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Heather

First of all, blog bookmarked and favorited. Secondly, though, I may be able to help here.

The animation studio behind the above stills from Vegetable Soup, if I'm not mistaken, was Wantu Studios in New York. The producer/senior animator and character designer, I think, was Jim Simon, one of many African-American cel animators who met some success during the Seventies. Simon did extensive work for The Children's Television Workshop, including a lovely etude where a little black girl gleefully awaits snow to fall all night so she can use her new sled - "That's the fun one," she muses - the next morning; and a rather famous clip where a second little black girl promises her mother she will remember the day's grocery pick-up list: "A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter." Jim Simon's visual style was very distinctive; he appears to have imagined his characters through a squeezed Anamorphic camera lens. He later contributed several cartoon segments to The Electric Company, including a football player voiced by Bill Cosby who mourns, "Throwwww... it... to... meeeee" until a gigantic IT word falls out of the sky on him and he tells us, "I GOT 'it'", and possibly his best-known, showcase segment, "Hey Diddle Diddle", where a clearly soul-influenced downtown night band featuring an album quality-voiced tomcat on honky-tonk piano and his two preternaturally thin feline ghetto-honeys in plump pimp coats, wailing together, "Heyyyyyy, Diddle Diddle" and "He can skedaddle down the keys... with the fingers of one... haaaaaannnnnd".

Another black animator who got a lot of work during the same period, if I'm not seriously mistaken here, was Tee Collins, who gave Sesame Street such famous segments as "Wanda The Witch" ("Witches who wash their wigs on windy winter Wednesdays... are wacky")and "Nancy The Nannygoat" ("Nancy, don't be a ninny... never nibble on your nails").

I have a tiny company that closely studies this kind of animation because we hope to replicate it for the children's shows we make today. (You can click my hyperlinked name below to access its URL and begin your journey learning more about us; we're also on YouTube.)

I enjoyed reading this blog entry and I agree that classifying Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as creepy is Just Plain Wrong. If that's what "creepy" is today, by all means take me back in a time machine to the era where creepiness was born and fully reigned. Happily Gen X, too,

Heather

Heather

Here is another Electric Company clip by the distinctive Jim Simon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LWisHKRIoc

"A Loaf of Bread, A Container of Milk, & A Stick of Butter":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jdP7HUPbVs&feature=related

And here is Hey Diddle Diddle. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyAyWIoDusI&feature=related

Ray Santangelo

I was born in 1970, grew up in New York, and have lived most of my adult life in Massachusetts and Los Angeles ... and I so rarely have been able to find anyone who knows what I'm talking about when I mention this nightmare of a children's show from my childhood. I had the hardest time turning away from it or turning it off as a child whenever it came on, but I remember hating it, being terrified by those psychedelic cartoon band characters and those god damned puppets. What a bad trip you gave me with the pictures on your blog ... thanks Nick!

Robert L

**ANYONE looking for the Vegetable Soup show for personal viewing can contact me to obtain a set of the 1st complete season on 13 DVDs at a reasonable price. These were created from the original broadcast tapes, and are near excellent video, and good audio. I aquired these from a guy who made them from the tapes, and I paid his outrageous price to own them, but I believe everyone should have access to this bit of nostalgia, so I'm reproducing them at half his cost so that all you people that are dying to see the Outerscope episodes again, along with the rest of the 70's goodness from the show, can have them without feeling like you're making a car payment to do so.

Send an email to mexomorph@gmail.com if you want this piece of history for yourself, and your children, because there are some real lessons to learn from this show - I wish they still made this required viewing in elementary schools today.

Paul Stewart

Only the New York State Dept of Education could be so disconnected from the minds of children and have the ignorance to make this "progressive" show in the 70s that was, in fact, horribly inappropriate for very young children.

Paul Stewart

I forgot to mention. Yes I remember this. I am 39 now so I was about 7 when I saw it. I thought it was creepy and disturbing and it left me with a bad feeling when I saw it. Sheesh. Read pevious comment.

Bob VandeSande

I was on this show (Vegetable Soup: The Big Job Hunt) back around 75 or 76 ( i was in the 6th grade) I have been looking for a video of that program for years. Any suggestions on how to get a copy of video.

gregg

Wow I had nightmares about outerscope 1. It still bothers me but it helps to see it again. wow what were they thinking. no wonder it freaked me out.

CEC

I remember this show! I always used to beg my mom to help me make the Woody the Spoon recipes. I didn't realize until now that was Bette Midler's voice! It was definitely trippy. The Outerscope kids really freaked me out too with their "man hands" and such. But still, I couldn't wait to see this show when I got home from school. Thanks for the memories!

Delmarchie'

OMG, I'm 44 years old and still think about this show. I was actually making some chicken soup and started singing the vegetable soup song. I decided to Google what lyrics I remembered and found this site. The show (especially the one human hand on each puppet) was so weird and is still etched in my mind. However, I was always glued to the TV and had to watch. It's so interesting that others feel the same...

Ian Thal

I remember watching Vegetable Soup when I was a kid. The surreal animation was terrific. Yes, Outerscope was creepy, but kids used to be made of sterner stuff and liked being scared. Pop culture, and children's television, was generally more experimental back then.

I just took a look at an old clip of Outerscope and it's far more enjoyable and imaginative than just about anything that gets marketed to kids these days,

Marsha

Do you have any video of the Metric Series with "Metric Man"? I remember watching that in 8th grade math in the 80's and would love to see a clip of that again!

brewbot

faverouties was He-man and The Transformers, and still are.
A few months

JAH JACKSON

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED VEGETABLE SOUP COMING UP!!! I WISHED IT COULD HAVE BEEN ON A LITTLE LONGER. I HAD FORGOTTEN WHAT SOME OF THE CHARACTERS LOOKED LIKE UNTIL I PULLED THE THEME SONG UP ON YOUTUBE. NOW, IF IT WAS UP TO ME, I WOULD HAVE HAD MY KIDS WATCH THIS THAN SOME OF THE OTHER MIND-NUMBING TELEVISION SHOWS ON TV.

Charity

I loved Vegetable Soup in Nebraska in the early 80's! Glad to see that I'm not the only one who remembers...

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