Schoolhouse Rock! Format Educational, Animated, Musical Created by David McCall Country of origin United States Language(s) English No. of seasons 7 No. of episodes 64 (60 aired) (List of episodes) Production Running time 3 minutes Broadcast Original channel ABC Original run January 6, 1973– March 31, 2009
Schoolhouse Rock! is an American interstitial programming series of animated musical educational short films that aired during the Saturday morning children's programming on the U.S. television network ABC. The topics covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics. The series' original run lasted from 1973 to 1985, and was later revived with both old and new episodes airing from 1993 to 1999. Additional episodes were produced as recently as 2009 for direct-to-video release.
Origins and history
Schoolhouse Rock! began as a commercial advertising venture by David McCall, half of famed Madison Avenue advertising agency McCaffrey & McCall. The idea came to McCall when he noticed one of his sons, who was having trouble in school remembering the multiplication tables, knew the lyrics to many current rock songs. The first song recorded was "Three Is a Magic Number", written by Bob Dorough. It tested well, so a children's record was compiled and released. Tom Yohe listened to the first song, and began to doodle pictures to go with the lyrics. He told McCall that the songs would make good animation.
When a print workbook version fell through, McCall's company decided to produce their own animated versions of the songs, which they then sold to ABC (which was already the advertising company's biggest account) based on a demo animation of the original "Three Is A Magic Number" for its Saturday morning lineup. They pitched their idea to Michael Eisner, then vice-president of ABC's children's programming division. Eisner brought longtime Warner Bros. cartoonist/director Chuck Jones to the meeting to also listen to the presentation.
The network's children's programming division had producers of its regular 30- and 60-minute programs cut three minutes out of each of their shows, and sold General Foods on the idea of sponsoring the segments. The series stayed on the air for 12 years. Later sponsors of the Schoolhouse Rock! segments also included Nabisco, Kenner Toys, Kellogg's, and McDonald's.
Thirty-seven episodes were recorded and produced between 1972 and 1980. The first season of Schoolhouse Rock, "Multiplication Rock," debuted in 1973 and discussed all of the multiplication tables from two through twelve, with one episode devoted to powers of 10 (My Hero Zero) instead of multiples of ten.
This original series was followed in short order by a new series which ran from 1973 to 1975, entitled "Grammar Rock," which discussed nouns, verbs and adjectives along with one of the most well-known title of the series, Conjunction Junction.
To coincide with the upcoming United States bicentennial, a third series, entitled "America Rock", airing in 1975 and 1976, had episodes covering the structure of the United States government in another well-known episode I'm Just a Bill along with important moments in American history such as Sufferin' til Sufferage and The Shot Heard Round the World
A fourth series entitled "Science Rock" followed in 1978 and 1979, and included a broad range of science-related topics such as Do the Circulation and The Body Machine (a play on The Body Electric), The Energy Blues, Electricity, E-Lec-Tri-City, to the most well-known of the series, Interplanet Janet (which is about the solar system).
A fifth follow-up series, entitled "Computer Rock," featuring the characters Scooter Computer and Mister Chips (the only episodes in the series to feature any recurring characters), premiered in the early 1980s and comprised just four segments about personal computer technology, then just emerging onto the scene. As the references and depictions became quickly outdated, due to the rapid advance of technology, the series was never rerun after 1984.
After leaving the airwaves in 1985, the original team reunited to produce two more Grammar Rock segments ("Busy Prepositions" and "The Tale of Mr. Morton") for television in 1993. This was followed in 1995 by a brand new series, "Money Rock," which discussed topics related to money management on both the personal and governmental scale. Episodes from the new series aired in rotation with the original segments from 1994 to 1996.
Schoolhouse Rock as a whole ceased airing on television in 2000 with newer episodes released directly to home video. Starting in 2002, the team once again reunited to produce a new song, "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote To College" for the release of the 30th Anniversary DVD. For the new song, Tom Yohe Jr. took over as lead designer for his father, Tom Yohe Sr., who had died in 2000. Another contemporary song, called "Presidential Minute", which explained the process of electing the President of the United States in greater detail, was included on the 2008 DVD "Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection", which centered on songs relating to American history and government.
