Really Rosie (1975 TV Movie)
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I think that a big part of the enjoyment for me was the songs. They're catchy and memorable, but they also have things that kids can relate to: Chicken Soup with Rice is something kids like, and when the one kid whines "I Don't Care!" it inspires one of the songs that has stayed with me for my entire life: a story of what happens if you keep repeating 'I don't care' over and over to the things you don't want to try or do. If you don't take to the songs as a kid then it might not stick with you, but the combination of animation that has a quality that is all Sendak's - a little rough but also warm at the same time, an odd combination but that was the artist and author for you - and the music, worked for me many times over, as it seems to have for other generations of kids (whether you were born in 1970 or 1980 or 1990).
Is it perfect? I don't know, but it's all about the joys of being expressive and being a child and not holding too much inside - enjoying life, in other words, which was one of Sendak's chief concerns. It's jubilant, soulful and, in its unassuming way, masterful. I hope to show my children this special one day.
I first learned of "Really Rosie" when I was in fifth grade and my class was putting on a production of it. We listened to the songs on the soundtrack - side 2 had some songs that weren't in the special - but changed one of the lines in "Alligators All Around" to avoid racially insensitive lyrics. We watched the movie, but only got about two thirds of the way through. My task in the production was operating the flood light, but I was having braces put in the day of the performance, so naturally I was in no condition to operate any machinery. I later watched the class's production on the video that they made of it.
The main point is that "Really Rosie" is one of the greatest animated TV specials ever. A fine achievement for both Carole King and Maurice Sendak. And remember, always care!
If you missed it as a child, it's not too late.
I recall being caught up with the music from this when I was in 1st grade; my teacher had a tape and I listened to it incessantly, singing along...with headphones on! :) My parents liked hearing about that one..but I digress.
The animation for the show is a bit stilted (no worse than any Anime' I've seen!), but the stories and the encouragement for kids to use their IMAGINATIONS is certainly welcomed! Of course, with "Pierre" you get the obligatory message ("CARE!!")and that's fine. The story is told with so much whimsy and frivolity that the moral is kind of a surprise reminder by the end!
Once again, if the video of this is not for you, then at least check out the songs or the books individually. They are worthwhile on their own. Imagine my surprise when I grew up from 1st grade and found out that Carole King was famous for songs OTHER than those from "Really Rosie"! What a cool surprise.
Rosie always seemed like the perfect "babysitter" for the kids. Her way of teaching them the alphabet was used by my school in a performance for the principal. I do remember being creeped out by Pierre and Chicken Soup. The idea of a kid dying was really upsetting for a five year old. Even though it was just storytelling, I can't help thinking there was a better way to present this in a children's movie.
Otherwise, I loved this movie. The songs really stuck with me and to this day I can sing them almost verbatim. My partner thinks I'm crazy, but I don't care. Gave this a 7, only because I found out that there are actually other songs that weren't included. Bummer.
And Carole King never bothered me too much.
But pair them together and you end up with this lame special that CBS aired at least a handful of times, from the unfortunate feel-good / let's-use-our-imaginations / "Free To Be You and Me" era of the mid-1970s.
I think you had to be a little rich girl living in Manhattan to appreciate this yawner of a cartoon. Or maybe you had to be a little rich girl living in a suburb of New York. Because all the girls in my class were singing the mostly forgettable songs the next day. Then it was back to their overpriced and equally pretentious Shel Silverstein books.
Having said that, the song "Chicken Soup with Rice" has stayed with me all these years. I'm not sure if that's a blessing or a curse.
All I know is if this thing was on at eight p.m., I'd play with my Legos until it was over and come back to the TV set at 8:30 for the infinitely superior Rikki Tikki Tavi.