The Electric Company

NPR’s Morning Edition on the 50th anniversary of The Electric Company, which ran on PBS from 1971 to 1977 and was absolutely formative for me in childhood. Things I knew: it was focused on reading and had Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno in it. Things I did not know: it was written by some of the best comedy writers in the business and it was specifically targeted at kids with reading difficulties. That combo wasn’t necessarily successful. “The Electric Company‘s target audience was elementary school students who were too old for Sesame Street but still needed help learning to read. […] Given that the target audience was kids who were falling behind, [show researcher Barbara] Fowles believes much of the material was over their heads. ‘It was often hard to get the writers to sort of dial it back, to convince them that they were little children,’ she remembers.”