The Banana Splits are back

Take a trip in the way-back machine with me: It’s a Saturday morning—early—and two young children are parked inches from the (black and white) television with bowls of cereal. Some music starts up on the screen, and before you know it, the little girl is singing along at the top of her voice. “TRA LA LA! LA LA LA LA! TRA LA LA LA LALA LA LA!” The music is certainly cheerful, but up until that point, the parents in the house were sleeping… and they don’t wake up all that cheerful, regardless of the soundtrack. Oops.

I don’t need to tell you who those children were (suffice it to say, my brother never got carried away singing along and got into trouble for waking up our parents), but times have really changed. For one thing, we have color television, now. For another, my kids prefer toast in the morning.

What?

But we all know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It turns out that the toe-tapping music that entranced me as a young girl is back, and just as infectious as ever. That’s right—The Banana Splits are staging a comeback, and Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky are still eerily reminiscent of some other famous singers you may have heard of. Except, you know, in giant animal form.

Your kids can play around on the official website, plus you’ll be seeing their music videos (“One banana, two banana, three banana, four!”) popping up on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Just try to keep your toes from tapping. And then try not to feel old when you tell your kids that you watched The Banana Splits when you were little.

You know, back in the Pleistocene Era.

Will your weekend include some Clone Wars?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars coming out tomorrow, and I don’t know what to think.

On the one hand, hey, more Star Wars! And it’s CGI, which might be really, really cool. Certainly the kids are eager to check it out. But on the other hand, Rotten Tomatoes isn’t impressed. And I’m a purist, you know? Although Star Wars was an animated TV series for a while, the movies aren’t (shouldn’t be) animated. I think.

Here’s some links to check out, just in case you want to investigate further:

I think I’ll wait for this one to go to DVD, but then again, I’m a lightweight.

The Muppets are back this weekend

Do you know what you’re doing this Sunday?

If you were ever a fan of The Muppet Show, and especially if you have kids, now, I bet you’ll be tuning in to Studio DC: Almost Live! on the Disney Channel.

Remember how The Muppet Show used to feature “famous” people that your parents often had to explain to you? Okay, maybe that was just me. But often the celebrity guest evoked a “Who??” from me or my brother. We still loved watching, every week, but we didn’t necessarily recognize the “big talent.”

Now that the Muppets are breaking out on the Disney Channel, though, I don’t think your kids will have any trouble identifying the humans. Check it out:

[Me: Ashley who?
My daughter: Moooooooooom!]

The Muppet Newsflash has more details (including which Disney stars you can expect to see doing what), but the bottom line is that Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. there’s going to be muppets doing a show.

And say what you will, I think that’s awesome. Then again, I’m a fool for the muppets. I still really have no idea who Ashley Tisdale is, though.

Muppet history, online and off

I think it’s already been pretty well-established that I am a fool for all things muppets, so you’ll just excuse me if I’m overly excited about the next couple pieces of trivia.

First, you need to get on over to mental_floss to read about the origins of some of your favorite muppets. Don’t forget to read the comments, too, as some readers contribute other little tidbits. The main article is a hoot, including the rather rakish history of one of my kids’ favorites:

4. Count von Count made his first appearance in 1972 and was made out of an Anything Muppet pattern – a blank Muppet head that could have features added to it to make various characters. He used to be more sinister – he was able to hypnotize and stun people and he laughed in typical scary-villain-type fashion after completing a count of something and thunder and lightning would occur. He was quickly made more appealing to little kids, though. He is apparently quite the ladies’ man – he has been linked to Countess von Backward, who loves to count backward; Countess Dahling von Dahling and Lady Two.

Second, I was delighted to discover that there is apparently a traveling exhibit called Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, suitable for casual muppet fans and die-hard muppet geeks, alike. I am not going to belabor my reaction to the news (except to note that it is coming to my area in the Fall, ohmigoshsqueeeeee!), but suffice it to say that I think this could provide some fabulous family fun. It’s at the Smithsonian right now, and the rest of the schedule as it stands right now has it wandering through the south and then up the east coast.

That’s a whole lotta muppets for your Monday. You’re welcome!

Little House takes to the (musical) stage

Little House on the Prairie the musical. Can you really blame me? But maybe you live in Minnesota, or are planning to visit Minnesota, and can get on over to the Guthrie Theater to check it out.

My intrigue is based on several things. First and foremost, there was nothing I loved better than Little House when I was a kid. I read my set of books to tatters, and I never missed an episode on television. As far as I was concerned, Melissa Gilbert was Laura Ingalls. I had dreams about putting Nellie Oleson in her place. And I would be embarrassed about all of this except that I know all of this was true of every other girl my age, too.

And my daughter devoured the series, too, which made me happier than it should’ve, probably.

Anyway, I think it should’ve come as no surprise to anyone that the upcoming show broke the Guthrie’s box office record:

Tickets for the Guthrie world premiere of Little House on the Prairie, the new musical based on the series of books of the same name, went on sale June 27.

During that first day, 5,461 tickets to the musical were sold, breaking all previous box office records. Previous record holders included the 2007 Guthrie WorldStage presentation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear (3,639 tickets sold in one day) and the 2006 staging of the annual holiday show A Christmas Carol (1,363 tickets sold in one day).

Right. Obviously! I mean, Melissa Gilbert is playing Ma. That sort of makes my brain hurt, but for the most part I think it’s really, really cool.