Toon Talk: High School Musical Encore Edition DVD
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by Kirby C. Holt
High School Musical
"Encore Edition" Disney DVD
Rating: TV G
1978 was the year and Grease was the word.
Cashing in on the nostalgia craze that began with American Graffiti and continued with Happy Days, the film adaptation of the then longest-running Broadway show Grease took the world by storm, becoming the most successful movie musical of all time, selling millions of soundtrack albums and cementing the super-star status of John Travolta.
Other youth-orientated, high school-set musicals followed, from the highs of Fame and Footloose to the lows (oh, the lows) of Grease 2 and From Justin to Kelly, but none came close to achieving the phenomenal success of Grease. That is, until a little made-for-TV movie, innocuously named High School Musical, debuted on The Disney Channel in January of this year, and that Greased lightnin’ in a bottle was captured again.
Each subsequent airing of the film over the next few months garnered larger and larger ratings, and the soundtrack set record sales in music outlets both online and in the real world, becoming the first TV movie soundtrack to top the Billboard charts ever. A sequel has already been announced, as has a clothing line and other merchandise and, in another first, an actual stage adaptation of the movie is now available for high schools across the country to produce, yep, their very own High School Musical. There are even whispers that the property may make its way to the Great White Way …
So how did this happen? How did this modest, squeaky-clean throw-back to the “Mickey and Judy School of Wholesome Musical Entertainments�? perform so spectacularly in this, the age of irony, the internet and urban culture, among other things? Perhaps the answer lies in the audience, the so-called “tweens�?, who have certainly proved their value and loyalty when it comes to how they spend their allowance money and their TV-watching and web-surfing time - how else to explain American Idol? No doubt they will be forking over some of that pocket change now that HSM has made its DVD debut, in an “Encore Edition�? from Disney DVD, available today.