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Author Topic: PBS educational shows you watched in school  (Read 1649 times)

US71

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2019, 10:36:37 AM »

I remember National Gergraphic films.

Same here. Lots of those in the early 90's in junior high. I actually enjoyed a lot of them, though it wasn't cool to admit it at that age.

We saw some in the early '90s in high school, but I thought they were pretty slow-paced and not too exciting, even if they had important subject matter. Some of them were really old. I remember a really old National Geographic film about poaching.

Speaking of old NatGeo's, when I was young, the local library had a collection of their magazines going back to before the Great War AKA World War I.  Those were fun to read!

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1995hoo

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2019, 10:44:13 AM »

I don't know whether it was a PBS show, but I remember at some point in grammar school we watched a show each week called "Metric Marmalade." I don't remember much about it beyond the name and that it was about, obviously, weights and measures. This was the late 1970s/early 1980s, so we spent a lot more time on metric measurement than we did on the US system because the US was supposed to be switching soon. I still have a better sense for metric units than I do for American units.

I vaguely remember some other educational show about nutrition. Again, no idea what network it was on, and I don't know what it was called, but I remember vaguely there was some sequence where there was a musical riff that repeated something like four or five times, with the characters singing the name of one of the four basic food groups after each repetition and the piece finally ending with them singing, "and that's a balanced diettttttttt.....to UUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSS!" (I think the main reason I remember this is that one kid in our classroom found that bit very entertaining and sang a disturbing imitation of it at other times of the week.)

PBS, like any UHF channel, wasn't always the easiest channel to receive in those days, so I have no idea what channel carried this material. Couldn't have been pre-recorded because the schools didn't have VCRs until maybe 1985.


Edited to add: A Google search turned up the article below indicating that "Metric Marmalade" was created by a guy from Richmond, though it doesn't say what channel aired the show in Northern Virginia.

https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/sailor-bob/Content?oid=1376031
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 10:49:47 AM by 1995hoo »
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bandit957

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2019, 01:49:55 PM »

I vaguely remember some other educational show about nutrition. Again, no idea what network it was on, and I don't know what it was called, but I remember vaguely there was some sequence where there was a musical riff that repeated something like four or five times, with the characters singing the name of one of the four basic food groups after each repetition and the piece finally ending with them singing, "and that's a balanced diettttttttt.....to UUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSS!"

That might have been 'Mulligan Stew'. It sounds vaguely familiar.

Schools around here got VCR's in the mid-'80s, and one of my first memories of it was sneaking into a classroom to program it to tape over some other show with 'Sesame Street'.
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briantroutman

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2019, 01:57:00 PM »

PBS, like any UHF channel, wasn't always the easiest channel to receive in those days...

Perhaps a nitpick, but in many major cities, the major public television station was on a VHF channel (Boston - 2, New York - 13, Philadelphia - 12, Pittsburgh - 13, Chicago - 11, Atlanta - 8, Miami - 2, Houston - 13, Dallas - 13, Phoenix - 8, San Francisco - 9, Seattle - 9). Washington was a bit of an exception with WETA being on channel 26—Los Angeles was another notable exception.

"Metric Marmalade.”...I have no idea what channel carried this material.

One of the most prolific producers and distributors of educational video materials from the ’70s through the ’80s (perhaps peaking around the height of the metrification craze) was the Educational Film Center of the Northern Virginia Educational Telecommunications Association. Given the geographic proximity and the subject matter, I think it’s reasonably likely that EFC produced and distributed the series in cooperation with the Agency for Instructional Television and that it would have aired on WETA in the Washington metro area.

Couldn't have been pre-recorded because the schools didn't have VCRs until maybe 1985.

As to how the broadcast would have been played in schools, there are a few possibilities. From the ’50s through the ’80s, many buildings of various types had large rooftop antennas connected to coaxial cables running to rooms throughout the building. Individual rooms would be outfitted with a jack that looked just like the kind used for cable TV, but rather than connecting to a cable company’s network, it connected to the large antenna—which was capable of pulling in a much stronger signal than rabbit ears connected to an individual set. So even if you couldn’t pick up the local public TV station reliably at home, a school’s industrial-grade antenna might have.

Another possibility is that your classroom was connected to cable, even though cable might not have been widespread in household use at the time. I understand that offering free or low-cost cable to schools and municipal buildings was a common tactic cable companies used to ply local officials and get favorable franchise agreements.

And yet another possibility (though less likely) is that the school might have been using microwave. I’ve read stories about schools and public broadcasters in the ’70s and ’80s setting up pilot programs to deliver educational programs to schools through direct microwave links, but these were expensive and typically funded by some kind of “experimental educational technologies” grant from state government.



