Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Monkees

Classic Nick Wednesday – The Monkees
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hey guys,

I know I haven’t been doing too many Classic Nickelodeon Wednesday posts but I’ve been so busy I just haven’t had the time to do them anymore but I wanted to share with you something I just recently found out.

The Family Net channel has started airing two hours of The Monkees on Saturday mornings! Now some of you may ask what a 60’s television series has to do with 80’s Nickelodeon but I promise you The Monkees were a big part of 80’s Nickelodeon.

The Monkees originally aired on NBC from September 1966 to March 1968 with 1986 marking the group’s 20th anniversary. MTV celebrated Monkeemania by airing a Monkees TV show marathon ("Pleasant Valley Sunday") on February 23, 1986 then Nickelodeon joined in the fun by airing the original series daily. Between the two stations Monkeemania was reborn and The Monkees were a hit once again as their original albums began selling again including their greatest hits collection reaching platinum status.

That same year original members Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork released “That Was Then, This Is Now” with Davy Jones joining them a bit later when they released “Heart and Soul.”

The Monkees - That Was Then, This Is Now

Saturday, October 11, 2014

In Search of Saturdays

Welcome to “In Search of Saturdays" a space I’ve designed to help members find those long lost movies, cartoons, TV shows, toys, games and anything else that we’ve all been looking for, for a very long time. 

The instructions are simple. Post your personal “looking for” list here and we’ll all see if we can help you find what you’re looking for.

If you can’t remember the name of a show or toy that’s alright, post what you can remember and maybe someone here will be able to tell you what it is. Also please remember that if you are listing television shows or movies please let us know if you are looking to purchase these shows or if you just want to watch them online. Then we, the members of the group, will help try to help each other and go “in search of” those items for our fellow members. 

A good places to start our searches is iOffer ( ) which, in my opinion, is better than eBay b/c you can find lots of shows there that you can’t find anywhere else. 

This is a list of the Classic Nickelodeon programs that I’m looking for to purchase. Please note that I am a private collector who does not copy and resell my collection. The videos and DVDs that I collect are for my own private viewing here in my home or my Mother’s house where I originally saw them. If you have any of these and would like to sell me copies – for my private viewing – please contact me at     Also, IF you contact me via email PLEASE PUT THE NAME OF THE SHOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE. Thank you.

***** NON VIDEO ITEMS *****Muppets Magazine 1982
People Magazine – recent issue – no date – Marc Summers’ article
Any 80’s women’s or children’s magazines
Early to Mid 80’s TV Guides

Dusty's Treehouse
Hocus Focus
Kids’ Writes
Nick Rocks Video to Go
Pinwheel – more than just the 6 hrs that’s currently available
Science International (aka) What Will They Think of Next?
Spread Your Wings
Standby...Lights! Camera! Action!
Studio See

The Adventures of the Mole
Bunny in the Suitcase
Emily (Emilie) (my favorite)
Hattytown Tales
Magic Coco
The Magic Roundabout 

Beware, Beware My Beauty Fair
Clarence & The Ottaway (staring Billy Hufsey)
Kids’ Writes
Silver City (The Righteous Apples special)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paddington Bear – 'Collector's Edition'

Classic Nick Wednesday – Paddington Bear – 'Collector's Edition'
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paddington Bear - 'Collector's Edition' Combines '70s Show and '90s Show on DVD!
Posted by David Lambert – 9/29/2014

3-disc set from Mill Creek will be out in late November, a month before the new film hits theaters!

Back in 2011, we told you how Mill Creek Entertainment was releasing a couple of DVD sets with the original 1975 stop-motion animated series of Paddington Bear. We also reminding you at the time how the cartoon version of The Adventures of Paddington Bear, which aired in the '90s, had already been on DVD since 2002. Now, with the new Paddington motion picture coming to theaters on Christmas Day 2014, the folks at Mill Creek are putting together a special new release of Paddington Bear - Collector's Edition, with both TV shows together!

Here's the studio description:
Everyone s Favorite Curious and Cuddly Bear! Based off the acclaimed books by Michael Bond, Paddington Bear has captured the imaginations and hearts of young and old around the world for generations. Dressed in his characteristic blue duffle coat and oversized hat, the helpful and cuddlesome Paddington has a gift of putting his paws where he shouldn’t, creating hours of hilariously sticky situations!

