The Electric Company
© Warner Bros.
"The Electric Company"
May 26 - 01, 2019
Year of Release: 1972
Electric Company Theme
Old Double E
An Un Song
Another Un Song
JJ To Brenda To Mark
A Mysterious Phone Call
Be Kind To The Letter S
Hard Hard Hard
Love Of Chair
Jennifer Of The Jungle
The Clown Song
The Clam Song
Electric Company March
Your Rich Uncle Died
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"HEY, YOU GUYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS..." This was how each episode of the PBS Children's show The Electric Company started out,
as RIta Morena would recite those famous three words. Along with Rita, other celebrities were part of the show - Bill Cosby, and (an unknown at the time)
Morgan Freeman. The Electric Company, along with other children's shows, such as Sesame Street and ZOOM were shows I remembered
watching, back in the 1970s. I wasn't a big fan of Mister Rogers, the way he talked just made me uneasy.
Both Sesame Street and The Electric Company released albums, and both were worth having in your collection. (Sesame Street
rereleased their 1970 album in a box set, however, The Electric Company never reissued their albums on CD (they had more than the one reviewed here).
What made this particular Electric Company fantastic, was that they included a booklet with the album, with song lyrics, and pictures for every kid
to enjoy. Obviously, having this album as a kid, I "decorated" the book with my own writing. And as I got older, the album was tossed away. But as I
grew older, I realized how much growing up with the albums you enjoyed as a kid, and thanks to eBay, I was able to get an LP copy, along with the original
book. The only thing missing from the eBay album, was there was a wheel of pictures on the back cover. As you moved the wheel, the boxes on the back cover
reveled pictures from the show. Ah, the memories...
Another fond memory of this show, and hearing it on this album, was Morgan Freeman as ultimately being the coolest DJ you would ever want to see and
hear -- His DJ name was "Mel Mounds, with the Pounds of Sounds." His DJ chatters on "Jelly Belly" and introducing the band of the show, The Short
Circus ("The Clown Song" and "Hard Hard Hard") He would also be super cool as the character Easy Reader, as the song of the same name is on
this album. And "Easy Reader" simply tells us kids how cool it is to READ. Lee Chamberlin was another actress on the show, and she helps out with Easy on
this great tune.
Bill Cosby was another favorite to watch on the show. His comedical characters on various songs on this album are quite laughable, and enjoyable.
His help with the Short Circus on "Jelly Belly" is hysterical. Likewise, he tries to sing on "Old Double E." Again, quite laughable, and
"Giggles Goggles" has Rita Moreno and Judy Graubart playing on words and their meanings. Such as "Hey, how do you like my new giggles?
You mean goggles. No, no, no. That's what someone does for a sore throat, goggles with mouthwash. You mean gargles."
Skip Hinnant was another actor on the show, with his "Fargo North" character. Fargo resembled Don Adams/Get Smart character (in my opinion),
and he played the character very well. "A Mysterious Phone Call" is where Fargo gets a phone call from well-known comedian Mel Brooks. The song
before this track was "Silent E," a very entertaining and learning song, in which common words are pronounced, and the adding a "silent e" to them.
For example, as this "myserious phone call" starts out, Mel Brooks indicates the word "cut" and adding the silent e, making the word "cute." The
memorable line he uses, is at the end, where "you don't put a silent e on a cut, you put a band-aid on it." LOL
Speaking of the "Silent E" song, Tom Lehrer does the honors, in indicating common words and adding the silent e to them: Examples: Who can turn
a man, into a mane; Who can turn a can, into a cane. Who can turn a cap, into a cape. But as for Sam, he's just the same. Great lyrics here.
Now, for the least favorite songs to mention...
"An Un Song" and "Another Un Song" where there are words with "un" in them: Unhappy, Unkind, Untrue. Uninspired, Unrequired, Unattired.
With words like these, they would not be favorite songs to go by.
"JJ To Brenda To Mark" is in reference to a baseball game, where the ball is passed from players on the team. JJ to Brenda To Mark; JJ to Brenda
to Hank. Carmela to Brenda to Hank. All referencing to players in the infield. The funny part is at the end, where character "Crank" (played by Jimmy
Boyd, as he indicates -- it should have been JJ to Brenda to Crank.
"Be Kind To The Letter S" refers to the plurals of words, by adding the letter "S" to them: Bell(s), Flute(s), Horn(s), Cymbal(s). Where these
words are much useful as plural, rather than singular. Especially the last one, cymbals, used in a marching band.
