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Reading Rainbow!

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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted March 16 2006 - 07:09 PM

I was watching IGN's recap of the whole "Clerks" saga, and at the end they played the theme song to "Reading Rainbow" over the credits, and it brought back a whole flood of wonderful memories. Apparently LeVar Burton has struggled to get funding for several years now, with production down to 4 or 5 episodes a year.
The reason? PBS no longer wants to get behind a show without merchandising tie-ins. No wonder today's children have the problems they do and education is failing in this country. Never has children's programming been more slickly produced, nor more useless. "Reading Rainbow", "Square One TV", "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and the like were never slickly produced but they were real, substantial, and memorable. I bet a large majority of today's twenty-somethings know these shows by heart. They had real impact. How many wonderful books did I find through "Reading Rainbow" when I was little? How many complex issues did it introduce to me in a way I could understand? And it's struggling while shows like Power Rangers endure? When Burton spoke at his alma mater (USC) back in 2003, the student body spontaneously launched into the theme song. What shared experience will today's kids have with something so positive? I should tape all the episodes while they're still on now so if I ever have children they will have something decent to watch.

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high
Take a look, it's in a book, it's Reading Rainbow!

I can go anywhere!
Friends to know and ways to grow - Reading Rainbow.

I can be anything!
Take a look, it's in a book - Reading Rainbow.

#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted March 16 2006 - 07:21 PM

I'll still stop on Reading Rainbow when I see it on! I was too old to watch it when it started, but I watched it anyway. It was originally to kill time while waiting for William Alexander (basically, the German Bob Ross--"Ve vill, ve vill . . . paint the happy little shoreline!"), but I think I got hooked when LeVar taught me how to make curds and whey. This would have been when I was 15, because I remember watching it in the summer after drivers' ed.

Just about a year ago, I saw an episode with a recipe for spinach lasagne that looked incredible. Lay down a layer of rice, then a layer of spinach leaves, then sauce, then another layer of rice, etc. I couldn't find the exact recipe online, but the chef helping LeVar make it is apparently pretty well known. His name is Curtis Aikens.

#3 of 13 ONLINE   Josh Dial

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Posted March 17 2006 - 03:24 AM

Wow, one would think a freakin' book would be the ultimate tie-in for a show ABOUT READING.

Although I am a supporter of my current PBS station, I think this is a poor move by PBS as a whole.

So many good children's shows are falling by the wayside.



#4 of 13 OFFLINE   JediFonger



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Posted March 17 2006 - 04:56 AM

"but... you don't have to take my word for it."

#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted March 17 2006 - 05:26 AM

"but... you don't have to take my word for it."

Buh dum bum!

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   StephenA



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Posted March 17 2006 - 12:18 PM

I always remember the episode that revolved around the restoration of the Statue Of Liberty. I think that episode is at least 20 years old now, though I may be mistaken.

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Jeff Jacobson

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Posted March 17 2006 - 02:14 PM

I remember the one where they went behind the scenes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted March 17 2006 - 02:27 PM

Yeah. I saw that before I ever saw TNG. Too bad that episode didn't end up on one of the box sets.

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Scott Leopold

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Posted March 17 2006 - 02:53 PM

I enjoy watching shows on PBS with my kids, as long as they are both interesting and educational. Reading Rainbow is one I watched with my 15 year old, and that I now watch with my 2 and 4 year old. I won't watch Sesame Street (, otherwise known as The Elmo Show, or Let's Teach Our Kids To Talk With a Speech Impediment Show), and especially not Caillou (great if you want your kids to learn that whining is the answer to everything). I'd love to be able to watch The Letter People and 3-2-1 Contact with them as well. We generally avoid most of the kids fare on PBS nowadays.

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Random Hero

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Posted March 17 2006 - 06:24 PM

I loved Reading Rainbow. I remember when we saw it in elementary school. Even when I stayed home sick, I tried to stay awake long enough to watch the show.

#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Jason Harbaugh

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Posted March 17 2006 - 06:51 PM

I got so many free personal pan pizzahut pizzas because of Reading Rainbow. There was a 'read so many books, get a free pizza' book tie-in at the time.

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   LanceJ



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Posted March 17 2006 - 07:29 PM

Possible reasons why PBS is cutting back on the good shows and squeezing in those Lexus, etc pseudo-commercials:

From our buddies up north: "Cut all PBS funding,...."

Then a view from a different perspective....

.....and a view from the opposite direction.

I almost never watch PBS anymore. They used to have lots of science & cultural themed programs, stuff mainstream media would never touch. Now most of their shows are glitzy affairs nearly like the commercial programming they used to subtly make fun of. Nova, formerly one of my favorites, is now all tarted up with MTV-like production like fast edits and cheesy lighting effects just like the dreck that Discovery Channel pushes all the time. Even their Motorweek show has gone mostly down the toilet - seems like 3/4 of the cars they test now are Porsches, overweight SUVs & $100K exotics.

*Reading* (< this helps explain why so many graduating high school seniors have no interest in reading anything & need TV or video games to entertain them all the time)

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Lucia Duran

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Posted March 18 2006 - 12:26 AM

Reading Rainbow was one of my favorite shows growing up. I watched it religiously every day!

It would be wonderful to have it released on dvd. Uncut. I would so buy that set.

When my girls were younger they watched Reading Rainbow and Zoom. Those were two great shows...glad Zoom still has some audience and they are making new shows.

3-2-1 contact was another of the great shows when I was growing up. That and Voyage of the Mimi. Too bad most of PBS now is turning into what we see on the basic channels.

I'll gladly give money to help fund RR.