Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Classic Nick Wed.– Pinwheel

Last week I told you a bit about the history of the Nickelodeon Network, this week I would like to tell you about one of their longest running and one of the most popular programs “Pinwheel”.

If you will remember Nickelodeon Network began life as the Pinwheel Network then in 1981 the network re-launched as Nickelodeon – The Young People’s Satellite Network. The name “Pinwheel” was taken from a children’s television show by the same name and aired every morning in 3-5 hour time slots and ran from 1979–1999.

Like the Sesame Street program Pinwheel featured both human and puppet actors interacting with each other to teach basic everyday good manors as well as teaching children how to use their imagination, play games and so forth. One of the most beloved and well-remembered games to come from Pinwheel was the “Gottcha Last” game played by (puppets) Plus & Minus. Much like “tag” one would tap the other and say “gottcha last” and run off while the other tries to catch him to “get him last”, back and forth they’d go all through Pinwheel House and the garden. What a fun game for children of all ages to play.

Other puppet actors who lived at Pinwheel House were Aurelia, a gypsy who lived and ran the house and used a special phone to dial the "Opposite City Operator". Then there was Silas the Snail who had an elderly-looking face and took an entire episode to go from one end of the garden to the other. He was a kind and gentle character who was forever on his way to the snails' convention but never made it on time.

Just the oposite could be said about the house’s green-faced equivalent to Sesame Street's "Oscar the Grouch", Ebeneezer T. Squint who was failthful to tend to his garden of weeds and whose one goal in life was to be on the front page of the Daily Noodle which was run by Sal & Smitty – but more on them in just a minute.

Then there was Luigi O'Brien who came from Italy and who ran a talking fruit & veggie stand. Molly O’Mole was an elderly mole who lived in a tree in the backyard. She was kind and made the most wonderful Root Tea. And last but certainly not last there were the Hobo Bugs Herbert and Lulu, we’re not sure what Hobo Bugs are or where they come from but these lovely creatures were a joy with their lovely little faces and bright smiles. (They’re two of my personal faves.)

As previously mentioned Pinwheel Puppets interacted with a variety of human characters as well, they included. A kind and very talented African-American young man named “Jake.” He collected small boxes which emitted various sound effects, he also played the guitar and sang. He was played by George James from 1981-1989 and helped write many of the songs sung on the show. I would also like to mention that Mr. James was kind enough to let me interview him for this blog. Read his interview here. 



One of the most remembered characters from the show was Coco the Mime but what most people do not know is that two different actresses played her. C.C. Loveheart originated the role in 1979 and played her until 1981 then from 1982-1989 she was played by Lindanell Rivera. Both actresses had the same makeup, white base with red lips and hearts on their cheeks, the only way to tell these ladies apart is that Ms. Loveheart had straight shorter hair and Ms. Rivera had curly hair. (See picture above.)

Early I mentioned Sal and Smitty the elderly couple who ran a newspaper called "The Daily Noodle"; they were played by Dale Engel (Smitty) and Betty Rozek (Sal). Too me it seemed as if they were everyone grandparents and lovelier grandparents you could not have found.

In every home there is always an artist and Pinwheel House was no different, their resident artist was Kim (played by Arline Miyazaki). A young Asian woman who was perhaps in ther early 20’s (about Jake’s age) who was always creating very beautiful paintings. Another fact about Kim that most people do not realize is that she also Aurelia’s niece. This fact was confirmed in the “Pinwheel Songbook” video which was released on VHS video and can be found on youtube, or click below.




Pinwheel was also famous for the variety of foreign cartoons and stop-motion puppet shorts which aired regularly though out the shows run. After many, many long hours of research here is a list of the Pinwheel Cartoons.

