"Mother Goose Rock 'N' Rhyme"

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Here's a fun puzzler for your pub trivia night: Where can you find Little Richard, the Stray Cats, Debbie Harry, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel all working together on a 1990 musical project?  Nope, it's not Band Aid.

What if I tossed in Ben Vereen and Pia Zadora for good measure?  Or, just for kicks, Shelley Duvall, Woody Harrelson, Katey Sagal, and Cheech Marin?  Still stumped?  There's a Dweezil Zappa cameo in there too...

The film is Mother Goose Rock 'N' Rhyme, a former staple of Disney channel daytime programming in the early nineties.  And if you've ever wondered at the possibility of bestiality between Mary and her Little Lamb, this is the movie for you.

The basic story is that Mother Goose has been kidnapped and her son, Gordon Goose, tries to rescue her with the help of the "Rhymies" who inhabit Rhymeland.  Gordon feels superior to the Rhymies because he believes himself to be Mother Goose's biological son, but at the end he learns he is simply a product of one of Mother Goose's earlier, less memorable poetic endeavors and his entire life has been a lie.  ("What was that, sweetie?  No, of course you're not secretly adopted!  Wherever did you get that idea?  Have you been watching that movie again?"  As a child, I remained skeptical.)

Bobby Brown plays all three blind mice (what, Stevie Wonder wasn't available?), and ZZ Top play the three men in a tub, although strangely, given that they're in a film that promises both "rock" and "rhyme," they never sing or play any instruments, just silently point.... and float along in their tub.  Very odd.

But the most terrifying part has to be when Gordon is banished to the castle dungeon by Old King Cole and is shackled to the wall and tortured by a metal band whose aesthetic falls somewhere between Gwar and KISS.  (Just follow the bouncing ball to sing along--it's an interactive torture experience, kiddies!  Sample lyric: "You've been a BAD BOY, a VERY bad boy, / we'll have to PUNISH you!")  

Apparently they are called "The Dank," which is actually kind of awesome, and the lineup includes the lead guitarist for Ratt.  Then, because being subjected to karaoke-ready dungeon death metal Guantanamo Bay-style somehow hasn't cheered Gordon up enough, he is tickle-tortured by two creepy clowns in yellow fright wigs.  And this is a kids' movie?

Lesson learned:
After The Shining, Shelley Duvall must have wanted to tackle a really dark film for a change.

Mother Goose Rock 'N' Rhyme.  Dir. Jeff Stein. Perf. Shelley Duvall, Dan Gilroy, Jean Stapleton.  Disney, 1990.
Mother Goose Rock N Rhyme [VHS]
Sing along with the terrifying dungeon song on YouTube here.

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