Home Alone With Malcolm-Jamal Warner (And Friends!)

In the mid-1980s, Malcolm-Jamal Warner was not just Theo Huxtable, he was the host of several child-friendly pseudo-instructional videos on various topics, from being cool at parties to a home safety video for those times kids find themselves…home alone!

Home Safety Video For Kids…Starring Kids!

And now for a whole other kind of training video of the “departure from my usual training video” type!

I’m talking a home safety video for the younger set!

In 1987, Nelvana Limited and Hi-Tops Video produced a home safety video called Home Alone: A Kid’s Guide to Playing it Safe When On Your Own.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner hosts the program, along with a cast of child actors, all of whom were actual working child actors, and none of whom appear on the box cover.

I’m serious.

Now, before we start, I have something important to get out of the way!

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Ah yes.  Now we can start!

Anyway, the actual kids…

From right to left (As they introduce themselves): Alyson (Alyson Court), Sunny (Sunny Besen-Thrasher), Mike (Ian Heath, because why use his real name?), and Wendy (Wendy Chong).

For those not in the know, Alyson and Sunny were prominent voice actors who (at the time) starred as siblings in the live-action My Pet Monster, Wendy was a regular on The Elephant Show, and Ian/Mike made appearances on The Edison Twins (Sunny played the twins’ younger sibling, Paul) and starred in the mini-series Anne of Avonlea. He’s probably the least well-known of the four child actors. Malcolm himself was playing Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show, and is the only non-Canadian of the group.

So…did he go up to Canada to film this?

The video’s aim is to teach kids how to stay safe in any possible situation when by themselves. The instruction is done through scenarios and role play, and done in a way that kids understand.

And there’s kiddie game show-style theme music and eighties transition magic. Because 1987.

What scenarios do they act out, you ask?

Scenario #1: How to Safeguard Your Key

Featuring giant keys on a string around your neck, or attached to your belt loop, and Malcolm wearing a black Halloween mask and ski cap!

Scenario #2: Kitchen Safety (Making a Snack)

Not using sharp knives, the stove, or the oven. Also featuring Alyson Court’s giant sandwich!

 

I saw My Pet Monster. The Giant Sandwich and Sunny Besen-Thrasher in the same room does not end well, trust me!

And Malcolm’s slightly evil face next to knives.

I kid you not.

Scenario #3: Person at the Door

Malcolm tries to convince the kids to let him in, and almost succeeds with Wendy and Alyson.

Malcolm: “Knock, knock!”

Sunny: “Who’s there?”

Malcolm: “Boo-hoo.”

Sunny: “Boo who?”

Malcolm: “Don’t cry, I’m here to fix the hot water heater!”

Scenario #4: Phone

That phone and its giant buttons are on point!

Scenario #5: Problems with Utilities (Water, Gas, Electricity) And First Aid

Malcolm demonstrates turning off water or gas in the event of a leak, and explains what to do if the power goes out.Malcolm reviews the First Aid kit, creating a contact list, and what to do in the event of a fire.

Scenario #6: Medical Emergency

Alyson and “Officer Warner” go over what to do in the event of a medical emergency.

And now that you know all of this, time to…

Put The Home Safety Video Details Together!

Mike/Ian and Wendy (as “Dad” and “Mom”) review all the scenarios and explanations with their “son” Malcolm.

And now that you know everything there is to know from this home safety video…

Make A Plan!

Create a plan that works well for you, practice it, and watch this tape once a month to refresh your memory. After all, Hi-Tops did throw this at the beginning of the video…

It is a nicer way of saying “BUY THIS HI-TOPS VIDEOCASSETTE!”

So, what do you think? You know the scenarios, but how about seeing them played out by our young stars?

Well, you’re in luck!