A stow-away from darkest Peru, Paddington eventually finds himself alone in Paddington Station, a tag around his neck reading: Please look after this bear. Thank you. When the Brown family takes him home, they get a lot more than they bargained for. This cuddly DVD collection features all 56 episodes and all three-half hour specials of the original stop-motion production along with 13 episodes of the animated series The Adventures of Paddington Bear.

The 3-DVD set will cost just $14.98 SRP, and is available in stores on November you a full month to enjoy these shows with your kids before the new film hits the box office. Here's a look at the package art.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to Back Book Binding by Heidi Swapp

I love this video! When I was a little kid, about 100 years ago back in the 70’s, I use to glue notebook paper together to make “catalogs” or books. I wrote the word “Sears” on the cover then drew people on the inside with different clothes. I also drew a table and chairs and different things. I wanted to do and be everything back then, a writer, an artist, a photographer, a teacher and I’ve pretty much done all of that now. God is good!

Well anyway I LOVED THIS PROJECT and I can’t wait to make some! I’m a huge fan of the musical CATS as well as Doctor Who, early 80’s Nickelodeon  and a few other things so I can see TONS of possibilities for this kind of project.

OH and ya know what, these would be cute to do for each of your children for all of the holidays as well! I’m a writer but I don’t have children but this would still be cute for a parent to write a short story for their children and past it inside a book like this. OR the child could use it for a mini scrapbook for their favorite TV show (I know a little girl who’s CRAZY about Doctor Who) or the kids can write their own stories in them! Oh my goodness SOOO MANY IDEAS!!!!!

My Craft Channel: Back to Back Book Binding by Heidi Swapp

Okay guys, I know that this is a craft video and it has nothing to do with the subject at hand BUT… Wouldn’t it be fun to create a book like this for any fandom you’re a part of? (I’m posting this too many groups so bear with me.)

You could make a book like this for:
The Tomorrow People (any version)
Doctor Who
Phantom of the Opera
Sha Na Na
The 80’s
Early 80’s Nickelodeon

You could make books like this for any TV show or group or movie or whatever you’re into or you could skip all of that and just make them for your family and / or friends, holidays or anything you like. These would be cute to do for each of your children for all of the holidays as well! I’m a writer but I don’t have children but this would still be cute for a parent to write a short story for their children and paste it inside a book like this. OR the child could use it for a mini scrapbook for their favorite TV show (I know a little girl who’s CRAZY about Doctor Who) or the kids can write their own stories in them! Oh my goodness SOOO MANY IDEAS!!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Interview with George James

Classic Nick Wed. – 
Interview with George James
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

As promised here is the long awaited interview with Mr. George James who played “Jake” on Nickelodeon’s long running show, Pinwheel.

A very special thank you goes out to Mr. Andy Anderson who helped me with this interview by submitting his own set of questions which were integrated into this inventive.

I would also like to send out a very special and loving thank you to Mr. George “Jake” James for sending me that very first email and for his time in answering these extensive interview questions. Andy and I didn’t make it easy on him but he’s a very lovely man who graciously gave us a bit of his precious time. Thank you Mr. James. :)

PSC: What were you doing before you became an actor?

GJ: From as far back as I can remember I had certain passions. I say passions because my interests were far from casual. These passions were music, nature, musical theatre, theatre and horses and not necessarily in that order. I played the trumpet as a youngster, listened to everything from Gershwin to Ray Charles to Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Bernstein, as well as the pop and country music of the day. My father was very theatrical having been a child actor on Broadway. Although very shy, I had a fascination with reading and writing poetry and how something well-crafted could evoke and express feelings. I usually had leading roles in performances during my early years in school. My mother was a heavy influence with frequent outings to the symphony, movies and theatre. Both parents were very culturally minded.

AA: How did you become interested in performing and composing music? What is your musical background?

GJ: As I have mentioned I had great support and exposure from my parents when it came to music and the performing arts. I started playing the trumpet at the age of 7 and took part in plays and reciting poetry at the same time. It was strange because I was indeed very shy but almost compelled to express myself in these ways. I remember seeing West Side Story and The King and I and being totally fascinated and captivated by the power created by the marriage of music, words and story. How these elements when artfully put together could make one laugh, cry and feel something deeply universal to all who witnessed. It was magic!…and something I wanted to do.

AA: What inspired you to get into acting?

