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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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, spinning around.
at my Pinwheel and see what I've found.
Pinwheel, pinwheel, where have you been?
how are you, and may I come in?
Pinwheel, pinwheel spinning around.
at my Pinwheel and see what I found.
Pinwheel, pinwheel, breezy and bright.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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?
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
Belle and Sebastian
Big Ballot, The
By The Way
Curious George: Monkey Collection
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
Go To the Arts
Kids in Performance
Little Prince, The (Le Petit Prince)
Marc Summers’ Mystery Magical Special
Matt & Jenny On The Wilderness Trail 1850
Mr. Wizard's World
Mysterious Cities of Gold, The
National Geographic Explorer
Christian the Lion, Danny, I’ll Find A Way, Little
Lord Fauntleroy, Little Men, Robinson Crusoe, Son of Monto Cristo, Storm Boy, Where’s
Nick Rocks Video to Go
Out Of Control
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
Rated K: For Kids By Kids
Reggie Jackson's World of Sports
Science International (aka) What Will They
Think of Next?
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
Clarence & The Ottaway
The Darts: In Concert
David Johansen: In Concert
Day the Derby Almost Died, The
Dinosaurs! – A Fun-Filled Trip Back in Time!
Drawing a Blank
Duran Duran: In Concert
Electric Grandmother, The
Eurythmics in Concert
Foghat: In Concert
Get Along Gang, The
Grandma Did Not Wave Back
Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics
Haunting of Harrington House, The
His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz
I’ll Find A Way
Jungle Book, The
Kajagoogoo in Concert
Kids’ Writes I, II
Let The Balloon Go
Little Fox, The
My Mom's Having a Baby
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
Silver City (The Righteous Apples)
Tin Soldier, The
Velveteen Rabbit, The
We Are All One People
Whistler World BMX Bike Championships
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
Children Of The Stones, The Haunting of Cassie
Palmer, Into the Labyrinth, Under The Mountain