Home Alone: A Kid’s Guide To Playing It Safe When On Your Own

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Takeaways From Home Alone: A Kid’s Guide To Playing It Safe When On Your Own

1. Staying safe while home alone (especially at a younger age) never becomes a dated concept.

2. There was a time when cell phones didn’t exist, and we relied on handwritten contact lists and the home phone.

3. Alyson listened to records or the radio. A modern-day kid wants to know what a record is.

4. Sunny will get robbed or kidnapped leaving his window open and door unlocked.

(The perp won’t look like Malcolm-Jamal Warner).

5. Malcolm-Jamal Warner looks slightly evil standing next to knives.

That might be my screenshot skills, but seriously, that expression!

The music sting after each “incorrect” response makes so much sense!

And finally…

6. Giant Sandwich a la Alyson!

And now that you know how to stay safe, 1987 style, it is time to put these strategies and to work! So write up your contact list in huge letters, put your giant key on a string around your neck, and don’t answer the door for anyone!

Stranger Danger? Never heard of it in 1987!

Let’s Kinda, Sorta (Not Really) Play #4: Hydrosub 2021

But, before we “play” Hydrosub 2021…this ultra important clip show! Previously, on…these videos of me commentating over Action Max games!

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Quadruple The Action Max, Quadruple Your “Fun”…

Four of these. I’ve sat through four mind-numbing, bad special effects-laden, disasters of video game attempts that would go down in infamous history, if it were not for the fact that no one remembers this system.

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Five people watching this remember Action Max, and all its glory!

So, what exactly is Hydrosub 2021?

Hydrosub 2021: Darling It’s Not Always Better, Down Where It’s Wetter…

It’s like Sonic Fury, but without Trucker and Chief, stupid nicknames, and it happens under the sea.

You know what? Hydrosub 2021 is nothing like Sonic Fury. I just thought it sounded good.

It’s actually a submarine OF THE FUTURE adventure. You’re a crewman on Captain Jason’s vessel, and he’s like a cross between Third Rate Scotty from Stark Trek: TOS and Third Rate Leslie Nielsen. Which is actually an insult to Leslie Nielsen.

I mean, I guess he sorta looks like Leslie Nielsen, just with a goofy accent and a salad bowl on his head.

And what’s with that outfit? Oh, and there’s the crewman whose face we never see except for a “barely there” shot of the side of his face. I could make a joke about that, but there’s about eighteen minutes’ worth that doesn’t necessarily need commentary (but was fun to do anyway!).

We’re tackling the dangers of the sea, complete with robot sea creatures.

I guess fish were either not available, not high tech enough, or demanded an unreasonable salary, resulting in their removal from the finished product.

Consider them lucky.

Let’s Dive Into the Dangerous Seas of Hydrosub 2021!

Of course, seeing is believing. And since I’m huge on “if I have to suffer, so do you,” as well as mutual torture. So come, join me. Click play. We’ll watch together. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll realize this was a ridiculous idea.

I’m just referring to the scene with the submarine re-enters the depths of the bathtub…I mean Not A Bathtub!

Phew, saved that one!

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We’re getting one step closer to the grand finale of Action Max “gameplay” commentary videos. Next time, we’ll revisit my first Retroist article, and provide commentary on (arguably) the best Action Max video of the bunch.

Only because it lifted footage from an actual movie.

Did I mention that fifth one is a rare gem in terms of quantity? For every twenty copies of The Rescue of Pops Ghostly, there’s one (possibly half of one) copy of this elusive Action Max game.

That’s a story for another time, friends, so until then…

Stay prepared for ACTION!

I have nothing else, folks.

Related Readings/Viewings

Because this isn’t new or novel, folks.

The Halloween I Spent Rescuing Pops Ghostly

Let’s Kinda Sorta Play “Sonic Fury”

Let’s (Kinda Sorta) Play #3 “.38 Ambush Alley”

The Rarest of the Rare Video Game System – Exploring Action Max’s Blue Thunder VHS Game

 

Let’s (Kinda Sorta) Play #3: “.38 Ambush Alley”

Oh yes, another “I kinda sorta” played an Action Max game! This time, I’m taking my light gun to the Police “Acade” and finishing my “police training” in .38 Ambush Alley.

