Open main menu

Schoolhouse Rock! is an American interstitial programming series of animated musical educational short films (and later, videos) that aired during the Saturday morning children's programming block on the U.S. television network ABC. The topics covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics. The series' original run lasted from 1973 to 1985; it was later revived with both old and new episodes airing from 1993 to 1999. Additional episodes were produced in 2002 and 2009 for direct-to-video release.

Schoolhouse Rock!
School House Rock!.png
Created byDavid McCall
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes64 (list of episodes)
Running time3 minutes
Production company(s)McCaffrey & McCall
DistributorDisney-ABC Domestic Television
Original networkABC
Picture format480i (4:3 SDTV) (1973–2008)
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2009)
Original releaseJanuary 6, 1973 (1973-01-06) –
November 22, 1996 (1996-11-22)
External links


Original seriesEdit

The pilot episode of the series, "Three Is a Magic Number," originally debuted during the debut episode of Curiosity Shop on September 2, 1971.[1]

Schoolhouse Rock! debuted as a series in January 1973 with "Multiplication Rock," a collection of animated shorts adapting the multiplication tables to songs written by Bob Dorough; Dorough also performed most of the songs, with Grady Tate and Blossom Dearie each performing one during this season. General Foods was the series' first sponsor; later sponsors of the Schoolhouse Rock! segments also included Nabisco, Kenner Toys, Kellogg's, and McDonald's.[citation needed] During the early 1970s, Schoolhouse Rock was one of several short-form animated educational shorts that aired on ABC's children's lineup; others included Time for Timer and The Bod Squad. Of the three, Schoolhouse Rock was the longest-running.

George Newall and Tom Yohe were the executive producers and creative directors of every episode, along with Bob Dorough as musical director. This first season was followed in short order by a second season, run from 1973 to 1975, entitled "Grammar Rock", which included nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech (such as conjunctions, explained in "Conjunction Junction"). For this second season, the show added the services of Jack Sheldon, a member of The Merv Griffin Show house band, as well as Lynn Ahrens; both of them contributed to the series through the rest of its run. Blossom Dearie returned for a second episode, and Essra Mohawk joined the cast as a recurring singer.

To coincide with the upcoming United States bicentennial, a third series, titled "America Rock", airing in 1975 and 1976, had episodes covering the structure of the United States government (such as "I'm Just a Bill") along with important moments in American history (examples include "The Preamble" and "Mother Necessity").

A fourth series, titled "Science Rock", followed in 1978 and 1979, and included a broad range of science-related topics. The season premiere of this season, "A Victim of Gravity," parodied elements of the hit film Grease and featured a rare guest appearance from a pop band, with recently reunited doo-wop group The Tokens providing the vocals. In addition to episodes describing the human body's anatomical systems (the nervous, circulatory, skeletal and digestive systems each received an episode), episodes describing physical sciences such as astronomy, meteorology and electricity were also included, as was "The Energy Blues," an environmentalism-themed short.

A fifth follow-up series, titled "Computer Rock", featuring the characters Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips (the only episodes in the series to feature any recurring characters), premiered in the early 1980s and comprised just four segments about home computer technology, then just emerging onto the scene. As the references and depictions became quickly outdated, due to the rapid advance of technology, these segments stopped airing after 1985 and have not seen reruns in the 1990s revival.


After leaving the airwaves in 1985, the original team reunited to produce two more Grammar Rock segments ("Busy Prepositions" and "The Tale of Mr. Morton") for television in 1993 with J. J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. of White Plains, New York.[citation needed] This was followed in 1995 by a new series, "Money Rock", which discussed topics related to money management on both the personal and governmental scale. The first cartoon (also a J. J. Sedelmaier Production, Inc. production) was "Dollars & Sense". Episodes from the new series aired in rotation with the original segments from 1994 to 1996.

