Kids on Long Island in the 70s watched their fair share of Saturday morning television, and one show in particular made sure they learned a little something between cartoons. Schoolhouse Rock tacked grammar, history, civics, science and math, all presented with some catchy songs, some of which still reside in our memory banks.
Debuting on the ABC network in 1973, Schoolhouse Rock was the creation of an advertising executive named David McCall, who noticed that his kids remembered the lyrics to popular songs a lot better than they remembered things they were supposed to memorize in school.
A catchy little tune called “Three is a Magic Number” was recorded, and it was suggested that it might be more effective if presented in animated form. ABC took a chance and aired the short cartoons in between popular Saturday morning shows and Schoolhouse Rock was born.
Initially, the episodes focused on math, then ventured into grammar, offering catchy ditties such as the well-remembered segment, “Conjunction Junction.”
Then, with the pending Bicentennial celebrations of 1976, the series decided to bring American government into the mix, leading to one of the best-remembered segments of Schoolhouse Rock ever aired – “I’m Just a Bill.” For good measure, the subject of science was included in later years.
A total of 37 episodes were produced for the original run of Schoolhouse Rock between 1973-1980. These episodes were rerun on many occasions, although a number of new episodes were produced in the 90s and as recently as 2009. Still, it is the original series that is most fondly remembered by those of us lucky enough to grow up in this magical era.
Were you a fan of Schoolhouse Rock back in the day? Do you still remember how some of the songs go? I’d love to hear your recollections in the comments section below!