Reading Rainbow - Johnny Kemp theme (found opening sequence for PBS children's TV series; 1999)

(Redirected from Reading Rainbow - Johnny Kemp theme (partially found opening sequence for PBS children's TV series; 1999))

Reading Rainbow (Johnny Kemp theme)
The Reading Rainbow title card from 1999-2006.
The Reading Rainbow title card from 1999-2006.
Status Found
Date found 10 Jan '18
Found by Drew Trachier

Reading Rainbow was a children's TV show that ran on PBS from 1983-2006, with reruns shown until 2009. It encouraged reading through celebrity read-throughs of stories, and kids reviewing books with a similar theme, in segments tied together with host LeVar Burton visiting relevant places. The Reading Rainbow theme song was composed by Steve Horelick, Dennis Neil Kleinman, and Janet Weir, and has received several singers over the years.

History

Reading Rainbow episodes produced from 1983-1999 began with Tina Fabrique singing, over an opening that combined live-action footage with hand-drawn animation. As late as November 1999, the opening underwent a complete overhaul. Now, it combined live-action with computer animation and integrated clips from old episodes. The theme song received a new rendition, sung by Johnny Kemp. An instrumental of this version of the song played over the end credits. For consistency's sake, PBS attached these to reruns of past installments.

Disappearance

The Reading Rainbow theme song and opening underwent some more changes before the show ended. In around 2001, Chaka Khan recorded a new version of the song, and the visuals experienced some tweaks. The "butterfly in the sky" mentioned in the lyrics finally disappeared, making the "reading rainbow" appear to materialize by itself. LeVar also received more screentime, at the expense of a computer-animated dragon. This opening and corresponding end credits music was first used as late as September 2001, and accompanied all Reading Rainbow episodes until PBS finally stopped airing the program.

The latest prints of Reading Rainbow, for DVD and digital distribution, use Chaka Khan's rendition of the theme song. Tina Fabrique's rendition remains viewable on Reading Rainbow VHS tapes released before 1999, and on video recordings from the era. Unfortunately, since PBS did not use Johnny Kemp's rendition for very long, it does not seem to appear on any of the show's home media releases. Evidence of its existence also seemed rather scarce for several years, coming mostly from the recollections of people who happened to watch Reading Rainbow at this time. This Wiki identified Kemp as the singer via email correspondence with Steve Horelick.

Resurface

On December 29th, 2017, YouTube user CDCB2 uploaded an end credit sequence from a recording of a 1999 Reading Rainbow broadcast, which features the Johnny Kemp version of the theme song playing in the background. On January 10th, 2018, YouTube user Drew Trachier found the opening sequence with Johnny Kemp.

1999 broadcast of the credits from the episode, "Bored, Nothing To Do!", featuring the Johnny Kemp rendition of the theme playing in the background.
The 1999 opening sequence to Reading Rainbow (Note: the video was recorded on a phone, so the quality might be worse than expected).


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Mimitchi33

5 months ago
Score 0
I only watched Sesame Street, Teletubbies, The Noddy Shop (on one of my three local stations, it aired before Teletubbies) and probably Barney at the time this aired, so I do not remember it.
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Anonymous user #1

2 months ago
Score 0
i think the johnny kemp theme could actually be from 1998 because i think the last 2 episodes of season 17 when aunt lena did the rhumba and worksong i think used his rendition of the theme song so i think its from 1998 not 1999
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Anonymous user #1

2 months ago
Score 0
and also the first 3 episodes of the season math curse my life with the wave and saturday sancocho still used the 1983 into with tina fabrique singing

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