The Walt Disney Company acquired Schoolhouse Rock in 1996 along with its acquisition of ABC owner Capital Cities/ABC Inc.; Schoolhouse Rock was one of only two children's shows (The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show being the other) to continue airing (albeit in reruns) after the transition to One Saturday Morning. The series as a whole (after 27 years, shortly before the show's 30th anniversary) ceased airing on television in 2000, with newer episodes being released directly to home video. However, reruns occasionally aired on Toon Disney's Big Movie Show block in 2004, but soon were removed from the schedule.

21st centuryEdit

Starting in 2002, the team once again reunited to produce a new song "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College", written by George Newall and performed by Bob Dorough and Jack Sheldon for the release of the 30th Anniversary DVD. For the new song, Tom Yohe Jr. took over as lead designer for his father, Tom Yohe Sr., who had died in 2000.[2] Another contemporary song, called "Presidential Minute", also written by George Newall which explained the process of electing the President of the United States in greater detail, was included on the 2008 DVD Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection, which centered on songs relating to American history and government.

As the theory of climate change was put forth, a new series entitled "Earth Rock"[3] was created by the original production team, premiered in 2009, and featured eleven environmentally-themed songs.

On January 6, 2013, George Newall and Bob Dorough appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of their ongoing series of free concerts on the Millennium Stage. It was deemed the largest attendance to date of the venue. Dorough played five songs, accompanying himself on the piano: "Three Is a Magic Number", "Figure Eight", "Conjunction Junction", "Preamble", and "I'm Just a Bill". (Dorough had only performed lead vocals on the original version of "Three Is a Magic Number".) He also performed "Interjections!" accompanied by DC-area kids' band Rocknoceros. Rocknoceros also performed "Electricity, Electricity", "Unpack Your Adjectives", "Energy Blues", and "Fireworks".

On March 20, 2019, it was announced that “Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set” (1996) was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry in its 2018 class.[4]


Multiplication RockEdit

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by Animation & design First aired
My Hero, Zero Powers of 10 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design/Tom Yohe January 13, 1973
Elementary, My Dear Multiplication by 2 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Jack Sidebotham January 27, 1973
Three Is a Magic Number Multiplication by 3 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design/Tom Yohe January 6, 1973
The Four-Legged Zoo Multiplication by 4 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough with kids chorus Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Bob Eggers February 10, 1973
Ready or Not, Here I Come Multiplication by 5 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Tom Yohe February 17, 1973
I Got Six Multiplication by 6 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Grady Tate Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Tom Yohe February 24, 1973
Lucky Seven Sampson Multiplication by 7 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Rowland B. Wilson February 17, 1973
Figure Eight Multiplication by 8 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Blossom Dearie Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Tom Yohe February 24, 1973
Naughty Number Nine Multiplication by 9 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Grady Tate Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Tom Yohe March 17, 1973
The Good Eleven Multiplication by 11 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Focus Design/Jack Sidebotham March 24, 1973
Little Twelvetoes Multiplication by 12, base 12 Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Phil Kimmelman & Associates/Rowland B. Wilson March 31, 1973

No shows were produced featuring the numbers 1 or 10 explicitly, though "My Hero Zero" and "The Good Eleven" do include those numbers. "Little Twelvetoes" introduced the subject of how math arranged on base 12 rather than on base 10 would work, as well as covering multiplication by 12.

In 1973, Capitol Records released a soundtrack album of Multiplication Rock (SJA-11174), featuring all 11 songs. Two tracks, "My Hero, Zero" and "Three Is a Magic Number" had been edited for TV to keep each video within three minutes. This LP features both songs in their full, uncut forms. Also, the album version of "The Four-Legged Zoo" has an ending slightly different from the television version. Released in conjunction with the album was a single (Capitol 3693) with the two Grady Tate–sung tracks ("Naughty Number Nine" b/w "I Got Six"). This album was re-released[5] on red/blue-colored vinyl on Record Store Day 2019.

