Join 3,413 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Contact is the secret, is the moment, when everything happens. Contact....
January 25, 2010 12:14 AM   Subscribe

From 1980 - 1988, a science education series called 3-2-1 Contact ran on PBS. Produced by Children's Television Workshop, the series was geared toward an older audience than other popular CTW offerings Sesame Street and The Electric Company, and focused on teaching kids about science, math and the world around them.

3-2-1 Contact was actually an American rework of an Australian series called The Curiosity Show.

In all, 225 episodes and 8 specials were produced. The specials covered topics like "The Truth About Your Brain on Drugs" and "What Kids Want to Know About Sex and Growing Up."

Episode Guides.

A few clips:
Light-Dark: Behind the Scenes at a KISS Concert / Noisy-Quiet: Music (Starring Suzanne Ciani) / Growth-Decay: Ultrasound/Child Birth / Pacemaker / Architecture / Tribal Life in Botswana / Digestion / Ergonomics / Arctic - Antarctic / Tennis Lessons from Arthur Ashe / Communication: Part I and Part II, and The Bloodhound Gang, which featured teen detectives who solved crimes using science.

Songs: Mammal Gospel / Living on the Edge / Endangered / Jeepers Creepers / You Are A Scientist.

There are additional videos embedded in the first link of this FPP, including one with Sarah Jessica Parker and Sandy the dog, from Annie.

Clip from the first episode, showing how the opening theme was recorded / The intro's visuals evolved over the years.

Towards the end of the show's run, one of its hosts was David Quinn, founder of allrecipes.com, who is now a high school teacher in Edmonds, WA. Original cast member Ginny Ortiz is now an acting teacher and coach in NYC.

The show also gave rise to a spinoff: 3-2-1 Classroom Contact (an edited version aimed at science classrooms.) A 3-2-1 Contact magazine was also published for middle school students, and here's a sample article on MacGuyver.
posted by zarq (79 comments total) 155 users marked this as a favorite

 
I used to love this show. Thanks for reminding me of this! PBS was the best channel on earth when I was a kid, since my parents ignored pleas for cable.
posted by shinyshiny at 12:34 AM on January 25, 2010


I'd forgotten this show existed, and still can't recall the content of a single episode, but as soon as I saw this post I could remember the entire theme song!
posted by thecjm at 12:38 AM on January 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


I both watched the show religiously and subscribed to the magazine as a kid. The impact this sort of programming can have on kids in their formative years simply cannot be understated—I believe that it is vitally important to spark that drive and passion for science and math that becomes deeply rooted early on. Without programs and publications like this to expose me to the world around me and simultaneously pique and feed my curiosity, I don't know where I'd be, but there's a very decent chance I wouldn't be involved in a technical field, as someone who self-teaches and seeks out explanations for how everything single thing around me works.

PBS' educational lineup during the mid-80s and early 90s was in no small part responsible for leeching those qualities out of me and fostering their growth, I have no doubt. Supportive, intelligent parents help to be sure, but programs like this expose kids to a wide breadth of topics in exactly the way required to flip that switch in a child's mind and allow them to realize that they're truly interested in X or Y. And thank god for that.

Suffice to say, there will be a strict educational programming diet in my house when I have kids. I still remember that damn crayons piece from Sesame Street—something simple as that reveals that the items around you are truly made and not simply born and there's a process to everything around you. (The peanut butter piece imprinted upon me as well. Thank you, YouTube, for allowing instant recall to these memories.)

Thanks for the post. I'll have to go through it in full when I'm not about to head to sleep.
posted by disillusioned at 12:43 AM on January 25, 2010 [15 favorites]


Oh, 3-2-1 Contact. This show was like Baby Mythbusters.

I have not yet clicked a single link in this story, but my crazy brain has already summoned the theme song from a deep, dark closet. It's now buzzing around in my head, where I'm sure it'll stay all day long.

