Legendary Producer of Schoolhouse Rock Visits DailyClout
We were thrilled to welcome George Newall recently, to a lunch in his honor at Civic Hall. He was joined by his lovely wife Lisa Maxwell, a jazz singer and former advertising creative director who now is acting treasurer of Schoolhouse Rock.
George Newall is the visionary ad executive/pianist who was the catalyst in forming the talented group that created Schoolhouse Rock, the teach-kids-everything-serious-in-a-cool-way animated TV series that aired on ABC in a timespan that touched three decades. The first segment premiered in January of 1973 and the last episode aired on March 31 2009. The short clips dealt engagingly with subjects ranging from civics and the separation of powers in America, to how a bill becomes a law (that one being the inspiration for DailyClout itself) and even explained basic math and grammar principles. Who can ever forget ‘Conjunction Junction,” music and lyrics by Bob Dorough, who became the music director for the entire series. Or “I’m Just a Bill,” composed by Dave Frishberg, in which an adorable “Bill,” created by genius head designer, Tom Yohe, goes through the legislative process?
Newall, Dorough and Yohe were joined by some of the top jazz musicians, animators and lyricists of the era. Composer, Lynn Ahrens, for instance, wrote and sang the memorable song “The Preamble,” literally setting the actual words of the Preamble to the Constitution to music. Ahrens, has gone on to a very successful Broadway career (Two Academy Awards, two TONYS, two Golden Globes, & three Grammys) and has a new musical, “Anatasia,” opening this Spring.
Having George Newall visit Civic Hall was sort of awe-inspiring. Though we try to be cool here at DailyClout, and in Civic Hall, many of us, who are all concerned wityh how to revive democracy, couldn’t help becoming fangirls and boys just a bit as this pioneer in explaining democracy to America, stopped in.
Olivia Snarski, Engagement Manager at Civic Hall, described to Newall and to the rest of us, how she learned English from Schoolhouse Rock — she had come to the US at nine, speaking only her native Polish. And Jessica Goldfarb, Chief Operating Officer at Civic Hall, described how she had loved Schoolhouse Rock’s “The Preamble” as a child — and now her own young daughter sings “The Preamble” as a set piece for wowing her own relatives. Second generation, and such impacts on so many lives.
Newall himself, as are many really revolutionary innovators, was modest in summarizing his own in-our-eyes laudable contribution. As he put, reflecting on the experience of having helped to create Schoolhouse Rock, “I was just lucky enough to be involved with an amazing group of talented people. Not just composers, but designers, animators, audio engineers… the whole nine yards.”
If you want ABC to revive or to re-air “Schoolhouse Rock”, let them know! Civics education has been slashed by fifty per cent and many feel that now is the time to re-introduce a new generation to the series. Contact ABC Ratings and Viewership at 818-460-5615.
You have to listen to this again: