Now that school’s over and I’m all refreshed and relaxed and able to type long texts without feeling anxious, depressed and tired, I figured it was about time I wrote a second part to my wanderings on Nostalgia Crescent. Besides, I’m sure that it’ll help recover some of our souls from the institution known as the University of Toronto. In my last post, many of you mentioned a lot of old TV shows we used to enjoy as children. Now, again, this will not apply to you if you did not grow up in Canada in the 90s, so I welcome you to write your own post. In any case, I’ll try and think up as many shows as I can. I’ve already mentioned a few anime titles, such as Pokemon, Digimon, Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon in my last trip down memory lane, so I’ll refrain from mentioning them again. Anyways, let’s start the second part of our journey down Nostalgia Crescent with…
You don’t know how much I despair when I hear that people my age who grew up in Canada don’t know about Ernie Coombes, much better known as Mr. Dressup. This show was absolutely magical: it engaged children through music, drama (as in acting), storytelling and visual arts. To this day, I still remember Mr. Dressup going to the Tickle Trunk to get his costume so that he could act out a story with his puppet sidekicks. Or all the cool arts and crafts that he did. All I can say is that Mr. Dressup is love. Pure love. There’s a bit of a war going on in facebook groups that pits Mr. Dressup against Mr. Rogers, which is sort of fair game because I think they had the same timeslot on different channels. As a result, I grew up a Mr. Dressup girl and never knew the world of Mr. Rogers… even though I do know the “It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood…” song somehow.
Everyday when you’re walking down the street… Remember this song? Arthur was awesome. Even though people got confused as to how they had a dog character and then Pal, who’s Arthur’s pet dog. Then there was the issue of them being in either 4th or 6th grade and being allowed to go around town by themselves like teenagers. Nonetheless, Arthur is just so awesome that it still runs on TV today.
Magic School Bus
A month or two ago, I was supposed to be writing my essay but what was I doing instead? I fell into a fit of nostalgia and ended up watching the Magic School Bus, a show that taught you all the science that an arts student would know. I used to have this Magic School Bus ruler/protractor that had a mini bus in the centre that you can slide to each of the nine planets of the solar system… those were the days when Pluto was still a planet.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
If the Magic School Bus wasn’t enough, Bill Nye was there to give you more science -related facts! Humour, cool experiments and an awkward music video at the end of each episode – Bill Nye knew how to make science fun! Now, excuse me while I try to find some liquid nitrogen to dip roses in…
Sesame Street celebrated its 40th birthday last year, as displayed by the long string of google doodles. Admittedly, I ended up watching clips of Sesame Street as a university student when I discovered that people like Norah Jones, Ben Stiller and Michelle Obama were guests on the show. That is just pure cool. (Ben Stiller’s appearance and song about people in the neighbourhood is hysterical. I recommend that you watch it.)
Ok, we all make fun of it, but let’s face it: chances are, you’ve watched Barney as a kid. I don’t really remember anything beyond the purple dinosaur and some song that went something like, “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family…”
Shining Time Station
I don’t think “Thomas the Tank Engine” was broadcast in Canada back the those days but I know about Thomas because the people at Shining Time Station would tell stories about Thomas and his friends. There was a little conductor man in the show and according to wikipedia, it was at one point played by Ringo Starr. Cool! Also, let’s not forget that cool jukebox with all the puppets who would sing and play songs for you.
When I was either 5 or 6, I had to go to the washroom this one day but ended up missing the ending to one of the shows and started crying. I stopped when I heard the first strains of the theme song to…
I don’t particularly remember why I liked watching this show. In fact, my mother abhorred it because it was so violent. The Red Ranger (sans costume) did this really cool trick with a stick in the ending credits. I’ve watched bits of the Japanese version of Power Rangers either last year or a few years ago while in Asia, and I must say, the Japanese have wayyy better special effects and costumes. It was pretty trippy.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
I don’t think I was old enough to really understand the purpose of this show when it was on TV but I watched it anyways. For now, all I remember is flashing lights on top of these posts. Reading its wiki entry, apparently there was a plot to the game show. Cool.