"Thanks" for that, zarq.
posted by rokusan at 12:53 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


This looks like more complete footage of the KISS segment.
posted by zarq at 12:54 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


We had this in Spain on public tv (the only one at the time), i loved it. This is the spanish version of the intro.
posted by radiobishop at 12:57 AM on January 25, 2010


oh god, I was obsessed with this show growing up. As soon as I get done with this paper, I am sitting down and watching every single one of these

sidetrack: anybody know what kind of hardware one would use to make the kind of sound effects that play during the Children's Television Workshop logo before the credits? I recently rewatched Alien, with all its gloriously glitchy/farty computer sounds, and I'm on a quest for info on old awesome synths
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 1:16 AM on January 25, 2010


You'll never catch me not watching the Bloodhound Gang. Aces!
posted by dhammond at 1:18 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


omg this is awesome. thank you.
posted by pelham at 1:25 AM on January 25, 2010


Yet another topic buried under many strata of memories. Thanks for the post, I watched the show and read the magazine all the time as a kid.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:33 AM on January 25, 2010


Oh hells to the yes. Little ETW was all about 3-2-1 Contact.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:44 AM on January 25, 2010


I remember that KISS segment!

This was an amazing show, thanks. We could really use more shows like this now, although there is little on Mythbusters that would be objectionable for them I think, other than their propensity for blowing the crap out of things.
posted by JHarris at 2:16 AM on January 25, 2010


Oh wow. This show was the one bright spot of grade school for me. I had outgrown Mr. Wizard, and was subscribed to World magazine (thanks, granma!), so 3-2-1 Contact fit the bill for me, making science fun and incredibly exciting. Thanks so much for this!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:36 AM on January 25, 2010


cobra high tigers, I think some version of a Moog is what you're looking for.

This show is one of those that reminds me of when I was sick as a child, because it came on during weekdays the only time I saw it was when I was home from school. PBS was all I watched; it was that or soap operas.
posted by Red Loop at 2:38 AM on January 25, 2010


Loved this show. Most of the TV I watched as a child was PBS. (The television in my room was too high for me to reach, so my parents controlled when it was on or off, and what channel it was set to - and it was almost always PBS). I breezed through all of my high school history and science courses, an achievement test for college (European history), several college courses (e.g. history, anthropology, astronomy) because so much of the material was familiar to me, thanks to PBS.

Another show I liked, although I don't recall too many episodes, was The Big Blue Marble. Yes, it's very 1970s "I'd like to teach the world to sing", group-hug multiculturalism... but it was wonderful and inspiring as a young child. It made the world seem like a small, diverse community that was coming together and would be united before too long. And it's not a little sad to look back on that simplistic idealism for kids and realize how cheesy it now appears to our cynical, adult eyes.

That being said, the show did something really wonderful and real that had a major, positive impact in a lot of kids lives. It encouraged children to write in for pen pals. I thought it was a wonderful idea and over time I slowly started collecting pen pals all over the world, putting pins in maps to see where they lived and what was around them.

Before long I had regular pen pals in Japan, England, Germany, Italy, Poland, and India (including a few short exchanges with kids in other countries too). No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get pen pals from the Soviet Union. But I did receive first hand accounts of the Solidarity movement in Poland and the unification of Germany.

And no doubt all of those pen pals influenced my decision to study so many foreign languages in college (Italian, Russian, French, and German... plus Ancient Greek and Latin).

PBS had a tremendous, positive impact on my life, my understanding and view of the world, and my place in it.

Reminds me, I need to renew my PBS subscription.

Thank you so much for sharing!
posted by Davenhill at 2:40 AM on January 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


For years I answered the phone by saying "Bloodhound Detective Agency - whenever there's trouble we're there on the double - Mr. Bloodhound isn't here."

I didn't get a whole lot of calls. But I was happy.

Great post.
posted by mmoncur at 2:54 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


What about Square One TV? mathman mathman mathman mathman
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:15 AM on January 25, 2010 [22 favorites]


I loved this show (and I also have the theme song on repeat in my head now)! Thanks for this.
posted by biscotti at 3:16 AM on January 25, 2010


Whoa, zarq posted my childhood to the Blue. Thanks so much for this thread, as well as everything being posted in it. The theme's going to be in my head for days and I'm okay with that.