In general, I think scheduling and technical constraints dramatically limited the practical use of television in the classroom until the ’80s, when school districts could outfit rooms with consumer-grade videocassette or laserdisc players at reasonable cost. Prior to that, scheduling would have been a nightmare. Let’s say the local public television station aired Metric Marmalade at 11 a.m. That might have been fine for the fourth period math class, but what about the other math sections? With a VCR, the math teacher could record Metric Marmalade on TV once, then play it for each section on-demand throughout the course of the day.
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bandit957

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2019, 02:03:06 PM »

It does seem like the TV stations were clearer at school than at home. Our clearest PBS station at home would have been Channel 54, and most schools I attended at the time were close enough to Channel 54's tower that they should have had no trouble picking it up. I know we did watch these shows as they aired (rather than taping them with a VCR), because I remember that right before the show started, the station aired a little digital clock showing when the show would start.
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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2019, 02:05:59 PM »

I also remember that the TV was on a large shelf with wheels that could be rolled into the classroom. In early grade school, we actually used a black-and-white set.
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1995hoo

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2019, 02:10:44 PM »

The name “Mulligan Stew” sounds vaguely familiar.

As far as antennas/cable/etc., for the most part I recall our TV reception at home being better than the reception at school (and we didn’t have cable at home until late 1986). They regularly wheeled in a TV to show space shuttle launches and landings and the reception was always grainy, whereas at home we could watch just fine. I really have no idea what the setup was other than that it was very unlikely to have been cable.
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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2019, 02:17:47 PM »

I worked at the public library for years in the '90s, and I remember my boss talking about how the TV in the meeting room was hooked up to a satellite dish. She got really mad once because somebody unhooked the TV from the dish somehow.
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In_Correct

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2019, 07:25:29 PM »

My schools had CATV but curiously also at least one Satellite Dish. The principal said that it still works and I think it was for "Channel One News" which the receiver was in a back room of the library. It could be watched live or taped; The receiver was this huge metal box with what looked like a TV VCR Combo inside it. I do not remember how they broadcasted it to the class rooms. But eventually most teachers decided not to watch it.
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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2019, 07:34:28 PM »

We never had Channel One, and I always thought the whole idea was idiotic anyway. I'm guessing Channel One would have started when I was in high school, but I never saw it.
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abefroman329

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2019, 07:32:16 AM »

We had Channel One at the public HS I went to in GA, though I think that was just for freshman year. As I recall, the big concern with it was that it was mostly commercials. 
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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2019, 10:53:39 AM »

If you did not get to watch Channel One News, you did not miss any thing.
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abefroman329

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2019, 11:09:47 AM »

If you did not get to watch Channel One News, you did not miss any thing.
I really have no recollection of whether it was good journalism, or whether it had a notable slant, just that it seemed to be a means to an end of showing commercials to a captive audience that couldn't opt out.
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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2019, 08:40:33 PM »

Channel One sucked because it was....news. I don't watch news now. I didn't care much about it then. The teachers were so hell bent on making sure we watched Ch. 1, we would be given a quiz on what was just on the damn TV!
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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2019, 08:53:35 PM »

Talking about news, when I was middle school, I watched something called CNN student news. It wasn't very liked but I found it ok.
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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2019, 09:43:02 PM »

We watched Inside-Out in 2nd and 3rd Grade.  One episode that stands out in my mind was titled "I Dare You", where a group of kids were giving each other risky dares.  The final one -- and most dangerous -- was where a girl was asked to stand on the road in front of an approaching VW microbus "and stop it".  She envisions what the possible outcomes were if she took the dare (if she failed, it wasn't pretty!), but the episode ended before she made a decision.

A show we watched in 4th was titled "Other Families, Other Friends", where they traveled around the world and interviewed ordinary families.  At least 2 episodes were about each location; 4 of the shows focused on Cape Jones, a remote, isolated settlement on the James and Hudson Bay in northern Quebec.  I think this was also produced by NIT.  Next to nothing was found on Google.

Still another show from that school year was "Let's All Sing with Tony Saletan".  (This was our music class!)  In each episode, the host would teach us a song on his guitar, though one or two episodes focused on other instruments like the dulcimer.  This included some classics like "Aiken Drum" and "Mi Chacra".  Also "The Foolish Frog", which he said he learned from Pete Seeger himself! The show was produced by Western Instructional Television.  Thanks to FB, someone sent me several videotaped episodes on DVD!

