If you spent your childhood on Long Island in the 70s, and especially if you watched TV when you stayed home from school, you will likely remember Carole and Paula, two hippie-esque women who sang songs and frolicked with pink puppets each weekday on The Magic Garden. A local favorite for over a decade, this charming kid’s show certainly left an impression.
Debuting in 1972, The Magic Garden aired on the local WPIX station and was shown exclusively in the New York area. The stars of the show were Carole Demas and Paula Janis, two real-life childhood friends who grew up to become New York City schoolteachers.
Together, they developed the concept for the series and the design of a prop-filled colorful set just begging to be explored.
Each week, the pair interacted with young viewers in the garden by singing folk songs on swings, acting out classic stories, and telling jokes even the youngest viewer could appreciate. They were joined on occasion by a pink, mischievous squirrel named Sherlock and a giggling bunch of flowers known as the “chuckle patch.”
A large chest called the “story box” was filled with props that were used to present plays, and a “magic tree” helpfully lowered objects from the sky from time to time.
If it all sounds a little surrealistic, it most certainly was, but in a fun way – and it brought in young fans by the millions. The Magic Garden ran for 12 years, garnering a number of citations for excellence in children’s programming along the way.
Carole and Paula even managed a Grammy nomination for an album of Magic Garden songs. And, in 1994, a decade after going off the air, a whole new generation of youngsters were introduced to The Magic Garden thanks to the series being rebroadcast on Nick Jr.
Millions of former kids grew up watching this captivating 70s show, enthralled by the friendly duo of Carole and Paula and their magical surroundings. If you were one of them, you’ll be happy to know that the pair remain close friends to this day and still make public appearances to meet their appreciative fans and promote The Magic Garden. It’s nice that some things don’t change.
Did you spend part of your childhood watching this daytime children’s show? I’d love to hear all of your Magic Garden memories in our comments section below.