|Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? If you knew the answer to that question, you had a pretty keen sense of geography, which this popular junior game show cultivated in its young audience.
Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? was based on the best-selling educational home video game of the same name. The show was built around the story of Carmen Sandiego, a world-class thief who had stolen a priceless artifact. The Acme Crime Detective Agency hired three private eyes—the show’s teen contestants—to track down Carmen and recover the goods.
Intended as an educational game to help kids learn geography, Carmen Sandiego had on its floor a giant map of the world. The contestants each got a chance to track down Carmen by answering questions and solving clues about capitals, climates, and other geographic facts. The show’s host and the Chief of the detective agency assisted the trenchcoat-clad adolescent gumshoes and provided the clues, along with a variety of other guests. Another major draw was the boppin' theme song, performed by the a cappella group Rockapella, who also sang throughout the show.
Through its game-like structure, each episode of Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? restored the mystery and fun of geography to kids of all ages. In 1994, a sequel of sorts debuted, Fox's animated Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? Another game show followed a few years later, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?