Forest Your Weary Head
Children’s programming is always easy pickings, so I feel bad for making my sophomore post about just such a thing. But I found this particular title sealed in shrink wrap, just like the kind of thing people seem shocked to find covering games at Gamestop these days. This title comes straight outta 1996, when visible puppet rods apparently were still very much en vogue.
This particular series (I imagine it wasn’t just a pilot) is a little on the difficult side to find much history about. It had a PO Box in Minnesota, a sure sign of quality, which allowed you to send a letter to it for a special surprise. There’s really no telling what kind of surprise this was, but if this “scared ya!” episode is any indication it’d probably be something like the ol’ “rattlesnake eggs” in the envelope trick. Perfect for when the presumably midwest public television audience and their children who encountered this show has to actually encounter real poison snakes. They won’t be part of the “Good and Scared Club”, and will commit a public service by attempting to beat the snakes to death due to pure fear. And preferably tape it and post it to Youtube, so we can track the current approximate number of reptiles that are aiming to bite and kill us on a majestic midwest mountain hike at any given point in time. See you in the forest!
Here is the box copy:
Once Upon a Tree is a magical place where children learn as much about themselves as they do about nature. In Oakley’s forest, the trees talk and the animals laugh and sing as they learn how to get along with each other and solve everyday problems by watching how other animals meet the challenge. [also apparently not learn how to avoid run-on sentences]
When Billy Bob discovers he can scare the living daylights out of everyone, he takes the joke too far. Our forest friends confide to Oakley and Jenny that they are tired of being scared. Much to their amazement, they learn that sometimes being scared is good for you. Through the magic of Oakley’s pond, our friends watch how other animals use fear to protect themselves. In the end, Billy Bob admits he, too, gets scared and joins up with the other in the “Good and Scared Club.”
Both young and young at heart will delight in Once Upon a Tree’s wildlife video and original music, including Rhapsody and Bleu, the hip-hoppiest tree frog and cricket ever to hit the show biz scene.
“Rhapsody” and “Bleu” take a shockingly short role in this feature despite being featured on the box; perhaps the creators thought their hip-hoppery would shine through and be a beacon of instant merchandising success on its own, given the rise of the hip-hop movement in the mid-90s. OH WAIT, THEY ONLY MADE INSPIRATIONAL SONGS FOR CHILDREN ABOUT BEING SCARED, WITH PIANO AS THE PRIMARY BACKING INSTRUMENT AS OPPOSED TO SAMPLES PLAYED ON A TURNTABLE. If anything, they all end up sounding like a Googol Bordelo outtake, and I’m relatively certain gypsy-core isn’t what most people consider hip-hop.
Surprisingly, this didn’t turn out to be a multimillion dollar enterprise.
If for some reason, this site ever becomes to become popular, there will undoubtedly be 4chan samples of this to make simulated furry puppet porn. So, here is a selection of out-of-context clips that’ll be perfect for all your’re trying to accomplish. Congrats in advance on your unoriginality!
Tags: children, do it together, fun, furry, time