Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for September, 2008

Fetch! Returns to PBS KIDS Sept 29

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

This fall, the hit PBS KIDS series FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman bursts on to the TV scene with a thrilling third season. Boasting an all-new team of kids, 20 new episodes, over 30 mind-bending challenges, and a new assistant for Ruff, FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman harnesses the power and appeal of reality television to teach six- to ten-year olds about science in an utterly fresh and unique way. Each episode follows the show’s six tween contestants as they compete for points in wild and wacky challenges inspired by a variety of themes, including the scientific principles of structures, habitats, and chemistry.

This season’s contestants–DJ, Harsha, Jay, Noël, Sam, and Sammy – will need planes, trains, automobiles and their brains to succeed at Ruff’s challenges. The season features four special episodes – Tune in to find out which FETCHer embarks on a top-secret mission to Washington D.C.’s International Spy Museum in “Mission Improbable,” and who will unlock the mystery in “Dog of the Rings,” a Lord of the Rings-inspired episode that takes place at a real castle. Find out how the kids discover the reason behind Mona Lisa’s smile in “The DogVinci Code,” and watch as the FETCHers take the law into their own hands when Grandma Ruffman winds up in jail in “The People vs. Grandma Ruffman.” From a run-in with Bigfoot® The Original Monster Truck®, to a trip to Spanish Harlem, to visiting the Washington, D.C. offices of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, Ruff has the kids criss-crossing the country in search of scientific enlightenment! All the action culminates in a nail-biting finale with one FETCHer winning the coveted title of “Grand Champion.”

While the FETCHers are off solving challenges, Ruff’s got one of his own to contend with – getting used to his new assistant, Chet, who just so happens to be a mouse! Now that Blossom von Yum Yum, Ruff’s former intern and FETCH!(TM)’s resident feline, has been promoted to being Ruff’s supervisor, Ruff has to warm up to a new right-hand man. But Chet’s unconventional work-style has Ruff in a tailspin. Is Chet up for the challenge of working for the top dog? Ruff is wondering the same thing.

“This season is full of fun and surprises!” said Executive Producer Kate Taylor. “Ruff has brainstormed a bunch of exciting challenges that take the kids to new places, introduce them to new faces, and have them exploring brand-new science concepts. And with Chet keeping Ruff and Blossom on their toes, there’s plenty of excitement happening behind the scenes, too!”

The new season premieres the first of 20 all-new half-hour episodes Monday, September 29, 2008 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings).

Funded in large part by the National Science Foundation, FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman teaches real world science as it challenges cast members and viewers to ask questions, conduct experiments, and investigate the world around them. The series also has an extensive outreach initiative that highlights the show’s three science themes (structures, habitats, and chemistry) and a Web site, pbskidsgo.org/fetch, that gives viewers a chance to play along with the show even after the TV is turned off.

FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman is produced by WGBH Boston. The executive producer for the series is Kate Taylor. Funding for FETCH! is provided by the National Science Foundation and public television viewers. Corporate funding is provided by Greendog®.

Photo Credit: 2008 (c) WGBH/ Anthony Tieuli

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Disney Fine Art Exhibit

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

For art collectors or die-hard Disney fans, here’s an interesting tidbit I learned about this morning. The Sanders Art Studio.com in Ogden, Utah announced a new exhibit called:  “The Magic of Disney Fine Art Exhibition.” This exhibit features Artists Trevor Carlton, Tricia Buchanan-Bensen, James Coleman, Mike Kupka, Harrison Ellenshaw and Peter Ellenshaw, among others.

The exhibit showcases over 30 Disney Classic Film moments such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog, Peter Pan, Mickey Mouse, Pirates of the Caribbean and Mary Poppins.
Along with the exhibit, there will be some live events, including a Disney Fine Art Live Performance Event by Disney Artist Trevor Carlton on September 20, 2008 at Radio Disney 910’s Safety Safari at Utah’s Hogle Zoo.  In addition to the exhibit, over 500 limited-edition Disney Fine Art Giclee’s on canvases are available for purchase on a new website and virtual gallery at Sanders Art Studio.com. The website will be showcasing work from the below listed artists: John Alvin – Toby Bluth – Tricia Buchanan – Bensen James Coleman – Dick Duerrstein – Harrison & Peter Ellenshaw – Michael & Inessa Garmash – Manny Hernandez – Mike Kungl – Mike Kupka – Allison Lefcort – Stephen Reis – Tim Rogerson – John Rowe – Jim Salvati – Jim Warren – Trevor Carlton.  Quantities are limited. Limited-Editions vary in size.

