In the spirit of encouraging racial understanding and human diversity, this anthology series presents a variety of segments along those themes. Through documentaries, continuing dramatic series like "Outerscope One," comedy spots like The Great Job Hunt and animated illustrations of various folktales, the breadth of human society is explored. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In A Bowl of Vegetable Soup.....The Innovative children's show from the mid-1970's
The educational series from the 1970's "Vegetable Soup" was the first children series to be carried onconcurrently on public and commercial television stations(more than 200 in all) since this series only produced 78 episodes and ran for two seasons on both NBC and again on Public Television(PBS). "Vegetable Soup" offered children the chance to learn more about other cultures and appreciate diversity through multiple regular segments in each show. "Outerscope" featured profiles of minority professionals;"Real People" had ethnic actors in a live-action soap opera;and cartoons that included "Adventures in Saniland," which involved the activities of Long John Spoilsport(voiced by James Earl Jones),whom children were not to emulate,and Luther(voiced by Whitman Mayo of Sanford and Son fame),a character who encouraged friendliness.
Non-professional child actors appeared in skits involving minorities,and there were "man on the street" questions,films,and other attractions. But too most people who grew up watching the show and mainly the show's highlight was the animated segments featuring "Woody The Spoon"(voiced by Bette Midler). Miss Midler's vocals dispensed recipes from different ethnic cultures. If you remember watching this show and mostly the highlight of this series,was the animated puppet segment where a bunch of kids from different cultures build a rocket ship and get to travel to different planets. Along the way they get lost and run into some very interesting adventures into the vast unknowns of outer space and somewhere lose course of the ship while landing on some mysterious planet helping aliens with their problems while finding their way back home. Each episode concluded with a cliffhanger. The other was a live-action segment where a boy owns a pet python named Nigel in the inner-city and it is dealt with the topics of responsibility and ownership of a pet. The other live-action segment was also kid friendly. This one deals with a hispanic kid named Jacinto who goes to a new school and meets with some new friends at his school. This segment sometimes ended with a cliffhanger as well to see what happens to Jacinto next time in his adventures at the new school.
Produced by George Bowers and Yanna Kroyt-Brandt,"Vegetable Soup" was the end result of a $1.58 million dollar federal HEW grant to the New York State Education Department(the latter agency that produced and supplied the show). When it premiered on NBC-TV on November 2,1975,about 100 affiliates aired the show on Sunday Mornings ran alongside NBC's animated programming(some stations ran the series on Saturday Mornings in the earlier hours),while PBS began running it on September 22,1975. Public Television ran the series from September 22,1975 until October 17,1975 while NBC aired it from November 2,1975 until August 1,1976. While some critics and educators'reacting to the show were mixed as its format,"Vegetable Soup" is right up there with "Sesame Street","The Electric Company","Zoom!",and "Make A Wish" as one of the most innovative children's shows that emerge from the 1970's. Brilliant children's series that was so popular after NBC cancelled it in 1976,a new format aired in syndication and again on public television producing 39 episodes in September of 1978.
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