Five for Friday: My Top Five Educational Programs from the 80s.

Boy oh boy do I have a great list for today’s Five for Friday! If you’re under the age of 30, most of these are going to look like relics pulled from the dusty drawers of a PBS storage closet.

That’s the Public Broadcasting System for those of you who’ve never experienced living in a house without cable;  long before the Al Gore even thought about inventing the internet.  They showed a lot of educational programming, Dr. Who, British comedy, and every fifteen minutes they come on and beg for your money. 

Some of these are quite amazing aside from being dated; others, not so much.  But time and memory have a way of making you embrace things.  So even the worst of these occupy a corner of my mind and my heart.

One final word before I get to the list, I did not include “Sesame Street” because it’s still going strong.  I wanted to focus on some great shows that met their ends long ago.  Clearly “Sesame Street” would be included in anyone’s  top educational show list!

Number 5:  “Trust Me” starring Curt Hiss, the beatboxing, drug-free snake (1987)

Never heard of this?  Yeah, I doubt many have.  This was a shoddily made puppet show movie released on VHS (that’s how us weirdos watched movies long before Netflix and Blueray; they were tapes that went in an odd contraption known as a VCR).  Some how the preschool where my Mom taught pre-K got a hold of a copy.  Therefore, I was subjected to viewing it 400+ times.  Learn about the scary effects of smoking a joint and the risks of peer pressure.  How’d this make my top 5?  Well, I just felt that others should be subjected to this WTF memory that is burned into my brain.

Seriously, take the next 22 minutes of your life and watch this.  It is ridiculously bad and hilarious.

Number 4:  Square One (1987-1992)

The goal of this show was to teach kids about mathematics and abstract mathematical concepts.  It featured sketches, parodies, and even some game shows.  My favorite bit was Mathnet.  It featured two detectives who solved crimes using math.  No wonder I grew up to love the show “Numb3rs”!

Number 3:  3-2-1 Contact (1980-1988)

This show taught kids all about scientific principles and their applications.  It was responsible for creating little home scientists long before “Bill Nye the Science Guy”!

Number 2:  Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1963-2001)

Who doesn’t love Mr. Rogers?  He taught kids so many wonderful lessons about life, being good to others, and appreciating the world around them.  I was enthralled with the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and adored Henrietta Pussycat.

Number 1:  Reading Rainbow (1983-2006)

It had one main goal:  to encourage kids to read.  As a self-professed bookworm and soon-to-be president of the LeVar Burton fan club, of course I’m going to rank this at the very top of my list!

And as a special treat, here is Jimmy Fallon doing The Doors sing “Reading Rainbow”-

Honorable Mentions:

Tomes & Talismans (1986)  A show about kids traveling around in a Bookmobile trying to save the world’s knowledge (books) from these beings known as The Wipers.  Essentially it was a tricky way to force kids to learn about the Dewey Decimal System (back in ancient times this is how we organized books in a library…, a library is way different than the book shelf on your Kindle….never mind).

The Letter People (1972)  These guys were still going strong in my small town when I entered Kindergarten in 1985.  They were letter-based characters designed to teach kids how to “sound out” words.  They used the basic rules of phonics in song and story.  I was obsessed with them!  Of course my favorite Letter Person was Mr. M, with the munching mouth.  I bet I can still name every one of them!


Wanna hear all of their letter songs?

What were your favorite educational shows as a kid?

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Hello Saferide – Highschool Stalker

Eating:  A mishmosh of leftovers.

Drinking:  H2O

Reading:  “Dreamsongs Volume I” by George R. R. Martin

Random fact:  I will force my children to watch all of the shows one day.


4 thoughts on “Five for Friday: My Top Five Educational Programs from the 80s.

  1. I love this. Mr. Rogers still makes me smile when I hear him sing, even if I now wonder what job he was coming home from every day and his questionable fashion choices. And you know I want to be a part of this LeVar Burton fan club. Sign me up!!

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