I really, really want to see the Mr Wizard segment with the mirrors under the table now. Anyone remember that? I couldn't find it on the Internets.

Lemme contribute one of my best childhood memories (I hope it's not too far out of bounds for the thread):

Reading Rainbow - Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain
posted by Mikey-San at 3:40 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh man! I loved this show, and Square One! Mathman was great - what was that math detective show they did on Square One??
posted by molecicco at 4:16 AM on January 25, 2010


moleccio, it was Mathnet, of course.
posted by Knicke at 4:23 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


At some point when I was about nine, my local PBS station was contemplating cancelling its 3-2-1 CONTACT broadcast. My best friend and I weren't going to have any of that, so we met at her house to discuss the writing of a protest letter. I have VERY vivid memories of the two of us sitting in the tree in her front yard and discussing this letter. I think we were going to close by drawing a pair of pictures -- one titled "With 3-2-1-CONTACT" featuring an excited-looking family watching an episode with lots of "Wow" and "look at THAT!" speech bubbles, and then one called "Without 3-2-1-CONTACT" featuring a bored-looking family sitting on a couch dejectedly.

I can't remember if we ever got around to sending it, but it was the first time television had caused such passion for us.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd forgotten this show existed, and still can't recall the content of a single episode, but as soon as I saw this post I could remember the entire theme song!

3-2-1!

Contact is the secret / is the moment when everything happens!

Contact is the answer / is the reason that everything happens!

Contact! Let's make contact!
posted by jeremias at 4:41 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh thank you for this! Mark , Lisa and Trini were the BEST. I am looking forward to watching this today when work gets slow.
posted by Lucinda at 4:45 AM on January 25, 2010


When I was a nascent nerd (rather than the fully developed nerd I am today), this show and Square One were my favourite shows. Thanks for this.

Mr. Glitch still gives me the creeps, though
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:58 AM on January 25, 2010


Oh wow as soon as I read the 3-2-1 the theme song came right back! This was such excellent television for kids, i'm surprised it only ran until '88, it seems like such an important part of my childhood. 3-2-1 Contact, The Joy Of Painting and Reading Rainbow were pretty much my entire childhood.
posted by ukdanae at 4:59 AM on January 25, 2010


It's the history pieces like this that reminds me how frustrated I am with PBS, where wads of sarcastic, wisecracking, irony-dripping "be your kid's best pal" bullshit have displaced so many opportunities to teach curiosity, which is far, far more important than teaching facts by rote. 3-2-1 Contact had a kind of oh-my-gosh earnestness to it, even when it struggled to be hip, and it was easy to connect with that feeling, and walk away from the TV wanting to explore and experiment with the world.

Mythbusters isn't a substitute. It's set on a different scale, and is a far more machismo-driven, sneeringly-ironic exercise in product placement.

Oy. Maybe I'm just old. Is non-ironic, non-sarcastic interest in the things you find in real life really so uncool that there's not a sliver of airtime available for programming that's not engineered to produce ADD and a lifelong suspicion that all grownups are essentially fucking with you?

At least they sent Boohbah back to surveillance state hell.
posted by sonascope at 5:05 AM on January 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


I agree with sonascape. Where is the 3-2-1 Contact for our kids? Sesame Street used to be awesome. Now it's cooing red puppets designed to keep babies from crying. Same with the rest of it. PBS kids shows used to be good "babysitters" because they were interesting. Now all they are are mini-raves for kids, just poking their sensory systems with no rhyme or reason.

My most vivid memory was when Geordi LaForge froze the racketball in liquid nitrogen and it exploded into a million pieces.
posted by gjc at 5:22 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is some music that they used during the Antarctica sequences that I haven't tracked down yet.
posted by oonh at 5:23 AM on January 25, 2010


Yes, Mathnet! Thank you Knicke!
posted by molecicco at 5:40 AM on January 25, 2010


Contact was fantastic, though there were times that it creeped the hell out of young me.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:45 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there an episode of this where some people were cheating in a bowling alley by doing something with oil, and the bloodhound gang people figured it out by wearing polarized sunglasses?

I know I saw that story somewhere and Contact is the place that seems most likely....
posted by Narual at 5:58 AM on January 25, 2010


TO: 3-2-1 Contact's Rights Holders
FR: Me
RE: DVDs of entire Series

Dear Sirs/Madams,

I would like very much to buy a compilation and or show run of your fine "3-2-1 Contact" program on DVD format. If you could secure the rights for this series for home reproduction and produce said DVD for me, I would surely buy it.

Thank you,

Me.

(Hey! There's a "best of" Electric Company DVD.. progress..!)
posted by cavalier at 5:59 AM on January 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Seriously loved this show.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:02 AM on January 25, 2010


God, I loved this show. I was in high school and college when it was on, and watched it whenever I got the chance. Thank you for a great post! I'll take a trip down memory lane today.
posted by rtha at 6:07 AM on January 25, 2010


Wasn't there a season long Humpback Whale tracking/studying segment? I remember watching this show pretty regularly, but I can never remember what was in which program back then.

Electric Company had the Spider-man bits, right?
posted by DigDoug at 6:11 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I loved this show so much that I'm sure if they could have figured it out, my nickname as a kid would have been 3-2-1 Contact related.

Also, I came across a few old copies of the magazine in a box of stuff my mom gave me (the rest of the box had an Apple IIgs and a TI 99/4a). It's still a decently engaging read for a grownup.
posted by notsnot at 6:19 AM on January 25, 2010


I would like very much to buy a compilation and or show run of your fine "3-2-1 Contact" program on DVD format.

Me too! I looked, and there's one special available on VHS from Amazon, but that's it.

This was a fun and frustrating FPP to put together. My father was a science teacher who also loved PBS and was loathe to let me watch anything else, unless a show had scientific merit, involved a Muppet or baseball. I grew up on PBS, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, science fiction and The Muppet Show.

So, it was fun and sweet to see the show again, learning more about it as an adult and hearing the theme song. (You're welcome, rokusan! :D) But out of 225 episodes and 8 specials, there are very few clips available online. When I started searching, I expected to find a treasure trove of segments and didn't. This may be due to Sesame Workshop pushing YouTube and Google Video to take down their copyrighted materials. As you noticed, cavalier, there are no DVD's, either. The clips that exist online, (other than those in the first link of this FPP,) seem to be from converted personal VHS recordings.
posted by zarq at 6:28 AM on January 25, 2010


Also, two more songs I missed last night:

Baby Time and Marsupials
posted by zarq at 6:43 AM on January 25, 2010


3 2 1 Contact was a nice way to fill time while waiting for the next episode of Newton's Apple.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:47 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


I grew up on PBS, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, science fiction and The Muppet Show..

I know it's typical of parents to "inflict" their childhood on their own children growing up, but by gods, THIS IS WHAT MY SON WILL WATCH!! MOO HA HA!
posted by cavalier at 6:52 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks for this post! I love 3-2-1. Especially the Bloodhound Gang. There used to be a lot more clips online four or five years ago.

My brother and I didn't really watch much non-educational tv (other than saturday AM cartoons) until I was about 9 or 10. When we were in half-day kindergarten we'd watch Mr. Rogers and Mr. Dressup. When we got home from regular school it was Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Square One, Read All About It, Newton's Apple, The Edison Twins. We got the Watertown PBS station and TVOntario, and that was basically it. A few years later we'd start watching Nickelodeon on vacation in the US, but it wasn't something available to us at home.

Contrast this with my sister, six years younger, who pretty much subsisted on Pokemon and Power Rangers. Other than Barney when she was very small most of the shows she watched involved things exploding. Luckily my sister was just as likely to be doing homework or playing outside as she was watching television.
posted by SassHat at 6:57 AM on January 25, 2010


I very much remember 2 clips:
The werewolf makeup one,
and the one where they dissected a pig and had to have a "graphic content" warning beforehand.

Let me know if they are ever found online!
posted by Theta States at 6:59 AM on January 25, 2010



Contact was fantastic, though there were times that it creeped the hell out of young me.


I spent much of my early childhood completely terrified of KISS, owing in part to the clip above. Being a toddler in the late seventies was no picnic.
posted by thivaia at 7:01 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there a season long Humpback Whale tracking/studying segment?

Are you thinking of Voyage of the Mimi? It's from roughly the same time. I watched it in science classes in about 1990. They track whales, get shipwrecked, and, I think, self-rescue.
Wikipedia tells me it stars a young Ben Affleck, much to my surprise.
posted by Adridne at 7:19 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


3-2-1 Contact was great. I, too, was moved by the KISS episode. I remember being bummed out when it was a Paco episode, because I liked the original (to me) kids so much better.

The thing about 3-2-1 Contact was that, even though it was educational, it was cool. I mean, I thought lots of educational stuff was cool, but I was a dork. Just about everybody thought 3-2-1 Contact was cool.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:20 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I grew up on PBS, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, science fiction and The Muppet Show..

I know it's typical of parents to "inflict" their childhood on their own children growing up, but by gods, THIS IS WHAT MY SON WILL WATCH!! MOO HA HA!


Two things.

1. Get out of my childhood. This is what I watched (at least the Muppet Show is available on DVD, and yes, it's as good as you remembered).

2. I also had the 'childhood of my parents' inflicted on me. Specifically Lawrence Welk. We watched lots of Lawrence Welk. Last summer I was flipping channels with my three year old son and we came across a Lawrence Welk re-run on one of the alternate PBS channels. I stopped for a second to remember what it was like, and my kid was entranced. He loves freaking Lawrence Welk. I was kind of disturbed.
posted by norm at 7:24 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's some 3-2-1 Contact clips available on Hulu as well.
posted by mrbill at 7:52 AM on January 25, 2010


I loved Lawrence Welk when I was a kid. It and Sha-na-na used to run on late saturday afternoons after Star Trek TOS. I couldn't get enough of the bubble machine!
posted by TSOL at 7:57 AM on January 25, 2010


This and Square One.

I really wish they'd put out DVDs so one day when I have kids I could put those in and watch it with them.
posted by SirOmega at 8:04 AM on January 25, 2010


I, too, loved this show, especially The Bloodhound Gang--that was probably my favorite part. I was all about solving mysteries.

This is a very cool post, but I have to go to work. Will consume with gusto later!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:07 AM on January 25, 2010


There's some 3-2-1 Contact clips available on Hulu as well.

If you could link, I'd be grateful. I did searches over there last night but couldn't find any, and the show's not listed here, either.
posted by zarq at 8:18 AM on January 25, 2010


I too was a subscriber to 3-2-1 Contact Magazine. The most important part of that for me was the BASIC program listings in the back of each issue. I learned to program by typing those into the Apple II at the public library. Now I'm a CS professor, so it seems to have had an impact.

I liked the Workshop much much more than Miguel and Paco's basement.
posted by rlk at 8:32 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really wish they'd put out DVDs so one day when I have kids I could put those in and watch it with them.

Let's be specific here, before the world goes all Monkey's Paw on you: we wish they'd put out every episode on DVDs, for a reasonable price.

I'm looking at you, Reading Rainbow. 21 seasons, nearly 160 episodes... and all I can find is a couple 4-episode packs for $15 a 4-pack, or an "Educational Media" store extorting teachers for $30 an episode for the rest.
posted by roystgnr at 8:47 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is not a friend in this world that has not had to listen to my spiel regarding 3-2-1 Contact and the Blood Hound Gang. Much much love...and this (previously).
posted by psylosyren at 8:53 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Voyage of the Mimi!!!! Thankyouthankyouthankyou.
posted by Theta States at 9:07 AM on January 25, 2010


I remember when the musical group Bloodhound Gang came out. I was really excited at first, then confused, then disappointed, then angry.

Similar reaction to Men on Film on In Living Color when they did the snaps in a Z formation. That Z formation belongs to 3 2 1 Contact.

Also, I remember after Good Will Hunting trying to impress people with the fun fact that Ben Affleck was the kid from Voyage of the Mimi! Nobody knew what I was talking about.

Thank you so much for this!
posted by spec80 at 9:49 AM on January 25, 2010


Proposition: Lisa vs. Trini was the Ginger vs. Mary Ann of 1980s prepubescence. Discuss.
posted by jonp72 at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mythbusters isn't a substitute. It's set on a different scale, and is a far more machismo-driven, sneeringly-ironic exercise in product placement.

Oy. Maybe I'm just old. Is non-ironic, non-sarcastic interest in the things you find in real life really so uncool that there's not a sliver of airtime available for programming that's not engineered to produce ADD and a lifelong suspicion that all grownups are essentially fucking with you?


Sometimes I feel like I grew up in a time before snark existed, and that my kids won't experience that. Perhaps it was simply that I couldn't pinpoint the defensive sarcasm of disillusionment at a young age, but I'm equally inclined to think things simply were different. Or maybe I just want it to be true, so it is.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:51 AM on January 25, 2010


I think a really good argument that being gay is genetic would be a six-year-old me, utterly enthralled by Mathnet's Kate Monday. Even now I still kind of have the hots for her, and it's been two entire decades.

The saddest day of my kiddo life was when Kate Monday was replaced by Pat Tuesday.
posted by harperpitt at 9:55 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trini and Marcelino (The Bloodhound Gang) were in the film, The Warriors. At 10 years old, I was so glad to see them get off the violent streets of New York and work in a junior detective agency or seeing how a KISS show was produced.
posted by cazoo at 10:04 AM on January 25, 2010


In an example of how much less sanitized television for children used to be, I am still haunted by a particular Bloodhound Gang episode in which bad guys kidnap the two male Bloodhounds (it is very possible I'm getting some or many details wrong as I haven't seen this episode since its original airing 25+ years ago) and throw them in the trailer of a big truck. While trapped in the trailer, one of the Bloodhounds discovers a package of mousetraps and strategically places them in such a way that when the bad guys stop the truck and attempt to forcefully retrieve their kidnapees they are attacked by a bunch of these mousetraps going off all at once. All of which is shown in its full, violent horror.

I also specifically remember getting nightmares from the "Ghost" episode of TBHG as described in the first link, the pheromones explanation doing little to console me.
posted by The Gooch at 10:08 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trini and Marcelino (The Bloodhound Gang) were in the film, The Warriors.

*blinks*

*scurries off to look this up on IMDB so she can see who played whom, because DAMN!*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 AM on January 25, 2010


Wow, does that bring back memories. Best. Show. Ever.

Thanks for this!
posted by paanta at 10:26 AM on January 25, 2010


My daughter is a huge fan of the current Electric Company, including spending many hours on the website which is pretty well done.

PBS has earned my loyalty for a life time, just passed the 10 year donation mark.
posted by unixrat at 10:35 AM on January 25, 2010


The Gooch: that was The Case of the Thing in the Trunk! Part 1 / Part 2.
posted by zsazsa at 10:45 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, we're all the same age I see. I loved "3-2-1 Contact" and watched it from the day it debuted to the day I went to college. I second the "Junior Mythbusters" comment, though I'd suggest it was, in fact, the "Ur-Mythbusters."
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:56 AM on January 25, 2010


I really liked that show. Baby Mythbusters, indeed!

Did anyone else here also write programs in BASIC copied from the back of their issues of 3-2-1 Contact magazine?

Did anyone else here also try to work on those programs even when fifth and sixth grade friends came over to your house and was confused why those friends didn't seem to be having as much fun on the playdate? /true babynerd confessions
posted by Asparagirl at 11:16 AM on January 25, 2010


I freaking loved this show with every cell in my grade-school heart. I remember the one where they tried to build a model of the solar system, and the UltraMegaSuperLamp they got to be the sun blew out a fuse; I remember the one where the kid put the entire jar of yeast in the bread dough and it went all splody, and my fire-breathing atheist father likening it to the Bible verse about how "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump;" I remember . . . trish? putting a cactus spine in a Dixie cup and using it to (badly) play a record. I wish it was still on.

I do, however, disagree that all PBS children's programming these days is pabulum. I have a three year old who watches (probably way too much) TV, and she definitely learns things from the PBS programming. WordGirl teaches her vocabulary words, and also that it's awesome to be smart and eloquent; Dinosaur Train not only teaches her about dinosaurs (they even have a real live paleontologist!) but also about the process of assembling a hypothesis from a series of observations, making a prediction based on that hypothesis, and then designing and executing a test for it. The style of the current TV is different then it was when we were kids, but I don't think it's necessarily worse.
posted by KathrynT at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I loved The Bloodhound Gang but hated that I always caught them in random order. During the week I'd see part 2 of one mystery, the solution to another, and part 1 to some boring one I saw last week. I either had bad luck or the PBS affiliate was screwing with us.
posted by Tacodog at 4:25 PM on January 25, 2010


And echoing KathrynT, I love WordGirl. I don't even have kids!
posted by Tacodog at 4:27 PM on January 25, 2010


Trini and Marcelino (The Bloodhound Gang) were in the film, The Warriors.

That's not the only PBS connection to the Warriors. The voice of the D.J. was also "the Chief" on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
posted by jonp72 at 6:10 PM on January 25, 2010


cazoo: Trini and Marcelino (The Bloodhound Gang) were in the film, The Warriors.

!!!

I saw The Warriors for the first time last week (very awesome in that late 70s way). If only I had known to be on the lookout for Bloodhound Gang members! (However, I did figure out the Carmen Sandiego connection that jonp72 mentioned.)

I absolutely loved 3-2-1 Contact when I was a kid. Just reading through the first few sentences of this post cued the theme song in my head.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:23 PM on January 25, 2010


Mmmm.... Trini.....
posted by newdaddy at 8:25 PM on January 25, 2010


I used to love this show! Remember when all the kids shows on PBS were fun AND educational? And not at all condescending. None of the shows talked down to kids. Sesame Street used to be good. The Electric Company used to be good. There was this show. Mr. Rogers, who taught us how to be decent human beings. Carmen Sandiego. Remember Square One? (Mathnet!) I HATED math in school, yet somehow I was tricked into watching a whole show about math! It seems unreal now! (Here's a video from Square One featuring Tempest Bledsoe!). And remember Newton's Apple?

It seems unbelievable, but after spending hours at school, I ran home to watch these shows... and was tricked into watching hours of educational television! Granted, I slipped some Thundercats, Jem, and She-Ra into the mix, too. But judging by the state of post-Barney PBS, I wouldn't have turned to PBS at all if I had been born ten years later.
posted by Mael Oui at 10:35 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are you thinking of Voyage of the Mimi? It's from roughly the same time. I watched it in science classes in about 1990. They track whales, get shipwrecked, and, I think, self-rescue.

Yes! You're my newest hero.
posted by DigDoug at 6:17 AM on January 26, 2010


I love really comprehensive posts like these. Good job.
posted by mdpatrick at 4:35 PM on January 26, 2010


OMG I love this show! The only one I remember is the one where they dissect a cow's eyeball, because it was so gross, lol.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:17 PM on January 28, 2010


I totally missed this post until it was mentioned in the podcast. That theme music will always remind me of coming home from school. In the DC area, 3-2-1 Contact was on during the time between school being out and dinner at my house. Watching these videos is almost like being back in the living room watching the show and smelling food cooking in the kitchen.

Thanks!
posted by jefeweiss at 6:57 AM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


« Older Os Novos Baianos (The New Bahians) played psychede...  |  Solium Infernum, the most rece... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments