Pinwheel (partially found Nickelodeon puppet series; 1977-1990)
|Title card, as taken from The Pinwheel Songbook.|
Pinwheel is an American television series that aired on the Nickelodeon cable network from 1979-1990. It was initially broadcasted on channel C-3, a network available through Warner Cable's QUBE system in Columbus, Ohio.
Pinwheel was the starting point of Nickelodeon, not only being the first series developed for the network but with 13 seasons and 260 episodes, it remains the longest running series in episodes and hours on air from Nickelodeon to date.
Pinwheel was the flagship series on C-3, a commercial-free children's television network available through Time Warner's QUBE from December 1, 1977-April 1, 1979, while cable television broadcasting was still in its infancy. QUBE was the first two-way major market interactive cable system and had brought many new concepts that are still used today in modern cable, such as pay-per-view and special interest networks. This channel, in particular, was also a "community" channel (Hence the "C" in "C-3"), meaning that it was provided to QUBE subscribers at no additional cost. Pinwheel would air exclusively from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST.
Both the channel and television series were developed by Dr Vivian Horner, who had previously worked on The Electric Company as director of research, and Gus Hauser, who was the CEO of Warner Cable. In the very early stages of Pinwheel's development, cast and crew members, consisting of Dr Vivian Horner, Sandy Kavanaugh, Andrea Cvirko, Gabi Lopez, Brad Williams and George James, would meet at the Warner Communications offices four times a week to share ideas. These meetings resulted in the Pinwheel episodes produced in Columbus in 1977.
Soon enough, the name C-3 was dropped, and the network was renamed The Pinwheel Network. Initially, this network was also used as a loss leader for Warner Cable against rival companies such as HBO, due to the fact that HBO had no network specifically for children at this point in time.
Warner then purchased the communications satellite RCA Satcom-1 from televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. This went into orbit on March 26, 1979, and on April 1, Nickelodeon was launched in Buffalo, New York. Pinwheel remained one of the most popular series on the network, not only spanning 260 episodes but also spawning a live show.
Pinwheel remained in production until about 1984 or 1989 (sources differ) and aired reruns until 1989 on Nickelodeon and 1990 on Nick Jr.
Despite being the lengthiest series Nickelodeon has to offer, episodes have been proven difficult to find. Pinwheel last aired in 1990, and in the 27 years it has been absent from television, only about 10 hours of footage has been recovered (Including the segments featured in The Pinwheel Songbook). These were originally on a bootleg compilation DVD available through a Freewebs site called "Stuff I Like".
It is currently unknown if Nickelodeon still owns broadcast rights. Regardless, chances of Pinwheel ever airing again are slim.
Notable Pinwheel clips
This is a brief list of Pinwheel clips that have separate articles on this wiki.
- Pinwheel "Clock Man" (lost animated short; existence unconfirmed; 1970s-1980s)
- Pinwheel "Video Comic Books" (partially lost segment; 1979-1981)
- Interview with Pinwheel cast member George James; 23 Jul 2014 Retrieved 26 Jul '15.
- Wikipedia article for Pinwheel Retrieved 27 Jul '15.
- The DVD set from "Stuff I Like". Retrieved 27 Jul '15.