Smile Time: An Auto-Tuned Walk Through Reading Rainbow’s History

By Arturo R. García

Even if you’re not a fan of auto-tune, what stands out the most about this video, commissioned by PBS Digital Studios, is how well it showcases the impressive history behind Reading Rainbow: 23 years, 155 episodes, all hosted and produced by LeVar Burton.

So, in that light, to see the show get the same kind of homage afforded to public broadcasting stalwarts like Fred Rogers, Julia Child and Bob Ross is a welcome show of respect from PBS.

And, in an extra bit of good news, it turns out that Burton has revived the show as a free app through his own multimedia company, RRKidz.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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  • Jan

    I love this. I’m a LeVar Burton fan. I’m a PBS fan. This is just beautiful.

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  • Elton

    I grew up watching PBS. Men like Mr. Rogers, Bill Nye, and LeVar Burton were my heroes and role models. Sesame Street was (and is) the kind of show that taught you so well that you didn’t even know you were learning. PBS shows gave me critical thinking skills and a view of the outside world. PBS to me has always symbolized television at its best–a force for good in an unimaginative, rehashed, clichéd, commercialized, obnoxious TV landscape that brings out the worst in people.

    Which is why it’s so frustrating and sad when “culture warriors” attack PBS. Why, because PBS teaches people to be curious? That there is more to the world than what comes out of a TV screen? PBS makes people less narrow-minded, and people who are less narrow-minded are harder to stuff into little mind-control boxes like Fox News viewers and talk radio listeners.

    By the way, this image perfectly sums up what Fox News stands for:

    If anything, we need more channels like PBS in this world. If ESPN can have like 12 different versions, we should at least have a couple more PBSs. I’m glad that with the transition to over-the-air digital television, there are more PBS channels now, such as “Create,” which has the best cooking shows on TV.