A new series entitled "Schoolhouse Rock!: Earth" was created by the original production team, premiered in 2009, and featured eleven environmentally-themed songs.
Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by Animation & design First aired My Hero, Zero Multiplication by 0 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design / Tom Yohe January 13, 1973 Elementary, My Dear Multiplication by 2 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Jack Sidebotham January 20, 1973 Three Is a Magic Number Multiplication by 3 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design / Tom Yohe January 6, 1973 The Four-Legged Zoo Multiplication by 4 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough (and chorus of children) Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Bob Eggers January 27, 1973 Ready or Not, Here I Come (a parody off of "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" by Jay and the Techniques) Multiplication by 5 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe February 3, 1973 I Got Six Multiplication by 6 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Grady Tate Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe February 10, 1973 Lucky Seven Sampson Multiplication by 7 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Rowland B. Wilson February 17, 1973 Figure Eight Multiplication by 8 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Blossom Dearie Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe February 23, 1973 Naughty Number Nine Multiplication by 9 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Grady Tate Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Tom Yohe March 2, 1973 The Good Eleven Multiplication by 11 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design / Jack Sidebotham March 9, 1973 Little Twelvetoes Multiplication by 12 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates / Rowland B. Wilson March 9, 1973
In 1973, Capitol Records released a soundtrack album of Multiplication Rock, featuring all 11 songs. Two tracks, "My Hero, Zero" and "Three Is A Magic Number" had been edited for TV to keep each video within three minutes. This LP features both songs in their full, unedited forms. Also, the album version of "The Four-Legged Zoo" has a slightly different ending than the television version.
Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired Conjunction Junction conjunction Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Terri Morel Jack Sheldon 1973 Unpack Your Adjectives adjective George R. Newall George R. Newall Blossom Dearie 1975 Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here adverb Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough 1974 Interjections! interjection Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Essra Mohawk 1974 Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla pronoun Bob Dorough Kathy Mandary Jack Sheldon 1977 Verb: That's What's Happenin' verb Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Zachary Sanders 1974 A Noun Is A Person, Place Or Thing noun Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1973 Busy Prepositions preposition Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Bob Dorough October 24, 1993 The Tale of Mr. Morton subject and predicate Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Jack Sheldon December 1993
"Busy Prepositions" (aka "Busy P's"), "The Tale of Mr. Morton", and "Dollars and Sense" were produced for Schoolhouse Rock's return to ABC in 1993 with J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. producing the animation.
Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired The Body Machine nutrition and digestive system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Bob Dorough and Jack Sheldon 1979 Do the Circulation circulatory system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Joshie Armstead, Mary Sue Berry, & Maeretha Stewart 1979 Electricity, Electricity electricity Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Zachary Sanders 1979 The Energy Blues energy conservation George Newall George Newall Jack Sheldon 1978 Interplanet Janet the solar system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1978 Telegraph Line nervous system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Jaime Aff and Christine Langner 1979 Them Not-So-Dry Bones skeletal system George Newall George Newall Jack Sheldon 1979 A Victim of Gravity gravity Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens The Tokens 1978 The Greatest Show on Earth weather Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Bob Kalban not shown on TV 
Sometime after its initial airing, The Greatest Show on Earth/The Weather Show was pulled from broadcast rotation due to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus objecting to its use of their trademark slogan "The Greatest Show On Earth" and filing a lawsuit. However, it was included in the 1987 Schoolhouse Rock VHS release, and in 2002 when it was included on the bonus disk of the 30th Anniversary DVD (see below). Also, the episode was deleted on the "Science Rock" 1995 VHS.
Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired Elbow Room U.S. territorial expansion Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Sue Manchester 1975 Fireworks Declaration of Independence Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Grady Tate 1976 The Great American Melting Pot Immigration/Diversity Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lori Lieberman 1977 I'm Just a Bill Legislative Process Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Jack Sheldon 1975 Mother Necessity American inventions Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Blossom Dearie, & Essra Mohawk 1977 No More Kings American independence Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens & Bob Dorough 1975 Preamble United States Constitution Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1975 The Shot Heard 'Round The World American Revolutionary War Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough 1976 Sufferin' 'til Suffrage Women's suffrage Bob Dorough Tom Yohe Essra Mohawk 1976 Three Ring Government separation of powers Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens 1979 I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College Electoral College George R. Newall and Bob Dorough George R. Newall and Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Bob Dorough 2002 Presidential Minute Voting For President George R. Newall George R. Newall and Tom Yohe, Jr. Jack Sheldon 2002
"I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" and "Presidential Minute" were produced for DVD.
Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired Dollars and Sense interest and loans Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Val Hawk and Bob Dorough 1994 $7.50 Once a Week budget Mark Chapalonis Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg 1995 Where The Money Goes paying bills Rich Mendoza Rich Mendoza Jack Sheldon 1995 Tax Man Max taxes Stephen Flaherty Lynn Ahrens Patrick Quinn 1995 Walkin' On Wall Street stock exchange Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg 1996 This For That barter and the history of currency George R. Newall George R. Newall Bob Dorough 1996 Tyrannosaurus Debt budget deficit and United States national debt Tom Yohe Tom Yohe Bob Dorough and Bob Kaliban 1996 The Check's In The Mail using checks Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Luther Rix 1996
Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired Report from the North Pole Global Warming Bob Dorough George R. Newall Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Bob Kaliban and Barry Carl 2009 The Little Things We Do Energy conservation Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Jack Sheldon, Bob Dorough, Bob Kaliban, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009 The Trash Can Band Recycling Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Luther Rix, Bob Dorough and Eric Weissberg 2009 You Oughta Be Savin' Water Water conservation Sean Altman and Barry Carl George R. Newall Barry Carl, Sean Altman, Elliott Kerman 2009 The Rainforest Rainforests Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Tituss Burgess 2009 Save the Ocean Oceans Sean Altman Sean Altman Sean Altman, Inna Dukach, Jon Spurney, Patti Rothberg, Barry Carl and Eric Booker 2009 FatCat Blue: The Clean Rivers Song Marine Debris Andy Brick Andy Brick Jack Sheldon, Bob Kaliban, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009 A Tiny Urban Zoo Gardens George Stiles Anthony Drewe Barrett Foa, Shoshana Bean, and George Stiles 2009 Solar Power to the People Solar energy Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009 Windy and the Windmills Wind power Bob Dorough George R. Newall Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed 2009 Don't Be a Carbon Sasquatch Carbon footprints Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough 2009 The 3 R's Reduce, Reuse, Recycles Bob Dorough Mitchel Musso Mitchel Musso 2009
- Cloris Leachman
- David Rasche
- Carlos Frewer
- Josh Keaton
- Leo Danforth
- Ben Mardsen
- Beth McCarthey
- Allison Dunst
Several tie-ins were released in 1996:
- Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks, a tribute album featuring covers of Schoolhouse Rocks songs performed by alternative rock acts
- Schoolhouse Rock! The Official Guide (ISBN 0-7868-8170-4), written by Tom Yohe and George Newall, and including synopses, lyrics, and production notes about each of the shorts created to date, except "The Weather Show," which was the subject of pending litigation and so could not be included.
- The Schoolhouse Rock Songbook (Cherry Lane Music), containing sheet music for ten songs.
- Schoolhouse Rock! Soundtrack The 4 CD release with bonus tracks on each CD was released on June 18, 1996 by Rhino Records
In addition to the above, Rhino Records also released Schoolhouse Rocks the Vote!: A Benefit for Rock the Vote, a tribute album containing covers and original songs in the style of Schoolhouse Rock, all with an electoral theme. It was released on August 18, 1998.
A 1987 production of the series for VHS tape featured Cloris Leachman opening the collection and some songs with child dancers and singers. Three songs (namely "Three Ring Government," "The Good Eleven," and "Little Twelve Toes") were not included on the videos.
In 1995, ABC Video and Image Entertainment released two volumes of Schoolhouse Rock on LaserDisc, "Schoolhouse Rock Volume 1: America Rock and Grammar Rock" (ID3245CC), and "Schoolhouse Rock Volume 2: Multiplication Rock and Science Rock" (ID3383CC). For both volumes the first side was in the CLV Extended Play format and the second was in the frame-accessible CAV format, and both contained CX-encoded analog and digital audio soundtracks. The "Grammar Rock" volume included the 1993 shorts "Busy Prepositions" and "The Tale of Mr. Morton."
In 1995, ABC Video re-released four segments of Schoolhouse Rock! on VHS with alternative covers and opening.
In 1998, for the show's 25th anniversary, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment bought the rights to Schoolhouse Rock! and released five segments on VHS in the form of Disney Presents: Schoolhouse Rock!.
On August 26, 2002 Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released a 2-disc DVD set to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the show. The set features 52 of the 53 episodes, including the lost "Computer Rock" segments, with the exception of "Introduction". "The Weather Show" and "Presidential Minute" are found on the bonus disk, the former in modified form with the problematic lyric removed, and the latter viewable only upon completing the "Earn Your Diploma" Trivia Game. An abbreviated VHS, featuring the "top 25" episodes plus "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College," was released at the same time.
In 2008, DVDs of individual Schoolhouse Rock series were released for classroom use.
On September 23, 2008, the "Schoolhouse Rock-Election Collection" was released, including 14 songs about American history and the government and a "new to DVD" song.
On March 31, 2009, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released "Schoolhouse Rock-Earth", including 11 newly written and animated songs as well as "Energy Blues".
DVD name Ep # Release date Additional information Schoolhouse Rock!- Special 30th Anniversary Edition 52 August 26, 2002
- All 46 original episodes
- Audio Commentary
- "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" Making Of
- Long Lost Song "The Weather Show"
- Top Ten Jukebox
- Top 20 Countdown
- "Earn Your Diploma" Trivia Game (plays "Presidential Minute" once you have earned your diploma)
- Arrange-a-Song Puzzle
- 4 Music Videos by Contemporary Artists
- Emmy Awards Featurette
- "Three is a Magic Number" Nike Commercial
- "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" in DTS 5.1 Surround
- Three of the four Computer Rock segments
Schoolhouse Rock!-Election Collection 14 September 23, 2008
- 10 America Rock songs, 1 Science Rock song, and 3 Money Rock songs
- Bonus song: "Presidential Minute" (includes two endings)
- Map of the United States
Schoolhouse Rock!-Earth 13 March 31, 2009
- 11 all-new songs about conservation
- Bonus Song: "The Energy Blues"
- Music video: "The Three Rs" by Mitchel Musso
- List of songs from Schoolhouse Rock
- The Metric Marvels
- ^ a b Unofficial history of Schoolhouse Rock!
- ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Schoolhouse-Rock-Earth/10753 "Schoolhouse Rock! Earth" press release
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Schoolhouserock.tv
- ^ a b Dave Mackey's Guide to Schoolhouse Rock
- ^ http://tv.ign.com/top-100-animated-tv-series/33.html
- ^ video: America Rock, packaged as commercial video, 1987
- ^ Amazon.com: Disney Education Store: Classroom Favorites
- ^ http://www.ultimatedisney.com/schoolhouserock-election.html Ultimate Disney "Election Collection" review
- ^ http://ultimatedisney.com/schoolhouserock-earth.html "Schoolhouse Rock! Earth" press release
- ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Schoolhouse-Rock-Earth/10753
By decade1960s • 1970s • 1980s • 1990s Individual blocksABC Kids • Litton's Weekend Adventure Related topics
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