Gullah Gullah Island

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Gullah Gullah Island
Gullahlogo.gif
Logo for the Gullah Gullah Island TV program.
Created by
Presented by
  • Ron Daise
  • Natalie Daise
Theme music composerPeter Lurye
Opening theme"Let's All Go to Gullah Gullah Island"
Ending theme"Let's All Go to Gullah Gullah Island"
ComposerBilly Straus
Country of originUnited States
Original languagesEnglish, introducing Gullah
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes70
Production
Executive producers
  • Maria Perez-Brown
  • Kathleen Minton Catapano
  • Kit Laybourne (co-executive producer)
Camera setupVideotape; Multi-camera
Running time24 minutes
Production companies
  • Magnet Productions (season 1)
  • Perez-Minton Productions, Inc.
  • Nick Jr. Productions
DistributorMTV Networks
Release
Original networkNickelodeon
Nick Jr.
Original releaseOctober 24, 1994 (1994-10-24)[1][2] –
April 7, 1998 (1998-04-07)[3]

Gullah Gullah Island is an American musical children's television series that was produced by and aired on the Nick Jr. programming block on the Nickelodeon network from 1994 to 1998.[4] The show was hosted by Ron Daise - now the vice president for Creative Education at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina - and his wife Natalie Daise, both of whom also served as cultural advisors, and were inspired by the Gullah culture of Ron Daise's home of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, part of the Sea Islands.[5]

Cast[edit]

  • Ron Daise as Ron Alston
  • Natalie Daise as Natalie Alston
  • James Edward Coleman II as James Alston
  • Vanessa Baden as Vanessa Alston
  • Corey Murphy as Rick
  • Manolo Villaverde as Abuelo
  • Iris Chacón as Juana
  • Pixee Wales as Grandma Pixee
  • Amy Brandis as Susana
  • Mike Walker as Ranger Mike
  • Anita Endsley as Miss Audra (1995-1997)
  • Corey Hayes as Corey
  • Siti Opeal as Miss Siti
  • Simeon Othello Daise as Simeon Alston
  • Shaina M. Freeman as Shaina Alston (1994–1997)
  • Tristin Mays as Shaina Alston (1997–1998)
  • Cristian Sola as Miguel (1997)
  • Sara Makeba Daise as Sara (1994–1997)
  • Mia Barrington as Mia
  • Lisa Campbell as Susie
  • Greg Davis, Jr. as Greg
  • Armando Guerra as Armando (1994–1997)
  • Philip D. Garcia (1994–1996) as Binyah Binyah Polliwog
  • Justin Campbell (1996–1998) as Binyah Binyah Polliwog
  • Ana Christina Randolph as Marisol
  • Bryan Nguyen as Bryan
  • Zachary Chartier as Zachary
  • Jessica Gorski as Jessica
  • Kelly Holden as Greta
  • Willa Nathan as Willa
  • Jaymen-Angel Clark as Peter
  • James J. Kroupa as Chansome the Pelican

