The Electric Company (TV Series 1971–1977) Poster

(1971–1977)

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The one Electric Company I owe!
grendelkhan6 March 2003
Three TV shows mean more to me than any others. The first was Mr Rogers' Neighborhood; the second, Sesame Street; and the third, The Electric Company. Mr Rogers taught me to be kind, that I was special, and that makebelive was a wonderful thing. Sesame Street taught me letters and numbers, how to count, how to spot similarities and differences, and that frogs conducted the best interviews. The Electric Company taught me how to sound out words and phrases, the basics of grammar; and, ultimately, how to read. My mother once told me that she didn't know I could read until I was riding in the car reading road signs out loud. This was before I was in school and was one of the reasons my parents dismissed the school's idea that I should wait a year to start, since my birthday was in mid-November. Thanks to this show and Sesame Street, I could read better than most of my classmates.

I haven't seen this show since the 70's, so I only have vague memories. I remember Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader, Rita Moreno shouting "Hey You Guyyyyyyyysssss". I remember the parts where two silhouetted people would sound out syllables. I remember Letterman (before Dave) and Spider-Man. Mostly, I remember a sense of fun.

When I read stories about what's wrong with education, I know the answer is simple (aside from money and parents and communities who care). School was rarely as fun as this. If education is fun, children will soak it up like a sponge. This show, and Sesame Street and Mr Rogers were fun.

I'm turned on, I have the power. Hey you guyyyyyyyyssss! Thanks.
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What a blast from the past...
albert-owen-j7r721 May 2004
...this show was!!

I remember this show so vividly, and thanks to the Noggin Network, old memories have now surfaced!!

My favorites on the show were when either Skip Hinnant (JJ) or Jim Boyd (Andy) would get themselves in a mess. J. Arthur Crank was a hoot!! Favorite one-liner..."somebody stole steal!!" ...but here's Harry...high in the sky...having his lunch..."Harrrrrrry...you forgot your lunch!!"..."A Peck on the Neck"..."House" (animated musical number)..."SpiderMan" (always was terrified of the Tickler because my sister would say she would get him on me or she would tickle my feet...what can you say for a naive eight-year old at the time?)..."Letterman" (there's where I get my nickname "Rolling O" from)..."Love of Chair"..."Bleached blonde Blanche blinked in the blinding blizzard"..."SuperGuy is a meatball"..."Tilt" by the Short Circuit ("stop playing pinball with my heart")..."My Name is Buddy, Buddy is my Name"...Paul the Gorilla with Jennifer of the Jungle..."A Very Short Book"...I could go on for hours...and at my age then, I would have LOVED to have met Denise Nickerson (Allison) in person!! She was downright cute...and still is today!!

Wow...the Electric Company...a true blast from MY past!!!
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Wonderful! Golden childhood memories...
shaadowlove27 January 2003
When I was a child, I remember watching The Electric company with my friends and family. The actors were amazing, and the skits were unforgettable. I adored Morgan Freeman's cowboy sketches! Jim Boyd's character, the inimitable 'Crank', remains my personal favorite to this day. I loved Luis as 'Yankee Doodle'. In all of the historical skits, he looked like he was having as much fun as the viewers! Luis is an amazing talent, and I've been taping all of his movies just to see him in other roles. Rita, Judy, Lee and Hattie were all wonderful, too! Skip Hinnant is also very talented and funny: When he was in a scene portraying a Romeo type character, and Rita was the angry director screaming at him, he muttered "The things I do for art," and then

slammed himself back against the wall when she glared at him! I couldn't stop laughing!!! I also enjoyed him as "Roy the Toy Boy".

My favorite sketches are: "Boris the Boxer" (Jim plays a toothless boxer who has been hit in the head quite a bit, and throws punches when he hears a bell), "Greedy Greg Grabbed The Green Grapes" (Jim again), the "--ing" song (sung by Brenda, who was 'swing-ing' and 'sitt-ing' on a bee that was 'sting-ing' her), "Pandora the Brat" (Rita Moreno), "Nitty Gritty" (Hattie), "The Galloping Saddle" (Morgan and Jim), "Springing From A Sponge", "Yankee Doodle" "The Mad Conductor" ("YAGA! Are you trying to turn me into a little bowl of pasta???" Luis yells at Jim, who can't seem to play the right note on his tuba), "Grouch" (Morgan introduces the sketch, where two cavemen, Jim and Luis, are busy pounding rocks. Luis tries to show Jim something, and he growls: "GRRR!" and then pops Luis on the head with the stone hammer. "OUCH!!!" Luis cries... the scene repeats itself several times before it dawns on them that they have created a new word! Vaudeville music strikes up, and they dance around (with the dazed, confused look that only Jim can effect!) chanting "Grouch! Grouch! Grouch!" LOL!!! I still howl with laughter whenever Jim pulls that face!), and "Skunk In The Trunk", where Jim opens a trunk and discovers "...a pretty little kitty---with BAD BREATH!!!"