GJ: Acting is something that has always been somewhat illusive to me. I was a theatre student at Hofstra University but acting wasn't my focus. The study of voice and the part that music played in producing good theatre were more interesting to me. Although I thoroughly enjoyed reciting Shakespeare and expressing myself vocally, I wouldn't consider myself an actor in the classical sense. On Pinwheel I was pretty much myself, just believing in the characters that I interacted with. From time to time I would be a character that the writers created like the Game Show Host or the Yeti but most of the time I was pretty much myself.

PSC: How did you first hear about Pinwheel and what made you decide to audition? Can you tell us what the auditioning process was like?

GJ: My friend, noted music producer, John Simon, heard that Warner Communications was looking for a person of some ethnicity to help develop a children's show for their CUBE project which was the first attempt to create programming for the network of cable companies across the country. They were looking for someone who could act and write songs as well as produce the songs and music for the show. He gave them my name and I received a call asking if I would like to audition. For the audition they asked if I would write a song and come to their offices at Rockefeller Plaza and perform the song that I had composed. I was thrilled by the opportunity and wrote a series of songs called The Dream Songs. About 5 songs with the same melody and different words about imagining that you were different animals. They taped me singing these songs and I went home and waited. After about two days I got a call asking If I would (come) one to their offices to discuss being part of this project. They already had the name of the show, Pinwheel, but nothing else. This was a happy day and the beginning of many happy times.

PSC: Can you tell us about the development of Pinwheel? What sparked the idea for it? Was it an individual or a group of people?

GJ:  Well I believe that the idea for a young children's show for the CUBE project came from Dr. Vivian Horner who was also connected with Children's Television Workshop and the Electric Company. Dr. Horner was the executive producer and Sandy Kavanaugh was the producer of the yet undeveloped show. Andrea Cvirko and Gabi Lopez were also on board as assistant producers. The talent, as we were called, on the development team consisted of Brad Williams (puppet creator and art director) and myself. We would meet at the Warner Communications offices about four times a week and toss around ideas. This was the development team at the very early stages of Pinwheel. The result of these meetings was the 1977 production of Pinwheel for the CUBE project in Columbus Ohio. The later more developed productions were done in New York a few years later. The New York productions are the ones most people are familiar with.

PSC: Looking back we see that Pinwheel taught children simple life lessons, was that the original intent of the writers or did it just turn out that way? If intentional did the writers work with professional educators just as Bill Cosby had done with the Fat Albert cartoon series?

GJ: I think that it would be correct to say that it was the original intent for Pinwheel to teach simple life lessons and to have a positive message in general. We didn't have as strict a curriculum as Sesame Street where reading and preschool academic skills along with life experiences were researched and organized. We were more loosely pointed toward positive interpersonal relationships, self-expression and conflict resolution. The direction of the scripts and character development were overseen by the Producer and head writer. The cast, staff and crew were comprised of people whose hearts and minds were in a good place and that is basically what gave life and energy to the show.

PSC: A lot of people compare Pinwheel to Sesame Street, is that a fair assessment? If not, how was Pinwheel different from Seamy Street?

GJ: I mostly answered this question in the last paragraph. Many of the people involved in Pinwheel came from The Children's Television Workshop which produced Sesame Street so naturally there are commonalities. The target audience and ideals were also the same and with Sesame Street being such a great invention and model we all wanted the same feelings of inclusion and universality.

AA: Can you tell us about the character of “Jake”? Was he a set character or did you help to develop him?

GJ: Jake is actually my middle name and as I stated before he is basically me. I've always thought that if you want an elephant don't get a giraffe to play one…get an elephant to play one. I guess that's what happened here. Children's television had always been a place that I wanted to go to. Children's entertainment was also something that I had given quite a bit of thought to. I really disliked any condescending elements in children's programing and saw Jake and Pinwheel as an opportunity to present myself and the music with a sense of respect and integrity of the audience. Being African American this took on an even more special meaning.

PSC & AA: You wrote and performed many of the songs on the show, were there any guidelines for composing the music and songs for Pinwheel?

GJ: Everything was left up to me as far as the songs were concerned. I tried to have everyone involved in the music with a special musical spot for each character. I firmly believed that the music for such a young audience should be totally appropriate for an older audience as well. Only the lyric content should have certain considerations.

PSC: Was there ever a Pinwheel record album or songbook, for the general public to purchase that is? If not, why not?

GJ: There was a Pinwheel Songbook and I have no idea what happened to it. Nickelodeon changed hands and companies many times and I think that many things got lost in the shuffle.

