This Post Is Brought to You by the Letters P, B and S

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I was pretty bummed to learn that the current adminstration’s budget completely eliminates funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the publicly funded radio and television company that includes NPR and PBS.  To say I support PBS is probably an understatement.  As I began to think of the programming I’ve watched over the years, I realized what a big PBS fan I really am.

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There are the obvious impacts like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers Neighborhood.  Like most kids my age, I enjoyed watching the live action scenes on Sesame Street, which I always assumed were New York before I’d had a chance to visit there.  I couldn’t verbalize it then, but I appreciated the diverse cast of Maria, and Luis, and Gordon, and Bob.  And how sometimes they’d get a little flabbergasted with Jim Henson’s precocious Muppets like Grover, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, Prarie Dawn, and Elmo (after my time of course).  I loved the Tweedlebugs and the Teeny Little Super Guy segments.  I liked when they’d have guest stars like Smokey Robinson singing with the letter U or James Taylor singing Jelly Man.  I liked “One of These Things is Not Like the Others” and the cool counting animations where a psychadelic pinball machine would tell you the number of the day.  I loved the segment where they showed you how a crayon was made.  And of course, Follow That Bird.  As for Mister Rogers, I liked the Land of Make Believe best.  The weird looking puppets like King Friday and Lady Elaine and Daniel Tiger.  I wanted to visit the castle and the treehouse and ride the trolley.  At that age, it was possible.

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But there are deeper cuts and ones less remembered.  Like Lambchop’s Play Along, Captain Kangaroo and Zoobilee Zoo.  And educational shows like Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? that taught about culture and geography.  Square One and 3-2-1 Contact that made math and science interesting.  I wanted to be a Mathnet detective like Agent Kate Monday and her partner George, even if just for a few minutes in the afternoon.  The mystery solving itch continued in middle school with Ghostwriter which was geared more toward literacy.  And I’d be remiss if I did not mention the heavy hitter, Reading Rainbow.  I always imagined that I could be one of those kids that recommended a book to other kids and then said, “But don’t take my word for it.”  Pretty sure I can sing the theme song to most of these shows.  And that cool message at the beginning and end of each show…Sesame Street is brought to you by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the support of XYZ Local Dentist, and viewers like you.

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