So much "Sesame Street" home video product is available, it's easy to take it for granted, but a couple of brand-new releases, part of a "Sesame Street Games" series to get preschool-age viewers up and moving, stand out.
In "Slimey's World Games," Oscar the Grouch's little pal Slimey goes for the gold against international worm foes in the worm Olympics, competing in events such as Circle Toss, Letter Driving, the one-yard dash, the balance beam and the hurdles.
Each worm has its own Grouch coach, naturally, and the play-by-play is provided by real-life sportscaster Tim McCarver, who barely holds his own against Oscar's jabs at "you media people" and breaks up at Oscar's crabbiest insults.
The shenanigans are interspersed with "commercials"--musical segments mostly featuring real kids tumbling, running, climbing and otherwise bouncing around playing. The scene also shifts to the gang on Sesame Street, Big Bird included, as they catch the action on TV and root for their hometown hero.
The message is perseverance--Slimey's on the comeback trail after an unfortunate showing in the Winter Games. The video comes with an activity book.
Kids can also get an upbeat, energizing workout with "Elmocize," a playful half-hour led by "Sesame Street's" sweet little red-haired monster, Elmo, who even persuades the stuffy Muppet announcer Monty to shake a leg.
Animated segments are combined with live action, and everything that goes on is an occasion for a song. A Muppet bunny named Benny teaches the "Benny Hop"; Cindy Lauper and her Muppet backup singers, the Twister Sisters, lead a twist fest; and there's even an action-packed "Workout in a Chair" for those who want to, or have to, exercise sitting down.
Familiar characters, clever writing, musical and visual appeal and the ability to make young viewers--and maybe older ones, too--want to get up and move, make these two videos winners.
* "Slimey's World Games" and "Elmocize," Sesame Street/Sony Wonder, 30 minutes, $12.98 each.
Summer Concerts: Children's recording artist Jim Rule ("Share This World"), who specializes in tuneful songs aimed at the funny bone and the heart, kicks off the "Kids Koncerts '96" Sunday summer series at the outdoor Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga this Sunday at 11 a.m. with a special Father's Day family concert.
Upcoming weeks feature Angela Lloyd, Karl Anthony, Courtney Campbell, Dan Crow with Dennis O'Hanlon, Barney Saltzberg, Peter Alsop, Dave Kinnoin, Linda Arnold, Melora Marshall and Tim Arem & the Theatricum Botanicum Kids Circus.
The series ends Aug. 25.
Tickets are $6, or five shows for $25 (under age 2, free).
Information and reservations: (818) 344-5571.