As an adult, I still love this show (maybe TOO much!) and I would recommend it to people of any age who like to laugh and have fun. Life is too short to frown all of the time! Let Electric Company "turn you on" and "bring you the power"... of laughter and positive vibes!

I give this show 10/10 stars.
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One of the most educational shows of its day!!!
raysond3 August 2000
I can remember this show like it was yesterday. When I was in school,everyday after lunch we would go back into the classroom,and our teacher(dear sweet Mrs. Edge)would turn to the station where the show was on(it came on at 12:30 in the afternoon),and she would tell us that their were certain words and sounds like "ch",and "sh" that would be announced on the show,and IT WAS MANDATORY,that we watch the show,cause you'll never know if Mrs. Edge would give us a word to say or used in a sentence,and it came directly from that show.

The Electric Company was that show. It may have been a great show,but it was educational as well. I always looked forward to it coming on everyday. We couldn't wait for Rita Moreno to yell "Hey you Guys!",and we would yell right along,if you wasn't too loud or gotten or Mrs. Edge's last nerve. She was a very good teacher. I can remember some of the characters like Crank, J.J., Sylvia or Jennifer with Paul the Gorilla. Morgan Freeman was everyone's favorite because he could not only entertain the kids,but at the same time teach them about words and phrases,and other lessons of interest(my teacher worship the ground he walked on everytime he was on the air).

Oh yeah,how can I forget other characters like "Letterman",and learning to read from your friendly-neighborhood "Spiderman",and most importantly.....silent "e"....Who can remember the song.... "Who can turn a can into a cane","Who can turn a man into a mane"......and so forth.....

One of the best shows for my childhood. I'm surprised it didn't last very long,but it would be nice if someone did a remake of the show that encourages children to learn more and be entertain at the same time. Great show of the 1970's!!!!
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Thank God for Noggin!
14jade7 January 2002
Although I love its great predecessor, "Sesame Street," this show was a lot more beneficial to me as a child because I learned to read at an early age. I have been told that the reason the show ceased was because of production costs, but I still think it holds value today as a teaching tool. I think "Electric Company" was one of the best educational shows PBS ever produced. The clothing and hair may be retro, but the songs (by Tom Lehrer and also the late, great Joe Raposo, a truly talented composer for both "Electric Company" and "Sesame Street," as well as the composer of the infamous "Three's Company" theme, "Come and Knock on Our Door") are timeless. "T-I-O-N," "N'T," the "If" song, "L-Y," and "I Like Fish Food" are my top five "Electric Company" songs. Noggin has done a great service by airing the reruns of all six seasons (not the final two seasons as PBS did in the 1980s). Thanks, Nickelodeon (even if you are a subsidiary of Viacom)!
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My favorite childhood show!
lthseldy16 September 2003
Out of all the educational shows that I can remember as a child, I enjoyed this one the best. The skits that I remember the most are "I Hate To Take A Nap", "Cha-Cha-Cha-Cha Chimney", "Act Your Age", "N'T", All the skits mimicking Johnny Cash, "Randy" and being a horror fan I mostly enjoyed the monster characters. I enjoyed the Short Circus and having a crush on Jessy and Buddy and the songs "Poison", "Knock, Knock, Rock" and "Tilt". I loved this show and I wish that it would come on regularly on TV. I did not have Noggin so I wish that all kids had the opportunity that I had as a kid to enjoy these educational shows that are far more better and "cleaner" than todays children's shows.
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I remember!
numberone_115 August 2000
Reading some of the comments other people have said regarding the "Electric Company" makes me realize that it has been forgotten, and that is a shame! If anyone can tell me more about this "Noggin" cable channel or where to find reruns, it would be much appreciated. I, too, remember the Electric Company, and I watched it fervently from age 7-12. It was a wonderful show that provided the best possible learning environment, by combining education with humor and repetition, and, above all, in small enough doses to aid in memory retention. I think my all-time favorite was "Fargo North, De-Coder." The cast was certainly very talented and very capable, and I have nothing but fond memories of watching this show, while also improving my language skills.
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I love it when all the pieces fit!
legaleagle167 August 2001
I watched every episode of "The Electric Company" with my children. When they got too "old" for the genre, I had occasion to watch it by myself-this led to a lot of teasing, but I thought "Dracula" and "Easy Reader" were just great. Today I was surfing the Children's TV Show Archives, and naturally clicked on "Electric Company." DEJEVU! Morgan Freeman was the actor portraying my favorite (vicariously enjoyed) characters! The first time I saw Morgan Freeman in my adult life was in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." He looked sooo familiar, but I just couldn't place him! What a rush! ...life has come full-circle for me. A fan of this man all my life-and I never realized it! What a treat!
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Hey You Guys! This Show Was Fun.
blackarachnia214 December 2004
Hey You Guys! I really loved the Electric Company even though it was five years before my time. I can say that I learned a lot from this show. Just basic reading and grammatical skills that so many kids are lacking these days. This show was really fun and there were a lot of people who made it that way. They really need to make more educational programs just like this so that kids can keep an opened mind as to what's out there rather than relying on other TV shows that don't really have any educational value and do very little to stimulate young minds.

