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Kids Are People Too!

ABC (ended 1982)


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out of 10
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Kids Are People Too!

Show Summary

"Kids Are People Too". That's what the theme's lyrics (first heard on Wonderama) declared each weekend in this kiddie-aimed "news magazine" of sorts.

The host – originally, Bob McAllister and later Michael Young and Randy Hamilton – presented a wide variety of guests. Usually, the list included stars of movies and TV series (usually but not always the younger stars), athletes, consumer advocates for children and psychologists with tips on growing up. Often, there were music segments and competitions (the latter stressing fair play and sportsmanship, though everyone won a prize).

The best-remembered segment was "Dear Alex and Annie," in which the youthful viewers were asked to send in letters asking for advice on various topics. Alex (Bing Bingham) and Annie (Donna Drake) would respond to each letter in song.

The series originated from New York (except for the 1979-80 season when it was from Los Angeles).

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  • Definitely not the typical kid's cartoon

    I remember the very first episode (says it was with Joyce DeWitt from Three's Company, a HUGE hit from ABC that basically every kid in elementary school and up would have watched, as it came on right after Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley). Not wanting to change the channel because I knew the star, but really being a small child maybe in 2nd or 3rd grade and maybe preferring the cartoons, I think I only saw some of this show. But of what I did see, what I remembered stuck with me very well.

    First, you saw a lot of the studio audience packed with children about sixth grade to maybe high school. Second, you saw a lot of the sets and the stage seemed very open and transparent, which seems after the fact like a good way to keep kids interested (because they'd get to see what was truly going on with the show and the taping was open and forthright and not smoke and mirrors). Third, Bob McAllister came on bouncing this ball, and it was pretty much a gimmick but it worked, and he would bounce and toss the ball to the kids in the audience, who must have been instructed to toss it back. He just seemed happy and relaxed by this, even though to me, it seemed like a bizarre way to open a show, by interacting with the kids with a red handball which he thought nothing of bouncing in a room full of kids.

    I saw a few of these and just reviewed the one for Joyce DeWitt. I also saw the Danielle Brisbois and the Rupert Holmes (he was HUGE back then!) as well as Judy Blume's episode. I didn't review those but just let me say I was already a huge fan of those people so it was a real treat to see them without the media they were commercially viable in (whether tv, radio/recordings or in print) to see them as PEOPLE. It was great seeing the kids asking questions and telling these people they, too, were a huge fan! I mean, so was I. I did wish for a while I could be in that audience clapping for the guest and wanting to ask the guest a question.

    Later on, they switched hosts to Michael Young. He did not do the same opening but I felt he was rather smarmy and kissed girls instead of tossing the ball into the audience (Richard Dawson of "Family Feud" was already kissing the adults in that show and it was just gross to me anyway, kissing a TV personality that wasn't even Gopher or Jack Tripper haha). I kind of stopped watching it but I felt like there was a huge bonanza to each kid in the 1970's and early 1980's with this show.

    First, we didn't have a ton of media, the internet, and we really were limited to the malls and our TV sets and school for socializing. We also had Dynomite magazine from Scholastic. Thankfully, we kids monopolized the TV sets on Saturdays (even though most everyone agreed on the family shows like The Ropers and Happy Days anyway!) so we could see the stars such as Debbie Harry, Willie Ames, Brooke Shields, Cheap Trick <3, and Jodie Foster on Kids Are People Too. I just wish you could actually tune into an entire episode online. I guess just not enough fan base exists to remember this antique show!

    In conclusion, I just wanted to also add there is something very special about this show that ties it into a HUGE 1970's institution! Her name is Lynn Ahrens. She wrote many of the Scholastic Rock songs such as "Figure Eight" and she also SANG many of the songs! I think she wrote AND sang "A Noun Is a Person, Place or Thing" whereas "Figure Eight" was sung by the Jazz artist, Blossom Dearie. Lynn Ahrens also wrote some wonderful sketches for the Alex and Annie sequence of Kids Are People Too.

    If you don't remember Alex and Annie, it was a feature within the show that kids would write letters to these characters and there would be either a song or a cartoon with also the amazing types of animation you might see in Scholastic Rock, with messages and ideas conveyed in pictures as well as with spoken or sung language. The kids' ideas would be read and then talked about to solve the problem. I just saw a clip a few hrs ago and I about flipped out! They were every bit as good, even more mature with emotions of a child represented in the art, conveying pictures and images of a child not getting along with a teacher and being concerned about what the parents would do. Or pictures of a child wanting to get his first kiss but the girl, upon seeing him, turns into a frog instead! Again, a very impressive way to reach her audience by Lynn Ahrens, who later on wrote a Broadway Musical. (I have the story of Schoolhouse Rock, describing how Lynn Ahrens was a student and was discovered in the process of writing these wonderful vignettes on grammar, multiplication, history and economics which everyone knows and loves).

    So that tie in is also very precious and a forgotten reminder of how awesome the 1970's were. It wasn't all bellbottoms and green eyeshadow, folks. The 1970's had great culture and arts designed at helping kids and making them feel like the sky was the limit. Shows like Kids Are People Too showcase the spirit of the 1970's and I really hope someone out here liked this review.


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