Turn on the power!

I’m tired, fighting off a cold, and depressed by the passage of the so-called "Deficit Reduction Act" (somehow I don’t think they’re going to call the tax cut bill the Deficit Expansion Act).  I suppose we could claim a moral victory that it only passed by a single vote, and that with a fair amount of arm twisting, but that doesn’t strike me as much comfort for the families getting kicked off of Medicaid.

So, here’s a bit of total fluff:

I got an email last week letting me know that a 4-DVD set of the Electric Company is being released next week, and offering me a review copy.  I accepted with enthusiasm, having fond, but vague, memories of it from my childhood.  As far as I can tell, it hasn’t been available until now, so I’m looking forward to seeing whether it stands up to the test of time — and whether my kids like it.  I’ll post a review when I get it, but if you know you want it, you can preorder it from Amazon.  (And yes, my husband and I are totally in the target demographic for this — we already have the complete Schoolhouse Rock.)


1) Dawn at this woman’s work has a much more thought out post about the Electric Company. 

2)  My review copy came today and we watched the first two episodes this evening.  D watched with enthusiasm, and asked for more when the first episode ended.  I’m surprised at how little my memory was jogged.  I don’t know if they ran reruns — if not, it’s quite likely that I only saw the later episodes.  (Without giving away my exact age, I will say that the compilation includes the episode that was run on the day I was born.)

3)  It’s quite fascinating comparing The Electric Company with its modern counterpart, Between the Lions.  Some parts of BtL (Sam Spud, Cliff Hanger) seem to be direct riffs off of ideas from TEC.  The big difference is that each episode of BtL is organized around a story as well as as a phonic element.  It seems that TEC was more of a true variety show, with no real plot. 

12 Responses to “Turn on the power!”

  1. amy Says:

    Look! Up in the sky!
    hot damn! thanks for the link. My assumption had been that CTW or whatever it is these days hadn’t wanted to release the old stuff because then everybody’d be able to see that children’s TV is much better when the creators are stoned and/or unmolested by pedagogues.
    I watched Bob sing a very sweet song about friends with Elmo the other day, and it occurred to me that you never see teeth like Bob’s on TV anymore. He’s got to be headed for 60 by now, and he’s got normal-people teeth, all crowded & bunchy & uneven & yellowish. I don’t think Sesame Street would hire an actor with teeth like that these days.

  2. Megan Says:

    I remember some bits of “Electric Company” with great fondness. Rita Moreno, Gene Wilder, Bill Cosby, and most fun of all, a very young Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader!

  3. jackie Says:

    we’ve got scholhouse rock too, but haven’t tried it out yet on the kids, I think they’re still a bit too young. but electric company! whoo!

  4. Moxie Says:

    Preordered it for my husband for Valentine’s Day. We already have the first season of The Muppet Show.

  5. Anneke Says:

    I remember the music being pretty cool. And Spider-Man really stands out in my memory, for some reason – I still remember the theme song – “Spider Man! Where are you comin’ from – Spider Man! Nobody knows who you are!”

  6. Meredith Says:

    I often feel sorry for the up and coming generation of kiddies. Dora the Explorer doesn’t hold a candle to Schoolhouse Rock, the Electric Company or even Zoom!
    How are these kids going to turn out with today’s offerings. I still can recite the preamble to the Constitution because of schoolhouse rock….

  7. amy Says:

    Ew, Dora. I won’t let my kid watch her. Don’t need no pre-softening for mindless video games, thanks. Dora’s on the current batch of diapers, and while A. doesn’t know Dora’s name, she occasionally says, “You don’t like that show.” That’s right, kid. Go watch some flaky lions instead, or better yet, tell me a story.
    I’m turning off Clifford these days, too. If we’re going to have a Protestant minister, I’d rather we have Mr. Rogers, and not carefully subliterate whiteboy doggies.

  8. Phantom Scribbler Says:

    “It’s the plumber! I’ve come to fix the sink!”
    Yeah, it’s been in my Amazon shopping cart since the day the release was announced. Immediately! Immediately! Immediate-l-y!
    (An aside to Amy: I’ve trained my son carefully so that he now agrees, “Mama, isn’t Clifford a stupid show?”
    Can I get an amen?)

  9. Mrs. Coulter Says:

    Now if only they could release the collected Bloodhoung Gang on DVD, my life would be complete.

  10. Danigirl Says:

    Oh happy day!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this important public service announcement. Electric Company was my all-time fave show when I was a kid, and I’ve often wondered whether I just imagined it, it’s become so lost to the mists of time.

  11. amy Says:

    Oh, boy, has that plumber fixed my sink!
    I’m so happy, I’m so happy, I’m so happy. This show is so good, so much better than anything that’s on now, except possibly Arthur & Buster. Loose and free from the fill-in-the-outline preprogrammed nonsense that Sesame Street works by now. And I never laugh like this at the carefully moderated, carefully scripted jokes in current PBS kids’ shows. We started with the 3rd year, and the last sketch, “Love of a Chair”, was beauty. Could’ve come from any No Shame show. Made zero sense and was terribly melodramatic.

  12. amy Says:

    oh, and no preaching. Some stern “No Littering” lectures (what was it with littering? Was it only NYC that was a giant garbage scow in the 70s, or was litter a national scourge?), but no Global Preverbal Simp or other such baloney. Though I do remember something funny about Jonathan Livingston Seagull…maybe I’m hallucinating.

Leave a Reply

six + = 10