I don’t know about anyone else, but few things got me more excited during my elementary school years than walking into a classroom and seeing a television. The big old television sets on the rolling cart meant that we were going to get to watch some sort of video. Granted it was an educational video, but a video nonetheless. Sometimes we would get the retro filmstrips with the audio that didn’t quite line up but mostly it was one of a few educational television shows geared toward kids between 6-10 years old. As a child of the 1980’s these three shows coming up were a huge part of those classroom video days. Do you remember them?
It kept our attention with scientific content mostly created by Dr. Edward G. Atkins along with memorable sketches like the Bloodhound Gang who solved mysteries using their knowledge of science. Airing until 1988 over the span of 225 episodes 3-2-1 Contact was usually the show of choice by my teachers, except for possibly one exception.
Created by and starring LeVar Burton, who was only twenty-six when the show debuted in 1983, this series encouraged children to read. Every episode would feature recommendations of books to read, though Burton would always say we didn’t have to take his word for it. There would be celebrity readers as well during the show’s 155 episodes which ran from 1983-2006. All in all Reading Rainbow would be the third longest running children’s series behind only Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and Sesame Street. It would claim twenty-six Emmys including eleven for Outstanding Children’s Series before it was said and done.
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