VHS Review (Posted on 10-06-2013)
If party animals know how to party like it's 2013, or 1999, then I wonder if they know/knew how to party like it's 1991. I sure as heck don't know how, but partying over a VHS that's never been reviewed? Yeah, that's what I was trying to get at.
No joke: This classic sought no reviews on Amazon.com (see for yourself by clicking here
). Being that it's been over twenty years since, it's one of the few tapes ranked high on the rare scale. As mentioned having reviewed The Reluctant Dragon
and The Gingerbread Man
, these tapes were never re-released on DVD. (Golden® Books Video, if you're reading this, please release these films on DVD!) Before counting your change and making these purchases to complete your collection, let's take a look at this (since no one on Amazon wanted to talk about it).
Jack and his mother don't have very much, living nearly penniless.
"Don't worry, mother. Things always get better, just like magic." — Jack
Jack and his mom had an exchange about Dad being amazed by magic, namely his Hen and Harp. Nevertheless, their cow Lena isn't producing milk, so Jack is assigned to sell the cow at a decent price (Craigslist back in the day?). Jack, struggling to walk Lena with him, runs into an old man who came from...nowhere, no place. He makes an offer to Jack for his cow: three shiny magical beans. Jack was fascinated by the beans, he dealt their cow for it. Right when he went home, Jack broke the news to his Mom to see the exchange. His mom wasn't happy about the deal, and thought she should've sold the cow herself.
As the day hit night, Jack looked outside his window only to find a large beanstalk growing so tall he decided to climb it. Jack climbed all the way to the top in the skies where he saw a castle. He knocks on the door when an old woman comes out and hesitantly invites Jack in, and feeds him to cure his hunger. The old woman tells Jack about her husband—he eats anything and
everything, putting Jack's life at risk. Suddenly, the woman's husband, Giant, enters in.
"Fee Fie Fo Fum!
I smell the blood of an Englishman!
Be alive or be thee(?) dead.
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."
Rummaging through the kitchen demanding his meal, the old woman brings Giant roasted pigs as he smells someone suspicious lurking in the castle. Giant calls for the Hen that lays golden eggs, wherein Jack, peeking through, realizes that that Hen belongs to his Dad. As the Giant naps, Jack steals the Hen! Back home, Jack shows the Hen to his mom and the gold eggs it lays, getting them to sell it to remain "above water," financially. Jack remembered that the Harp, too, belonged to his Dad, and thus runs back up the beanstalk to get it. Knocking on the door, the old woman welcomes Jack in again, and serves him delicious apple tart, when Giant smells someone in the castle again. This time, Giant calls for the Harp from the old woman. The Harp plays soothing music, putting Giant to sleep once again. Jack comes in and steals the Harp, when the Giant sees Jack running away with it, chasing him! Climbing down the beanstalk, Jack yells at his mom to grab the axe repeatedly, as Jack's mom chops the beanstalk and the Giant falls to his death. Having obtained two of his Dad's precious items, the family now lives happily.
Over in a village filled with blooming flowers and friendly animals resides a girl who always wore a red cape. All the villagers and even her own mother gave her a name: Little Red Riding Hood. Her mom tells Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) that grandmother isn't feeling well, and assigns her to bring fruit, cakes and honey in a basket to bring to her. LRRH obliges as she strolls along, when her mom warns her of the dangers ahead. The Big Bad Wolf confronts LRRH asking where she's going and the whereabouts of her grandmother, having mentioned her and her condition. From behind, the friendly woodcutter kept an eye on the entire situation, sensing a suspicious activity is being set up by the Wolf. The Wolf finds the residence of LRRH's grandmother, only to fool the lady that it's the Wolf talking like LRRH. Grandmother opens the door when suddenly the Wolf charges and eats her alive! Having control of the home, Wolf decides to dress and impersonate LRRH's grandmother to snatch her treats. LRRH arrives and finds that grandmother looks a bit different. Hesitant, LRRH does as she's told, in this case, humming and singing. Slowly, the Wolf unveils itself and chases LRRH around the house. Hearing the mayhem happening from afar, the friendly woodcutter jumps in and helps LRRH. He does the inevitable: he picks up his axe and kills the Wolf! Grandmother is saved and both her and LRRH repay the favor by providing the friendly woodcutter some of the edible treats LRRH provided for Grandmother. LRRH learns never to wander aimlessly around the woods and never to talk to strangers.
