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As Seen on TV: “Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla”

Posted by purplemary54 on June 25, 2014

I guess I’m just feeling a little bit like a kid lately.  Or maybe this is an antidote to the episode of Penny Dreadful I just watched (dreadful things happened, which means the show is living up to its title).  But I feel the need to turn off real life and slip back into my five-year-old self in front of the TV on Saturday mornings.  In between episodes of Scooby Doo and Captain Caveman, I just might be lucky enough to see this particular song from Schoolhouse Rocks.

This lesson on pronouns was one of my favorites, but they didn’t play it that often (stupid conjunctions!).  I don’t know what made it so much fun–maybe I just really liked aardvarks.  It’s fun to sing along with, too; trying to get those crazy names right makes the song just the right amount of challenging.

Really, I was led back to Schoolhouse Rocks by this post on Dangerous Minds.  Watching the stylized 70s animation of John David Wilson in these bumper cartoons/videos from Sonny and Cher’s variety show reminded me of the style of the classic children’s interstitial cartoons/videos that taught my generation basic multiplication, grammar, science, and history.  There was something eye-catching about the primary colors and stock repetition of movement and scenery.

When you think about, these all these cartoons from the 70s helped make my generation the ideal audience for music videos and MTV.  Because of our childhood viewing habits, we were primed to accept songs and visuals as a unit, storytelling as another outlet for the music.  (Was I the only one who watched various variety shows as a child?  There were others out there, right?  I mean, you almost couldn’t turn on one of the half a dozen channels that were available back then without running into a variety show.)  In spite of all that talk about groups like the Beatles helping to create music videos, the truth was that cartoons had as much if not more to do with creating a generation of couch potatoes who expected everything to come in three and a half minute spurts.

At least that’s how I see it.

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One Response to “As Seen on TV: “Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla””

  1. Kira said

    Somewhere I have the complete Schoolhouse Rock collection on DVD, now I’ll have to find it so I can watch them again!

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