And then there is the song about signs, road signs - "Sign Song." There's a nice part in the song, where (if you have the book with the album),
you can sing along with the lyrics to the signs, where you just hear the music playing, and no singing. This is where YOU come in, and sing along.
For Old-Time Radio fans, there was a segment on the show, called "Love Of Chair" -- and if you've never seen this show, this segment was sort of
like an old-time radio soap opera, where you get to see the common day adventures of a chair. Yes, a chair. Skip Hinnant played "The Boy" in each segment.
The Boy is sitting. The Boy is leaning back. The chair is about to crack. The boy is stting, on the floor. Will the boy get up, will he ship up, will
you flip out, and ........ what about Namoi? [sigh] Tune in tomorrow to these and other questions.. "Are you going to turn over the record?" (Remember,
there were two sides to every LP album?)
Mel Mounds (Morgan Freeman) introduces the Short Circus, with their "latest hit" -- "Hard Hard Hard." What is interesting to learn, is that
one of the members of the Short Circuit would become famous on her own -- Irene Cara.
Side two of the album has Rita Moreno with intro help from Mel Brooks, and a great and funny number, called "D" Rita sings the lyrics just
reciting the letter "D". It is another great children's song.
Bill Cosby and the Short Circuit reunite again with "Downright Uptight." Cosby is the standout in this song as usual. And again, you can't
help but laugh and enjoy how the Cos sets the pace on this tune.
One of my favorite songs from this album is "My Street" by Jimmy Boyd. It is silly, but it's a good silly song for the kids. What was
misleading about the name "Jimmy Boyd," was that many thought it was the Jimmy Boyd who sang the famous Christmas hit, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa
Claus." It is not. In researching the Jimmy Boyd from The Electric Company, he went by the name "Jim Boyd." This was probably due to the Jimmy Boyd
and the Christmas song classic. But you can't help but laugh again with "My Street," as Jim kinda portrays his voice as a somewhat goofy Jerry Lewis.
"Punctuation" is another great song, where the emphasis is on punctuation marks. Victor Borge gives each mark his own voice special effect.
This makes the song, as he gets help from the Short Circus, Rita Moreno, and Lee Chamberlin.
Another great segment from the show was "Jennifer Of The Jungle," as Judy Graubart portrayed a female Tarzan-type character, with the
full-Tarzan attire on the show. Morgan Freeman and Skip Hinnant sing how great Jennifer is. And yes, she was.
Mel Mounds intros the Short Circus again, with "The Clown Song," as it refers to being down -- "I'm just a clown, who's feeling down."
Bill Cosby returns at the end with a little skit of his own, where he says, "I am just a clown who's feeling down, but I'm having fun, on the run,
son-of-a-gun." Cos always gets the last word, as at the end of various segments on this album, he does his "All for one and one for all" skits.
Such as "All for me, and nothing for yourself..."
Skip Hinnant sings "The Clam Song," where he sings he is always quiet, as in "quiet as a clam." But he sings as if he wasn't quiet --
"Have you ever heard a clam, go clang, clang, clang? Or clink, clink, clink? Or Clink, Clank, Clunk? NO! You never do. Another great children's tune.
"Fight Song" is just a typical fight song, as you would hear at a high school football game. This one is another least favorite, compared
to the many other great songs on this album. But probably the biggest snore is Melanie Henderson and the Short Circus' "My Name Is Kathy."
This song just didn't do it for me, as I would call this tune the most lame song. (Sorry.)
The Electric Company March is ending the album, and another short segment on the show, was the entire cast singing "Your Rich Uncle Died."
And everytime they would sing this line, it would be "Your Rich Uncle Died, and left you all his mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm." When the mmmmm's is where you
"fill in the blank." Mel Brooks is hilarious after this, as he says, "Who's the Dummy writing this show?" Then you hear footsteps walking away, and
door closing. The End.
A great kids show, a great kids album. Listening to it again in my adult age, it just brings a smile, and happy memories of such a great show to
watch, growing up as a kid. Morgan Freeman was dressed up as the "cool DJ," and after seeing him like this, you wanted to be a cool DJ, just like him.
(There's a picture of him in the book, with the large afro hair style, necklace jewelry, cool wardrobe. Bill Cosby was already known as a popular
comedian, and his input on the songs here are laughable, and enjoyable, as mentioned before. Many decades later, this album is still entertaining,
especially for those who were kids growing up, watching this show. They don't make shows like this anymore, and shows like this really helped young
children learn for their education.
