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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 Groucho Barx the dognote  and his (implied) best friend Olivia Ostrich on an adventure through the jungle 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.

Can be watched here.


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.
  • Background Music: Music from the KPM music library is used often.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Every character except Dualot.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: We see this happen to Groucho and Olivia when they, along with Dualot and Seealot, get shut into the cave of King Solomon's Mind.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Seealot, as well as the monkey at the watering hole and the gorilla during the "Monster in the Jungle" song.
  • 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 bone than smoke cigars.
  • Happy Dance: Groucho, Olivia, and Zebra do this after figuring out the sounds of the "monster".
  • Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Groucho and Dualot.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: A human vocal variant of the sound can be heard in the video.
  • 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, donkeys, rabbits, camels, and domestic cats.
  • 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 Antagonist: For some reason.
  • 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.
  • Off-Model: The video has plenty of these moments, such as:
    • When the animals are drinking from the watering hole all at once, it appears as a small pond. After all the animals have gone, it becomes a huge lake.
    • When Groucho and Olivia fall down the trapdoor at King Tut's Hut, they appear to fall straight down a shaft. We later see them at the bottom of a previously unseen ramp.
    • Olivia has entirely gray wings while Groucho is trying to escape the hut, despite usually having white feathers on her wing tips.
    • When Olivia gets the piece of the map from King Tut, it appears as a white paper airplane. However, we later see the piece to be irregular-shaped, yellow paper.
    • When Groucho and Olivia are at the top of the cliff, Groucho is to the left of Olivia. While falling, Groucho is still on the left even though our view has flipped. In the mud, Olivia is on the left as she should be, based on their positions at the top.
      • Also, when the two first slip down the cliff, the map appears completely blank.
    • When Groucho introduces Dualot to Olivia, purple mountains can be seen in the distance. Later on, these mountains are nowhere to be seen.
    • While stuck in the mud, Olivia's tail points towards Dualot. But when Groucho introduces her, her wings face back towards the cliff.
    • Groucho has no eyebrows while Olivia gets her foot out of the mud.
    • Before exiting King Solomon's Mind, a stop sign is seen on a solid stone wall. This later appears as a gray door with a visible edge.
    • In the Readers' Palace, King Tut shuffles a deck of gray cards. These cards are later seen to be blue on one side and white on the other.
    • When Zebra inserts the "in" chip, his hand is floating.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!")

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