PSC: Going off that last question, there are many (MANY) fans who would like to know what happened to those songs? Do you still have them? Have you ever thought about producing a Pinwheel CD of your own?

GJ: I do have copies of a few but my thoughts are forward and I've been thinking of writing new material to produce. We'll see what the future brings. There is a song on YouTube which is performed by John Legend on Sesame Street that I wrote. I really like this performance as well as the original version which was performed by David and Olivia on Sesame Street many years ago. That version is on YouTube also.

PSC & AA: We know that for the first two years Pinwheel was filmed in Columbus, Ohio and aired on QUBE before Nickelodeon bought it. How did it come about that they (Nickelodeon) bought the show? Were there any major changes made and if so how did it affect the cast or the show in general.

GJ: Pinwheel and the other shows which were produced in Columbus Ohio, only one season, actually became Nickelodeon. After the CUBE project American Express joined Warner Communications and became WarnerAmex and Nickelodeon was formed with Pinwheel being one of the surviving shows from CUBE. The name Nickelodeon came from Pinwheels producer Sandy Kavanaugh. When we moved to New York the cast, staff and aspirations for the show grew. It was all for the better. The Pinwheel most people know is the result of the New York production which lasted for two seasons. I wish it had gone on longer to get more of a chance to grow with it. Many characters, both human and puppet were added. Craig and Olga Marin, both very talented performers and puppeteers were a great addition to the show, adding many characters and depth to the cast. Sal and Smitty were also added as was Kim. It was a much more professional full blown production than the experiment in Ohio.

PSC: Why were those changes necessary?

GJ: CUBE wasn't a full commitment to programming for cable. At that time there was no programming for cable. Cable was only a way to get broadcast television to outlying areas. So this was a really revolutionary idea at the time and sort of an venture into the unknown. With the positive results in Ohio Warner Communications and other entertainment companies made more of a commitment to programming for cable so the next season of Pinwheel were approached with bigger budget and grander dreams. It was a good thing, the beginning of Nickelodeon and on a bigger scale the beginning of major programming for cable television.

PSC: Again going off the previous two questions. I found this link and of course I recognize you, Brad Williams, Ebenezer and very fuzzy headed Plus & Minus, but I have no idea who the other people and characters are. Can you please tell us who these people and other characters are?

GJ: The top picture is of the Wonkels, some of the first puppets on the CUBE version of Pinwheel. Then there are early versions of Plus and Minus with the brilliant creator Brad Williams with the red hair and producer Sandy Kavanaugh on the left. Brad also created Ebenezer Squint and Aurelia. Next is director Andy Furgerson formerly of the Electric Company (he also taught me to play tennis after shoots). I don't know who the next gentleman is. In the next photo with the frizzy hair is Robert Morton producer of How Do You Like Your Eggs, who went on to produce the tonight show with David Letterman. Andy and Me.

PSC: Could you please, officially, tell us who took over the role of “Coco the Mime” when C.C. Loveheart left? Why did she leave and did the character change any when the other actress took over the role?

GJ: Lindanell Rivira filled the spot left open by CC Loveheart leaving the show. I don't know why she left.

AA: Do you believe that having Jake (an African-American) and Kim (an Asian-American) as the main characters on the show was a revolutionary step for Pinwheel? Were issues such as race and diversity discussed on a children's show such as Pinwheel?

GJ: I think that the thoughts of race and diversity on Pinwheel and all quality children's shows of the time were expressed by example. With very young children there are no issues, only people.

PSC: As with “Jake” and “Kim,” can you give us the backstory on “Sal and Smitty?” They were older characters, were they meant to represent parents or grandparents and the wisdom that comes from age?

GJ: They certainly represented older folks but more than that was the care and love with which they interacted with each other.

AA: Pinwheel was originally a live show that was broadcast to children in Columbus, Ohio, on the QUBE system for twelve hours a day. How did it stay on air for that long?

GJ: Pinwheel was never live.

AA: What was the typical shooting/production schedule on the set of Pinwheel?

GJ: Arrive at 8am…makeup and wardrobe at 8:30…shooting at 9:30…lunch from 12-1… wrap at 5pm.

AA: Do you remember the first time Pinwheel ever went on air?

GJ: No.

AA: What was it like touring on the road for the Pinwheel roadshow? Did you enjoy meeting any Pinwheel fans across the country, or was it too hectic for you?

GJ: Touring with the Road Show and meeting the many Pinwheel fans is one of the great adventures of my life. To meet the many people who wanted to see you, take a picture with you   and get your autograph was an incomparable joy and honor. To see that what you were doing was bringing happiness into so many lives is something I could never tire of. I could go on and on about the Road Show.

AA: Could you tell us how you got involved with Hocus Focus and how you came to compose the music for the show? Do you have any insight into the creation and development of Hocus Focus?

GJ: I was asked by Andrea Cvirko, the producer, to compose the theme music for Hocus Focus.

AA: What fond memories do you have working on those two shows? Were there any interesting behind-the-scenes stories?

GJ: **For some reason this question was left unanswered. My guess is that it was a simple mistake.**

AA: Do you think Pinwheel still has an impact on the children who grew up watching it? How popular was it at the time?

GJ: I certainly hope that Pinwheel has had some positive impact on its viewers. That's why I am communicating with you, because you seem to have an appreciation and interest in the heart of the matter.

PSC & AA: Do you ever have fans just come up to you on the street and recognize you? What is that like after all these years?

GJ: Many years ago being recognized was a common occurrence but so much time has gone by and the viewers have grown so I don't think that Jake or Pinwheel are in their consciousness these days.

PSC: Has anyone ever sent you any fan art or a fan fiction about Pinwheel?

GJ: During Pinwheels hey day…yes!

PSC: How do you feel about the two Nickelodeon books that have come out on the market for the last few years? Namely “Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics, and Economics of America's Only TV Channel for Kids” by Heather Hendershot, and “SLIMED!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age’ by Mathew Klickstein?

GJ: Before I read this question I had never heard of them. I doubt if I'm mentioned.

AA: Do you still have any Pinwheel or Hocus Focus memorabilia?

GJ: A few pictures and fan mail for old times’ sake.

PSC: Do you have any direct, or indirect, knowledge as to why Nickelodeon canceled both Pinwheel and Hocus Focus?

GJ: Not really. After producing two seasons in the early 80's they would flip flop the seasons on the rational that new audiences emerged each year. Economics is my guess.

PSC: Is there any truth to the rumor that Pinwheel was actually canceled in 1982 but Nickelodeon kept airing reruns of it until 1990?

GJ: They stopped production after 84 I think and then showed reruns…yes.

AA: Some sources say that Nickelodeon started under the name of Pinwheel in 1977, while others say that Pinwheel was just a show that was on Nickelodeon, which began in April 1979. Can you clear up this dispute?

GJ: Pinwheel was the flagship pre-school show on Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon was comprised of many shows…not that many.

PSC: There have been many rumors as to why Nickelodeon has never put Pinwheel, or Hocus Focus, on DVD. Do you think they will ever will released it? Why or why not?

GJ: I really don't know.

PSC: For those fans who collect Classic Nickelodeon videos/DVDs and other memorabilia, do you have any insights as to where we can find copies of these programs? For privet use – not to be distributed; at least I (PSC) would never distribute them.

GJ: I'll give this some thought.

AA: How does it feel to know that there are so many fans out there who have such wonderful memories of both Pinwheel and Hocus Focus?

GJ: Very Gratifying…are there many?

AA: Did you have any involvement with the young channel of Nickelodeon? If so what was the full extent of this?

GJ: No.

AA: Many early Nickelodeon viewers remember the, "Put Another Nickel In (The Nickelodeon)" segments which featured a mime. Do you know who the mime was or how those were produced?

GJ: I recorded the music for these promos but had no involvement in the production and I have no idea who that mime was.

AA: What acting, or music, projects have you done since Pinwheel?

GJ: I have produced several records, written for Sesame Street, performed with Twyla Tharp's stage production of Hair and have produced and directed many audio books.

PSC: Internet Movie Data Base has you listed as being in a Dukes of Hazard episode entitled “Granny Annie.” I’ve seen that episode a few times and that gentlemen is not you. So were you on the show and if so which episode was it?

GJ: Not me…

PSC: Do you have a website or Facebook page where fans can keep up with your career or send you a message?

GJ: I don't have either…I'm a bit of a recluse when it comes to social media, but maybe I should lighten up a bit.

PSC: Our final question isn’t a question at all, it’s a message from an old friend of yours. Craig Marin sent me a message to pass on to you:

"Please tell Jake that Molly O'Mole sends him "worm regards.""

GJ: They don't come any better than Molly or Craig and Olga for that matter. Three of the most talented people I have ever met!        