Grammar RockEdit

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
A Noun Is A Person, Place, Or Thing noun Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens September 15, 1973
Verb: That's What's Happening verb Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Zachary Sanders September 22, 1973
Conjunction Junction conjunction Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon, Terry Morel and Mary Sue Berry November 17, 1973
Interjections! interjection Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Essra Mohawk February 23, 1974
Unpack Your Adjectives adjective George R. Newall George R. Newall Blossom Dearie March 2, 1974
Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here adverb Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough April 13, 1974
Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla pronoun Bob Dorough Kathy Mandary Jack Sheldon April 27, 1976
Busy Prepositions preposition Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Bob Dorough September 11, 1993
The Tale of Mr. Morton subject and predicate Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Jack Sheldon September 11, 1993

This segment introduces Jack Sheldon and Lynn Ahrens as series regulars. "Conjunction Junction" and "A Noun Is A Person, Place, Or Thing" were Sheldon and Ahrens' debuts on Schoolhouse Rock! respectively.

"Busy Prepositions" (aka "Busy P's") and "The Tale of Mr. Morton" were produced for Schoolhouse Rock!'s return to ABC in 1993 with J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. producing the animation.

America RockEdit

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
No More Kings American Independence Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens & Bob Dorough September 20, 1975
The Shot Heard Round the World American Revolutionary War Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough October 18, 1975
The Preamble United States Constitution Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens November 1, 1975
Sufferin' 'til Suffrage Women's suffrage Bob Dorough Tom Yohe Essra Mohawk February 21, 1976
I'm Just a Bill Legislative process Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Jack Sheldon March 27, 1976
The Great American Melting Pot Immigration in America Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lori Lieberman May 1, 1976
Elbow Room Territorial evolution of the United States Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Sue Manchester May 22, 1976
Fireworks Declaration of Independence Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Grady Tate July 3, 1976
Mother Necessity Invention Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough, Blossom Dearie, Essra Mohawk, and Jack Sheldon July 10, 1976
Three Ring Government Branches of government Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens March 13, 1979
I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College Electoral College George R. Newall and Bob Dorough George R. Newall and Bob Dorough Jack Sheldon and Bob Dorough August 27, 2002
Presidential Minute (The Campaign Trail) Voting For President George R. Newall George R. Newall and Tom Yohe, Jr. Jack Sheldon August 27, 2002

"I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" and "Presidential Minute" were produced for DVD.

Science RockEdit

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
Victim of Gravity Gravity Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens The Tokens September 16, 1978
Interplanet Janet The solar system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens November 18, 1978
The Body Machine Nutrition and digestion Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Bob Dorough and Jack Sheldon January 6, 1979
Do the Circulation Circulatory system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Joshie Armstead, Mary Sue Berry, and Maeretha Stewart March 10, 1979
The Energy Blues Energy conservation George Newall George Newall Jack Sheldon March 27, 1979
Them Not-So-Dry Bones Skeletal system George Newall George Newall Jack Sheldon May 5, 1979
Electricity, Electricity Electricity Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Zachary Sanders May 19, 1979
Telegraph Line Nervous system Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Jamie Aff and Christine Langner June 30, 1979
The Greatest Show on Earth (The Weather Show) Weather Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Bob Kaliban July 14, 1979 [6]
  • Sometime after its initial airing, The Greatest Show on Earth, also known as The Weather Show, was pulled from broadcast rotation because the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus objected to its use of their trademark slogan (which was in the questioned title) and filed a lawsuit against the network for copyright infringement.[6] As a result, the 1995 VHS of the program (and subsequent VHS reissues) deleted the song. However, it was included in the 1987 Schoolhouse Rock VHS release, and in 2002 it was included on the bonus disk of the 30th Anniversary DVD (see below).