PINWHEEL CARTOONS
The Adventures of the Mole, Alfie Atkins, Bagpuss (maybe), Bod, Bugs, Bunny in the Suitcase, Charlie's Climbing Tree, Chapi and Chapo, Crystal Tipps and Alister, Curious George, Emily (Emilie), Flower Stories, Gumby, Hattytown Tales, Jim & Jam, King Rollo, Lilliputput, Madeline, Magic Coco, The Magic Roundabout, Mixometric, Mouse On Mars, Musti, Paddington Bear, Picture Pages, The Pilis, Professor Balthazar, Peelie and Poolie , Schnoodle, Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, Teeny Little Super Guy, Tip and Tap

The last point I would like to touch on is the shows theme song, which was written by Jay Lee (music) with lyrics by Janet Gardner:

Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around.
Look at my Pinwheel and see what I've found.
Pinwheel, pinwheel, where have you been?
Hello, how are you, and may I come in?
Pinwheel, pinwheel spinning around.
Look at my Pinwheel and see what I found.
Pinwheel, pinwheel, breezy and bright.

Spin me good morning, spin me good night.




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Looking For A Show Title

This time, it’s for myself.


When I was a little girl in the 1970’s I remember watching…I guess it was a TV movie, about a little girl who kept seeing a giant white rabbit (a person in a rabbit costume). Every time she would see him she would start screaming, and I quote, “MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY!” Naturally by the time her mother got there the rabbit was gone. Perhaps she was the only one who could see him but somehow she saw him everywhere. I have no idea what the name of this is or anything else about this show so I will be very surprised if anyone if able to find a title for this. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Special Delivery – Murder, She Wrote: South By Southwest

When Jessica boarded a train headed for El Paso, where she is to lecture at a conference, she had no way of knowing the woman she shares a table in the dining car with would vanish into thin air. Since her purse is still on the table Jessica believes she is coming back so when a message is announced for the woman Jessica accepts it in the woman’s absence. Time goes by and the woman still hasn’t returned to the table which prompts Jessica to search for her. This leads to an attack in her compartment and a demand for 'it' but Jessica has no idea what 'it' is and is rescued by a man claiming to be a journalist.

Eventually her search leads her to Agua Verde where the woman apparently lives but there are far more twists and turns as Jessica delves deeper into this mystery. Does she find the mysterious woman? Is her own life still in danger? Find out in this week’s Special Delivery!


Murder, She Wrote: South By Southwest






Saturday, April 8, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Classic Nick Wed.– History of Nickelodeon

As an advocate for Classic (80’s) Nickelodeon I’d like to give you a brief history of Nickelodeon from my perspective as a First Generation Nickelodeoner.

I started watching Nickelodeon back in 1979 when it was still known as the “Pinwheel Network” and, while I don’t remember a lot of the shows I do remember that there was a commercial with an old fashion nickelodeon machine where I man looked over into the “N” and watched a little film much like the man in this picture. (Or it might have been a real machine – hard to remember I was only nine or ten at the time.) Anyway the song that played over it was, “Music Music Music” by Teresa Brewer. A year later in 1980 the network re-launched as “Nickelodeon: The First Network For Kids” and the rest is history.

Teresa Brewer – Music Music Music


That may sound kind of funny to us today but in 1950 that was a big hit for her and as it turned out was just right for the budding television network. So what aired back in the good old days of the Pinwheel / Nickelodeon Network? Here is a list of as many shows as I could find. Do you remember any of these, and if so which ones?

PROGRAM LIST 1979 – 1987
Adventures of Black Beauty, The
Adventures in Rainbow Country
Adventures of the Little Koala
Against the Odds
Alpha Repertory Television Service [ARTS]
America Goes Bananaz
Bananaman
Belle and Sebastian
Big Ballot, The
By The Way
Children's Classics
Curious George: Monkey Collection
Dangermouse
Double Dare
Dusty's Treehouse
Finders Keepers


FIRST ROW FEATURES
Camerons, The, Bungala Boys, Davey Jones' Locker, Escape From The Sea, Great Pony Raid, The, Hide And Seek, Lionheart, Operation Third Form, Up In The Air, Wreck Raisers


