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Schoolhouse Rock! is an Americanmarker series of animated musical educational short films that aired during the Saturday morning children's programming on the U.S. television network ABC. The topics covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics. The series produced original episodes between 1973 and 1986 (with 37 episodes created between 1973 and 1980, and four created as the "Computer Rock" segment between 1983 and 1984), with a return in 1993 and new episodes airing at least once a year between then and 1996, when production of the series for ABC was halted. Episodes continued to air for an additional five years after that, finally coming to an end after a 26-year run cancellation in 1999 by ABC. This television program was often rated TV-G in the United Statesmarker.

Origins and history

Schoolhouse Rock! began as a commercial advertising venture by David McCall. The idea came to McCall when he noticed one of his sons, who was having trouble in school remembering the multiplication tables, knew the lyrics to many current rock songs. The first song recorded was "Three Is a Magic Number," written by Bob Dorough. It tested well, so a children's record was compiled and released. Tom Yohe listened to the first song, and began to doodle pictures to go with the lyrics. He told McCall that the songs would make good animation.

When a print workbook version fell through, McCall's company decided to produce their own animated versions of the songs, which they then sold to ABC (which already was McCall's company's biggest advertising account) based on a demo animation of the original "Three Is A Magic Number" for its Saturday morning lineup. They pitched their idea to Michael Eisner, then vice-president of ABC's children's programming division. Eisner brought longtime Warner Bros. cartoonist/director Chuck Jones to the meeting to also listen to the presentation.

The network's children's programming division had producers of its regular 30- and 60-minute programs cut three minutes out of each of their shows, and sold General Foods on the idea of sponsoring the segments. The series stayed on the air for 12 years. Later sponsors of the Schoolhouse Rock! segments included Nabisco, General Foods, Kenner Toys, Kellogg's, and McDonald's.

Thirty-seven episodes were recorded and produced between 1972 and 1980.

The last of the original series were four segments about the then-novel personal computer technology. The shorts featured two characters by the name of Scooter Computer and Mister Chips, and so these were the only episodes in the series to feature any recurring characters.

A 1987 production of the series for VHS tape featured Cloris Leachman opening the collection and some songs with child dancers and singers but "Three Ring Government," "The Good Eleven" and "Little Twelve Toes" were not included on the videos.

In the 1990s, the team reunited to produce Money Rock and two more Grammar Rock segments ("Busy Prepositions" and "The Tale of Mr. Morton").

In 2002, the team once again reunited to produce a new song, "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote To College" for the release of the 30th Anniversary DVD. For the new song, Tom Yohe Jr. took over as lead designer for his father Yohe Sr., who had died in 2000. Another contemporary song, called "Presidential Minute", which explained the process of electing the President of the United States in greater detail, was included on the 2008 DVD "Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection", which centered on songs relating to American history and government.

In 2009, the team produced eleven new environmentally-themed songs for the DVD "Schoolhouse Rock!: Earth ".

Episodes

Multiplication Rock

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by Animation & design First aired
My Hero, Zero 0 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design / Tom Yohe 1973
Elementary, My Dear 2 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design / Jack Sidebotham 1973
Three Is a Magic Number 3 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design / Tom Yohe 1973
The Four-Legged Zoo 4 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough (and chorus of children) Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Bob Eggers 1973
Ready or Not, Here I Come 5 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe 1973
I Got Six 6 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Grady Tate Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe 1973
Lucky Seven Sampson 7 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Rowland B. Wilson 1973
Figure Eight 8 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Blossom Dearie Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe 1973
Naughty Number Nine 9 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Grady Tate Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe 1973
The Good Eleven 11 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Jack Sidebotham 1973
Little Twelvetoes 12 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Rowland B. Wilson 1973
No shows were produced featuring the numbers 1 or 10 explicitly

In 1973, Capitol Records released a soundtrack album of Multiplication Rock, featuring all 12 songs. Two tracks, "My Hero, Zero" and "Three Is A Magic Number" had been edited for TV to keep each video within three minutes. This LP features both songs in their full, unedited forms. Also, the album version of "The Four-Legged Zoo" has a slightly different ending than the television version.

