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Pinwheel, pinwheel, spinning around. Look at my Pinwheel and see what I've found.
Theme song music by Jay Lee, lyrics by Janet Gardner
Pinwheel was a show that was, in many ways, similar to Sesame Street. It had several human interacting with puppets. There were 260 one hour episodes made, according to Craig Marin, who worked very diligently on the show, but since they were always shown in 3-5 hour blocks, how many there were depends on how long a given episode lasted. Mr. Marin also denies the rumor of an early REM appearance on Pinwheel.
Pinwheel, the main parts anyway, where set at "Pinwheel Playhouse", which was located, as Mr. Marin appropriately put it: "On the backroads of your memory in the magical corner of the Imagine Nation."
Jake [played by George James] hung out a lot with the hobo bugs. He was also a talented musician, and kept sounds in boxes. When he would open the boxes, we should hear the sounds.
Kim [played by Arline Miyazaki] was a young Japanese woman, probably in her early 20s. She was a very good artist and art student, who interacted with Silas the Snail very much.
Coco was a mime lady. She never talked but everyone knew what she meant by her acting.
Smitty [played by Dale Engel] and Sal [played by Betty Rozek] were married and worked for a nearby newspaper. Smitty was editor of the Daily Noodle Newspaper, and Sal was a reporter. Smitty was always in pursuit of the elusive Admiral bird, whom he wanted to photograph for the newspaper. He was never successful, though the Admiral Bird was almost always right behind him.
Plus and Minus were two puppets that were best friends. I always assumed they were brothers, but I don't think that was ever stated. They were also great detectives, and co-founders of the "Plus and Minus Detective Agency." They also loved to play "gotcha last". They went fishing, and even had a fishing song, that caused the fish to literally jump into the boat. There was also a recurring skit of "Plus goes to the moon", unfortunately, Plus always got distracted, and never quite made it. Towards the end of Pinwheel episodes, it would always show them in their room in bed, with the moon and stars outside. Very atmospheric.
Molly O'Mole (or Molly the Mole) lived in a tree in the yard of Pinwheel Playhouse. She was nearly blind, and her eyes where always almost shut. She was elderly. She had an elaborate network of tunnels in the ground, with openings at random places in the yard, as well as in a cabinet in Ebeneezer's basement, and also at the Daily Noodle offices. She also had a mole friend named Leo.
Silas the Snail spent most of his time on the hedge in the yard of Pinwheel Playhouse. He likely reminded many children of their grandfather, because he was elderly and slow. He wore a hat, and lived in his shell, which was a very fancy house. He seemed to always be on his way to the Snail Convention, but never quite made it.
Herbert and Lulu where hobo bugs who lived in the yard. They were brother and sister, and very innocent, just like we were back then. Lulu could only count to one, but Herbert could count to at least three. They were extremely nice to everyone and noted for their "Hobo Bug Dance".
Ebenezer T. Squint was a green guy, with a long pointed nose that had small spectacles on the end. He lived in the basement, and collected weeds. He was an "Oscar the Grouch" type character. His lifelong ambition was to have his picture on the front page of the Daily Noodle, and was always coming up with schemes to get that accomplished, but to no avail. Ebenezer also had a light-hearted cousin named Buzzy.
Aurelia was the landlady of the house, and a guardian of Plus and Minus. Apparently, she was also Kim's aunt. She made lunches for the inhabitants of the house. She was also a fortune teller, and had a crystal ball, which she used to take us to "Opposite City", where the "Opposite City Operator" would inform us that one word is the opposite of another.
Luigi O'Brien talked with an Italian accent, and hung out a lot in the yard, at his vegetable stand. He had three talking vegetables on his cart. He had a red hat, a large mustache, and looked something like a grocer.
The Admiral Bird was the as elusive as he was funny. Plus and Minus saw him a lot, but Smitty never could get a picture of him, even though every kid in America and beyond were cheering him on.
All images on above pages are from Nick Nostalgia Site. Used with permission.
Some images taken from Nick Nostalgia Site. Used with permission.
Other Cool Pinwheel Stuff
Recently I posted a letter here concerning the return of Pinwheel. Unfortunately, I have some bad news to report. According to Craig Marin, who was a puppeteer for Pinwheel, and the person who was receiving the e-mails:
"I just heard back from the head of Nick Jr and unfortunately she believes Pinwheel should remain a memory.....But we gave it a shot, and I really enjoyed hearing all of your Pinwheel memories. And who knows? Maybe in a couple more years you and your generation will be in power and initiate the media event
of the milluenium -- 'THE RETURN OF PINWHEEL'"