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FAMILY

C.S. Lewis' Magical 'Narnia' Is as Near as the Video Store

September 10, 1996|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

If your family missed the BBC's exceptional, live-action production of C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia," which aired on PBS' "Wonderworks" during 1989 and 1990, or if you'd like to revisit the adventures of four World War II-era children who are transported to a world of myth and magic and caught up in a good-against-evil struggle, now's your chance.

The entire six-hour series is being released on video beginning this week, as a boxed set of the whole series or as individual episodes, starting with the first volume, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

The multimillion-dollar epic of fantasy and allegory, with its live theater feel, is dramatized with admirable integrity by Alan Seymour and performed by a remarkable quartet of British child actors. It is filled with noble heroics and tests of character and memorably peopled by centaurs, fauns, dryads, witches, kings and queens, and Aslan the Lion, Narnia's noble spiritual leader.

* "The Chronicles of Narnia," Bonneville Worldwide Entertainment, boxed set of three titles, $59.95. Volume I, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," $24.95. Volume II, "Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader," and Volume III, "The Silver Chair," will be released Sept. 19 at $24.95.

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Musical Seuss: For Dr. Seuss fans, "The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat," Theodor Geisel's animated encounter between two of his most famous creations, is now a new sing-along home video release, reformatted to feature Geisel's lyrics on-screen, so viewers can keep up with the zany wordplay, accompanied by Joe Raposo's music.

Before he sees the error of his ways, the Grinch targets the Cat in the Hat with his evil contraptions--a "vacu-sound sweeper" that "fuzzles" sounds so that birds burp and bees stop buzzing, and a "dark house" that changes light to gloom and worse.

It's fun to see the trademark verbal gymnastics and the unique Seuss inventions, although the rather pale tale isn't as memorable as "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" or other Seuss classics.

Other videos in the "Dr. Seuss Sing-Along Classics" series are "Grinch Night" and "Pontoffel Pock and His Magic Piano."

* "The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat," CBS Fox Home Video, $9.98 each.

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More Seuss: Dr. Seuss is also in the spotlight at the children's bookstore and gallery, Storyopolis. Beginning with a "Seuss Sensation" opening on Sept. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m., the works of acclaimed illustrators Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher will be on exhibit, including their paintings illustrating Theodor Geisel's previously unpublished manuscript, "My Many Colored Days," to be published by KnopfBooks for Young Readers this month. The exhibit runs through Nov. 16.

* Storyopolis, 116 N. Robertson, Plaza A. Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (310) 358-2500.

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