3-2-1 Contact

Infobox television
show_name = 3-2-1 Contact

caption = Original Opening title of "3-2-1 Contact"
format = Children's television series/Education
runtime = 30 minutes
creator = Samuel Y. Gibbon, Jr.
starring = Varied, see article
country = USA
network = PBS
first_aired = January 14, 1980
last_aired = November 18, 1988
num_episodes = 225 and 8 Specials
imdb_id = 0190169
tv_com_id = 23691

"3-2-1 Contact" is an American science educational television show which aired on PBS from 1980 to 1988. The show, a production of the Children's Television Workshop, taught scientific principles and their applications. Dr. Edward G. Atkins, who was responsible for much of the scientific content of the show, felt that the TV program wouldn't replace a classroom but would open the viewers to ask questions about the scientific purpose of things. Hechinger, Fred M. (10/02/1984), About Education; Forgotten TV Audience: Children "The New York Times", page C.9. Accessed on August 14, 2007] .


"3-2-1 Contact" was the brainchild of Samuel Y. Gibbon, Jr., who had been the executive producer of "The Electric Company" for CTW from 1971 to 1977. (Gibbon actually left CTW before "Contact"'s production began, though he was still credited as "Senior Consultant.") "3-2-1 Contact" was a reworking of the Australian "Curiosity Show".

The first season of 65 programs began airing January 14, 1980 on select PBS member stations; it featured a cast of three college students who discussed science in an on-campus room known as the Workshop. The first season came to an end on April 11, 1980, but funds for more episodes were not sufficient until 1982.

When production resumed for the second season, which premiered on October 17, 1983, the show presented a more realistic appearance, as the new cast convened in a suburban basement (these segments were shot at Reeves Teletape, which also housed "Sesame Street" at the time). This cast continued until October 18, 1985. Ozzie Alfonso was "Contact"'s new director and Al Hyslop its executive producer.

When the fifth season began on September 22, 1986, a third cast was introduced. However, unlike the previous casts, they did not meet in any specific setting; instead, they appeared in various taped and filmed segments. Episodes continued to be produced through November 1988.

For a time in the mid-1980s, the program was co-produced with the French television network FR3 and featured several new French cast members in addition to the American cast.

From September 1, 1991 until May 1, 1992, an edited version of the series titled "3-2-1 Classroom Contact" was produced, specifically for in-school viewing.

It was reported in 1984 that "3-2-1 Contact" had an audience of over 7 million viewers and was broadcast in 26 countries including West Germany, France and Spain making their own dubbed-over versions.

Broadcasters wanted the children to record the episodes without being afraid of infringement of copyright violations.


*Liz Moses as Lisa (1980)
* Leon W. Grant as Marc (1980)
* Ginny Ortiz as Trini (1980)
* Liz Gorcey as Jackie (field segments, 1983)
* Kelly Pino as Kathy (1983-85)
* Frank Gomez as Miguel (1983-86)
* Benjamin H. Carlin as Paco (1983-86)
* Judy Leak as Robin (1983-86)
* Manny Mendiola as Diego (1985-86)
* Tannis Vallely as Mary (1985-86)
* Candida Romero as Monique (1986)
* Abigael Maryan as Chantal (1986)
* Ericka Pazcoguin as Maggie (1986-87)

And as themselves:
* Mary Lopez (1986)
* David Drach (1986-87)
*David Quinn (1986-88)
* Debra Allison Shapiro (1986-88)
* Todd A. Rolle (1986-88)
* Hopey Fitzpatrick (1987-88)
* Stephanie Yu (1987-88)
* Z. Wright (1987-1988)

The Bloodhound Gang

A frequent segment of the show was "The Bloodhound Gang", a series about a group of young detectives who used science to solve crimes. Episodes of the series needed to be run in regular sequence for understandable viewing, as many "Bloodhound Gang" mysteries were cut among two or three "Contact" episodes.

The magazine

Three months before the show premiered, a print magazine of the same name that also focused on science was released. In 1985, the magazine absorbed some of the content of sibling publication "Enter" (which went out of print that same year), including reader submissions of computer programs written in the BASIC computer language as well as reviews of popular computer programs. A new feature called "The Slipped Disk Show" appeared in mid-1985, starring a fictional disc jockey who answered computer-related questions submitted by readers.