I'm surprised that this show isn't in syndication and hasn't been released on DVD and VHS because the Children's Television Workshop could profit very well from it.
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10/10
Thanks Electric Company!
Mike L. (navrm-1)14 July 2007
I had a huge crush on Julie, the cutie from Short Circus. I think it may have been that she was like me, Asian-American, and I could relate to her (don't know how exactly except for appearance). All I know is that she was quite popular here in Hawaii. So without sounding like an obsessed crazed fan, I will simply say that TEC was a great learning tool for me and my three brothers. As a latchkey kid throughout the 70's, this show was a great distraction from the bigger problems around me. I don't have as great a memory about the show's skits and musical numbers, but I do remember episodes of Spidey, Letterman, and Rita Moreno's "Hey you guyyyyys!". I can't watch a Morgan Freeman film without first seeing Easy Reader. The silhouettes of two of the show's cast members compounding words remains vivid. And T-I-O-N, shun-shun-shun-shun....classic! I have never heard of Noggin, but it sounds like a great network(?) in the same vein as TV Land.
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Another educational program
IrockGswift3 May 2003
This show displayed a variety of sketches that uses comedy and other means of interest to children about education. I remember seeing this show in the early 80s in syndication on PBS. What I've remembered enjoying on the show was a cartoon named Letterman. In which this little superhero teaches grammer with vowels and prepositions and how they are used in a sentence. I also remember the Spiderman episodes. I had to be around six or seven when this show was aired,though the other segments on the show I vaguely remembered. But if someone had mention this show to me I would remember it as if it was yesterday because of the impact it put on me as a child.
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7/10
Son of Sesame Street
John T. Ryan13 February 2015
BEING A SORT OF spin off of their highly successful and now iconic series, SESAME STREET, the Children's Television Workshop brought us this somewhat abbreviated dose of the same medicine two years after the "parent series". Although the objectives of keeping the little rug-rats entertained; while at the same time, slipping in some generous helpings of educational material.

AS FOR THE differences between the two series, we note the obvious half length of the newer show. With SESAME STREET's running for a full hour, this ELECTRIC COMPANY was allotted half of the screen time. Perhaps this is yet another indication of our next assertion that this EC series was designed and marketed to the kids who were just a tad older. These children were apt to have the patience to sit and watch as long as their younger brothers and sisters.

THE GENERAL TONE of the show is far more lively than its older brother. Right from the opening credits we are made aware of this quality. Its theme song sets the tone and it never really slows down. There are no Muppets in evidence and a smaller cast of regulars is employed.

IT IS ALSO a sobering thought that whatever accomplishments connected to this series were tempered with the knowledge that this production company had the benefit of funds from Federal Programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. This Children's Television Workshop is certainly no example of :Free Enterprise" and "Rugged Individualism".

