It's Christmas and time for some new videos, perhaps some that have absolutely nothing to do with jingle bells or Santa Claus. Maybe it's just a case of early Yuletide burnout, but now's the time for Home Tech to catch you up with several of the latest non-movie videocasette releases that are hitting the video stores and mail-order catalogues:
"An Evening with Bobcat Goldthwait: Share the Warmth." Vestron. $59.98. Those who have seen the loony screamer from the "Police Academy" movies know that the "warmth" is meant ironically. For the initiated, here's 84 minutes of the comedian's special brand of madness.
"The Best of Chevy Chase." Lorimar. $19.95. Another collection of "Saturday Night Live" sketches by one of the show's stars--the one, in fact, who kept tripping over things but had no trouble moving on to a big movie career. Also available are 60-minute tapes of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.
"Rodney Dangerfield: It's Not Easy Being Me." Speaking of movie careers, Mr. No Respect has gotten plenty of respect at the box office lately. On this hourlong tape he shares the spotlight with several other comedians, including the outrageous Sam Kinison and "Hollywood Shuffle" and "Raw" director Robert Townsend.
FOR THE YOUNG
"The Little Prince and Friends." Pacific Arts. $19.95. For fans of "California Raisin"-type "claymation," here are three 30-minute tales (on one tape) done in the stop-action style.
"Dinosaur Playhouse." Sony. $9.95 each. Video snacks (15 minutes each) where dinosaurs give 3-to-6-year-olds some friendly advice about how to be nice little kids.
"The World of Teddy Ruxpin." Volumes 8 and 9. Hi-Tops. $12.95 each. The company that makes the talking bear may be in trouble on the business pages, but that hasn't kept him or this animated version from being popular with the kids, as these latest products demonstrate. 45 minutes each.
"Baby Snakes." Honker. $79.95. This is the 183-minute "complete original version" of the 1979 film, mainly containing concert footage from the film's maker, Frank Zappa, and other weirdness. The video is perhaps most notable for the brilliantly nightmarish clay animation of Bruce Bickford, which has very little in common with those sweet little California raisins. Information: (312) 878-2600.
"Repercussions: A Celebration of African-American Music." Home Vision. Four volumes, $39.95 each. These 120-minute videos range over a lot of territory, including African performers like King Sunny Ade and American ones like Max Roach. Information: (312) 878-2600.
"Swing--the Best of the Big Bands." MCA. Four volumes, $24.95 each or $79.95 for the set. Long before music videos, the performers and groups of the '40s appeared in musical shorts for movie theaters. Many of these black-and-white treasures were made with great skill and care and feature such giants as Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington.
"The Fantasy World of George Pal." LCA. $39.95. The guy who blew up Los Angeles' City Hall--in the movies, anyway. A 93-minute salute to the great special-effects artist, including scenes from his work on "War of the Worlds" (where City Hall got it) and "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao," plus some of Pal's pioneering "Puppetoon" shorts. Information: (213) 444-8100.
"What Happened to Kerouac?" Vidmark. $69.95. A 96-minute documentary on the famous Beat Generation author, including some fascinating footage taken from his rare TV appearances. Information: (213) 399-8877.
"Kittens to Cats: A Video Guide to Owning the Perfect Cat." Childers. $29.95. These little fur balls are more fun than any stuffed toy--but they take a lot more care. Here's an hour's worth of tips. Information: (503) 626-7002.