Growing up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I was a product of PBS Kids. We didn’t have cable until I got to junior high, so if my sister and I watched TV, we were most-likely watching programs like Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow, Bill Nye the Science Guy, The Puzzle Place, Arthur, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? While all of these programs were entertaining and educational, I want to talk about two of my favorites: Ghostwriter and Wishbone.
Ghostwriter: Featuring a diverse cast of (funkily-dressed) young actors, the show ran from 1992 to 1995, but also had re-runs later on in the ‘90s. The premise of the show was that the kids needed to solve a crime or mystery, and they were able to do so with the help of Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter was a flying blob that used letters from notes and signs and reordered them into messages for the kids. At a time when I was reading short mystery books like Encyclopedia Brown and The Boxcar Children, the concept of kids solving mysteries was right up my alley. I wanted to have a pen on a string, write down clues, and solve mysteries too!
Wishbone: Featuring “a little dog with a big imagination” and a catchy theme song, Wishbone aired from 1995 to 1998. Wishbone was a dog owned by a boy named Joe Talbot. Events in Joe’s life would remind Wishbone of classic stories. Wishbone would then daydream about being the lead character of the story—this meant a dog dressed up in costume to portray such characters as Oliver Twist, Odysseus, Rip Van Winkle, and Anansi the Spider. I feel like I am familiar with a lot of classic works thanks to Wishbone. Who could forget the episode based on The Time Machine with the creepy morlocks? Or The Prince and the Pauper? Even in college, I remember visualizing the episode where Wishbone takes on The Odyssey when I had to read it for a class!
Were you a PBS kid? What programs or episodes have stuck with you?