|“Picture Pages, Picture Pages,
Time to get your Picture Pages,
Time to get your crayons and your pencils…”
Contrary to popular belief, “distance learning” wasn’t an invention of the Internet Age. Starting in the 1970’s, Picture Pages turned living rooms into interactive classrooms for five minutes every weekday morning.
The idea behind Picture Pages was to guide preschool-aged children through a colorful lesson book, teaching them basic concepts through games and other activities. In every brief episode, the host instructed his audience of eager pupils to open up their Picture Pages to the day’s lesson. The host had his own large mock-up of that very page mounted on the wall behind him, and as the kids at home worked, so did he, doodling in lines to make connections between objects.
Picture Pages began as a segment on Captain Kangaroo, one of the Captain’s many educational activities for his young fans. Starting in 1980, the Captain turned over his Picture Pages duties to legendary comedian Bill Cosby, who filled out the pages with the help of Mortimer the Marker. When Captain Kangaroo left the air in 1984, Picture Pages was left temporarily without a home, but the up-and-coming kids network Nickelodeon decided the show was a perfect fit for its early morning lineup.
For the next eight years, the 260 Picture Pages shorts popped up during episodes of Nick’s Pinwheel and other programs, teaching kiddie viewers about shapes, numbers, letters, animals, sizes, colors and so much more. Some lessons may have been learned and forgotten, but at least one element has stuck with Picture Pages viewers ever since: that bouncy, unforgettable theme song…
“You can play with Picture Pages,
Fill your days with Picture Pages,
‘Til Bill Cosby does another Picture Page with you!”