Hey you guys! The classic 1970’s show The Electric Company taught a generation of kids how to take the letters they learned on “Sesame Street” and turn them into words and sentences. The superstar cast included Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, and Bill Cosby. Zero Mostel, Joan Rivers and Gene Wilder worked with animation pioneers John and Faith Hubley on the “Letterman” segments.
Now endearingly retro, the original disco-era series is available on DVD. And it has just been updated with a whole new series featuring beat-boxers, hip-hoppers, and record-scratchers, but still teaching kids about the power of the “silent e.” It also has some very good lessons about problem-solving and asking questions to discover the truth. In this version, The Electric Company is a group of people with special word skills who work together to foil a group of mischief-makers called the Pranksters. No Broadway or television stars in the cast, but it does have some Tony-award talent behind the scenes and some guest appearances by kid-friendly celebrities like Tiki Barber. It’s aimed at children from 6-9 and its bright, bouncy, and colorful characters and situations will keep them entertained and inspired about the power of words. And they still yell, “Hey, you GUUUUYYYYS!”