When Arthur premiered on October 7, 1996 – I was a TVOKids Kid. I loved watching the Crawl Space with Patty and Joe. I would go to TVOKids days and enter contests. I just adored everything to do with TVOKids.
There are a few shows that I think about when I think about watching TVOKids: Bananas In Pyjamas, Pingu, The Magic School Bus, Polka Dot Door, and of course Arthur.
Arthur was the TVOkids Phenom and I was obsessed.
So when I heard that after 25 years the show was ending it made me want to do a little walk down memory lane and remember what made the show so special.
Of course, I really should be talking about ‘walking down the street’ rather than memory lane when talking about Arthur.
Is there a more iconic children’s theme song? I can still sing every word of this song and of course, you have to add in all the heys and the classic “Hey D.W.! Hey! Whoooaaaa” at the end. Such a joy.
A huge part of the Arthur brand was getting kids to read. The show started out as a book series by author Marc Brown and evolved into the show but books were always front and center.
I’m a massive fan of the Library App Libby and I often plug it to my friends. It’s a great way to read on the go. All you need is a library card and because of Arthur we all know…
Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!
Arthur‘s musical episodes really stand out in my brain. Like the time the Brain (aka Alan) sang the Jekyll Hyde song. It’s just so good:
Or the time Mr. Ratburn sang Homework Tonight… just a little homework tonight.
As Arthur became a global smash, it started bringing in celebrity guests.
You had Art Garfunkel singing The Ballad of Buster Baxter.
Yo-Yo Ma was on the show and honestly, when I think about when I first heard of Yo-Yo Ma, it was definitely on this show.
However, the biggest celebrity crossover with Arthur was the Backstreet Boy episode. You’ve got to remember this was in the late 90s. Think about it: we’ve got Arthur, the biggest show in the world for kids, plus The Backstreet Boys the biggest boy band in the world – joining forces. Little Paula didn’t know what to do with herself. It was overwhelming.
I will say this is the reason I’m probably a Backstreet Boy fan over an N’Sync fan. It was ICONIC.
To really trigger some memories, remember when Binky got in trouble for putting up graffiti everywhere with ‘Binky’ but then big twist, we found out it was a BAND called Binky and then we found out the even bigger twist that the band didn’t exist – it was a hologram!
Wild stuff. Again kid Paula’s mind was blown and I still remember this JAM:
The thing about Arthur is that it was this thing that generations of kids shared. 25 years is a lot of time – there are kids who watched this show who now have kids watching this show.
I understand that things need to end and with a 25 year back catalogue, the show can re-air episodes and keep it fresh – but one of the best things about Arthur was that while it existed in an alternative Animal world, the kids were experiencing things we kids were.
These familiar characters helped us process things that were happening. For example, last year, the show came up with some great content to help kids understand the pandemic.
I think PBS is making a mistake, but shows need to end to make room for new shows and I hope they have something exciting and creative in the pipeline.
That being said – I know Arthur is the gift that will keep on giving. I’m excited for the documentaries that people will make on it, the re-runs I’ll show my future kids, and all the memes. If you still want some fresh Arthur content, I have been listening to the Finding D.W. Podcast. I’d highly recommend it.
So Thanks to the team who made Arthur special – 25 years is an incredible run and I will forever be a fan of your show. All the best on your next ventures.