Although still in his forties, Ron Howard has been associated with a unusually large number of top films and great television shows. Six of his recent directorial successes are being released Tuesday in "The Ron Howard Collection."
The films are "Parenthood," "The Paper" and "Apollo 13," listing for $9.98, and "Far and Away," "Backdraft" and "EDtv," each at $14.98. They are from Imagine Films Entertainment which Howard and Brian Grazer formed, and are being distributed by Universal Studios Home Video.
Howard, born in 1954, has been in the top bracket of his field since childhood roles in "The Journey," "The Music Man" and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" and as Opie Taylor in CBS's classic "Andy Griffith Show" (1960-68).
That led to "American Graffiti" in 1973 and other films including "The Shootist" and "More American Graffiti" as well as the ABC sitcom
"Happy Days" (1974-84).
By 1977 Howard began his career as a director with the film "Grand Theft Auto" and followed with "Night Shift," "Splash" and "Cocoon" before starting Imagine Films and creating the films in this collection.
"Parenthood." (1988) Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen lead the way in this funny, yet touching, view of generational conflicts.
"The Paper." (1994) Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall and Marisa Tomei pack a lot of drama into 24 hours of life at a New York tabloid.
"Apollo 13." (1995) Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and the rest of the cast have the right stuff to re-enact the historic 1970 lunar mission.
"Far and Away." (1992) Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Thomas Gibson and Robert Prosky make a romantic transition from Ireland to America.
"Backdraft." (1991) Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert DeNiro and Donald Sutherland heat up this powerful drama about Chicago firemen.
"EDtv." (1999) Matthew McConaghey, Woody Harrelson, Ellen DeGeneres and Jenna Elfman lead the cast in a sharp satire that skewers instant celebrity. The video includes never-before-released bonus footage.
Ready for the growing fascination with dances of yesteryear is "Dances of the Ragtime Era 1910-1920" from Dancetime Publications (50 mins., $39.95, 1-888-854-5602). The video is produced by Carol Teten of Kentfield, Calif., who also put together "Dancetime! 500 Years of Social Dance." The new release features the castle walk, tango, maxixe, and hesitation waltz in addition to the "animal" dances of the era -- fox trot, horse trot, kangaroo hop, duck waddle, squirrel, chicken scratch, turkey trot and grizzly bear. Dances by professionals in fashions of the era and music of the times are used in the instructions, which are introduced along with historical information.