Friday, December 20, 2013

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Vegetable Soup (1975)

In the 70's, one of PBS' most popular shows was Julia Child's legendary French Chef, famously parodied by Dan Aykroyd on Saturday Night Live. But while Julia was teaching parents how to cook, PBS found a means for kids to learn, too. All they needed was a sentient..........spoon.

I kid you not. Woody the Spoon only appeared in 13 episodes of Vegetable Soup, which ran for 50 episodes total in just over 3 years on the air (1975-8), though reruns would continue well into the 80's, as memory serves. Overall, Vegetable Soup was a sort of magazine show for kids that taught them about typical social issues of the day that are still relevant today. Actors James Earl Jones and Daniel Stern, the latter years before "Home Alone" and The Wonder Years made him a household name, contributed to the series, as did veteran cartoon producer Al Brodax, formerly of King Features' television arm, as this was, to my knowledge, his last series. Veteran comics artist Joe Staton worked as an editor on the show.

As for Woody, singer-actress Bette Midler was the one putting words in Woody's mouth, which was along the same line of Joan Rivers, Zero Mostel, & Gene Wilder working on Letterman for the original Electric Company. Here, Woody offers up a recipe for Japanese rice:

I should note that the series aired on some NBC affiliates as a Sunday series, but that wasn't the case in my home area. The local NBC affiliate opted against it, since they had at the time a 1-2 punch of wrestling and bowling on Sunday mornings, following their public affairs programming.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

I DO remember this - although most times, it was played in class during "free periods" in elementary school.

What used to bug us was the cool recipes they showed but no way to write them down because everything went by rather fast and we didn't have VCRs yet!

hobbyfan said...

By the time I became acquainted with Vegetable Soup, it was airing in early afternoon, around 1:30 (ET) or so, airing behind or ahead of repeats of Electric Company.