Friday, June 7, 2013

Saturday School: Villa Alegre (1973)

There have been attempts over the years to present programs aimed at both English & Spanish-speaking young people. In the 80's, ABC had the short-lived cartoon, Rubik, the Amazing Cube, which featured Latino protagonists, and short interstitals featuring the Puerto Rican pop group, Menudo. In recent times, PBS had a daily series, Maya & Miguel, which sought to educate as well as entertain.

But before all that, there was Villa Alegre, which bowed in 1973, and spent 7 seasons on PBS, with reruns airing in syndication. I recall seeing the series airing on WPIX in New York in the early 80's, long after production had ended on the show, which was rotated with another bilingual children's series, Carrascolendas, which we'll review another time.

What you might not know is the talent involved, including veteran actress Carmen Zapata and actor-turned-director Alejandro Rey (ex-The Flying Nun), who was behind the camera for much of the series.

FuzzyMemoriesTV uploaded a short sample, taken from a broadcast airing in Chicago, circa 1981.

Yeah, I know. I should've had this out in time for Cinco de Mayo last month, but hey, what can you do?

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I vaguely remember this show (wasn't an avid viewer - it was something that popped up during channel surfing). I remember the rotating diorama though!

Funny how things change. That girl talking to an invisible giraffe would be medicated and sent to a shrink ASAP!

hobbyfan said...

The invisible giraffe (example of an imaginary friend) suggests a send-up after a fashion of "Harvey" with James Stewart, though I'd doubt kids would get the reference.