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In 1985, the Western Publishing Company, famous for their series of childrens' literature, the Golden Books, cashed in on the home video trend of the 1980s with a series of videos that adapted many of their Golden Books. These Golden Book Videos typically utilized the pictures from the books, with limited animation effects added (ala Flash animation), such as eyes blinking or an animal's tail wagging, etc. They also often featured musical numbers made for the video, sometimes featuring on-screen lyrics inviting the audience to sing along. The Golden Book Video series also featured sing-along videos, usually containing old public domain or original childrens' songs, with a semi-animated original story to carry along the songs, as well as the "Golden Step-Ahead" video series, which were educational videos that taught subjects like basic math, learning to read, and what school is like. These video series also utilized the same partial animation as the book adaptations did.

Some Golden Book Videos also adapted books featuring popular childrens' characters or franchises, such as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Sesame Street, the Care Bears, the Pound Puppies and the works of Richard Scarry, Mercer Mayer, and Amy Rosenberg.


These series provide examples of:

  • BGM: The majority of the background music on these videos were stock music cues taken from the Associated Production Music library, including familiar tunes from Bill Nye the Science Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Mighty B, Ka Blam!, and The Ren and Stimpy Show.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Usually added for "dark" scenes, most often not featured in the original books, perhaps most notably in What Was That!
  • Deranged Animation: Sometimes the pictures may be altered a bit for dramatic effect, or additional clips such as creepy-moving silhouettes or eyes-in-the-dark shots, are added to the story.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Sometimes familiar voice actors can be heard, but you can't be too sure because these videos never credited the voice actors, even if they are completely recognizable, such as hearing Frank Oz as Grover or Caroll Spinney as Big Bird in the Sesame Street adaptations.
  • Limited Animation: Lots of it, sometimes the only animation would be someone's eyes blinking, or a dog's tail wagging, or someone sliding by to look like the character is "walking," etc.
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