Last story talk about three billy goats living on the mountain side of stones and rocks.
"Rough, touch and gruff are we.
Billy Goats we three.
Climbing down the mountain side,
to see what we can see!"
The goats introduce themselves: Grand Dad, Matthew and Willie. Both Grand Dad and Matthew warn little Willie not to cross the bridge because of the big, ugly, vicious Troll that feasts on goats living under that bridge. Across the bridge is a nice field, filled with healthy, fresh green grass ready to eat. Desperate to cross, Grand Dad gathers the two to set up a plan. Willie steps up and tramples onto the bridge when the evil Troll pops up.
"Who's that? Who's that, trippity trap, trippity trapping...who's that tap-dancing over my bridge?" — Troll
Nervously, Willie introduces himself but encourages the Troll not to eat him alive because his brother Matthew is more beefy and will be satisfied to choose him as his meal. The Troll considers, knowing that Willie is too young and small to consume, and so the Troll lets Willie go. Next is Matthew, as the Troll angrily asks who it is. Matthew introduces himself and tells the Troll that Grand Dad has better meat and bones than he does. The Troll thinks about it and takes a risk, so Matthew runs over to the other side with Willie. Lastly, Grand Dad crosses the bridge; the Troll knows the same tactic will take place and becomes a bit more aggressive. The Grand Dad introduces and the Troll finally charges at the goat. Grand Dad charges as well...and tackles the Troll back into the river! Next day, the Troll found a home in a far away cave where he spent the rest of his days. The three goats can now cross the bridge anytime and safely, eating all the fresh grass they want, living the happy life all together. The film ends with credits.
What was different from this, compared to the Golden Book Video The Gingerbread Man and Other Nursery Stories
, was the credits were not shown after
each short film; They are all shown at the very end of the third film, with the goats singing in the background. Also featured here were two killings of the antagonists. The violent action is not shown, however, one of them was the Wolf axed by the friendly woodcutter! Also, the names of the voiceovers were never shown in the credits. These classic VHS tapes deserve all five stars, but rules are rules: credits must be given where due. It's like paying the voiceovers then kicking them out of the studio after. (Note: if you did one of the voiceovers for any
of the Golden Book Video films, please contact me
, and I will credit you for it.)
Interpretations and morals of the stories? On Jack and the Beanstalk
, I feel it's about luck—what you sell/trade for may not be what you want, but it will satisfy your every need in the long run. Also, being that the old woman is the wife of the hungry and angry Giant tells me about the mainstream rise of women's rights. In fact, the United States is one of the top countries with the highest divorce rates. In the olden days, it was normal for a man to hit his wife; If you did that today, you'll get charged for domestic abuse (woman/spousal beating). I say that because Giant demanded and yelled at his wife to get everything for him, as the old woman uncomfortably does what she's told. Come to think of it: what woman in her right mind would marry a man like that? You can't turn a jerk into a sweet husband (as for the gentlemen, you can't turn a hooker into a housewife). On the Investigation Discovery
channel, they featured a documentary about a mother of four children, who stabbed her abusive boyfriend to death in order to save her life. Seeing the old woman being dragged by the Giant like that must have been a call to marriage instability—an action that likely lead to the mistreatment of women. Since the Giant eats anything and everything, should tell women one thing: if you plan to get married someday, don't settle with a cannibal. Another message is stop keeping things that don't belong to you. As for Jack and his mother, if you are at the bottom financially, you'll always find a way to get back up. The words? Hope and Optimism. Use it.
