Afternoon TV today seems to be more about selling tie in products than in anything else. Sell some BACKYARDIGANS toys or tickets to the next HANNAH MONTANA concert.
The early 80's were very different. Even more subversive.
Rather than getting people to buy things, they, (SHOCK!!), got them to LEARN!! And the kids watching didn't even realize this! They just thought the shows were entertaining.
You had SESAME STREET, then moved on to THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. After that, there was a show for older kids called 3-2-1 CONTACT.
3-2-1 CONTACT was about science of all things. And, we didn't even realize we were learning while watching.
The opening theme is what is probably still best remembered about the show.
There were three hosts for the show, Marc (Leon W. Grant), Lisa (Liz Moses) and, my favorite, Trini (Ginny Ortiz). Set at a house, each episode they would introduce different clips of science experiments.
I always remembered this clip, for the "Cosmic Clock"
Pretty freaky, and this was even before global warming and Al Gore.
And let's not forget everyone's favorite, "The Bloodhound Gang"
They would play part of the mystery on one episode, and you'd have to watch the next day to see the resolution. I don't think kids today could take the suspense, what with the internet and all.
The show lasted throughout the 80's, and even spawned a spin off magazine (that was a science magazine). Once the original hosts left the show, I didn't stay around. Surprisingly, none of them would do much after. Mark had some small roles, but the girls didn't. Trini seems to be teaching acting.
One interesting bit of trivia that I didn't realize until much later, but two of the cast members appeared in the great Walter Hill film THE WARRIORS. Trini played the candy store girl. And, one of the Warriors, Rembrandt, was Marcelino Sanchez, Ricardo from "The Bloodhound Gang". Sanchez died tragically in 1986.
I don't know if a show like 3-2-1 CONTACT would work today. Would kids today really want to learn?
And here is another great YouTube clip showing how they recorded the theme song
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