Why “Schoolhouse Rock” Matters

The phrase “knowledge is power” is often attributed to Frances Bacon, from his Meditationes Sacrae (1597).

In the 1970’s, an animated children’s television series that aired on Saturday mornings on ABC, adopted the slogan “Knowledge is power.” The series was called, Schoolhouse Rock! The themes that were covered included: grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics.

History of the Show

In the early 1970’s, David McCall an advertising executive, noticed his young son was struggling to learn his multiplication tables, despite being able to memorize the lyrics of every single Rolling Stone’s song. 

Therefore, McCall came up with the brilliant idea to hire Bob Dorough to write a song that would teach multiplication to children, which became “Three Is a Magic Number.” Tim Yohe was an illustrator who worked with McCall at his advertising agency and was hired to create the visuals that accompanied the song.

In 1973, McCall pitched the series to ABC Vice President (Michael Eisner), and cartoon director (Chuck Jones).

The rest is history.

Why Does Schoolhouse Matter?

The Saturday morning cartoon was a staple for every child who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. 

As an adult, I have fond memories of watching the program as a child, and I still remember their catchy lyrics. From learning how a “Bill” was passed in Congress, to understanding my multiplication facts in their  “Figure 8” episode. 

The series brilliantly communicated complex subject matters in a creative, imaginative, and entertaining manner.

Therefore, I would say, “Schoolhouse Rock!” embodied the slogan, Knowledge is power”, and left a lasting legacy to millions of children across the United States. 

Have you ever watched “Schoolhouse Rock!”? If so, what is your favorite episode?


4 thoughts on “Why “Schoolhouse Rock” Matters

  1. When you get a chance, you should try watching free episodes on Youtube, or you can purchase different seasons on Amazon Prime. The episodes are fun, silly, educational, and once you’ve listened to the music, you won’t be able to get it out of your head!


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