Schoolhouse Rock! – Verb! That’s What’s Happenin’ Cartoon

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  • Schoolhouse Rock! – Verb! That’s What’s Happenin’ Cartoon

    I get my thing in action
    To be, to sing, to feel, to live
    That’s what’s happenin’

    I put my heart in action
    To run, to go, to get, to give
    That’s where I find satisfaction, yeah! Yeah!
    To search, to find, to have, to hold
    Verb! To be bold
    When I use my imagination

    I think, I plot, I plan, I dream
    Turning in towards creation
    I make, I write, I dance, I sing
    When I’m feeling really active
    I run, I ride, I swim, I fly!
    Other times when life is easy
    I rest, I sleep, I sit, I lie.
    Verb! That’s what’s happenin’

    I can take a noun and bend it,
    Give me a noun –
    Bat, ball, rake, and plow
    Make it a verb and really send it!

    Oh, I don’t know my own power. Verb!
    I get my thing in action
    In being, In doing, Verb!

    In saying
    A verb expresses action, being, or state of being.
    A verb makes a statement.
    Yeah, a verb tells it like it is!
    Verb! That’s what’s happenin’.

    I can tell you when it’s happenin’,
    Past, present, future tense
    Ooh! Tell you more about what’s happenin’,
    Say it so it makes some sense

    I can tell you who is happenin’!
    Verb, you’re so intense
    Every sentence has a subject.
    Noun, person, place, or thing
    Find that subject: Where’s the action?
    Verb can make a subject sing

    Take the subject: What is it? What!
    What’s done to it? What!
    What does it say?
    Verb, you’re what’s happenin’

    I can question like: What is it?
    Verb, you’re so demanding.

    I can order like: Go get it!
    Verb, you’re so commanding.

    When I hit I need an object
    Verb, hit! Hit the ball!

    When I see, I see the object
    Do you see that furthest wall?
    If you can see it there, put the ball over the fence, man!
    Go ahead. Yeah, alright.
    What?! He hit it. It’s going, it’s going, it’s gone!

    I get my thing in action.
    Verb, that’s what’s happenin’

    To work, To play, To live, To love…


    Verb Original Production Cel 2

    Verb! That’s What’s Happening

    Verb! was the first Black male superhero character to appear in a cartoon series and the second Schoolhouse Rock episode to feature Black characters. Verb! That’s What’s Happening was a part of Grammar Rock!, premiered in 1974 and ran through 1986 on ABC.

    The song, a parody of Shaft and other Blaxploitation films and songs, teaches about verbs. This song was voted the 24th best song on the 30th School House Rock anniversary edition, which was released in 2002.

    The Verb! song was performed by Zachary Sanders


    Schoolhouse Rock!: The History

    Verb OPD 4

    Schoolhouse Rock! is a series of animated musical educational short films that aired during the Saturday morning children’s programming on the U.S. television network ABC. The topics covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics and civics. The series produced original episodes between 1973 and 1986, with a return in 1993 and new episodes airing at least once a year between then and 1996, when production of the series for ABC was halted. Episodes continued to air for an additional five years after that, finally coming to an end after a 26-year run cancellation in 1999 by ABC.

    Verb Original Production Cel 3

    Schoolhouse Rock! began as a commercial advertising venture by David McCall. The idea came to McCall when he noticed one of his sons, who was having trouble in school remembering the multiplication tables, knew the lyrics to many current rock songs. The first song recorded was “Three is a Magic Number,” written by Bob Dorough. It tested well, so a children’s record was compiled and released. Tom Yohe listened to the first song, and began to doodle pictures to go with the lyrics. He told McCall that the songs would make good animation.

    Verb Original Production Cel 4

    When a print workbook version fell through, McCall’s company decided to produce their own animated versions of the songs, which they then sold to ABC (which already was McCall’s company’s biggest advertising account) based on a demo animation of the original “Three Is A Magic Number” for its Saturday morning lineup. They pitched their idea to Michael Eisner, then vice-president of ABC’s children’s programming division. Eisner brought longtime Warner Brothers cartoonist/director Chuck Jones to the meeting to also listen to the presentation.

    The network’s children’s programming division had producers of its regular 30- and 60-minute programs cut three minutes out of each of their shows, and sold General Foods on the idea of sponsoring the segments. The series stayed on the air for 12 years. Later sponsors of the Schoolhouse Rock! segments included Nabisco, General Foods, Kenner Toys, Kelloggs’s and McDonalds.

    The last of the original series were four segments about the then-novel personal computer technology. The shorts featured two characters by the name of Scooter Computer and Mister Chips, and so these were the only episodes in the series to feature any recurring characters.

    A 1987 production of the series for VHS tape featured Cloris Leachman opening the collection and some songs with child dancers and singers but “Three Ring Government,” “The Good Eleven” and “Little Twelve Toes” were not included on the videos.

    In the 1990s, the team reunited to produce Money Rock and two more Grammar Rock segments (“Busy Prepositions” and “The Tale of Mr. Morton”). In 2002, the team once again reunited to produce a new song, “I’m Gonna Send Your Vote To College” for the release of the 30th Anniversary DVD. For the new song, Tom Yohe Jr. took over as lead designer for his father Yohe Sr., who had died in 2000. Another contemporary song, called “Presidential Minute”, which explained the process of electing the President of the United States. in greater detail, was included on the 2008 DVD “Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection”, which centered on songs relating to American history and government. In 2009, the team produced eleven new environmentally-themed songs for the DVD “Schoolhouse Rock!: Earth “.

    In keeping with our mission to “Preserve the Funk” and bring global awareness to collecting Black animation, The Museum of UnCut Funk has acquired Original Production Cels and Drawings featured in this blog entry from the Schoolhouse Rock! animated series.


    Verb And Boy Original Production Cel

    Schoolhouse Rock © 2013 Disney

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    1. July 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

      We are currently making a movie about SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! music creator Bob Dorough—a story for every artist who refuses to give up.

      Please check it out and support the cause!

    2. Black Animation CollectionThe Museum Of UnCut Funk | The Museum Of UnCut Funk

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