Lois Alter Mark
July 22, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Fredrick Levine had a blast making 1991’s Road Construction Ahead, a homegrown video for toddlers, filled with on-the-scene footage of bucket loaders and big rigs. But even a hard hat hasn’t protected him from the onslaught of rivals he has had to deal with since Road‘s astounding success. The video has sold 250,000 copies.

”They’re the bane of my existence,” the 38-year-old producer-director says of his competitors. ”One [Warner Music’s A*Vision, the label behind ”There Goes a Bulldozer” and the new ”There Goes an Airplane”] went so far as to lift my ‘Road Construction Ahead’ sign and stick it on their box cover.”

Dismissing these charges, A*Vision president Stuart Hersch says, ”Saying we copied his idea is like saying Hanna-Barbera copied Disney because they both do animation.”

Clearly, this kidvid field is heating up, so Levine relies on his role as real-life dad to stay competitive. Originally inspired by his children’s awestruck reaction to a Sesame Street snippet featuring ”a bulldozer pushing around some dirt,” Levine has plans for eight more titles, many suggested by Miles, 6, and Ian, 8 (2-year-old Mariah is still too young to collaborate). Keeping an eye on his kids seems to have really paid off.

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