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Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Decade of Progress

Any ideas when that would have been?

I actually hate those kinds of guessing games, so I will just tell you.

The 1880's.

Now that I say that....I guess there are probably other "decades of progress" out there.  I am not sure that there is just one decade of progress.

When you look at history, there really was a phenomenal amount of stuff accomplished in that ten year period from 1880 to 1890.

We got the chance to review another video from Marshall Publishing.  

Remember, last year, we got to watch and review a documentary style video on George Washington Carver.  This is distributed by the same company.

What I will say about this DVD is that it was weirdly entertaining.  There is sort of something for everyone.  A-man loved the parts about the "wild west" and Billy the Kid, D-man loved the baseball parts, my girls enjoyed the bit about Susan B Anthony and her contemporaries.  I sort of liked it all.  There was a lot of stuff packed into the 30 minutes.

The DVD uses a mixture of live action filming, with re-enactments, and old black and white photographs with a narrator voicing the facts about the people and events of the 1880's.

One thing that I kind of liked about the DVD was that it made me a bit nostalgic for my own school years.  The narrator reminded me very much of the old films/film strips that I used to watch in school.  The only thing missing was  the "beep".....any old folks out there that know what I am talking about???  (And, no, children, I wasn't swearing with that "beep"!)

It does give it a very "old fashioned" look and sound, which may put off some people.  (Like my sister, Karen, who doesn't even like to watch black and white movies!)   

I think anyone who has an interest in history would love this DVD.  I loved it.  Rainman loved it.  My kids each loved different parts of it.  They weren't fascinated by every part of the film....but it moved so quickly that by the time they could get bored, they had switched to something more interesting.  Like the price of a postage stamp, or the president who got married in the White House (Grover Cleveland), or how Billy the Kidd died.

The 1880's portion of the DVD is only half of what is included.  The bonus feature on the DVD is an archival documentary type film about Alexander Graham Bell.  I am sort of torn with this part of the review.  I was the only one who stayed put through this part of the DVD. 

The kids really liked the first part about the 1880s. 

But, when we got around to Alexander Graham Bell's sort of started out like one of those live T.V. show thingies from the 50's....where they were sponsored by one company.....I can't remember their was sort of dark and shadowy....and dramatic.

It started out confusing....I wasn't even sure which guy was Alexander Graham Bell....the old guy, the kid, or, the man with the pipe.  Once you figured it out, it made a bit more sense....and honestly, I learned quite a bit from the 30 minutes that it spent on his life.  That said, I was the only one who sat through it.  One by one, everyone else sort of wandered off.....even Rainman.

The first part about the 1880's moves really quickly and covers a lot of information.  There is almost no way that anyone can get bored with that part.

The Alexander Graham Bell part is worth sitting through....just know up front that he is the middle aged guy with a beard and cleaning a pipe in the first scene.  It will be a lot easier to follow once you know that little tidbit.

You can get a copy of  America in the 1880s from Marshall Publishing for $19.95.  There is a brief study guide available that goes along with the DVD and covers all the important people and dates that are covered in the DVD....if you want to do more exploring on your own, or assign other projects for your kids to work on.

They have a lot of these historical/documentary type DVDs, so especially if you are a big fan of history, take a look around.  There is a whole series of awarding winning DVDs, on subjects like,  Lewis and Clark, The History of Bridges, or T.V's Greatest Comedians.

The TOS crew had other options of DVDs they wanted to review.  So, go take a look at what the other choices were, and what they thought. 

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the America in the 1880s DVD free, in exchange for an honest review.