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I still was listening to LPs as a kid.  There wasn't a large selection for me to choose from (that interested me, anyway--I wasn't one much for Dionne Warwick or Roger Whittaker), so there were a select few we kept in constant rotation. Chief among these was the Psalty series, which followed the adventures of a "big... blue... singing... songbook!"  While an anthropomorphized hymnal might not seem like the most appealing--or marketable--of children's characters, Psalty and his retinue of spunky children sang a lot of catchy tunes and it was always fun to sing along.

I never knew until recently that there were videos to go with the audio of the Kids' Praise albums-- and it's a darn good thing, too.  Psalty appears as a man in gold facepaint with blue Bob Ross-like facial hair, and Charity Churchmouse has flesh-colored prosthetic Dumbo ears and a '50s-style circle skirt and looks like she just ducked out of a low-rent Furry Convention. 

The album featuring Charity had one profoundly scary moment for me, when she has a nightmare that the conman Risky Rat is trying to lure her into signing a "con-trap"--I mean "contract," and make her his "slave"--er, that is--his "star."  Without being able to see Risky Rat, I was able to conjure up an image of him that was truly terrifying: a kind of cross between Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective and Warren T. Rat from An American Tail, with a little Jenner from The Secret of NIMH thrown in. 

Still, nothing would have been quite as scary as the way Risky Rat is depicted in the video Psalty's Salvation Celebration, in which the whiskers-twirling villain actually tries to prevent children from saving their immortal souls (!!!). 

Lesson learned:
Always take a talent agent's promises with a grain of Psalt.

Kid's Praise! 4: Singsational Servants.  Perf. Ernie Rettino.  Maranatha Music, 1984.
Watch Kids' Praise 4 on YouTube here (Risky Rat appears around 32:00).
Buy Psalty Kid's Praise! 4 Singsational Servants CD

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