As one of the events rounding out The Cinefamily’s Animation Breakdown festival, tonight you can catch Bob Dorough presents: The Music of Schoolhouse Rock! LIVE. The show will feature a jazz trio led by 90-year-old Bob Dorough, the series’ original composer and singer, performing selections from the Schoolhouse Rock! catalog.

The idea for Schoolhouse Rock! began in 1971 at the Madison Avenue ad agency McCaffrey & McCall, where George Newall, who ran the copy department, was instructed to develop a rock n’ roll educational record that did not talk down to children. Newall hired Dorough and the resulting song, Three is the Magic Number was such a success that it was animated and, along with over thirty other shorts with songs based on the subjects of math, science, grammar and civics, broadcast on ABC from 1973 to 1979.

“The reason it was successful is that in the advertising business you have to write things that could be condensed down into 30 seconds and still make sense,” Newall told Cartoon Brew. “And we weren’t in television so we weren’t worried about losing our jobs [if] the show didn’t do well.”

Forty-three years later, Newall and Dorough continue to work together, returning to create new Schoolhouse Rock! material in the mid-Nineties and again in 2009, but also conducting educational seminars around the country using the songs as a foundation. When asked about the longevity of Schoolhouse Rock! Newall simply states, “It resonates because the concepts were good and every three or four years a new audience comes along.”

Bob Dorough presents: The Music of Schoolhouse Rock! LIVE starts at 8:00pm tonight at The Echoplex (1822 Sunset Blvd, LA, CA 90026). Tickets are $25 at the door, and if you want to be guaranteed it’s not sold out, order in advance via the Cinefamily website.

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C. Edwards

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