George Newall, Final Surviving ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ Co-Creator, Dies At 88

The idea for the sequence happened when Newall and longtime artistic companion Thomas Yohe have been working on the McCaffrey & McCall advert company in New York. Newall, a copywriter who additionally performed the piano, was requested by their boss David McCall to set multiplication tables to music for his son who couldn’t work out multiplication however “can sing together with Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones.”

Newall went out and recruited songwriter Bob Dorough, who put collectively “Three is a Magic Quantity” over the subsequent two weeks. Impressed by the earworm, Yohe, an company artwork director and cartoonist, produced illustrations and storyboards for an animated quick to accompany the tune.

Rad Stone, who described himself because the “swimsuit” among the many present’s 5 creators, produced all the mission and finally pitched it to his contacts at ABC. Stone took Dorough’s tune and Yohe’s art work to ABC kids’s programming head Michael Eisner, who was engaged on the academic selection present Curiosity Store, produced by Warner Bros. animation legend Chuck Jones. Newall and Yohe recalled what occurred on the assembly with Eisner and Jones:

We performed Bob’s demo tape and offered our storyboard, body by body. At tune’s finish, Mike turned to Chuck and stated, “What do you assume?” Chuck’s reply: “Purchase it!” And that’s how simple it’s to get into present enterprise!

In 1996, throughout his time as chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Firm, Eisner acquired the sequence once more when his firm finalized a deal to buy Capital Cities/ABC.

<em>Schoolhouse Rock!</em> creators (l-to-r) Radford Stone, George Newall, David McCall, and Tom Yohe, celebrating their second Emmy win.
Schoolhouse Rock! creators (l-to-r) Radford Stone, George Newall, David McCall, and Tom Yohe, celebrating their second Emmy win.

Past its instructional worth, Schoolhouse Rock! proved a cultural touchstone for generations of children for whom the present was as a lot part of their Saturday morning rituals as bowls of sugary cereal and sleeping in. The shorts used colourful animation and intelligent songs set to catchy jingles to coach youngsters on grammar, authorities, math, historical past, and extra, however most within the viewers had no concept they have been studying, or at the least they didn’t care, as a result of Schoolhouse Rock! was enjoyable.

Iconic tracks from the sequence embody “Three is a Magic Quantity,” “Conjunction Junction,” and “How a Invoice Turns into a Regulation.” Newall is credited as songwriter on a number of Schoolhouse Rock! songs, together with “Unpack Your Adjectives,” “The Vitality Blues,” and “Presidential Minute.”

The Schoolhouse Rock! IP went on to spawn books, data, and numerous parodies through the years. For the present’s fiftieth anniversary in 2023, two books are being launched – Artwork of Coloring: Schoolhouse Rock! and an replace to the 1996 ebook Schoolhouse Rock!: The Up to date Official Information, co-written by Newall and Yohe. Disney, can even host a primetime particular celebrating the present and its cultural affect.

Newall was born in Lakewood, New Jersey, in 1934. After serving for 2 years within the U.S. Military’s eleventh Airborne Division Band at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, he began attending Florida State College in 1955. Whereas at school, he received Florida Composers League awards in 1958, 1959 and 1960, and he earned a bachelor’s in music composition in 1960.

Following commencement, Newall moved to New York Metropolis and took an entry-level job within the mailroom of an advert company. That was the beginning of a forty-year profession in promoting that included stints at Ogilvy and Mather; Wells, Wealthy, Greene; Gray Promoting; and McCaffrey and McCall.

Amongst Newall’s largest promoting hits was Hai Karate, one of the common males’s self-care merchandise launched within the Sixties.

Newall additionally wrote dozens of spots for Atari starring Alan Alda when that firm made a push into dwelling computing within the early Nineteen Eighties:

In 1978, he and Yohe launched their very own animation manufacturing firm and received an Emmy for the NBC sequence Drawing Energy, one other instructional sequence geared toward youngsters.

Newall is survived by his spouse, artist and singer Lisa Chapman Maxwell; stepson, Lake Woloskery; and sisters Jessie Newall Bissey, Kathy Newall Hogan and Anne Newall Kimmel.