Reading Rainbow and other TV shows you may miss from your childhood in the 1980s!

Do you remember Reading Rainbow? Do you remember that lovely intro song? Well, now you can relive at least one of your childhood memories and watch it here. It's cool to see something you haven't seen in fifteen or twenty years. (Apparently, Reading Rainbow ran from 1983-2005. I had no idea they produced new ones until two years ago.) It looks just like I remember it, and I remember what a great show it was. Ah, books!

I don't think that this show made me enjoy reading any more than I would have otherwise, though, in respect to my earlier post about why some people become avid readers and others don't. My brother watched the show with me and he never became an avid reader by any definition. Both of my sisters are avid readers like I am. That breakdown might suggest that it is a gender thing, but my father read a lot, as did both of my grandfathers.

While you're at it, here is the intro to 3-2-1 Contact (why does Wikipedia call it a "reality" show, though?), although the part I remember starts from the middle of this video. Here are some snippets from the actual show. I haven't had time to watch them, because I've been engrossed in Square One TV. See below.

Here is the intro to Square One, although it was nothing special in my memory and my memory was apparently correct. Much more enticingly, there are many little snippets of Square One TV on YouTube. I think I spent a whole afternoon watching them once. So, go have fun! I remember many of the songs fondly.

This is one of my favorites from Square One, but I think it's more my favorite now than it was when I was a kid. It has taken on new meaning since 1990! (Also, the '80s-ness of it just kills me.)

"Magic Number Nine" and "Tesselations" were two of my favorites as a kid. Come on, admit it, you like songs about math, too!

(Parenthetical tangent: Note that I don't discriminate. I also like songs about reading. For example, I am quite fond of Tom Lehrer's songs "Silent E" and "L-Y." Especially "L-Y." That's a great song. You may remember them from The Electric Company, but I am just six months or a year too young to remember it. It stopped airing in reruns in 1985, when I was 5 and 6 years old. I remember a lot of things from when I was five and six (the Challenger disaster, the summit meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev), but not this show. I am also about six months too young to remember when Snuffleupagus went from being imaginary to being real. This also happened when I was six, but I guess I always remembered him as being real because I kept watching the show for awhile after that. (I watched nothing but public television until I was 9, and because I had younger siblings, I probably watched Sesame Street and Mister Rogers for longer than some peers.) Classmates who were born six months before me definitely remembered him being imaginary. It's funny to think of what I remember and what I don't remember from when I was between the ages of, say, 4 and 7. After I was 7, I think I remembered a lot more.)

Good Lord, you can also watch Mathman all over again! I loved those! Maybe even more than the music videos, with the notable exceptions of "Magic Number Nine" and "Tesselations." Without further ado, some Mathman (much more available on YouTube):
  1. Numbers < .5
  2. Two More Than a Multiple of Five
  3. Decimals Greater Than One
Likewise, I don't think that all that watching of Square One made me like math any more than I would have otherwise. For years, I was both afraid of and hated math even though, based on things I've learned about myself since I stopped studying math formally (about halfway through 12th grade) would indicate that I probably have some natural aptitude for math.

It would be a tautology to say that I never liked math because of my fear and hatred, but I think it's safe to say that if I had not been afraid of and hated math, then I might have gotten good at it and thus learned to like it. Between sixth grade and twelfth grade I moved, more or less against my will, from the lowest math group into AP Calculus, but math was never a happy subject for me, unlike, say, English, history, Talmud, biology, or art appreciation. I learned some statistics from a book and thus managed to place out of the math requirement in college, but another placement test I took my freshman year indicated that if I were to take math in college, I would have to take remedial algebra, i.e., relearn whatever it was I learned (or didn't learn) in 9th and 11th grades. (I think 10th grade was geometry, which I aced and also sort of enjoyed. Proofs! Yay! What fun!) Numbers still fluster and scare me to some extent, and I wish they didn't. The real question is: Why was I afraid of numbers when I was as young as 6? I think I know the answer, but I'll save that for another post.


EAR said...

FYI, I read your post last Thursday morning and then spent 2.5 hours glued to my computer screen watching old clips from the Electric Company, etc. It took a concerted effort to stop!

Drew_Kaplan said...

I still remember Tessellations! Square One rocked! Yeah, math is cool.