So, whatever happened to the actors and actress who appeared on the The Electric Company, and from this album?
Bill Cosby -- He appeared on The Elecric Company for the first two years (1971-1973). For those who just might know his current
developments -- Click here, as those developments are covered
in Cosby's most recent Album Pick of the Week from our website. For those who do not wish to click on the link, it is our review of his Silver
Throat - Bill Cosby Sings review, and his current sex scandal.
Lee Chamberlin was in the first two years of The Electric Company (1971-1973). She appeared in many other TV shows, and was in five
movies from 1970 to 1984. She died of cancer, at the age of 76, in 2014.
Morgan Freeman would become a very successful actor, appearing numerous films, as of 1980; such as The Shawshank Redeption, Bruce Almighty,
The Bucket List, The Dark Knight, and numerous others. As of 2019, he has been in a total of 57 movies. In 2005, he won an Oscar for Best Supporting
Actor in Million Dollar Baby. Four other movies he was nominated for an Oscar. Although Freeman has said his time on The Electric Company
was an unhappy period of his life, he did say he was glad to be a part of it. He was on the show for all six seasons (1971-1976).
Judy Grauhart played many characters on The Electric Company, but her most popular character, was Jennifer of the Jungle. She appeared
on all six seasons of the show. She appeared in several films from the 1980s, and television commercials. She also appeared in theater productions.
Skip Hinnant was also on all six seasons, playing characters such as Fargo North (his most popular), and "The Boy" in the segment Love of
Chair. He did many voice-over characters for animated films, which he would devote his time to, rather than acting.
Rita Moreno was a very popular actress in movies, dancing, and singing. She was best known for her roles in the movies The King And I and
West Side Story. She has won many awards, such as an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony. She appeared in all six seasons of The Electric
Company. She has appeared in many other TV shows, voiceover work, and appeared in theater productions.
Jim Boyd was on for all six seasons, as his best character was J. Arthur Crank, who was just an angry voice on the telephone. He did not appear
on camera, until the second season. He would play other characters throughout the rest of the four seasons of the show. He died in 2013, age 79.
The Short Circus was the show's band. Their name was a pun on the term "short circuit." June Angela would be the only member to remain on the
show for all six seasons. Irene Cara appeared in Season One. She would become a popular singer, appearing in the TV show Fame, and her biggest
hit would be from the movie Flashdance -- Flashdance... What A Feeling. She was replaced by Denise Nickerson. The other three original
members were Melanie Henderson (singer/guitarist) Stephen Gustafson (drummer/singer) and Douglas Grant (guitarist). Both Nickerson and Grant were
replaced in Seasons 3 and 4, by tap dancer Gregg Burge and Broadway actress Bayn Johnson. For Seasons five and six, June Angela would be the only original
member, as the others were replaced. Todd Graff, Rodney Lewis, Rejane Magloire and Janna Matthews became members.
Celebrities such as Mel Brooks, Victor Borge, Tom Lehrer were part of the album. Likewise, many other celebrities would appear throughout the six
seasons, such s WOody Allen, Carol Burnett, Barbara Eden, Peter Graves, Lorne Greene, Diane Keaton, Michael Landon, Dean Martin, Dick Martin, Joe Namath,
Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Tony Orlando and many others. Sesame Street characters also appeared: Big Bird, Grover, and Oscar The Grouch.
The Electric Company was "rebooted" in 2009, with a new cast. It ran for three seasons (2009-2011). The series received mixed reviews, yet
it did not achieve the same popularity as the original series.
Relive a children's television show that was truly a great show, and a great learning experience. They don't make shows like this anymore, but
back then, this was one of THE biggest shows to watch for young kids. The Electric Company was on for only six seasons, and it gave us
great memories to cherish, for those who remembered it. Bill Cosby and Morgan Freeman were the most popular to watch. Freeman was the coolest guy,
with his characters Easy Reader and DJ Mel Mounds. They would make anyone want to be a cool DJ. Freeman had the voice and the look. Rita Moreno was
another favorite to watch, with her spunky attitude, and Judy Grauhart as Jennifer of the Jungle was always nice eye candy. Skip Hinnant's Fargo North
and his Decoder was always enjoyable, and you had to enjoy Jim Boyd as J. Arthur Crank. The crabby guy was someone you just may have loved to hate.
And the show had it's own band -- The Short Circus. The rest of the show, as they say, is History. History of PBS Television. The Electric Company -- a great
show for the kids.
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