Picks and Pans Review: The Backyard Show

updated 10/10/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

There's a primitive, '50s feel to this live-action tape designed for children 2 to 8, as if nobody connected with it had heard of Sesame Street or even Pee-wee's Playhouse. Sandy Duncan, grinny as ever, serves as hostess, talking about "edutainment." She also plays a housewife whose husband is having a birthday. As portrayed by Bob Reed, this guy is an abject dolt; Ozzie Nelson was an Oxford don by comparison. The couple's two kids, if they had any sense, would be plotting to run away from home as soon as possible. Instead, they join four other children and a stuffed dinosaur-come-to-life to plan a surprise party in a dimly lit garage set. The dinosaur, Barney, sounds like Disney's Goofy and wears a big, blue doglike outfit. He leads the kids through colorless performances of a few familiar songs, many of them perverted with stupid new lyrics. This Old Man, for instance, turns into I Love You. The half-hour tape is the first in a projected series developed by Sheryl Leach and Kathy Parker, two Dallas-area women who are mothers and have graduate degrees in early childhood development. They might be better off expending their energies in the direction of those two demanding pursuits. (Lyons, $19.95; 800-527-4747)

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