Saturday, March 31, 2012

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Magic Garden (1972)

Back in the 70's, WPIX in New York was home to a group of programs that could have given PBS a run for their money. The most popular and beloved of these shows was The Magic Garden, a 4-days-a-week series that debuted in March of 1972, and continued to cycle through 13 weeks (52 episodes) until the series was taken off the air in September 1984 after 12 years.

Hosts Carole Demas & Paula Janis went on to careers as teachers after the series ended production, and also released three albums of music spun from Garden, one of which earned a Grammy nomination. 10 years after Garden was cancelled, Nickelodeon picked up the show to air in its Nick, Jr. morning block, but it was a short-term deal, unfortunately, despite the fact that it introduced Paula & Carole to a new generation of viewers. In 2002, WPIX produced a 30th anniversary retrospective and ran 2 episodes for the first time since 1984. Would they do that again to mark 40 years? I don't know. Unfortunately for folks in my district, WPIX was taken off local cable systems a number of years ago, coinciding with the launch of the then-WB Network (now CW), and thus I never saw the 30th anniversary special.

I didn't really discover the series until the early 80's. By then, Garden had shifted from mornings to afternoons, which made the "Goodbye" song seem so irrelevant, but it still ran 4 days a week, with Joya's Fun School filling the space on Fridays. I think back to when my brother and I had a babysitter care for us on Saturday nights during bowling season when we were younger, and she sometimes had a friend come over to help. Paula & Carole reminded me of those halcyon days. Just for the record, Carole was cuter.

Here's the "Hello" song, followed by a tune more familiar to those who picked up on Garden later in the run, when they sometimes edited off the "Hello" song.

Too bad none of the local stations in my district had the resources to try to create a similar show.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

Oh does this bring back happy memories!

I used to watch Magic Garden back in the 70s! I used to think of Paula and Carole as my big sisters!

They had such a beautiful "garden" and there was also Sherlock the squirrel in the magic tree who popped in every ep.

I also seem to remember giggling flowers.

hobbyfan said...

That was the "chuckle patch", where the girls got their quick jokes & riddles. IIRC, Garden aired around 6 or 6:30 am early on, then was, as I noted, shifted to the early afternoon slot I found it in during the summer one year.

It's just a pity that there are no independent channels anymore, although the closest one is WSBK in Boston, which gave up its affiliation (UPN) a few years back. However, because it carries some of the same shows that air in my market, there's 0 chance it'll be back on my cable system. Which sucks.

jackwc3po said...

Carole actually never returned to teaching. When the Magic Garden started airing she was starring on Broadway, in GREASE. She created the role of Sandy in the original production. She has continued performing ever since, on and off Broadway, on television nighttime dramas, soaps and hundreds of commercials too. She also did a few films, some radio, and has continued doing concerts and cabaret performances to this day. Her website, Lists all of her activities.
Also, along woth Paula, they continue to perform in shows for families throught the tri-state region. Their website,, lists all those activities.

hobbyfan said...

Thanks for clarifying.