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‘Cow’ flick a real hit, Miss. dad discovers

May 31, 2004

By Gary Pettus

Watching his young son stare wide-eyed at the large animals grazing in roadside pastures, Robbie Coblentz realized you can get more than milk out of a cow.

An education, for one thing.

“Our son David, who’s almost 3 now, was about 18 months old when this started. He thinks cows are the greatest thing in the world,” says Coblentz, of the video production company Broadcast Media Group in Starkville.

“So his mother and I looked for a video about cows that we wouldn’t mind hearing and seeing over and over.

“But we couldn’t find it.”

So Coblentz made it.

He calls it Oh Wow! Cows, a 28-minute production that attempts to “educate and entertain without being obnoxious.”

“It started as just a fun thing for me to do,” Coblentz says. “I shot video on a car trip to a family wedding. I was going to put something together real quick for David.

“Then my wife Bonnie wrote a script for it. I took it to some of my guys at the office, and before you know it, we have a bona fide kids’ video.”

Cows was named a finalist this month in the national, Cincinnati-based 25th annual Telly Awards, which honors outstanding video and film productions, along with local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs.

Featuring David’s “favorite animal,” the video is designed to educate kids about cows and teach them how to spell a few rural-related words: “cow,” “moo,” “hay,” “calf,” “milk” and “farm.” Narration reinforces each word with bovine facts.

Only Mississippi cows appear in the video, says Coblentz, 33.

“We have tons of images from across the state with cows in the field, close-ups of cows, wide shots of cows. A lot of greenery. Calves in a nursery. We visited a dairy outside of Starkville, and show cows getting milked.”

Their son, David, gives the production a thumbs up, says Bonnie Coblentz, a journalist with Mississippi State University Agricultural Communications.

“We figured if David likes it so much, it’s something other kids would enjoy watching, too.” Their younger son Mark, 14 months old, bore them out.

“He’ll crawl from one end of the house to the other whenever he hears the

“When kids hit that age, animals fascinate them.”

The music, “upbeat classical pieces,” are for adults, as well as kids, Robbie Coblentz says. “We used classical music because of a study about the Mozart Effect kids are supposed to learn better when classical music is played. It’s also something adults can enjoy.

“It’s not happy, bouncy music with silly words to it.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with happy, bouncy music.”

The music of Oh Wow! Cows, says Linda Breazeale of Starkville, “is special for me as a parent.

“It’s easier for me to listen to, over and over. And I think the children enjoy it, the combination of seeing the animals and seeing other children on the video. The kids hold up letters as they spell out different words. Given that (Coblentz) had unprofessional child actors, I thought he did very well.

“My daughter (Debra Ann) is in it, though. So that may rule me out as an unbiased source.”

Oh Wow! Cows is a departure for Broadcast Media Group, which produced, among other films, One Night in March, a documentary about the 1963 Mississippi State basketball team’s flight from the state to play integrated Loyola of Chicago.

While this is his company’s first foray into kids’-video territory, it’s not the last, says Robbie Coblentz.

“We hope to have another one out in mid-summer, about horses. We may call it Horse, Of Course.”

Copyright © 2004, The Clarion-Ledger.