The Electric Company premiered in the fall of 1971 on PBS. It was supposed to be a companion show to Sesame Street, or rather a show that kids could “graduate” to as they got older. Produced by Children’s Television Workshop (now known as Sesame Workshop) the goal of The Electric Company was to help kids learn to read. The live action segments featured a “company” of stock players including Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, and Morgan Freeman (Yes, that Morgan Freeman.) They did sketch comedy built around solving word problems. Like Sesame Street, there were also cartoons. Lots of cartoons. Let’s take a look at a few of them…
The Princess and the Frog
A number of gag cartoons were made for The Electric Company where the characters words appeared on screen, often for humorous effect. This one features animation by Johnny Gentilella.
From the Hubley studio. Dizzy Gillespie could have had a second career as a used car salesman.
Vocals by the incomparable team of Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding.
Directed by John Hubley and animated by Tissa David.
Starring Mel Brooks. Animation by Cliff Roberts.
How do you turn an adjective into an adverb? Watch this cartoon and you will be able to do it skillful-ly. This was one of several songs written and sung by Tom Leher for the show.
Letterman – Small Talk
The Hubley studio produced a lot of animation for The Electric Company including a large number of films featuring Letterman. Gene Wilder is Letterman, and Zero Mostel is his arch enemy the Spellbinder. Joan Rivers narrates.