I have one piece of lost media I've considered writing about, but I don't have much proof that it existed. I seem to recall that one season before Reading Rainbow changed their intro to this:
PBS aired a version with some differences. It used a new cover of the theme song, and had some appearances by a CGI butterfly and dragon (the latter of whom wore glasses). A new instrumental of the theme also accompanied the end credits. The next season, the singer and instrumentation changed again, and the CGI creatures disappeared, to essentially give more screentime to LeVar Burton, and the eponymous rainbow. Right now, the only evidence I found of other people remembering the second intro came from comments posted at the aforementioned YouTube link. I tried asking LeVar on Twitter if Reading Rainbow used three intros, or only two, but he has yet to answer. Can I write an article about this, or would I need more proof of its existence? Not even Wikipedia or TV Tropes mention it.
I think the second intro would have aired during some time between 1999 and early 2001. The only differences I remember include: * The beginning showed the dragon and the butterfly flying, instead of LeVar reading a book. * The butterfly's trail created the rainbows, instead of them appearing to come out of nowhere. * The boy looking through the telescope saw the dragon winking, instead of LeVar. * The shot of all the kids reading together had the dragon in the upper-left corner, instead of LeVar.
Regarding the theme song: * More guitar twanging throughout * "Friends to know/And ways to grow" sung without a pause * The last instance of "Take a look/It's in a book/A reading rainbow" sung with longer pauses in between each line. * The end had an updated version of the first theme song's synth intro and ending.
LeVar still hasn't responded to my Tweet, and a post I left on the Reading Rainbow Facebook page also has no replies.
I thought the dragon might appear in the telescope. Not because I've seen the intro, but because that would be so much cooler than LaVar.
Info found on the Community wiki: Reading Rainbow was an American children's TV program which originally aired on PBS from June 5 1983 to November 10, 2006. It was hosted by actor LeVar Burton and its purpose was to encourage kids to read. It was one of three longest running PBS children's show running from June 6, 1983 until November 10, 2006. The theme song for the show was written by Steve Horelick, Dennis Neil Kleinman, and performed by Tina Fabrique. This version was used until 1999 and was replaced by one sung by R&B artist Chaka Khan.
So Steve Horelick, Dennis Neil Kleinman, Tina Fabrique, and Chaka Kan might all be people to contact.
However, it's extremely odd that a version of the theme song used for an entire season could go missing like this. I found the comments you were talking about, and took screenshots of them for further reference.
Where did LaVar appear in the old intro? After the telescope scene, it doesn't look like there's room for him to appear and keep the continuity. In the last shot, it does look like LaVar was green screened seperately, due to the positioning between him and the kids.
Between 1999-2000, it doesn't seem like new episodes were being made. Some new episodes were shown in May 2000 to April 2001. My source is Wikipedia, though.
I emailed Steve Horelick through his website, and Dennis Neil Kleinman through his YouTube channel. Kleinman responded first, and unfortunately admitted that he only knows of PBS showing two versions. However, I didn't show either of them this thread.
Post by generalironbeak on Oct 10, 2017 1:24:27 GMT
This is such a cool thread!
I never really watched Reading Rainbow much but it was a show I always thought was pretty cool. I remember the Chaka Kahn version, of course. I was only about 4 when the original intro was last used so I don't really remember it. However, I do remember seeing some ads with Lavar in around mid-2000 for the annual writers and illustrators contest. After Lavar talked about it a message would appear on the screen accompanied by the background music of the original intro, which at the time sounded familiar to me.
Like I said, I rarely watched the show, but a dragon in the theme song does seem to ring a bell. I don't know. It does seem very strange that for a show that was so popular, an entire opening sequence would be this obscure, particularly after all these years.
But it's not entirely surprising. There's an episode of ZOOM (season 2 episode 1 to be exact) that was uploaded to YouTube a few years ago, and was missing a skit I remembered seeing in the original airing (it was a later airing that was recorded). I have yet to find any evidence (that I haven't written myself) backing up my recollection aside from the fact that the episode runs 30 seconds undertime (that was how I knew it was in that exact episode).