Regarding Channel One; although that was after my time, I remember what the premise was.  The company provides the TVs and the satellite-receiving equipment for free, in exchange for a daily, mandatory viewing of their news report by the student body.  Of course, this included maybe 2 minutes of advertising, as part of the business model.  It sounded good "on paper", but, as others have mentioned, there was some backlash against forced viewing of commercials, regardless of the reason.  One political cartoon explained the feeling well.  A TV in the classroom is showing a commercial for "Junkos" chips, while a kid in class is reading a textbook.  A stereotypical-looking older female teacher says to him something like "Young man, stop reading and watch TV or you'll be in big trouble!"
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ErmineNotyours

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2019, 11:42:38 PM »

It might have been Inside Out when this happened.  The plot was that one teen had gotten a pack of playing cards with nudes on them, and showed them to his friends.  The teacher immediately freaked out, and turned off the TV.  Hey, the pictures were covered up by the cards in front of them.  This is being shown on TV.  They know what they are doing.  Still, the teacher thought she saw more than what she saw and we saw the crime without the punishment.

News traveled fast, and there were a few students who were out of class when this show came on.  When they came back, they asked, "How was the nudie show?"

Other episodes gave me the creeps anyway.  There was one episode where teens were smoking inside (smoking what, I don't know) and heard their parents coming, so they desperately sprayed air freshener to cover up.  Watching this show seemed too much like hanging out with the bad kids, and not in a good way.
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bandit957

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2019, 12:07:48 AM »

'Self Incorporated' had really creepy theme music. It was a synth theme that sounded sort of like the little PBS bumpers back then, only slower.
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Scott5114

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2019, 12:17:20 AM »

We had Channel 1 in school, as the first thing done when returning from lunch break. I tried to watch it because I was actually interested in news, but the rest of class saw it as an extended time to horse around and were usually loud enough that I couldn't hear the audio. The teachers saw this a period where they didn't have to manage the classroom, so they didn't have much interest in making anyone pipe down. As time passed, they kind of stopped bothering to even turn it on.

As I got older, I started recognizing how some teachers used TV time as an excuse to get out of the actual job of teaching. (Why bother putting in the effort to make an engaging lecture about the Civil War when Ken Burns exists?) Football coaches that were required to also teach classes were particularly prone to this strategy.
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abefroman329

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2019, 09:03:09 AM »

Regarding Channel One; although that was after my time, I remember what the premise was.  The company provides the TVs and the satellite-receiving equipment for free, in exchange for a daily, mandatory viewing of their news report by the student body.
Unless the TVs and the satellite dishes could be used for something other than watching Channel One, I don't see how this was a good deal for the school.
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abefroman329

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #45 on: January 24, 2019, 09:06:13 AM »

As I got older, I started recognizing how some teachers used TV time as an excuse to get out of the actual job of teaching. (Why bother putting in the effort to make an engaging lecture about the Civil War when Ken Burns exists?)
At least Ken Burns' Civil War documentary was scholarly and (probably) historically accurate.  Can't say the same for Glory, Braveheart, and The Patriot, all of which have been show in history classes and presented as faithful to historical record.

Football coaches that were required to also teach classes were particularly prone to this strategy
The only athletic coach I had that taught a non-PE class and was good at it was a tennis coach, and I think he preferred to be called "Mr. Burton" vs. "Coach Burton" in the classroom.
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In_Correct

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #46 on: January 24, 2019, 11:56:45 AM »

Regarding Channel One; although that was after my time, I remember what the premise was.  The company provides the TVs and the satellite-receiving equipment for free, in exchange for a daily, mandatory viewing of their news report by the student body.
Unless the TVs and the satellite dishes could be used for something other than watching Channel One, I don't see how this was a good deal for the school.

They did not provide us any televisions. The Televisions and the wiring had to be provided by the school. Channel One News only provided satellite dish and receiver / television monitor / VHS Recorder device for the school campus library to be broadcasted to the school's televisions. 

The VHS recorder tapes the live broadcast and gives the capability for the librarians to make copies for the teachers to play separately, as well as the capability for the librarians to play it or even replay it for the entire school all day long.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 12:26:05 PM by In_Correct »
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abefroman329

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #47 on: January 24, 2019, 12:02:56 PM »

Since no one has mentioned it yet, I remember that Anderson Cooper got his start on Channel One.
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bandit957

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #48 on: January 24, 2019, 12:04:54 PM »

Remember this? This was a song, not a TV show, but here it goes...

"This is a song about colors...Colors...You see 'em all around...Red on a stop sign, green on a tree...Blue in the sky and sea..."
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abefroman329

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Re: PBS educational shows you watched in school
« Reply #49 on: January 24, 2019, 12:28:39 PM »

Remember this? This was a song, not a TV show, but here it goes...

"This is a song about colors...Colors...You see 'em all around...Red on a stop sign, green on a tree...Blue in the sky and sea..."
No.

Remember this? This was a song, not a TV show, but here it goes...

"When you're headed for first, and you feel somethin' burst, diarrhea..."
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