Sanders CC – established in 1960, is Northern Utah’s leader in Numismatic Coins and Collectibles. They carry a wide selection of US Coins, including the US Presidential Coin program, and World Coins. The Managing Director of Sanders CC is KC Sanders; KC has a long history working for the Walt Disney Company. He worked in the Disney Specialized Businesses area for over five years, creating Disney Fine Art Exhibitions at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, and Disneyland Paris Resort. He is bringing his knowledge, expertise and passion back to Utah to showcase the magic of Disney for the community.

For more info, go to http://www.sandersartstudio.com/servlet/StoreFront

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Limiting, and Watching, What Children Watch

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Lisa Guernsey, writer for the New York Times has a new article up about children’s media usage. She reminds us of both positive and negative attributes of children’s media use, pointing out that “positive choices take forethought.” She also quotes a pediatrician and spokerperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Donald L. Shifrin as saying: “Remember that TV has a lot of public health implications as we get older.” His concerns include weight gain, smoking, aggression and risky sexual behaviors that may follow from children seeing years of the media glorifying junk food, cigarettes, violence or teenage sex.

Lisa Guernsey is the author of “Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age 5.” For the complete article, go to here.

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Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs Hare Premieres On DVD September 9

Thursday, September 11th, 2008
Created by the revered Jim Henson Company, Prana Animation Studios and Flame Ventures, the second CGI animated film in the irreverent and delightful “Unstable Fables” collection, TORTOISE VS. HARE is a fun, modern retelling of the classic Tortoise and the Hare story.
This family-friendly animated feature is based on the classic fable by the same name with a new twist.

UNSTABLE FABLES: TORTOISE VS. HARE features a celebrity cast including the voice talent of Emmy Award winner Jay Leno, Danny Glover, Vivica A. Fox, Keke Palmer and three-time winner of Kid’s Choice Award for Best Actor, Drake Bell. The feature fast-forwards 15 years beyond the original fabled race to reveal that the rivalry between Walter the Tortoise and Murray the Hare is alive and well. Ready for a rematch, the competitive duo makes the event a family affair by recruiting their kids to join the race.

Continuing the adventure beyond the finish line, the DVD boasts exclusive bonus materials including a special tutorial on how to draw a character from the movie, as well as an exclusive behind the scenes look at the animation process, voice recordings and more.

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New Study Shows TV May Be Good for the Brain

Monday, September 8th, 2008
A look at standardized test scores from 1965 by two University of Chicago Graduate School of Business economists was able to compare the results of students based on the relative levels of television penetration in their regions. The research suggests that exposure to television in early childhood correlates with higher test scores, especially among children in homes where English was not the first language.

Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro published a paper earlier this year in the Quarterly Journal of Economics that offered a series of analyses showing the advent of television might actually have a positive effect on children’s cognitive ability.

You can find a copy of the paper here: http://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/matthew.gentzkow/research/TV_QJE_2008.pdf
For more information go to: http://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/matthew.gentzkow/papers.html where you can find more information about Matthew, and his other papers.

“Preschool Television Vieweing and Adolescent Test Scores; Historical Evidence from the Coleman Study (with Jesse M. Shapiro). Published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. CXXIII (1). February 2008. MIT Press.

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The Best Of Barney Coming September 9

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Best of Barney celebrates 20 years of programming from everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur. The special release features the best Barney moments of all time, including more than 20 songs, performances by a young Demi Lovato (now starring in Disney Channel’s “Camp Rock”) and Selena Gomez (from Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place”) from their days as cast members on Barney & Friends™. Barney is opening his magical memory chest to share the best and brightest moments—from the charming songs and piano tunes, to the engaging adventures of the heart involving elephant rides, car racing and more.

The DVD includes: “Barney’s Favorite Memories” featurette; Barney’s “I Love You” song from around the world; 7 Sing-Along’s to Barney’s best songs; Interactive games

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