Picks and Pans Review: Music on Video

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST


The title is misleading, but this series of four hour-long videotapes is pure fun for fans of '40s pop music. Produced, written and affably hosted by film critic Leonard Maltin, it repackages short musical films—"soundies"—that played in jukebox-like devices. These primitive videos were mostly straight performances, though the urge to strew flouncy models about was strong even then (look at the young lovelies perched on Fats Wallers piano or sashaying around Will Bradley's band). The singers were no better at lip-synching then, either. The tapes show the era's best musicians—Ellington, Basic, Nat King Cole, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong—as well as such lesser bands as Glen Gray's and Lawrence Welk's. There are also curiosities: Alan Ladd singing (quite nicely) with Rita Rio and her All-Girl Orchestra, say, or Doris Day, then 17, singing (very nicely) with Les Brown. This is just the thing for those reconsidering their rug-cutting, zoot-suited youth, and it s fun for younger folks too. (RCA, $16.98 each)

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