All the Best,
George Jacob James

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dave Coulier Weds

Classic Nick Wednesday on Thursday – Dave Coulier Weds
Thursday, July 3, 2014

Forgive me everyone, I just logged onto the MSN homepage and saw this headline and since it was actually posted “23 hours ago” I’m going to count it as a “Classic Nickelodeon Wednesday” post. Hope that’s alright with everyone.

For those of you who are unsure why I’m posting this as a Nickelodeon headline, Dave was the star of Nickelodeon’s first original program, “Out Of Control.”

Dave Coulier Weds

By MSN Entertainment | July 3, 2014

Former "Full House" star Dave Coulier has wed longtime girlfriend Melissa Bring in Montana.

Coulier and his new wife exchanged vows on Wednesday in front of guests that included his former "Full House" co-stars Candace Cameron Bure (DJ Tanner), John Stamos (Uncle Jesse) and Andrea Barber (Kimmy Gibbler).

Coulier and Bring announced their engagement last month.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In Need Of A Title

Classic Nick Wed. – In Need Of A Title
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hey Guys,
John left a comment on one of my blogs. He is looking for the name of a movie but I don’t remember it so I’m coming to you to help him find out the name of this film. Here is a description of the film he is looking for:


John – April 24, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Hello, I am trying to find information on a short film that was shown on Standby, Lights, Camera, Action. The film was about a box-like robotic servant whose owner became increasingly dependent on it. The owner's friend was worried so he took the servant away to show his friend how bad the situation had gotten. Back at his own house, however, the friend then started to become dependent on the servant, too.

I would really like to see this again.


Classic Nickelodeon Fan Blog – May 15, 2014 at 12:29 AM
Hi John,

Forgive me for taking so long to get back to you, the class I’m taking is kinda kicking my butt right now.

Are you sure this was on Standby, Lights, Camera, Action and not a Speical Delivery? SLCA went behind the scenes of different movies to see how they’re made, they interviewed the actors and even showed us how some special effects were created.

Special Delivery on the other hand showed movies and shorts that were not on the normal Nickelodeon schedule. But either way if you can remember anything more about this it would help a lot.

For instance: how old are you? Believe it or not age makes a big difference in tracking this stuff down. Another factor in tracking down this film is narrowing down about what year you saw it. Was it early, mid or late 1980’s? Or did you happen to see it in the 90? See if you can remember any names or settings, that will help a lot as well. Then if you still haven’t remembered anything by next week I’ll do a special Classic Nickelodeon Wednesday post for you.

John – May 15, 2014 at 8:30 AM
Hello, thanks for the reply! I am sure I saw this short film on Standby… Lights! Camera! Action!

Also, I think this 8 minute segment that I found on YouTube MAY have been from the same episode:

The poster’s description states Leonard Nimoy “interviews a Young Joey Ahlbum about his SVA Thesis film 'Bandits'. I believe this is from 1983 or thereabouts.”

When Standby debuted in May, 1982, I would have just turned 12.
(Yes, I am now 44 years old….)

Thanks again, John

Thursday, May 15, 2014

George James Interview Questions

Classic Nickelodeon Wednesday
George James Interview Questions
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

For those of you who are not on my Facebook page or may not have heard, Andy Anderson and I are, as we speak, putting together interview questions for George James who played “Jake” on Pinwheel. If any of you have any questions for Mr. James please post them to me and we’ll try to fit them into the interview.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy 35th Anniversary Nickelodeon

Happy 35th Anniversary Nickelodeon
(No this is NOT an April Fool's joke.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CC Loveheart Interview from Andy Anderson

Classic Nick Wed. –
CC Loveheart Interview from Andy Anderson

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A very special thank you to our own Andy Anderson for conducting this interview with CC Loveheart better known as “Coco the Mime” on Pinwheel House from 1979-1981. She is commonly referred to as “The First Coco.”

Here are the questions (they may be long!). Thank you for participating in this interview.

AA: How did you get the job as "Coco" on Pinwheel? Were you asked to audition, or did you develop the character yourself? Where did the name "Coco" come from?

CC:  A lovely woman and producer of the first 2 seasons, Sandy Kavenaugh saw me in a 2-person mime show in NYC.  She talked to me about developing a mime character for "Pinwheel House".  The project was proposed as a project called, "Qube".   Qube was to be the first attempt at 2-way television.  (Meaning, the viewing audience could have the potential to communicate with the performers.)  This never really happened.  But Pinwheel House was taped with its myriad characters in place.  I participated in the first 2 seasons of taping.  I wrote almost all the skits that I performed because the writers did not know how to write for a mime.  Writers use words, mimes do not, so I was also hired as a writer.

