Once upon a time, in a land not so far away (depending on who you ask and how good your memory is) a crazy creative classroom convened on Saturday mornings. Lessons were short and sweet and silly -- never subversive. The school rules were fast and loose -- pajamas were totally acceptable attire and eating during class was not only permitted, but encouraged. The best part -- we were happy to attend.
And betcha you still remember stuff you learned... like the function of a conjunction. Or how a bill becomes a law.
Schoolhouse Rock. Setting learning to music and kooky cartoons.
In the early 1970s, advertising executive David McCall was concerned that his then 11-year-old son was having trouble memorizing his multiplication tables -- but he also observed that his son knew all the words to every rock song on the radio. To McCall, the solution seemed obvious: why not marry pop music with information kids needed to learn?
And the rest, as they say, is television -- and educational -- history. Schoolhouse Rock was born. McCall worked with his ad agency's creative directors, George Newall and Tom Yohe, on scripts and storyboards. They hired jazz pianist Bob Dorough to compose a song based on the multiplication tables, and the result was "Three Is a Magic Number." The trio took the concept to then-head of ABC Children's programming Michael Eisner (yep, that Michael Eisner) who snapped it up and asked for more.
Kids soon began singing along to favorites like "Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?" and "Interplanet Janet" -- and in the process learned about everything from how a bill becomes a law to how the body's circulatory system works.
Schoolhouse Rock originally aired on the ABC Television Network from 1973 to 1985. This classic series of three-minute educational vignettes combined animation, hip music, and catchy lyrics to tackle lessons in American history, the rules of grammar, multiplication tables, science, government, and finance. Its toe-tapping lyrics entered a generation's lexicon and, four Emmy Awards later, its melodies are still a pop-culture frame of reference common to an astounding number of under-30 Americans (From ABC Classroom Connection--Summer 1995)
So here’s a little refresher course for y’all -- and it’s just for fun. No pop quiz at the end. Promise.
How a Bill Becomes a Law
Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here
Time for Timer (not technically part of Schoolhouse Rock, but also ran around the same time period)
Three is a Magic Number