AS WE SIT here, waxing nostalgically, there is really not much that we can recall that was typically a symbol of he show. The only two features that we can name are: THE ELECTRIC COMPANY's inclusion of brief vignettes of Marvel Comics' SPIDER-MAN and for being the venue to which we were introduced to actor Morgan Freeman.
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10/10
...the truest words that you ever heard anybody say!
BaileySEA4 August 2013
The Children's Television Workshop production of The Electric Company was quite simply a class act. Designed for children aged 7-10, it definitely left an impression on me as a child, and now as an adult. It occurs to me I was indeed lucky to have grown up in the time that I did. I was 9, going on 10 when The Electric Company first aired. I saw it in class and was at once electrified. It was a witty, intelligent show. It also had a stellar cast comprised of Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman, Judy Graubert, Skip Hinnant, Luis Avalos, Lee Chamberlin, Hattie Winston, not to mention the voices of Mel Brooks and Zero Mostel. Highly entertaining as it was, sadly it was cancelled in 1977 due to production costs. A new updated version was made in the 2000's, cute but can't hold a candle to the original.
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Loved the voice of Joan Rivers
jonmyrlebailey13 October 2006
I was ten in 1974. That is really the year I started to dig EC. I thought Joan Rivers was super when she announced Letterman as being "faster than a rolling "o".....stronger than the silent "e" ...able to leapa capital "T" in a single bound". That jazzy Latin American number "Punctuation" was my favorite Electric Company tune. Victor Borge, the famous punctuation "teacher", was cool with that vocalized question mark and period (pop!!) thing. Most children in my second-grade class preferred the Electric Company over Sesame Street hands down. I thought the Love of Chair thing a little stupid. Who did the "Freddy's Free Fruit" skit? I do wish EC continued on TV. A few parts I thought dumb, but the Joe Raposo music was groovy!!!
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8/10
Better than Sesame Street???
haildevilman9 October 2006
Maybe, just maybe.

One thing I liked about this show was the endless variety of sketches. It was like a Laugh-In episode for kids.

Skip (Fritz The Cat, no lie) Hinnant as Fargo North, Decoder. It took me years to finally get the pun.

J. Arthur Crank, Jennifer of the Jungle, Easy Reader, (another late pun) Pandora the brat, The Mad Scientist...great characters all.

And the Short Circus was one of the most talented bunch of kids since the original Mickey Mouse club.

A word about Pandora though. Rita Moreno wore this REALLY high skirt in that role. I wonder if her character ever became an accidental 'symbol' for those old enough to get it. She looked damn fine like that if you think about it. The females in the Short Circus too. That is, when they became teenagers.

The one problem with certain 1970's children's shows was the way some females dressed. Shouldn't be wearing minis or hot pants if you're entertaining kids. 'New Zoo Revue' was guilty of this as well.

The comedy was brilliant however. And even though the design and images are dated beyond belief, it's still great fun.
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10/10
Excellent then, Excellent now!
haka2117 May 2006
Groovy! I vaguely remembered bits and pieces of The Electric Company from my childhood... I remembered liking it but just bits and pieces. I saw a 'Best of' in a catalog and had to have it immediately. Watching it again was a complete joy. I recognized things that I haven't seen in 30 years, it was a complete joy. It was Sesame Street's funky, hip kid brother.

Even better than the enjoyment I've been getting out of it (which is considerable), I'm introducing my 4 year old daughter too it and she think's it's cool, too! She likes dancing with the songs, and (rightly) thinks that Morgan Freeman's Easy Reader is the coolest thing on the planet.

And man, even as a kid I had the hots for Rita Moreno!
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I hope they make more (DVD's that is).
moveefrk11 February 2006
Being a child of the 1970's, I was naturally thrilled to learn that THE ELECTRIC COMPANY was making the rounds to the TV-on-DVD market. Having already purchased it, I can only hope they plan on releasing more volumes in the upcoming months. The show bridges many gaps between the generations and its greatness lies, not only in it being educational, but vastly entertaining as well. It even threw in some subtle "adult" humor as well. I'm glad the Shout Factory has compiled this "best of" retrospective, but I do hope there's more on the way. The box set only scratches the surface. Besides, it would also be nice to know what the rest of the cast has been up to, not just Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman and a few members of the "Short Circus". Still, I'm glad it's finally out there and I hope there's more to come.
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I Told You So!
sweetpeajrt1 January 2006
I'm so thrilled that this is coming to video! I was still very young when this show aired but some things just stuck with me like glue. To this day I still blurt out "Hi, I'm Letter Man" in my sheepish voice and yell out "Able to leap capitol "T" in a single bound." Most people look at me like I have lobsters coming out of my ears but I don't care. I know what I'm talking about. I can still see the shadow heads who had word syllables popping out of their mouth to create one word. I can't wait for my little ones to see it so I can watch them interact with the different skits. AND... I'm really not one of those I-told-you-so people but I can't wait to say "I TOLD YOU SO!" to everyone who didn't believe me that Morgan Freeman was on this show and this is where he pretty much got his start.
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My favorite TV show of all time; fiddler on the chair!
jweissmn25 November 2005
This was my favorite TV show ever, tied with The Bullwinkle show.

