The Magic Garden (TV series)
The Magic Garden is a live action children's television program which aired Mondays through Thursdays from March 1972 to September 1984 on the independent television channel WPIX-11 in New York City. Produced and broadcast in the largest television market in the world, the show became popular with millions of children.
Carole and Paula, the main characters and hosts of the show, sing several songs throughout each episode, often accompanied by Paula's acoustic guitar. The show takes place entirely within the Magic Garden, a colorful set that includes the Magic Tree, which lowers various objects from its branches. Also found throughout the garden are swings, a stone path, a shed, and the Chuckle Patch, a giggling bed of flowers that grows leaves with jokes on one side and the punch line on the other. Many conversations take place at a low stone wall with Sherlock (a mischievous squirrel puppet with a love for peanuts) and Flapper (a colorful bird who was a later addition to the characters in the garden). Stories are often acted out using costumes and props provided by the Story Box. In addition to songs, games, and jokes, the characters provide life lessons for viewers, and extend personal greetings to members of their television audience – for example: "Hello Judy. Hello Jeffrey."
Development and reception
Fifty-two half-hour episodes and a one hour holiday special (which aired on December 13, 1981) were produced to meet the FCC requirements set forth in the Children's Television Act. The hosts, Carole Demas and Paula Janis, who had met as students at Brooklyn's Midwood High School, and later became New York City school teachers, helped to develop the show.
According to Carole and Paula's website, local ratings were equal to or exceeded those of other shows in its genre such as Sesame Street. Three record albums were released due to a high demand, one of which received a Grammy nomination. The program received a citation from Actions for Children's Television, and from the Children's Television Workshop for its creative efforts.
On January 3, 1994, Nick Jr. began to rerun episodes. On Thanksgiving Day 2002, a special hosted by Paula and Carole aired on WPIX, reminiscing about the show. This was followed by the broadcast of two episodes, shown for the first time on the channel in eighteen years. A DVD including 10 episodes, as well as CDs, were released in 2008.
On December 13, 2013, WPIX announced via social media that "The Magic Garden Christmas Special", which hadn't been seen since it's broadcast 32 years before, had been "recently discovered... in a forgotten basement vault" and would be aired by the station on the following Christmas Day at 6pm Eastern Standard Time.
Carole Demas and Paula Janis still promote The Magic Garden. Demas is married and appears on stage, television, film, concerts and cabaret. Janis works in television and film and has three children. They continue to do public appearances and live children's shows billed as Carole and Paula: Friends Forever.
- Carole Demas - Carole (Star)
- Paula Janis - Paula (Star)
- Cary Antebi - Sherlock/Puppeteer
- Alton Alexander - Writer, Composer
- Virginia Martin - Writer, Associate Producer
- George Kayatta - Composer
- WPIX-TV - Producer
- "PIX 11's Facebook Timeline Photos". PIX 11's Facebook page. 13 December 2013.
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363352/plotsummary, accessed September 18, 2011
- "Big news! The Magic Garden Christmas Special, not seen since its 1981 debut, airs 6 p.m. Christmas Day on PIX!". "WPIX TV Archives" Twitter feed. 13 December 2013.