Picks and Pans Main: Junior

updated 11/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST



When Wendy, Michael and John Darling flew out the window with Mary Martin's nimble Pan in 1955, millions of baby boomers escaped with them. For all those, this tape of NBC's 104-minute Jerome Robbins-choreographed show (GoodTimes, $24.99) is still magic. Who, after all, could quarrel with Martin's plea to "Come fly with me where dreams are born"?

Well, Kate Carcaterra, 8, for one. "Oh, no! Not that song again," she groaned when it was reprised. Nor was brother Nick, 4, touched by the fairy dust. "There are strings on them when they fly," he reports.

But wait! What about Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook?

"I like pirates," says Nick. "But he sings too much."

As for the 1953 animated Disney version: "This is much more exciting," says Kate. "Yes," says Nick. "It has a better Peter Pan who is not a girl. And the Wendy looks better." Cosmetic notes aside, Disney's 80-minute Pan (Disney, $24.99) adds sparkle to James Barrie's tale. And a more capricious Pete finds a soul mate in the fairy-siren Tinker Bell. If the songs are less memorable than in the Martin version, a few, such as "Following the Leader," are hummable.

Surprises: a Mr. Darling who might be a prototype for every bumbling TV dad, and a teasy mermaid who could double for 1989's Ariel.



The 6-foot rat onstage solemnly delivers his pompous plea that the world "transcend violence and achieve a higher spiritual awareness through music."

"HEE-AH!" screams Nick, unsheathing his plastic sword.

"Cowabunga!" shouts another hip-high fan, twirling his souvenir nunchaku sticks.

Around New York's Radio City Music Hall, hundreds of preschool eyes peer out from orange, purple, blue and red masks.

Splinter's preaching aside, music seems beside the point in the Turtles' live 40-city tour. Anyway, parents will find the humorless, terrapin-paced show sheer torture.

As for TMNT-obsessed kids: "I liked it when Shredder stealed the music," said Nick. "And when all the Turtles sang 'Out of Our Shells.' It was better than the real turtle movie, but not better than the cartoon." (Admission: $10-$18)

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