I would get home from work, open a beer, and watch the late-afternoon showing, giggling all the way.

Aburdist comedy, plus reading instruction. What more could you want? Superb acting? Bread on Morgan Freeman's table before the world recognized him as a great actor?

Rita Moreno's movie director, the Fiddler on the chair sketch, Mel Brooks saying "That doesn't swing!", the "Everyone has Pain" song.

WHEN will this come out on DVD? Is it showing anywhere in the US? Will the old record ever come out on CD?
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The Electric Company- TV's greatest unsung education program
kd5ful24 September 2005
I am probably classified as one of those "genX" type people. This show used to air just after "Sesame Street" on PBS, and in my opinion, was the greatest of the educational programs that ever aired. It also launched quite a number of acting careers. I still use some of the sayings from the show such as "one of these things is not like the others", (which is the only one to come to mind at the moment :-). This show was an example of educational TV at it's finest, it taught me a lot about getting along with people, troubleshooting skills, and just to use my brain first, as well as some advanced reading over "Sesame Street". I'd buy these shows on DVD for my kids if I could only find them! I miss it being on the air, so with that in mind, I say.... HEYYYYY YOU GUYSSSS!!!!!!!
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I'm glad to see that SOMEBODY remembers it!
Abalamahalamatandra10 August 2000
I was out for pizza with 7 other people, ranging from 19 to 32 (I was born the same year as Electric Company) and none of my friends remembered the show. One person, also born in 1971, swears that everything that happened on Electric Company was REALLY Sesame Street. That comment was made after I mentioned that "yeah, I like Sesame Street, but I like "The Electric Company" and "Villa Alegre" more. The 32 year old vaguely remembered The Electric Company, but no one had heard of Villa Alegre (which is mentioned on IMDB, with absolutely no details). These shows are what helped my sisters and I learn to read, and the children I know do not read, and I think that Electric Company and Villa Alegre should be brought back. PBS should be a learning tool, for reading, language, and counting, not just to animate the books I devoured 20 years ago.
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Sesame Street is for babies
jdoucett8 August 2000
HEEEY YOOOU GUYYYYS!!! This show taught me to read. I was surprised to see it on TV yesterday afternoon (on a satellite channel called Noggin)... I had the pleasure of watching Morgan Freeman teach me all about the letter Y. This show has more brains in it than six weeks worth of Sesame Street. It's a real shame that this show has been forgotten by history.
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An educational Laugh-In...
suruato18 April 2000
I have a theory that's how they sold the show... anyway, I'm glad it happened, however it happened.

Watching the reruns on Noggin [thank you!!], I gotta say... Rita Moreno is a comic genius! But everyone was good, and not just "good for a kids' show". The performances and writing are funny even now. I've also noticed jokes and pop culture references in there that I wouldn't have understood then... and we thought they came up with that in the 90s. :)

In summary... the best children's show ever.
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electric company=etnernal happiness
Lurkey5 December 1999
There are have been many good children shows that have graced the screens of our lovely television sets. Though there have been many children shows, it was clear that the "electric company" was by far the cream of the crop. More informative than Sesame Street, more exciting than Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood, and more hip than Romper Room. Nothing could compare to the electric company. It tis a shame it does not get the respect it deserves. But deep down inside, the lucky people that did have the chance to see it, know they have seen the best show ever broadcasted on television.
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Great show!!
Jim-44718 July 1999
I loved the Electric Company. I remember watching it with my children when they were little and now I can enjoy it with my grand daughter on Noggin!! It's wonderful that they rerun such a great show!
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