But First…

Previously, on Let’s (Kinda Sorta) Play…

…I didn’t have a light gun, so I improvised!

And I “played” Sonic Fury, becoming a member of the team alongside these guys…

But, before that…

I tried my hardest to rescue Pops Ghostly and his family from allegedly not-so-friendly ghosts, but was unable to save the children!

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Exciting, don’t you think?

Off to the Police “Acade”…

Good lord, I think this is the lamest one yet…and that says alot, considering the other videos Action Max made!

In part three of my five-part Action Max commentaries collection (remember, part one started over on my blog as a Halloween article), I take my light gun (not really, I haven’t had this console in years!) to the “Police Acade” and into the training grounds of “.38 Ambush Alley.” What I found was criminals with afros, a training office whose shirt was ill-fitting, and “rookies.”

Craziness could have ensued, but it was a little too quiet at the corner of Pearl and Pepper for any actual excitement.

And the targets I “shot” at?  Awesome!

.38 Ambush Alley

Police training at its lamest begins when you click play below!

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Let’s (Kinda Sorta) Play “Sonic Fury”

Ok, it’s more like let’s watch “Sonic Fury.” But here nor there, folks.

On a Sonic Fury-Like Alternate Universe…

Back in 2015, an excited writer named Allison Venezio wrote a piece for a certain retro blog. She talked at length about a game. It wasn’t much of a game – you put the tape in a VCR and connected a “console” (the console’s maker called it a “base unit”) to your VCR. You took aim at targets, and your actions (or inactions) didn’t effect the outcome. It wasn’t much of a game.

That game, however, contained decent visuals. It tried so hard. And the only reason it contained those decent visuals was because those visuals came from an actual feature film.

That game, you ask? Action Max’s Blue Thunder. The writer? This one! It was my first Retroist article, and I am proud that so many articles later (this is my 127th), I’m still with Retroist, cranking out the best of the best in rare weirdness and Chicago music.

It’s an awesome ride, which doesn’t quite describe what you’re about to read and watch…

Highway To the Sonic Fury – er, Danger Zone!

Welcome to the friendly skies of Chroma Key, where your final training exercises are being held. This training is your ticket into Sonic Fury, which is probably Top Gun Lite.

Joining you on your final training exercise is Alabam (“True” Fact: the last “a” was left off so Worlds of Wonder wouldn’t get sued by the state of Alabama), and these two enthusiastic pilots:

Your friendly neighborhood Native American pilot, “Chief,” and that old hot dog…”Trucker.”

I bet he did that for the kids.

You’re nickname for the mission is Ace, this is a nicknames-only mission, and it should be a cut-and-dry final training session…

Yeah, movies never wrap up that fast, why should Worlds of Wonder dare to be different?

Friends, let’s grab our light guns and take to the friendly skies of Chroma Key to complete our training for “Sonic Fury,” aka “Not A Top Gun Ripoff Squadron.”

The best part?  I’ll be joining you for the ride!

That’s right, my happy face is confined to the lower corner of the screen, covering up the flashing “target” placement area.

Oh, and apparently I’ve lost my mind.

And whenever you’re ready, click play and join in on the mutual torturing, littered with drones, me giggling, and the feel of a company that really thought they had something big going on here.

Sonic Fury

PREPARE FOR ACTION!

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Related Watchings/Readings

I covered one of the other Action Max games on my blog for my Halloween article, if you’re still feeling brave after your training mission for Sonic Fury!

The Halloween I Spent Rescuing Pops Ghostly – Published October 31, 2017 on Allison’s Written Words. Your supposed to save the Ghostly family from evil lurking in their friendly haunted house. I’m still convinced it was those two child “actors” that needed more saving!

I also wrote a two-part piece on my original Allison’s Written Words blog  about the system in general. It pretty much covers what every other piece on the Action Max has already said.

Action Max: The Rise and (Quick) Fall of a Video Game System

Part 1 – November 26, 2013 / Part 2 – December 27, 2013 (Don’t ask why it took a month between parts)