CD Review: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas & Mark Stone “The Runaway Bunny, The Story of Babar and Goodnight Moon”

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas & Mark Stone
“The Runaway Bunny, The Story of Babar and Goodnight Moon”
Label: GPR Records
Release Date: November 13, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t know about the classic books “The Runaway Bunny” and “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown and “The Story of Babar” by Francis Poulenc. These are not new stories in fact they are all from the 1940’s. “Goodnight Moon” is from 1947. “The Runaway Bunny” is  from 1942. And “The Story of Babar” or aka “L’Histoire de Babar” dates back to 1945. These stories are still very timeless and a must read for any child before bed or anytime, in fact. In case you are wondering, this is not a your typical straight forward audio book. These books are read alongside new classical music interpretations of the these stories. If you are a fan of classic music and timeless stories, this would make a wonderful addition to your collection. I can see this CD being a must-listen with my daughter as she grows up.

So what makes this CD special is that Oscar winners Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are reading two of these three books along with the wonderful musical compositions besides them. Catherine Zeta-Jones narrates “The Runaway Bunny” along with music by Glen Roven and performed by the Piano Trio Version with Trio 21. Michael Douglas lends his voice to the beloved story of “The History of Babar”, which is backed with a score by Francis Poulenc and Jason Worth on the piano. These performances are very well acted and gives the stories great delivery. Lastly but not least is “Goodnight Moon”, which is a story I have become very familiar with as a new parent.  It is sung by English Baritone Mark Stone along with the GPR Festival Choir. This release is very well done and entertaining.  It is also a great way to not only make these stories more interesting but also introduce your children to the world of very fine classical music.

DVD Review “Bugs Bunny Superstar”

Directed by: Larry Jackson
Narrated by: Orson Welles
Starring: Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Friz Freleng
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 91 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes, I have been a life-long fan. This film is not your typical Looney Tunes special.  It is a documentary, hosted by animator Bob Clampett with interviews with Friz Freleng and Tex Avery.  This is also narrated by legendary director Orson Welles.  It includes nine Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons which were previously released during the 1940s.  This is a must for any Looney Tunes fans.

The shorts included are “What’s Cookin’ Doc? (1944)”, “The Wild Hare (1940)”, “A Corny Concerto (1943)”, “I Taw a Putty Tat (1948)”, “Rhapsody Rabbit (1946)”, “Walky Talky Hawky (1946)”,  “My Favorite Duck (1942)”, Hair-Raising Hare (1946)” and “The Old Grey Hare (1944)”

This is the first time that this has ever been released on DVD, thanks to Warner Archive. This release is presented in 4X3 full frame with the its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The audio track is the original mono audio, which works perfectly. Surprisingly  there is actually some decent special features including a commentary track from director Larry Jackson and an image gallery with behind-the-scenes photos.

Official Premise: What was it like to work in Termite Terrace, birthplace of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and a veritable horde of cartoon icons? Get a taste of that crazy and creative fun factory in this loving and droll documentary, hosted by ace animator Bob Clampett. Featuring interviews with fellow Termite Terrace residents Friz Freleng and Tex Avery and narrated by Orson Welles, Bugs Bunny Superstar includes nine complete cartoons that are prime examples of the collaborative efforts of Warner cartoonists, ink-and-painters, effects artists and others. “No idea was too outrageous,” Clampett says. Seeing rare home movies of the animators as they act out ideas adds to that sense of unrestrained creativity.

 

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