Celebrate The 40th Birthday Of Schoolhouse Rock With Some Of The Best - And Some Parodies
My complete Schoolhouse Rock DVD is pretty well worn and very much loved. Half of them I'll never watch, sure, but the others - the classics - I'll stick on loop. They're catchy, witty and made with affection and care. The best can be surprising and eccentric too.
Here's the first ever Schoolhouse Rock number and then a little handful of other favourites and even a couple of parodies - of varying quality.
...For those not aware, the original "3 Is A Magic Number" short was a backdoor pilot of sorts, in that it aired originally the pilot for Chuck Jones' innovative but sadly on the wrong network Curiosity Shop. It was a rather personal work for Jones, and when I met him some 20 years after it's one-and-only season on ABC's Saturday Morning lineup in the 1971-72 seasons(*) he was still somewhat between bitter and disappointed about its failure. The problem stemmed from the fact that Curiosity Shop came about as a result of Peggy "Cunt" Charren's pathetic Mad Mom Crusade to make Kidvid unwatchable, and that Jones' efforts were an attempt to "beat the rush" by the networks to start retailoring/retooling/raping - yes, this is a BC thread, so I must mention rape! - the Saturday morning shows by making them educational.
...The only problem was that kids already spent five days a week plus homework in school, and Saturday mornings had been, since shortly after the Dawn of Television, a Sacred Ground where kids could watch their own programming without being preached to. As a result, Despite Curiosity Shop being accurately described as a well-done "Sesame Street for intelligent kids", it never won its timeslot at any time during its brief run. Considering it was up against Josie and the Pussycats and The Bugaloos, and in several local markets got preempted more than it was aired by ABC's NCAA College Football coverage, this winds up not being quite a shock as one might expect. Which is a shame, as IIRC, it's never been aired in syndication, nor is it available on VHS, much less DVD or Blu-Ray. Even the footage on YouTube is limited to a commercial, the series' opening credits, and about a minute of footage from one episode.
But that's where Schoolhouse Rock got it's start. Even if the music really wasn't all that much rock as it was jazz synthesis. Which is another topic of debate altogether...
(*) The Wiki article is incorrect insofar as the number of seasons was concerned. At least as far as Saturday mornings were concerned. Curiosity Shop may have run on Sunday mornings for ABC affiliates that had an open hour in the Sunday Morning Community Access Ghetto hours, but it didn't air on the then-new ABC affiliate we had here in CenTex on those mornings.