Money RockEdit

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired[6]
Dollars and Sense Interest and loans Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Val Hawk and Bob Dorough September 10, 1994
Tax Man Max Taxes Stephen Flaherty Lynn Ahrens Patrick Quinn June 26, 1995
Where the Money Goes Family bills and expenses Rich Mendoza Rich Mendoza Jack Sheldon July 13, 1995
$7.50 Once a Week Budget Mark Chapalonis Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg October 23, 1995
Tyrannosaurus Debt Budget deficit and United States national debt Tom Yohe Tom Yohe Bob Dorough and Bob Kaliban January 21, 1996
This for That Barter and the history of currency George R. Newall George R. Newall Bob Dorough May 6, 1996
Walkin' on Wall Street Stock exchange Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg Dave Frishberg September 12, 1996
The Check's in the Mail Using checks Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Luther Rix and Bob Dorough November 22, 1996

Earth RockEdit

Episode title Subject Music by Lyrics by Performed by First aired
Report from the North Pole Climate change Bob Dorough George R. Newall Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Bob Kaliban and Barry Carl March 31, 2009 (2009-03-31)
The Little Things We Do Energy conservation Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Jack Sheldon, Bob Dorough, Bob Kaliban, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed
The Trash Can Band Recycling Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Luther Rix, Bob Dorough and Eric Weissberg
You Oughta Be Savin' Water Water conservation Sean Altman and Barry Carl George R. Newall Barry Carl, Sean Altman, Elliott Kerman
The Rainforest Rainforests Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Tituss Burgess
Save the Ocean Oceans Sean Altman Sean Altman Sean Altman, Inna Dukach, Jon Spurney, Patti Rothberg, Barry Carl and Eric Booker
Fat Cat Blue: The Clean Rivers Song Marine Debris Andy Brick Andy Brick Jack Sheldon, Bob Kaliban, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed
A Tiny Urban Zoo Gardens George Stiles Anthony Drewe Barrett Foa, Shoshana Bean, and George Stiles
Solar Power to the People Solar energy Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens Lynn Ahrens, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed
Windy and the Windmills Wind power Bob Dorough George R. Newall Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Val Hawk, Vicki Doney and Nancy Reed
Don't Be a Carbon Sasquatch Carbon footprints Bob Dorough Bob Dorough Bob Dorough
The 3 R's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Bob Dorough Jack Johnson Mitchel Musso


Several tie-ins were released in 1996:

  • Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks, a tribute album featuring covers of Schoolhouse Rocks songs performed by alternative rock acts
  • Schoolhouse Rock! The Official Guide (ISBN 0-7868-8170-4), written by Tom Yohe and George Newall, and including synopses, lyrics, and production notes about each of the shorts created to date, except "The Weather Show," which was the subject of pending litigation and so could not be included. "The Weather Show" was shown with all the other Science Rock episodes in 1979.
  • The Schoolhouse Rock Songbook (Cherry Lane Music), containing sheet music for ten songs.
  • Schoolhouse Rock! Soundtrack The 4 CD release with bonus tracks on each CD was released on June 18, 1996 by Rhino Records.

The Best of Schoolhouse Rock (ISBN 1-56826-927-7) was released in 1998 jointly by American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. and Rhino Records.

In addition to the above, Rhino Records also released Schoolhouse Rocks the Vote!: A Benefit for Rock the Vote, a tribute album containing covers and original songs in the style of Schoolhouse Rock, all with an electoral theme. It was released on August 18, 1998.

Video releasesEdit

A 1987 production of the series for VHS tape featured Cloris Leachman opening the collection and some songs with child dancers and singers. Three songs (namely "Three Ring Government," "The Good Eleven," and "Little Twelve Toes") were not included on the videos.[2][7]

In 1995, ABC Video and Image Entertainment released two volumes of Schoolhouse Rock on LaserDisc, "Schoolhouse Rock Volume 1: America Rock and Grammar Rock" (ID3245CC), and "Schoolhouse Rock Volume 2: Multiplication Rock and Science Rock" (ID3383CC). For both volumes the first side was in the CLV Extended Play format and the second was in the frame-accessible CAV format, and both contained CX-encoded analog and digital audio soundtracks. The "Grammar Rock" volume included the 1993 shorts "Busy Prepositions" and "The Tale of Mr. Morton."

