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Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Previously (like, 1977) on The Electric Company ...

The cast sings "That's All" for the final scene of the very last episode of the original The Electric Company

As it turns out, that's not all!

Before this day is over with, somewhere in New York City, the first filming will have been done for PBS's updated version of The Electric Company. The first episode is scheduled to air in January 2009.

Here's a taste of what's to come: Chris Sullivan as new character Shockwave...

The original The Electric Company was produced from 1971 to 1977, and then had repeats until 1985. Some years ago I found that the educational cable channel Noggin was showing repeats. I tuned in every time it was on, and was blown away by how consistently good this show was more than thirty years after it first aired. The Electric Company was created by Children's Television Workshop (today called Sesame Workshop, which is also producing the revived series) as something of a "companion piece" to Sesame Street. The Electric Company's format was geared toward helping older children learn to read, and as such it featured considerably more "mature" comedy (i.e. without Muppets, although Big Bird and Grover from Sesame Street did wind up visiting the show a number of times).

What most people will probably remember The Electric Company for though was the cast. What other show in television history can boast of having Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, and Joan Rivers? The regulars also included Luis Avalos and Jim Boyd, who never ceased to crack me up with his character of J. Arthur Crank.

Head over to The New York Times website to learn more about the new series. And I can't think of anything better to celebrate the return of The Electric Company than with the original intro from 1971...


Anonymous said...

The pic of Shockwave looks chromakeyed. I think the new Electric Company is going to benefit from modern era special effects in ways the original couldn't.