches about the concepts of letters, words, and sentences.

The plot of the video itself focuses on Olivia Ostrich and her (most likely) best friend, Groucho Barx the dognote , who go on a journey through the jungle of words to find their friend Schnoz Ali and the treasure that he has in store for them, while learning about words and reading, as well as making new friends, along the way.

Journey Through the Jungle of Words contains examples of:

  • Animal Gender-Bender: Olivia Ostrich is clearly a female, but her body is covered in black feathers, which is only available in male ostriches, while females' body feathers are dull brown.
  • Aside Comment: We often see Groucho turning to the audience and speaking to them, usually making a snarky comment.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Every character except Dualot, as well as few of the animals at the watering hole, such as the moose and turtles.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: We see this happen to Groucho and Olivia when they, along with Dualot and Seealotnote , get shut into the cave of King Solomon's Mind.
  • Carnivore Confusion: The local animals of the Jungle of Words apparently know how to behave around each other without any predatory instincts kicking in.
  • Covered in Mud: After landing in a muddy pool with Groucho, Olivia emerges not only covered in mud, but with her mouth full of mud!
  • Covers Always Lie: One cover shows Groucho and Olivia doing the Egyptian walk in Ancient Egypt, but they never go to said destination in the actual video.
  • Dance Party Ending: Done by Dualot, Seealot, King Tut, and Zebra.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": When Groucho and Olivia first meet King Tut, Olivia freaks out, but Groucho is unfazed.... at first.
    "Big deal, so there's a ghost. .....A GHOST?!"
  • Edutainment Show
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: From Groucho, Olivia, and Zebra's Happy Dance, to Groucho and Olivia's Egyptian walk, to Dualot, Seealot, King Tut, and Zebra's ending dance.
  • Fake Interactivity: This happens in scenes such as at the watering hole, and playing sentence games at the Readers' Palace.
  • Funny Animal: Characters such as Groucho, Olivia, Schnoz Ali, Zebra, and Dualot.
  • Furry Confusion: Schnoz Ali the anthropomorphic elephant lives among non-anthropomorphic elephants in the same universe (even though they're never shown interacting with each other in the video).
  • G-Rated Drug: Unlike his real-life counterpart, Groucho Barx would rather chew on his bonenote  than smoke cigars.
  • Happy Dance: Groucho, Olivia, and Zebra do this after figuring out the sounds of the "monster".
  • Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Characters such as Groucho, Olivia, Dualot, and Zebra.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: Throughout the video, a vocal imitation of a kookaburra noise can be heard within the jungle ambience.
  • Limited Animation: Well, it is a Golden Book Video...
  • Literal-Minded: At one point, during the watering hole scene, Olivia asks Groucho to call the rabbit and the rhino over, to which Groucho thinks he should insult them. ("What should I call them?") He soon understands, however.
    • Later on, Olivia gets an idea on how to clean up King Tut's hut, leading to this exchange:
    Olivia: Say, I think I've got it!
    Groucho: Got what, is it catchy?
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The titular Jungle of Words has multiple species that aren't adapted to live in jungles or rainforests, such as moose, moles, rabbits, camels, and domestic cats and donkeys.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Averted with the crocodile who is so grateful with Groucho and Olivia helping him at the watering hole, he gives them a piece of Schnoz Ali's map and a ride to their next destination.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Besides one of the lead characters being a dog named Groucho Barx, there's also a zebra that talks like Ed Wynn, a ghost that speaks like Boris Karloff, and an elephant that sounds like W. C. Fields.
  • Ostrich Head Hiding: Olivia plays this trope at least twice.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: The gorilla during the "Monster in the Jungle" song is shown doing this.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: The video teaches this, aside from everything else related to alphabetical letters and words.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Olivia and Groucho find out a little too late that they could have taken a busnote  to the Readers' Palace, rather than take the whole on-foot journey. It soon becomes inverted, as Schnoz Ali is proud with them for how powerful their love of adventure is.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Characters such as Olivia and Zebra have these.
  • Stock Animal Behavior: This is noticeable during the "Monster in the Jungle" song, as we see a lion, parrot, and elephant making their respective sounds, as well as the gorilla beating on his chest while hooting and grunting. They all do nothing else.
  • Stock Audio Clip: Olivia's same screaming sound clip is used for when she and Groucho fall down the trap door to King Tut's Hut and when they slide down the cliff.
    • Also, the same audio clip of Dualot's Tarzan yell is used twice in her introduction scene.
  • To the Tune of...: During the King Solomon's Mind scene, the gang comes across a cave painting that prompts them to sing. Their choice song is set to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad", in which the changed lyrics are about working on word skills, as they say (or sing) so:
    "We've been working on our word skills, all along the way...note "
    • Also, later on, when Schnoz Ali shows Olivia and Groucho the wonders of the Readers' Palace, they all sing an ode to said palace, which is set to the tune of "The Cancan Song".
  • Toothy Bird: Even though most of Olivia's screentime shows that she apparently doesn't have teeth, she still actually does have teeth, as revealed in this frame from when she gets spooked by King Tut.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The only two females of the main cast are Olivia Ostrich and Dualot.
  • Vine Swing: Dualot and Seealot are shown doing this. Groucho and Olivia even join them!
  • Walk Like an Egyptian: Groucho and Olivia do this during the "You're in a Rut" song.
  • Wheel o' Feet: Zebra gets these while attempting to run away from the "monster" he thinks is after him.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The specific whereabouts of the Jungle of Words is never specified in the video.
  • Wrap-Up Song: "A Musical Tribute to Words".
  • Written Sound Effect: Being a Golden Book Video, this happens often. (e.g. "POP!", "SPLOOSH!", "SLAM!")


Video Example(s):


The Reader's Palace Song

When Schnoz Ali shows Olivia and Groucho the wonders of the Readers' Palace, they all sing an ode to said palace, which is set to the tune of Offenbach's Can-Can.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ToTheTuneOf

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