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Davey and Goliath – Volume 1 (A PopEntertainment.com TV on DVD Review)

Davey and Goliath - Volume 1

Davey and Goliath – Volume 1

Davey and Goliath

Volume 1 (Starlight Home Entertainment-2005)

OH DAVEY!…

Beloved pop culture icons Davey and Goliath first broke into the public consciousness in the late 50’s, a perfect time for their emergence against the “safe as milk” backdrop of that era. Produced by Clokey Productions Inc., under the direction of Art and Ruth Clokey (who also brought you another icon made of green clay, Gumby).  This timeless stop-action motion show centered upon the day to day travails of a young boy, Davey Hansen, and his adorable talking dog Goliath.  The series, funded and developed by the United Lutheran Church, aired throughout the 70’s retaining great popularity among the baby-boomer crowd.

(Trivia # 1: The voice of Goliath was supplied by actor Hal Smith, who played Otis on The Andy Griffith Show and also supplied the voice for Elmer Fudd in The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour.)

Utilizing original stop-motion animation, a painstaking device that required 24 frames to create one second of footage, the striking visual imagery of the show is like no other, except of course, for his similarly animated counterpart, Gumby. Sure, when compared to the high tech, savvy, computerized digital look of Shrek, for instance, this form of animation is primitive at best, suffering from minimalism of facial expressions and limited mobility of the small puppets. Yet somehow the show retains a timeless and singularly unique visual quality that is a joy to behold to this day.

(Trivia # 2: On a good day, it took an animator more than eight hours to create ten seconds of stop-motion footage.)

Digitally remastered, color corrected and restored from the original tapes, the DVD looks great and includes four episodes—“The Kite,” “Finder’s Keepers,” “Blind Man’s Bluff” and “Stranded On An Island,” plus a special 30-minute episode, “To The Rescue.” The clear standouts are “The Kite”, which centers upon the importance of teamwork and “Blind Man’s Bluff”, an amusing yarn about the perils of racism. Davey learns the downfalls of racism from Jonathan’s cousin Scottie, who does not like white people. Davey’s seemingly innate ability to get himself into trouble lies at the center of most of the D&G episodes. Acting as his moral conscience is his pal, Goliath, who only talks to him, and acts like a regular dog to all others, even the Hansen family. Routinely, Goliath helps Davey question his actions, understand their consequences and ultimately recognize the moral errors of his ways — all by the conclusion of each episode.

Throughout this DVD, the storylines, while a tad predictable and one-dimensional, succeed in conveying good, clean G-rated fun. However, where the animators truly succeed is in seamlessly masking the moral, religious and spiritual essence at the heart of the show. Whether you’re a Christian or a non-Christian child, the life lessons imparted by each parable-like episode are never heavy handed. And the proof is in the proverbial pudding. I was glued to the boob tube watching these shows as a kid every Sunday morning and I’m of the Jewish faith. Never once did I suspect that Christian values were being jammed down my throat. Never once did I feel I was being preached to or directed to adhere to Christian precepts. And it all makes sense when discovering, in accordance to the principals heading the Lutheran Church Of America, the message of each show was simple and consistent—God loves children. Kids watching Davey And Goliath see that in spite of any foibles and errors of judgment, all will ultimately be forgiven.

(Trivia # 3: Davey is the only pop culture icon owned by a church.)

Also included on the new DVD is an entertaining documentary that peeks behind the scenes at the making of Davey And Goliath.

Since the show’s premiere in the late Fifties, Davey And Goliath has become a cherished childhood icon, which harkens back to the simpler and less complicated time of our formative years. D&G has received props from such shows as The SimpsonsMad TV and Friends, all paying homage to enormous appeal of the lovable duo. Fans will be pleased to know that new episodes of Davey And Goliath are being created as we speak allowing successive generations of kids to tap into the wholesome magic of these precious puppets. This DVD will bring back fond memories for those who grew up with the show and serve as a splendid new discovery for those unaware of the endless charms of Davey And Goliath.

Ken Sharp

Copyright ©2005   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: September 14, 2005.

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