July 28, 2016 posted by

A Schoolhouse Rock Classic: “I’m Just A Bill!”


Since it’s Polytiks at the forefront in this convention season, I’ve been thinking a lot about Political and election cartoons, and thought it would be fun to haul out a few in the coming weeks…

First – a quick Thunderbean Update: All the ‘Thunderbean Thursdays Special Set’ are out the door, happily – and other things. Transfers are happening like crazy here, with some nitrate Flips leaving and others coming. We had a setback on learning that some of the materials we were hoping to get are not what we expected, but we carry on! I look at the longer game a lot more these days, but heck, I want this stuff to all be out now, not many years from now!

I got the great news today that Tommy Stathes’ Blu-ray/DVD set, ‘Bray Roots’ came back from replication yesterday. It’s a great set, and I’m happy to have helped on the project. There will be a review of the set here soon… but for now, here is a link to the set on Amazon


Now – on to today’s cartoon!

If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you very likely memorized a lot of the Schoolhouse Rock songs. In the early 70s Funshine Saturday on ABC was my favorite of the stations, and quite honestly, I remember the Schoolhouse Rock episodes better than any of the shows. I’m sure that everyone at ABC was surprised at the longevity of these particular films, lasting on their memorable music and design qualities rather than starring characters.

Schoolhouse Rock was created by David Mccall, George Newall and Tom Yohe. The actual animation production duties were split between two New York animation studios: Kim and Gifford Productions, and Phill Kimmelman and Associates, who produced this episode. Both studios produced mostly TV spots besides their work on the series. Usual suspect Jack Sheldon sings the title song in this short.

The series was so popular that they were sold as educational shorts to schools and film libraries…and I remember one day our teacher ran Conjunction Junction at my elementary school… and everyone sang along of course!

I did an HD transfer of my print of I’m Just a Bill, scratches and all… but it’s neat to see it in HD. Sing along now – and have a good week everyone!


  • You said a couple of weeks ago that you were going to discuss the Abbott and Costello Rarities set. Still not a word about it, though. Any chance at all of ever learning anything about it?

  • “I did an HD transfer of my print of I’m Just a Bill, scratches and all… but it’s neat to see it in HD. Sing along now – and have a good week everyone!”

    If only the official release from Disney looked this good!

    • I was disappointed when I saw the heavy-handed video noise reduction slathered on the official School House Rocks release. Blah

    • Yes, those were atrocious, the DVNR-ing was so unnecessary.

  • Yes :).

    There are several things we need to have happen here still before I start showing everything…. but it will be soon. It’s very close to being finished..

  • These little educational films are fun. I bought the CD set around these songs years ago, but I hadn’t bought the DVDs. I guess they’re long out of print now. What a shame. Thanks for this post, and I’m sure all your proposed projects will see fruition. You know I can’t wait!!

  • Very excited to get the Bray DVD/Blu-Ray!

  • I will definitely show this to the fourth graders this year! We do some Schoolhouse Rock anyway, but the film/animation geek in me has to show them this awesome HD film transfer instead of the subpar DVD transfer.

  • Sigh… wish Schoolhouse Rock looked that good these days when Disney does anything with it… (Why not license that with Disney, since they won’t be doing all that much with it anyway?)

  • Just received the Thunderbean Thursdays Special Set.
    Can’t wait to give it a spin tonight.
    Thanks Steve.

  • Dave Frischberg,fine piano player and performer of many of his humorous cabaret songs,wrote “Bill”. He had a long history with Schoolhouse Rock’s Bob Dorough and wrote clever,so it was a natural. Dave told a great story on NPR’s Fresh Air With Terry Gross that he was visiting a friend in the hospital. Mention was made during the visit about “Bill” and ,from the other curtain in the room,came another patient’s voice: …”sitting here on Capitol Hill.” BTW,Dorough is still performing at 90 years+,including school gigs where many of his Schoolhouse Rock compositions are performed for the kids and grandkids of the original audience.

  • I wonder which of the three animators on the series worked on this segment. Sal Faillace animated most of the segments but Jack Schnerk and Dante Barbetta animated a few segments as well. I am trying to piece together which segments Faillace animated from the segments Barbetta and Schnerk animated.

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