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Suppliers Prepare Ho-Ho-Home Video for Holidays

9 Nov, 2003 By: Meryl Schoenbaum

'Tis the season when video store owners' thoughts turn to the movies of holidays past, present and future. And once again, shelves will be stocked with a wide array of new titles sure to bring a smile to the faces of children of all ages.

This year, kids will be delighted to find many of their favorite characters from books, TV and films featured in holiday-themed videos.

Thomas the Tank Engine chugs into town in time for the holidays in Thomas' Snowy Surprise & Other Thomas Adventures, from Anchor Bay Entertainment (DVD $19.98, VHS $12.98). The DVD includes three new winter-themed adventures. Anchor Bay also will release a special limited edition of the VHS packaged with a holiday train ($14.98). All versions are available now.

Bob the Builder builds anticipation for the holidays in A Christmas to Remember, from Hit Entertainment, available now. The video features the voice and music of Elton John, as well as an animated likeness of him. The story involves the mayor asking Bob and his crew to fix up the town square for a free concert. The DVD, with two music videos and a Spanish-language track, is $16.99; the videocassette is $14.99.

Angelina Ballerina will have little girls twirling around while watching The Show Must Go On, Christmas in Mouseland, also from Hit Entertainment (available now; DVD $16.99, VHS $14.99).

Strawberry Shortcake cooks up some holiday fun in Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Merry Christmas, from Fox Home Entertainment (available now; DVD $14.98, VHS $12.98). The story has Strawberry traveling to a magical place called Holidayland to find the perfect presents for her friends.

The Cabbage Patch Kids are in a Christmas play in Vernon's Christmas, from 4Kids Entertainment, available now ($12.95 DVD, $9.95 VHS).

The Muppets make merry in MGM Home Entertainment's It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie ($19.98 DVD, $9.94 VHS).

Based on the popular children's book, Olive, the Other Reindeer is a tale of a small dog who believes she has been recruited by Santa when one of the reindeer falls ill. The cartoon is available from Fox Home Entertainment (DVD $14.98, VHS $9.98). It's the first time the title is available on DVD.

Sisu Home Entertainment offers a touching Hanukkah story in There's No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein (available now; VHS only $19.95). The story teaches children to honor cultural differences, as a young Jewish girl learns the difference between celebrating something you believe in and helping friends celebrate what they believe in.

Hart Sharp Video has what's being billed as the first African-American animated Christmas special: Santa, Baby! (DVD $14.99, VHS $9.99). Voice talent includes the late Gregory Hines, Vanessa Williams and Patti LaBelle in a story about a young girl whose wish from a magical partridge helps her song-composer father shake his writer's block.

For a unique approach to the holidays, there's Sing 'n Sign Holiday Time With Gaia, from Heartsong Communications (available now; DVD $29.95, VHS $14.95). Singing and sign language are used to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Songs include traditional favorites along with original tunes. The DVD teaches children how to sign 14 multicultural holiday songs.

Sony Wonder has A Very Wompkee Christmas, a tale of courage featuring 3-D animation ($12.98 DVD, $9.98 VHS).

Fox Home Entertainment VP of marketing Todd Rowan thinks gift sets will do particularly well during the holiday season.

“Every fourth quarter, we like to come out with something fresh and compelling for consumers and retailers,” Rowan said. “This Christmas, we have six new gift sets.” He expects Fox's Home Alone Caper Collection gift set, which includes the first three “Home Alone” films and Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, to be a big seller ($69.98).

Another gift set in Fox's roster is the Family Fun Pack, with The Sound of Music, Dr. Dolittle 1 and 2, Mrs. Doubtfire and The Man From Snowy River ($89.98).

Rowan also expects Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Merry Christmas and Olive, the Other Reindeer to be popular with shoppers.

Even with all the new holiday films available each year, Rowan said there's still a demand for a traditional classic from its collection.

Miracle on 34th Street sells well every Christmas -- it's a perennial,” he said.

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