AA: Was Pinwheel already formed as a series when you joined, or were they still developing the structure of the show?

CC:  It was still being structured.

AA: What was the typical shooting/production schedule on the set of Pinwheel?

CC:  I flew to Columbus, Ohio for 2 weeks at a time.  I had young children at home, so it was part of my contract that I be flown home and have time off in-between shoots for Pinwheel House.

AA: How did you get inspired to perform as a mime? Were you influenced by other mimes such as Marcel Marceau?

CC:  I began as and wanted to be a dancer.   (I had danced in the floor shows in Las Vegas.) And, after my last child was born, I took a mime class at a local community college in upstate New York in order to get back in shape.  The teacher of the class asked me to perform with him in NYC.  That’s where Sandy Kavenaugh saw me and hired me.  I also studied mime with Moni Yakim and others before going into “straight” acting.

AA: For those who may have never watched the show before, could you describe Coco's character and personality? What did you enjoy about playing her?

CC:  I loved Coco.  I developed her, wrote and performed her.  I wanted to entertain and inform.  My intention was to make Coco childlike in her innocence and playfulness.  My hope was to make her available and loveable for kids of varying ages.   As to the performing aspect, I was required to be an “athlete” in that often many takes were required, so I had to be very strong physically, in order to repeat the mimes required.

I enjoyed my interactions with Jake, the older couple who lived in the house (whose names I have forgotten), the vegetable vendor, the veggies and the puppets.  All in all, it was a most pleasant working experience.

AA: How popular was Pinwheel at the time it was airing?

CC: I don’t know.  But it certainly caught on.  I still receive emails from folks who grew up with Coco and still remember her fondly. 

AA: Was there ever any thought that Coco might scare young children as they sometimes have an abnormal fear of mimes and clowns?

CC:  Yes, that was a big concern of mine. Children are known to be afraid of clowns and the white face look. So, I developed Coco’s make-up by trying various make-ups.  I would get in front of the camera and look at the monitor to see if the look was friendly, appealing and not scary.  That’s how the hearts on the cheeks along with the big eyed-double- false-eyelash, and pale lip color came to be. 

AA: Some say that Pinwheel was the original name of the Nickelodeon channel, while others say that it was just a program on Nickelodeon. What is most accurate?

CC:  Pinwheel House was always the name of the project.  All of us lived in Pinwheel House or the neighborhood.  As I said, in the beginning, it was under the aegis of “Qube”.


AA: How different was it from making the program for QUBE in Columbus, Ohio, where Pinwheel was created, to making it for Nickelodeon in New York? Did Nickelodeon make any changes to the series once it launched?

CC:  I was not involved in the NY taping.  When it came time to renew my contract, we had a new producer (Tippy Fortune was her name and how appropriate it turned out to be) and we had “contractual differences”.   And so, a woman who was VERY different physically from me, and who had not requested residuals replaced me.

AA: What was your fondest memory on the Pinwheel set? Any behind-the-scenes incidents/outtakes? What are some little known facts about the show?

CC:  I remember a wrap party in which Coco spoke.  I had secured promises from the camera and sound folks and we, in secret, made a tape of Coco speaking and thanking everyone.  Coco had a very strong lisp and the running joke in this private tape (meant only for the party) was that that was why Coco never spoke.   The actor-musician, George James, who played Jake, was a friend and I recommended him for the show.  We had a great time cracking each other up both in front of and behind the camera.

AA: How did you end up leaving Pinwheel? Was it cancelled, or did you leave to pursue other projects?

CC:  As mentioned above, there were contractual differences that played into my leaving.  But, I also felt a strong calling to move on to speaking characters.  I began to work as an actor and went on to have a career that has spanned some 40 years.


AA: Can you recall any other individuals important in developing Pinwheel?

CC:  The young men, Jim Jenson and Brad?? Were the puppeteers and they were very talented.  They brought much to the show.  Unfortunately, Jim died quite young.

And again, Sandy Kavenaugh had great vision and pulled the cast and crew together.  She was instrumental in the success of the show.


AA: Thank you for generously participating in this interview.

CC:  You are welcome.  Please send me the link to your blog.