In 1994, ABC/King Features sold exclusive licensing rights for apparel to Coastal Concepts, Inc. of Vista California, the first company to produce School House Rock Apparel. Tom Yohe worked with contemporary artist Skya Nelson to create over 50 new designs and update the School House Rock image for a new market which sold $1.1 million in its first year and exploded selling over $12 million the next year. A variety of bands working with Rhino Records were furnished with newly minted School House Rock T-shirts for the music videos youth market. The licensing rights were expanded to include other manufacturers in 1996.

In 1995, ABC teamed with Paramount Home Video and re-released four segments of Schoolhouse Rock! on VHS with alternative covers and opening.

In 1997-1998 for the show's 25th anniversary, Walt Disney Home Video released five segments on VHS, along with "Money Rock" being released in 1998.

On August 27, 2002 Walt Disney Home Entertainment released a 2-disc DVD set to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the show. The set features 52 of the 64 episodes, including the lost "Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips" segments, with the exception of "Introduction". "The Weather Show" and "Presidential Minute" are found on the bonus disc, the former in modified form with the problematic lyric removed, and the latter viewable only upon completing the "Earn Your Diploma" Trivia Game. An abbreviated VHS, featuring 25 episodes (ranked on the tape in order of popularity) and "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College," was released at the same time.

In 2008, DVDs of individual Schoolhouse Rock series were released for classroom use.[8]

On September 23, 2008, the "Schoolhouse Rock-Election Collection" was released, including 14 songs about American history and the government and a "new to DVD" song.[9]

On March 31, 2009, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released "Schoolhouse Rock-Earth", including 11 newly written and animated songs as well as "Energy Blues".[3]

DVD name Ep # Release date Additional information
Schoolhouse Rock! Special 30th Anniversary Edition 52 August 27, 2002
  • All 46 original episodes
  • Audio Commentary
  • "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" Making Of
  • "The Weather Show"
  • Top Ten Jukebox
  • Top 20 Countdown
  • "Earn Your Diploma" Trivia Game (plays "Presidential Minute" once you have earned your diploma)
  • Arrange-a-Song Puzzle
  • 4 Music Videos by Contemporary Artists
  • Emmy Awards Featurette
  • "Three is a Magic Number" Nike Commercial
  • "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" in DTS 5.1 Surround
  • Computer Rock segments
Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection 14 September 23, 2008
  • 10 America Rock songs, 1 Science Rock song, and 3 Money Rock songs
  • Bonus song: "Presidential Minute"
  • Map of the United States
Schoolhouse Rock! Earth 13 March 31, 2009
  • 11 all-new songs about conservation
  • Bonus Song: "The Energy Blues"
  • Music video: "The Three Rs" by Mitchel Musso

Schoolhouse Rock Live!Edit

A musical theatre adaptation of the show, titled Schoolhouse Rock Live! premiered in 1996. It featured a collaboration between artists Scott Ferguson, Kyle Hall, George Keating, Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, and Kathy Mandry, utilizing some of the most famous songs of Newall and Yohe.[10]

A follow-up production entitled Schoolhouse Rock Live, Too, written by the same team as Schoolhouse Rock Live!, premiered in Chicago in 2000.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Obsolete Video. "KNXT-2 KNBC-4 KABC-7 September 1st 1971.Channel Surfing Again..." YouTube. Retrieved 2019-07-26.
  2. ^ a b "Unofficial history of Schoolhouse Rock!". Archived from the original on 2008-06-28.
  3. ^ a b "Schoolhouse Rock DVD news: Announcement for Schoolhouse Rock - Earth -". Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ RSD '19 Special Release: Bob Dorough - Multiplication Rock, retrieved 2019-06-02
  6. ^ a b c "Globat Login". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  7. ^ Video: America Rock, packaged as commercial video, 1987
  8. ^ "Disney Education Store: Classroom Favorites". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection DVD Review". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  10. ^ Schoolhouse Rock Live!, MTI, accessed August 9, 2013

External linksEdit