|"Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around.
Look at my pinwheel and see what I found.
Pinwheel, pinwheel, where have you been?
Hello, how are you, and may I come in?
Pinwheel, pinwheel, shiny and bright,
spin me good morning, spin me good night."
For many an 80's pre-schooler, this theme song signaled the beginning of a wonderful morning. Starting in 1979, Pinwheel aired for five hours a day on a local Columbus, Ohio network called The Pinwheel Channel. The channel went national in 1980 with a new name-Nickelodeon-and you know the rest of that story.
Combining human hosts with a colorful cast of puppets, Pinwheel was one of Nickelodeon's most popular shows during the network's formative years. Together with You Can't Do That On Television, it helped put the fledgling cable network on the map.
Pinwheel's human cast was headed by Jake and Kim, two kind-hearted souls blessed with room-lighting smiles. They were joined by Sal and Smitty, who as photographer and writer, respectively, ran the “Daily Noodle” newspaper.
Among the regular puppet stars were the inseparable Plus and Minus, Luigi O’Brien and his talking vegetables, "Hobo Bugs" Herbert and Lulu (creators of the "Hobo Bug Giggle Dance"), Molly the mole, the Admiral Bird, Silas the Snail, and Ebenezer T. Squint, a large, green puppet.
The show also included several animated shorts from Europe. These skits ranged from obscure favorites, such as "King Rollo" and "Magic Roundabout," to more established classics, like "Paddington Bear" and "Madeline."
The British segment "Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings" earned its own distinction by becoming the basis for a Mike Myers parody on Saturday Night Live. "Now you know my name is Simon, and the things I draw come true. And the pictures take me, take me, over the garden wall with you," sang the adventurous little boy (though not in a bathtub, as fans of the Myers skit may think). After creating a chalk scene, Simon would indeed climb over the garden wall and find himself immersed in the land he had just drawn. For a few hours, he could enjoy the pleasure of exploring his own imagination.
And as for Pinwheel fans, when they heard that opening theme song, they knew they had the chance to do the same.