Grammar Rock

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
Conjunction Junction conjunction Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Terri Morel 1973
Unpack Your Adjectives adjective George R. Newall George R. Newall Blossom Dearie 1975
Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here adverb Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough 1974
Interjections! interjection Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Essra Mohawk 1974
Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla pronoun Bob Dorough Kathy Mandary Jack Sheldon 1977
Verb: That's What's Happening verb Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Zachary Sanders 1974
A Noun Is A Person, Place Or Thing noun Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1973
Busy Prepositions preposition Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Bob Dorough October 1993
The Tale of Mr. Morton subject and predicate Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Jack Sheldon December 1993


"Busy Prepositions" and "The Tale of Mr. Morton" were produced for Schoolhouse Rock's return to ABC in 1993.

Science Rock

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
The Body Machine nutrition Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Bob Dorough and Jack Sheldon 1979
Do The Circulation cardiovascular system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Joshie Armstead, Mary Sue Berry, & Maeretha Stewart 1979
Electricity, Electricity electricity Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Zachary Sanders 1979
The Energy Blues energy conservation George Newall George Newall Jack Sheldon 1978
Interplanet Janet the solar system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1978
Telegraph Line nervous system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Jaime Aff and Christine Langner 1979
Them Not-So-Dry Bones skeletal system George Newall George Newall Jack Sheldon 1979
A Victim of Gravity gravity Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens The Tokens 1978
The Greatest Show on Earth/The Weather Show weather Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Bob Kalban 1979


America Rock

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
Elbow Room U.S. territorial expansion Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Sue Manchester 1976
Fireworks Declaration of Independence Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Grady Tate 1976
The Great American Melting Pot Immigration/Diversity Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lori Lieberman 1977
I'm Just a Bill Legislative Process Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Jack Sheldon 1975
Mother Necessity American inventions Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Blossom Dearie, & Essra Mohawk 1977
No More Kings American independence Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens & Bob Dorough 1975
The Preamble United States Constitution Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1975
The Shot Heard 'Round The World American Revolutionary War Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough 1976
Sufferin' Till Suffrage Women's suffrage Bob Dorough Tom Yohe Essra Mohawk 1976
Three Ring Government separation of powers Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1979
I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College Electoral College George R. Newall and Bob Dorough George R. Newall and Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Bob Dorough 2002
Presidential Minute Voting For President George R. Newall George R. Newall and Tom Yohe Jack Sheldon 2002


"I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" and "Presidential Minute" were produced for DVD.

Computer Rock

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
Introduction computers Lynn Ahrens, Tom Yohe and Bob Dorough Lynn Ahrens, Tom Yohe and Bob Dorough Darrell Stern and Bob Kaliban 1983
Hardware computer hardware Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Darrell Stern and Bob Kaliban 1983
Software computer software Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Darrell Stern and Bob Kaliban 1983
Number Cruncher computerized statistics Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Darrell Stern and Bob Kaliban 1984


Money Rock

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
Dollars and Sense interest and loans Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Val Hawk and Bob Dorough 1994
Making $7.50 Once a Week budget Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg 1995
Where The Money Goes paying bills Rich Mendoza Rich Mendoza Jack Sheldon 1995
Tax Man Max taxes Stephen Flaherty Lynn Ahrens Patrick Quinn 1995
Walkin' On Wall Street stock exchange Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg 1996
This For That barter George R. Newall George R. Newall Bob Dorough 1996
Tyrannosaurus Debt budget deficit Tom Yohe Tom Yohe Bob Dorough and Bob Kaliban 1996
The Check's In The Mail using check Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Luther Rix 1996


Earth Rock

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
Report from the North Pole Global Warming Bob Dorough George R. Newall Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Bob Kaliban and Barry Call 2009
The Little Things We Do Energy conservation Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Jack Sheldon, Bob Dorough, Bob Kaliban, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009
The Trash Can Band Recycling Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Luther Rix, Bob Dorough and Eric Weissberg 2009
You Oughta Be Savin' Water Water conservation Sean Altman and Barry Carl George R. Newall Barry Carl, Sean Altman, Elliott Kerman 2009
The Rainforest Rainforests Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Tituss Burgess 2009
Save the Ocean Oceans Sean Altman Sean Altman Sean Altman, Inna Dukach, Jon Spurney, Patti Rothberg, Barry Carl and Eric Booker 2009
FatCat Blue: The Clean Rivers Song Marine Debris Andy Brick Andy Brick Jack Sheldon, Bob Kaliban, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009
A Tiny Urban Zoo Gardens George Stiles Anthony Drewe Barrett Foa, Shoshana Bean, and George Stiles 2009
The Energy Blues Energy conservation George R. Newall George R. Newall Jack Sheldon 1978
Solar Power to the People Solar energy Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009
Windy and the Windmills Wind power Bob Dorough George R. Newall Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009
Don't Be a Carbon Sasquatch Carbon footprints Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough 2009


Tie-ins

Several tie-ins were released in 1996:
  • Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks, a tribute album featuring covers of Schoolhouse Rocks songs performed by alternative rock acts
  • Schoolhouse Rock! The Official Guide (ISBN 0-7868-8170-4), written by Tom Yohe and George Newall, and including synopses, lyrics, and production notes about each of the shorts created to date, except "The Weather Show," which was the subject of pending litigation and so could not be included.


  • The Schoolhouse Rock Songbook (Cherry Lane Music), containing sheet music for ten songs.




In addition to the above, Rhino Records also released Schoolhouse Rocks the Vote!: A Benefit for Rock the Vote, a tribute album containing covers and original songs in the style of Schoolhouse Rock, all with an electoral theme. It was released on August 18, 1998.

DVD releases

30th Anniversary DVD cover
On August 26, 2002 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released a 2-disc DVD featuring 51 of the 52 episodes (the only one missing being the presumed-lost Computer Rock segment) as well as many special features. The release coincided with the 30th anniversary of the show. An abbreviated VHS, featuring the "top 25" episodes plus "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College," was released at the same time.

In 2008, DVDs of individual Schoolhouse Rock series were released for classroom use.

On September 23, 2008, the "Schoolhouse Rock-Election Collection" was released, including 14 songs about American history and the government and a "new to DVD" song.

On March 31, 2009, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released "Schoolhouse Rock-Earth", including 11 newly written and animated songs.

DVD name Ep # Release date Additional information
Schoolhouse Rock!- Special 30th Anniversary Edition 51 August 26, 2002
  • All 46 original episodes
  • Audio Commentary
  • "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" Making Of
  • Long Lost Song "The Weather Show"
  • Top Ten Jukebox
  • Top 20 Countdown
  • "Earn Your Diploma" Trivia Game (plays "Presidential Minute" once you have earned your diploma)
  • Arrange-a-Song Puzzle
  • 4 Music Videos by Contemporary Artists
  • Emmy Awards Featurette
  • "Three is a Magic Number" Nike Commercial
  • "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" in DTS 5.1 Surround
  • Three of the four Computer Rock segments
Schoolhouse Rock!-Election Collection 14 September 23, 2008
  • 10 America Rock songs, 1 Science Rock song, and 3 Money Rock songs
  • Bonus song: "Presidential Minute" (includes two endings)
  • Map of the United States
Schoolhouse Rock!-Earth 13 March 31, 2009
  • 11 all-new songs about conservation
  • Bonus Song: "The Energy Blues"
  • Music video: "The Three Rs" by Mitchel Musso


See also



References

  1. video: America Rock, packaged as commercial video, 1987
  2. Unofficial history of Schoolhouse Rock!
  3. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Schoolhouse-Rock-Earth/10753 "Schoolhouse Rock! Earth" press release
  4. Schoolhouserock.tv
  5. Dave Mackey's Guide to Schoolhouse Rock
  6. Amazon.com: Disney Education Store: Classroom Favorites
  7. http://www.ultimatedisney.com/schoolhouserock-election.html Ultimate Disney "Election Collection" review
  8. http://ultimatedisney.com/schoolhouserock-earth.html "Schoolhouse Rock! Earth" press release
  9. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Schoolhouse-Rock-Earth/10753


External links




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