Mind = Blown

By Sean Carroll | January 30, 2012 8:37 am

Apologies that real work (to the extent that what I do can be called “work”) has gotten in the way of substantive blogging. But I cannot resist sharing the amazing things I learned this weekend — amazing to me, anyway, although it’s possible I’m the only one here who wasn’t clued in.

Thing the first is that Morgan Freeman, many years before he went through the wormhole, was a regular on The Electric Company, along with performers like Rita Moreno and Bill Cosby. (Via Quantum Diaries, of all places.) This was public television’s show from the 70’s that was meant for kids who had moved on from Sesame Street — I was more of a Zoom kid myself, but I must have seen Electric Company episodes with Freeman playing hip dude Easy Reader.

Thing the second is that Easy Reader’s theme song, sung in the clip above, is a dead ringer for Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.” Flip back and forth between playing them if you don’t believe me. So much so, I am told, that DJ’s in clubs will sometimes mix the two tunes together. Not at the clubs I go to, I guess.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Entertainment, Music
  • Gizelle Janine

    Hahahhahahaha, Well no offense, but Zoom sucks now, I dont know what that’s saying for it back in your day… 😀

  • Jack Barry

    One of my favorite characters on the Electric Company was also played by Morgan Freeman. As I recall, Fargo North, decoder, was tasked with decoding messages to teach words. Like a lot of the humor in Rocky and Bullwinkle and other “kids programs” of the time, adults would be more likely to appreciate the pun of the name than kids would.

  • http://mmcirvin.livejournal.com/ Matt McIrvin

    Fargo North was played by Skip Hinnant, who was also the voice of Fritz the Cat.

    But Morgan Freeman did have some other great characters, like Count Dracula, and DJ Mel Mounds with Mounds of Sounds.

  • April Brown

    Electric Company is still going strong – my two year old loves the bit where people in profile say the beginnings and ends of words. The show now features a lot of poppy songs about phonics. Rapping about ‘silent e’ and such. Much fun.

  • Avattoir

    So Morgan asks for a book of matches & starts to break into song, & the first image that pops up from the memory banks? The dulcet tones of Guy Marks:


  • http://www.astro.multivax.de:8000/helbig/helbig.html Phillip Helbig

    We used to watch this at school. In the early 1970s, the show was also very 1970s. I still remember this sequence of narration accompanied by images:

    Hey, did you catch that show last night on TV? (Person catching a thrown TV set.)

    Those cats were really smokin’! (Cats (small furry mammals, not dudes) smoking cigars.)

    They’re cool, you dig? (Chap with a shovel next to an ice cube.)

    Sorry man, I gotta split! (Man splits like a paramecium.)

  • Jack Barry

    I could have sworn that Morgan was Fargo North. Just goes to show how we tend to create our memories, somewhat irrespective of what the actual facts are. Thanks for setting me straight.

  • mete

    It is so funny. Morgan Freeman? I can’t believe. The dance…His dance.. He seems he is so much into it. He enjoys a lot. Again, so funny..

  • LoriBW

    I used to watch this show with my much younger 5-year-old brother. I think I got a bigger kick out of the characters like Easy Reader and Fargo North, Decoder than he did.

  • jammer

    Being a Canadian, I just got the Fargo North, Decoder joke. And I wouldn’t have known about Fargo, North Dakota if it weren’t for the Coen Brothers’ film “Fargo,” which I had the good luck to see in the theatre when it first came out–talk about “mind-blowing”! In any case, I don’t know if there is or was a Canadian version of the Electric Company (somehow I doubt it–too small a market, although maybe there was a “clone” done by the CBC), but the Canadian version of this play on words would have to be something like “Regina Saska, Tuner.” Or maybe you could have three characters, Cal, Gary, and Alberta. I don’t know what they would do. But they would have to be sort of “oily” types. :-)


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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


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