For Little Red Riding Hood
, this is simple: don't talk to strangers. However, there exists a quote that tries to buffer the sharp edges of this advice: "Strangers are just friends waiting to happen." In today's world, being that socializing is an activity to create strangers into friends, it is now depicted with time, area and looks that determine the quality and likelihood of a stranger becoming a friend. And although selling someone short is something we all are ashamed to admit, based on how one dresses and such, usually those with an unattractive disposition—pessimistic, violent—very much get the boot out of our lives. Those who are undesirable enough to be friends with may not hunt and eat your grandmother alive, but we naturally come up with precautions come meeting new people. Overall, if you find yourself in some trouble, a Good Samaritan—the friendly woodcutter—will lend a helping lend and save you and your loved ones' lives. I'm 100% certain you didn't first meet your best friend behind a tree who had a sinister voice. However, in this film, not talking to/trusting strangers exacerbates the contradiction getting one to be the Good Samaritan to save lives. Not all strangers are serial killers, yet not all strangers make great friends. If you develop an unrequited notion witnessing someone's life may be in danger, you are responsible for any action you decide to take. Few would take a bullet to save the younger ones' lives; The immediate choice would be self-preservation—don't mind the others because it's your life you should worry about. Leaving the situation alone says "it's their problem, not mine," even if lives are to be lost. Offer a helping hand, and YOU
are now a part of any responsibilities and consequences that follow. I strongly recommend philosophy/logic classes to use Little Red Riding Hood
as a thought experiment about strangers.
Lastly, for The Three Billy Goats Gruff
was a unique message. Since Willie hungered for some fresh grass, it was a tough for the poor goat to deal with the Troll, who hungered for goat meat. Using logical persuasion and reasoning, you can always talk your way out of trouble. For the Troll, the message is you can't always get what you want (likely a contrast with the Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk
). Even though the Troll happily lived in a cave, it found that maybe it's enough to settle with instead of goat slaughter. And above all, since Willie and the Goats all wanted to dine in on fresh grass, is a message I personally came up with during my struggle. I may have mentioned it before, but regardless, I'll write it here again:
"It's not always Life. It's others who are liable to make things unfair for you." — Kris Caballero, founder/CEO of Showsotros.com and TheSeedsOfBooks.com
Yes, yours truly came up with that, circa 2009, having underwent an abysmal downturn—so much so that I went grocery shopping to clear my head that very same day. Please don't wear out my quote, but feel free to use it (I ask you please link back to the websites I provided, if you will).
Anyway, because the three goats wanted something, they couldn't do it without dealing with something in their way. Our needs and wants conflict with others' at times, however, you can talk your way out if it ever leads to any trouble. If possible, re-consider your needs and wants and think what long-term benefits it will do for you. Occasionally, there are times when others make it harder for you to obtain and complete the needs and wants you work(ed) hard for. And if all else fails, being that we indulge in things we can't have, well, it wasn't meant to be and realize that you can't have everything
, but you can find the ones that stabilize your level of happiness.
The messages conveyed from these short films are beefy and tough, especially for kids to interpret. However, with classic stories that they'll remember forever and great animation, this extremely rare VHS will go great with your kids collection videos; This has never been remastered on DVD. If your kid questions the actions and hidden messages in some of these, let them know the real messages when they've grown enough to understand.
Golden Book is a company that happily fulfilled my childhood. If you're the founder/CEO, or if you work for the company, of Golden Books, I would like to interview you on this website! Our talk will be featured here for visitors and fans to see. Contact me
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© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Adapted from the Golden Book®
of the same name
William R. Serpe
Virginia Theimer Clapper
Virginia Theimer Clapper
Little Red Riding Hood
Adapted from the
Little Golden Book®
Jo Anne Wood
Virginia Theimer Clapper
Jo Anne Wood
Mary McLean Strohl
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Adapted from the Golden Book®
Mary McLean Strohl
Susan J. Schneck
Studio Consultants, Inc.
© 1985 Western Publishing Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved