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date: 12 December 2019

Schoolhouse Rock!locked

  • Jonas Westover

Extract

Animated series of educational programs. It was the brainchild of advertiser David McCall, who initially intended to produce educational songs and was convinced by animator Tom Yohe to pitch the concept as an animated television series. Yohe remained with the project, ensuring the show’s hand-drawn look stayed consistent. The first animated short, part of a series devoted to “Multiplication Rock,” was sold to ABC, and it aired as part of the studio’s Saturday morning children’s television lineup. Eventually, Schoolhouse three-minute shorts would be shown multiple times each Saturday and Sunday morning. In addition to mathematics, grammar, and American history, other topics addressed the US legislative system (the frequently parodied “I’m just a bill”) and matters of science (“Electricity, Electricity”). The music for the series relied on popular music styles to aid with learning: “Conjunction Junction” incorporates blues, “Verb: that’s what’s happening” uses funk, and “Busy Prepositions” relies primarily on the jazz idiom. The series also incorporated clever musical references to well-known pieces. Much of the music and lyrics were written by Bob Dorough, the principal singer and narrator for the series. Frequent collaborators included Lynn Ahrens and George Newall. The show aired until ...

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