Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Sorrow and Rage of a Schoolhouse Rocker

When I was a boy of five or six, I would wake up bright and early every Saturday morning, and slink downstairs to watch TV in the family room—just dive into the stream of morning cartoon shows that played at that magic hour, and let my little brain cells dissolve in the stew of sugary ‘toons, even as I restlessly twisted the channel selector from side to side—clickety-clack! cli-cli-clickety-clack!—looking for something good.

But in between all that visual junkfood—all of which I’ve long since forgotten—there were these little animated films that played during the commercial breaks, called “Schoolhouse Rock!”.

The “Schoolhouse Rock” cartoons were two-minute masterpieces, with bold drawings and incredibly catchy songs, each explaining a different academic subject or topic. Famous ones were “Conjunction Junction”, “Three Is A Magic Number”, “The Great American Melting Pot”, “I’m Just a Bill”, “The Preamble”.

Consider how good, how wonderfully entertaining these little educational cartoons must have been: I am now 44 years old, but I can sing—off the top of my head—maybe a dozen of the “Schoolhouse Rock” songs.

For instance, the chorus to one of my favorites—“Interjection!”: