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Schoolhouse Rock


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Schoolhouse Rock is the umbrella name for the award-winning educational series of short, three minute animated musical episodes that were broadcast throughout the weekend children's programming schedule on ABC.

Multiplication Rock was the first to premiere in 1972, teaching children the mechanics of the multiplication tables with segments like, "Zero, My Hero," "3 Is a Magic Number" and "Figure 8."

Grammar Rock was introduced in 1973. These segments educated children on the proper use of the different parts of speech. Included were "Conjunction Junction," "Verbs-That's What's Happening" and "Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here."

In 1974, the producers decided to add a history lesson to the program, partly to celebrate the upcoming Bicentennial. American Rock featured patriotic subject matter, such as "I'm Just a Bill," which outlined the process of making a law in America, and "No More Kings," which told the story of the founding of the original thirteen colonies.

Science Rock was added in 1977, with segments that dealt with outer space, gravity and energy, like "Electricity, Electricity" and "Interplanet Janet." Eventually the Body Rock segment was expanded and retitled Body Machine, with musical lessons about the circulatory system ("Do The Circulation") and the central nervous system ("Telegraph Line").

At its peak, Schoolhouse Rock was shown four times on Saturday mornings and twice on Sundays for a total of 350 broadcasts during the 1974-75 season. By the end of the decade, the landmark program had won two Emmy awards (1975-6, 1979-80) and was broadcast 300 times per season.

Since its inception, Schoolhouse Rock has been the model for educational shows on commercial television. Created solely to educate, the segments succeeded in a spectacularly entertaining fashion.

As for the show's impact on the TV generation: the success of the progam can be illustrated simply by asking most 25-35 year-olds how they learned to memorize the preamble to the Constitution, then sitting back as they sing the song they learned from Schoolhouse Rock.
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