Beginning in 1987, the magazine also featured content from another CTW production, "Square One Television". Such content frequently took the form of a two-page comic strip, often parodying a popular show or movie of the time, with a math-related question at the end.

The "Bloodhound Gang" mysteries also made the leap to the magazine, but they were subsequently replaced with a series entitled "The Time Team" in September 1990. These stories found teenage characters Sean Nolan and Jenny Lopez traveling to different time periods in the past and future. Their surroundings and personal encounters were described with great detail, educating readers as to the customs of various cultures throughout history, and – on trips to the future – often pushing present day hot-button issues. For example, a 1993 story saw the duo traveling to what appeared to be a prehistoric forest, but near the end, they found a Brazil flag, a newspaper clipping from 1995, and a bulldozer at work: this was in fact a Brazilian rainforest being levelled.

In 1996, "The Time Team" was replaced by a comic serial, "Cosmic Crew", which focused on the adventures of a group of teenagers and their robot butler in space. Their first story arc (which ran for more than a year) had them trying to figure out a series of riddles relating to places in the solar system in order to claim a treasure (which turned out to be a scholarship fund). Another story arc had a delinquent (who had been a villain in the first arc) join them in order to chase down a gang of other delinquents. Despite being effectively replaced, a few "Time Team" stories were run whenever there were gaps between installments of "Cosmic Crew".

Many of the magazine's cover stories involved current events, such as 1990s oil fires in the Middle East. In addition, the magazine offered a games section in which most of the games were related to the stories in the issue.

In 1996, CTW presumably concluded that faithful readers from the late 80s and early 90s had long since moved on, and the magazine began to reprint non-time-sensitive stories from years past. For example, a 1991 article on the geography of the Galápagos Islands – an unchanging subject – could very well re-appear in an identical format a half a decade later.

Under Sesame Workshop the magazine later became "Contact Kids", removing the original reference to the television show. Production of the magazine was suspended indefinitely in 2001.

After production

Though the show went off the air in 1988, it appeared in reruns from 1999 to 2003 on the cable television network Noggin, then a joint venture of CTW and Nickelodeon. Occasionally, shows were also rerun on Nickelodeon's Cable in the Classroom time period. For all these Nickelodeon and Noggin airings, the series was rated TV-Y7 (possibly due to the target audience). It also still aired on some PBS stations as reruns from 1989 to 1998 before it was switched to Noggin in 1999. The shows were modified for the shorter running time on these networks to allow for their interstitials.


*Executive Producers: Kathy Mendoza, Al Hyslop, Joan Ganz Cooney, Ralph Rogers
*'Bloodhound Gang' Executive Producer: Linda Marmelstein
*Producers: Alyce Myatt, Ozzie Alfonso, Franklin Getchell, Tish Sommers, Larry Engel
*'Bloodhound Gang' Producers: Sue Jett, Tony Mark
*Director: Ozzie Alfonso (seasons 2-8)
*Head Writer: Boyce Rensberger
*Writers: Jim Thurman, Luis Santerio, J. Phillip Miller, Ozzie Alfonso, Franklin Getchell
*Commissioned Film Producer: Edith Zornow
*Animation Associate Producer: Joan Lufrano
*Associate Producers: Stephanie Hoffman, Liz Shore, Bob Braithwaire, Mili Bonsignori, Ruth G. Hunter, Ronna Lazarus, Gaby Lopez, Anna Ray-Jones, Ruth Saks
*Production Managers: Judith Webb, Marc Chalom
*Production Coordinator: Rita Devlin
*Travel Coordinator: Lee Matis
*Casting: Lynn Kressel
*Title Theme Composer: Tom Anthony
*Music: Walt Levinsky, Judy Gordon, Dick Lieb, Tish Sommers, Susan Ring, Daniel Selby
*Music Coordinator: Danny Epstein
*Associate Directors: Eulogio Oritz, Jr., Jan Cornell, Ted May, Andrew Carl Wilk, Craig Bigelow, Janet Cohen, Jean MacLean, Don Sullian, Gordon McClelland, Joan Wood
*Stage Managers: Don Sullivan, Clarlne Harrington, Corky Ramierez
*Editors: John Purcell, Nina Elias-Bamberger
*Post Production Supervisor: Andy Bamberger
*Post Production Coordinator: Jody Bergedick and Sharon Blackwell
*Lighting Director: Ferdinand L. Manning, Randy Nordstrom
*Production Designer: Ronald D. Baldwin
*Art Director: Victor Di Napoli
*'Bloodhound Gang' Art Director: Richard Bianchi
*Set Decorator: Nat Mongioi
*Props: Robert Hancox
*Costume Designers: Constance Wexler, Bill Kellard
*'Bloodhound Gang' Costume Designer: John Boxer
*Make-up & Hair Stylists: Lynn Donohue, Lee Halls, Karen Specht, Joseph Cuervo, Michael R. Thomas, Joseph Coscia
*Video Post Production: Broadway Video, Reeves Teletape, Matrix Studios, Inc.
*Director of Operations: Ronald L. Weaver
*Technical Advisor: Walt Rauffer
*Technical Directors: Marty Begley, Ralph Mensch, Hal Warner
*Video: Dick Sens, Paul C. York, Ben Wilder, Marty Gaujenieks
*Cameras: John Feher, Miguel Armstrong, Manny Guiterez, Paul Mirasola, Steve Zinn, Frank Biondo, Jay Millard, Charles Shoemaker, Alain Onesto
*Audio: Blake Norton, Bill King, VI, Mel Becker, Phil F. Falcone, Tim Lester
*Tape Operators: Ed Hinch, Dick Smith, XI, Ben Wilder
*Sound Effects: Dick Maitland
*Studio Manager: Eleanor McIntosh
*Finance Director: Richard Norton
*Utility: Marc-Jon Sullivan
*Production Assistants: Jo Umans, Dana Caldwerood, Renee Goldkorn, Mike Klinghoffer, Roseanne Lopopolo, Althea Miller, Deborah Bolling, Tomaz Remeo, Victoria Rexer, Susan Ring
*Production Secretaries: Lynne Markis, Caroline Fernandes, Roberta Geddis-Blount, Sara Polin
*Content Directors: Charles Wolcott, Ph.D., Edward G. Atkins, Ph.D.
*Assistant Content Director: Ronnie Duberstein, Ph.D.
*Content Associate Directors: Theodore Ducas, Ph.D., Cary Lu, Ph.D.
*Content Assistant: Susan Schwarz Lynn
*Senior Consultant: Samuel Y. Gibbon
*Research Director: Milton Chen
*Research Assistants: Maria Rosa Alvarez, Agnes Sprouse
*Script Consultant: Tony Geiss
*Chairman, Board of Advisors: Gerald S. Lesser, Ph.D.
*Vice President of Production: David D. Connell
*Executive Editor: Keith W. Mielke, Ph.D.
*Story Researcher: Catherine Geddis

ources of Funding

Funding for 3-2-1 Contact was provided by the following:
*National Science Foundation (1980-1988)
*United States Department of Education (1980-1988)
*Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1980-1988)
*Viewers Like You (1980-1988)
*United Technologies Corporation (1980-1988)

All five sponsors funded the show for its entire run. They were originally supposed to fund for 20 new episodes until 1989 .

DVD Releases

There are no plans at this time to release "3-2-1 Contact" on DVD as of today.


External links

* [http://www.tvclassic.net/programs/321contact/321CONTACTVIDEO.ra Original broadcast clip that includes theme song]
* [http://www.80stvthemes.com/potpourri/misc.html The '80s TV Themes SuperSite] :
** [http://www.80stvthemes.com/ra/121999/321CONTACTVIDEO.ra 321 Contact intro (1980, video)]
** [http://www.80stvthemes.com/ra/121999/321CONTACTCLOSE.ra 321 Contact closing music (1980)]
** [http://www.80stvthemes.com/ra/121999/321CONTACTFRI.ra 321 Contact Friday credit roll closing music (1980)]
** [http://www.80stvthemes.com/ra/51999/321CONTACT.ra 321 Contact (1983)]
** [http://www.80stvthemes.com/ra/51999/BLOODHOUND.ra The Bloodhound Gang theme]
** [http://www.80stvthemes.com/ra/51999/321CONTACT87.ra 321 Contact (1987)]

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