Going Great
Go To the Arts
Hangin' In
Hocus Focus
Kid’s Court
Kids in Performance
Livewire
Little Prince, The (Le Petit Prince)
Marc Summers’ Mystery Magical Special
Matt & Jenny On The Wilderness Trail 1850
Monkees, The
Mr. Wizard's World
Mysterious Cities of Gold, The
National Geographic Explorer
Nick Beat


NICK'S FAMILY PICKS
Christian the Lion, Danny, I’ll Find A Way, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Little Men, Robinson Crusoe, Son of Monto Cristo, Storm Boy, Where’s Willie


Nickel Flicks
Nick Rocks Video to Go
Out Of Control
Pinwheel


PINWHEEL CARTOONS
The Adventures of the Mole, Alfie Atkins, Bagpuss, Bod, Bugs, Bunny in the Suitcase, Charlie's Climbing Tree, Chapi Chapo, Crystal Tipps and Alister, Curious George, Emily, Flower Stories, Gumby, Hattytown Tales, Jim & Jam, King Rollo, La Linea, Lilliputput, Madeline, Magic Coco, The Magic Roundabout, Mixometric, Mouse On Mars, Musti, Paddington Bear, Picture Pages, The Pilis, Professor Balthazar, Peelie and Poolie, Schnoodle, Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, Teeny Little Super Guy, Tip and Tap


Pop Clips
Powerhouse
Rated K: For Kids By Kids
Reggie Jackson's World of Sports
Science International (aka) What Will They Think of Next?
Sixteen Cinema
Slim Goodbody


SPECIAL DELIVERY
8th World Invitational Double Dutch Championship
A Cricket in Times Square
Adam & The Ants: The Prince Charming Revue
Adventures of Dinosaur Badlands
Adventures of Marco Polo Jr., The
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Alex and the Wonderful “Doo Wah” Lamp
Amazing Mr. Blunden, The
Americanization of Elias, The
Avengers of the Reef
Bambi Meets Godzilla
Beware, Beware My Beauty Fair
Big Apple Birthday
BMX World Championships
Brave Frog's Greatest Adventure, The
Cadichon II
Circustown (Documentary)
Chocky
Clarence & The Ottaway
Clay Creatures
Clever Jack
Cody
The Darts: In Concert
David Johansen: In Concert
Day the Derby Almost Died, The
Dinosaurs!
Dinosaurs! – A Fun-Filled Trip Back in Time!
Drawing a Blank
Dr. Snuggles
Duran Duran: In Concert
Dynaman
Electric Grandmother, The
Eurythmics in Concert
Foghat: In Concert
Get Along Gang, The
Grandma Did Not Wave Back
Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics
Gulliver’s Travels
Haircut 100
Haunting of Harrington House, The
His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz
I’ll Find A Way
Ivanhoe
Joshua's Confusion
Jungle Book, The
Kajagoogoo in Concert
Kids’ Writes I, II
Let The Balloon Go
Little Fox, The
Little Women
Molly's Pilgrim
My Mom's Having a Baby
Nightingale, The
Nikkolina
One of a Kind
Peanut Butter Solution, The
The Police: Synchronicity Concert
Portrait of Grandpa Doc
Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure
Ransom of Red Chief, The
Reggie Jackson's World of Sports
Rikki Tikki Tavi
Robinson Crusoe
Rosie
Silver City (The Righteous Apples)
Snowman, The
Someday, Sometime
Stowaway, The
Talking Animals
Tin Soldier, The
Tuck Everlasting
UFO Kidnapped
Velveteen Rabbit, The
Water Babies
We Are All One People
Whistler World BMX Bike Championships
Wild Rides
Witches and the Grinnygog, The
World According to Nicholas, The


Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea
Spread Your Wings
Standby...Lights! Camera! Action!
Star Trek: The Animated Series
Studio See
Today's Special


THE THIRD EYE
Children Of The Stones, The Haunting of Cassie Palmer, Into the Labyrinth, Under The Mountain


Tip Top With Suzy Prudden
Tomorrow People, The
Turkey Television
Vegetable Soup
Vic's Vacant Lot
Video Comics
Whatever Turns You On
You Can't Do That On Television