This was the precursor to Zabomafoo. It had no puppet, no stories set in “Zabooland” (I was leaping along… leap, leap, leap…) and no songs, but the Kratt brothers, Chris and Martin, did track down some pretty amazing animals. One time, I had to do a report on camels and couldn’t find books on them at the school library because everyone else was using them but lo and behold, guess which animal the brothers were talking about on the show that night? Woot for coincidences because if it weren’t for them, I would’ve failed that assignment. Oh yes, and a question: who had a crush on one (or both) of the brothers when you were little? *raises hand*
This is such an awesome show hosted by a guy with an awesome accent. Who could forget the huge pictures of sand/salt/fabric and the crafts. The crafts were never as pretty as the ones in the show when you made them yourself, but it was always tons of fun anyways. Funnily enough, it took me forever to figure out what PVA glue was. Oh those Brits…
Bananas in Pajamas
This show might seem a bit moronic now – I mean, it’s about talking bananas which were actually guys in giant banana suits – but it was actually really charming. I still remember a bit of an episode when the Bananas had to organize something or other but ended up making a box for a “flower” rather than “flour”. A cute fact: the bananas rode a car.
Country Mouse and City Mouse
Another show on TVO that was rather charming about two talking mice who solve mysteries. It was always pretty obvious who the culprit is and they also usually owned a cat. Although I loved the show, I was rather miffed at the feline antagonism. I think there was another show called Book Mice with a bad cat (who incidentally couldn’t read) called Exit. Why was there so much feline hate back then?
Oh Flipper. What a helpful dolphin friend, just like Lassie, but a mammalian sea creature. According to wikipedia, a young Jessica Alba was part of its cast.
For some reason, it took me a while to figure out that the people in Reboot were actually in your computer. Nevertheless when I figured it out, I never understood how winning games destroyed your computer or how Hexadecimal was a “good” virus… or at least she turned good at some point in the series. Still, it was a fun show.
I’m not sure how many of you remember this show as it was shown later in the evening (past my bedtime when I was in elementary school at least) and it was about kids who went to high school on a cruise ship and went around the world. Now that I think of it, other than all the drama, those kids were lucky little ducks, weren’t they?
Yes, we’ve read the books but the show was just as engaging as the books. Thanks to the show, ventriloquist dummies are rather creepy to me. (I’m going to have nightmares if I look at the above image too much…) Other than that, the show wasn’t scary at all. Was anyone else freaked out by anything from the series?
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
There’s nothing more fun than telling ghost stories in the dark… around a campfire. That should be an activity to do in the summer. Just like Goosebumps, I never thought any of these stories to be scary.
Lamb Chop’s Play-Along
If you know “The Song that Never Ends,” it’s very likely that this show is the cause since it was the show’s ending song. Lamb Chops was a pretty adorable puppet… though with a rather unfortunate name.
I’ve had so many reactions when I talk about this show with friends or acquaintances. Some people loved it, and love quoting Pinky and the Brain (“The same thing we do every night, Pinky, try and take over the world!) while others found this show rather annoying. I can see where they’re coming from, but it was a cartoon you came home to after school.
The Elephant Show
I don’t really remember all that much from the elephant show other than the fact that Sharon, Lois and Bram sang. I do sort of remember this guy called Eric who played the Banjo and had his own show, “Eric’s World”, which was filled with drama and laughs. I also liked the, song that went, “Don’t say goodbye, just say hello…”
Some other things on TV you might remember from your childhood:
- Sugar, a previous host of YTV who sounded as if she was on helium all the time. She hosted the Zone with a guy named Carlos and a creepy machine thing with weird voice.
- Speaking of Sugar and Carlos, do you remember that stupid song they sang that went, “Today is Friday, I hope you have your sneakers on!”
- Patty, who was a host on TVO and is now on CBC.
- Some of the “high school” or “college” shows that were on TV during your adolescence, like Big Wolf on Campus, Radio Active (my personal favourite) Student Body and System Crash
Anyone care to add anything else?