“The Big Box of Kids Favorites” tries to entice kids with three series under Mill Creek’s sway. Paddington and Ernest are great. However, I couldn’t get my daughter interested in Johnny Test. The first two seasons are presented here and the episodes seem split into this weird Freakazoid style showcase. The animation doesn’t do it for me, but I’m sure some kids like it. Now, onto the shows I like.

“Paddington Bear” comes to DVD in Region 1 with its 11 year run presented in for your viewing pleasure. Given that it was a British series, it’s still under one hundred episodes. There’s something about the series that just reminds people of childhood. I remember it being used as interstitial material during the early days of HBO and Nickelodeon. If a kid show ran short, they’d always throw up a Padding Bear short or Inch High Private Eye to pad it out. There was an attempt at a cartoon much later and that’s presented on the set as well.

Like most heavily Brit material created on video, early Cable TV kept this stuff running ad nauseum. If you grew up watching “Pinwheel”, you saw the entire series multiple times. You know what else I miss? Those Japanese anime adaptations of the Oz books that used to air really early on HBO. I know they hit VHS, but they seemed to have had their rights lost somewhere in the mix. Childhood favorites get me going on the nostalgia train and it was enough to push me through a series rewatch of Paddington in one viewing. Hell, I stuck it with longer than my daughter.

“It’s Ernest” is a show that I thought lasted longer than it did. Being from Kentucky, we kinda embraced Jim Varney early on. Hell, you should’ve saw his grave right after he died. Slinky dogs, Ernest caps and other junk littered all over it. But, back to the TV show. In 13 episodes, Jim Varney pretty much ran throughout all of his Ernest and related characters. After that, nothing happened.

Launching in the aftermath of Pee-wee Herman, it’s easy to see how Jim Varney found a home on CBS. It’s just that like with much of the adult tinged kids shows that were launching in the era, most kids didn’t know what to make of the series. The collection of smash cuts, minute long shorts and construction paper interstitials produce something rather jarring for the late 80s. I feel that within five years to a decade, this show would’ve been received differently.

But, that’s the problem with either being ahead or behind the curve. You either beat the aesthetic changes or you look passe. Still, I enjoy the nostalgia buzz that Mill Creek has been able to provide with this release. Now if we could just get the older Ernest films released onto home video. I’m talking pre “Goes to Camp”.


  • Bonus Episodes


  • 1.33:1 standard definition transfer
  • Dolby 2.0


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