Ah, "Schoolhouse Rock" -- the founding fathers of the whole Saturday morning education movement. What more can I possibly say about this groundbreaking series that hasn't already been recorded elswhere 100 times over? Not much, but here goes anyway. The series debuted in 1973 with "Multipication Rock" and would add segments on Grammar, Science and America throughout the 70s. In 1984, "Computer Rock," starring the forgettable Scooter Computer and Mister Chips, joined the mix -- a year before the series would disappear from airwaves... for the time being. The era of the VCR gave Bill, Lolly and friends new life as most of the series would be released on home videos hosted by Cloris Leachman (for some reason) in the mid 80s. This is where my strongest memories of "Schoolhouse Rock" would originate as we watched these videos at my school. In the early 90s, as the first generation of kids who had spent their Saturday mornings with these clips stuck in their heads reached adulthood, "Schoolhouse Rock" experienced a revival. The old segments -- whose messages (besides Scooter and Chips) were timeless -- returned to ABC, with a couple of all-new songs in tow. A new generation of children were experiencing the innovative teachings that only Saturday morning TV could offer, Generation X was knee-deep in nostalgia and a wave of merchandising followed. From cover CDs and Subway Kid's Meals to parodies aplenty, fans of all ages were now enjoying the music and memories of "Schoolhouse Rock" and the series' place in pop culture was firmly established.
There are many connections -- both obvious and not -- between "Schoolhouse Rock" and many of the series that would follow. Behind the scenes there were talented individuals such as Lynn Ahrens, who was responsible for the lyrics and music of many "Schoolhouse Rock" segments and would go on to create "The Dough Nuts," "HELP" and "Willie Survive." The animation group involved in "HELP," Phil Kimmelman & Associates, also worked on many "Schoolhouse Rock" spots. The most obvious connection can be seen in the "ABC Presentation" clips. The character designs in "Potatoes," "Beans and Rice," etc. obviously come from the same mind of many classic "Rock" characters -- that of Tom Yohe. You'll also instantly recognize several of the same voices, such as Jack Sheldon and Bob Dorough. But the most significant connection would no doubt be the notion that if not for the success and acclaim "Schoolhouse Rock" achieved, "Time for Timer" and the other creations showcased here would likely have never seen the light of day.
Because they are all so readlily available on DVD, I won't actually be posting any "Schoolhouse Rock" clips here on the site. ABC/Disney has already done a good job preserving these clips for us all to enjoy again. Instead I am offering the opportunity to purchase said DVDs -- and a lot of other great, "Schoolhouse Rock" items through Amazon.com with a portion of the proceeds benefiting this site! How's that for a deal?