Everryone had kiddie tapes growing up. Be it a Mother Goose rhyme tape, Rafi, or some sesame street garbage, we all had these cute little $20 production cassetes as kids that taught us lessons through inspiring songs and silly voices. If you were a Jewish kid though, you had something similar but not quite the same.
Type A) The story tape; with interspersed songs.
I'm thinking specifically of "When Zaidy was Young."
This, a Shmuel Kunda classic, was the finest of its genre. This tape tells the story of the Himmelstein family, through the generations, as they grew up on the lower east side of manhattan in the 30's or 40's. Humorous anecdotes occured, many which you have to be a litvish jew who speaks yiddish to get. There was some major plot twist in which Heimy may have lost his job or something... I dont really rememeber to be honest. The music was cool also. I wanted to ride a trolly to RJJ for months after hearing that tape. Oh well. The voice acting, done primarily by Kunda himself was superb as well. And like all stories in this genre, of which when Zeidy was young is only an example, there was some major lesson learnt, like dont talk Loshon ha'Ra, or Daven with Kavana. Other such gems in this area of jewish-children tapeage include: When Zaidy was Young 2; Where's Zaidy?; the Golden Crown; and The Maharal of Prague.
Type B) The lesson tape, with intersperesed songs.
This was a little less story-like then the following group. Here, a knowledgeable, older male would teach children, talking inanimate judaic objects, and goofy-voiced, doofus adults lessons about being jewish. This would include such topics as: Midos Tovos, visiting the sick and the controversial issue of "who sat on my shabbos hat?" The format was usualy something like: 1) Someone does something he/she/they shouldnt have. 2) A lesson-song is sang to teach them the rules. 3) The kid feels bad, apologizes and gets a candy. This group was pretty abundant as well, the foremost examples being: SimchaMan; The Marvelous Midos Machine; and my personal favorite, Country Yossi, starriing Kivi and Tuki.Heres the rundown. Kivi and Tuki are aliens with voices that sound shockingly similar to Country Yossi's, except if it was computerized to sound a little sillier. odd huh? Now, these aliens come to earth and end up in the care of a single, bearded, orthodox male who calls himself Country Yossi and sings silly, effective songs. Kivi is your typical brown-nosing, yeshivish suck-up. He does whatever it takes to get to the head of the class, regardless of how Tuki will look at him. Tuki is the more rebellious one, but again, in a typical way. He dosent like to learn Gemara, or wake up early for minyan. That Rasha! However, with some simple song-singing, Tuki basically becomes Kivi with a big mouth, showing us that we all have the potential for good within. yay.
Type C)The all music tape.
This one sometimes seems like there are segmenst in between songs, but generally they are airy fluff that have no significant connection to what is about to be sung. The songs on this variety of cassete were usualy more toddler-oriented and dealt with less controversial topics. They would be more encouragement then admonishment and would not teach a lesson, so much as they would reaffirm parental teachings. these were the true Rafis and Barneys of the jewish muisic industry. there were many artists in this category but clearly Uncle Moishie takes the cake.
Uncle Moishie was and is a fat pederast with a large Mem on his hat that likes to make money by ripping off old standards and placing juvenile words in to them. he sang on such topics as: kosher, helping old people, loving your mommy and daddy, and of course, his ouvre: Hey Dum Diddle-Dee Dum. You usualy just played this tape to two year olds to get them to go to sleep or shut up in the car so Mommy can have some quiet time with her little helper.
These were the tapes I grew up with as a child. As we can see the great jewish propoganda-machine is still in full-steam. Good luck to your kids on readjusting to the world after growing up on these.