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1994)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Ron's Birthday"Chuck VinsonJeffrey SolomonOctober 25, 1994 (1994-10-25)
Ron's in for a huge surprise as Natalie and the kids prepare a secret celebration for his birthday. Shaina and her friend Sara make presents for Ron out of clay, but will James find the right gift for his Dad?
22"Charleston Market"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanOctober 26, 1994 (1994-10-26)
A trip off Gullah Gullah Island to the bustling Charleston Market is the occasion for visits with a woodcarver, a basketweaver, and for Natalie to sell her beautiful dolls. James gets a kick out of buying beads to make a necklace for his mother.
33"The Binyah Binyah Polliwog Show"Liz PlonkaFracaswell HymanNovember 14, 1994 (1994-11-14)
When James gets angry with Binyah Binyah Polliwog, the poor creature gets upset and runs away. Binyah Binyah's absence triggers heartfelt memories of the fun and the love he's brought into their lives, as Ron, Natalie, and kids explore the origins and habits of the Binyah Binyah Polliwog species. (Note: This episode can be seen as a sketch of the importance of Caring for the Kids for Character with Tom Selleck VHS.)
44"Gullah Gullah Island Day"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanNovember 2, 1994 (1994-11-02)
Join Ron, Natalie, and the kids as they come together with their friends for an outdoor celebration of the rich heritage of Gullah Gullah Island. Song, dance, and games, not to mention some delicious down-home cooking, are the order of the day. Shaina gets over stage fright and joins the rest of the family on stage for a rousing rendition of the Gullah Gullah Island theme.
55"Going Places"Chuck VinsonSusan KimNovember 4, 1994 (1994-11-04)
On the move--planes, trains, automobiles, donkeys, elephants...everything but the family van, which won't start when Ron, Natalie, and James try to go on a trip. But Marisol's Abuelo (the best mechanic in the world) has the van rolling in no time and the Alstons takes a jaunt on Mr. Bradley's shrimp boat.
66"Yes I Can"Liz PlonkaEric WeinerNovember 3, 1994 (1994-11-03)
Shaina agonizes about not being able to tie her shoelaces and James is embarrassed when he tries to whistle but can't. The kids find out that the only way to learn something is by believing in yourself and trying again and again. A lesson in the art of tie-dye restores Shaina's confidence and James leads the others in a whistling parade.
77"Rain, Rain Go Away"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanOctober 24, 1994 (1994-10-24)
It's raining, it's boring...but not on Gullah Gullah Island. When the kids put their heads together they come up with exciting ways to occupy themselves indoors on a rainy day. Once the sun comes out, James and Marisol teach Binyah Binyah a new way of looking at himself and the Alstons hit the beach for some serious kite-flying.
88"Baby Animals"Liz PlonkaCarin Greenberg-BakerNovember 28, 1994 (1994-11-28)
When Natalie goes through a basket of James' and Shaina's baby clothes, thoughts on Gullah Gullah Island turn to babies and little things. Marisol and Armando show off their new pet chicks and Ranger Mike Walker teaches the kids about baby birds and mother turtles. Binyah Binyah Polliwog reminds us that although he's so big, he's just a baby too.
99"Oops!"Liz PlonkaTeleplay by: Fracaswell Hyman
Story by: Fracaswell Hyman & Jeffrey Solomon
December 14, 1994 (1994-12-14)
Everybody makes mistakes, and the folks on Gullah Gullah Island are no exception. After a series of mishaps, Vanessa and James learn that mistakes are just a part of life and that people don't love you any less if you mess up once in a while. Meanwhile, a lovestruck Binyah Binyah Polliwog makes valiant efforts to reach the bird of his dreams.
1010"James' Treasure Box"Chuck VinsonMollie Fermaglich & Fracaswell HymanDecember 6, 1994 (1994-12-06)
Lobster claws and old spark plugs--these are some of the weird things collector James carries around in a tattered shoebox and a trip to the beach with Ranger Mike yields even more "treasures". Ron and Natalie decide it's time James had a proper place to keep his things.
1111"Please Don't Eat the Alstons"Liz PlonkaJeffrey SolomonNovember 7, 1994 (1994-11-07)
Big fat Biscuits, cookies, broccoli, fresh fruit, and other treats are on the menu in this mouth-watering episode which includes a fun-filled trip to the Gullah Gullah Island supermarket and a cameo appearance by a superhero made out of okra. A trail of crumbs leads the kids to a mysterious cookie thief and James learns not to be so hasty in laying the blame on others.
1212"Carnival"Liz PlonkaPat CummingsDecember 12, 1994 (1994-12-12)
When Juana (Iris Chacón) brings gifts of musical instruments back from Puerto Rico, everybody decides that a dress-up Carnival is the only way to go. Imaginations run wild as folks come up with outrageous disguises and James and Natalie try on different faces at the local mask shop.
1313"Relaciones Familiares"Liz PlonkaFracaswell HymanDecember 2, 1994 (1994-12-02)
The Alstons' house on Gullah Gullah Island is a family kind of place, where friends and even polliwogs are invited to make themselves at home. Cousin Vanessa talks...and...talks to her parents far away in Africa and Armando and Marisol show that just because brothers and sisters fight all the time that doesn't mean they don't love each other. Juana teaches the kids some new Spanish words.
1414"The Green Show"Liz PlonkaSusan KimNovember 9, 1994 (1994-11-09)
Shaina's going to plant her first seedlings in the family garden, so Natalie takes her to visit their friend and neighbor Farmer Holmes. Farmer Holmes gives Shaina a crash course in gardening and back home, even Binyah Binyah Polliwog shows he has a green thumb.
1515"The School Show"Liz PlonkaTeleplay by: Eric Weiner
Story by: Eric Weiner & Fracaswell Hyman
November 30, 1994 (1994-11-30)
Shaina's always been curious about what the older kids do in school all day and finally, she and her friend Sara are getting to visit a real kindergarten. Lively stage performance by the Georgia Sea Island Singers has the kids hopping and bopping to traditional games like "Hambone", while others learn new uses for shaving cream. Ron introduces an upbeat new version of the alphabet song.
1616"Say What?!"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerDecember 8, 1994 (1994-12-08)
On a quiet day on Gullah Gullah Island, Natalie likes to cover her eyes and just listen to the sounds around her--chirping birds, an airplane overhead, breaking glass. Ron the handyman is at it again as the kids learn that listening to the world around us can be just as exciting as seeing or touching. Shaina plays conductor for a day with the Brotherhood Gospel Singers.
1717"Rhythm & Rhyme All the Time"Liz PlonkaTeleplay by: Carin Greenberg-Baker & Fracaswell HymanNovember 17, 1994 (1994-11-17)
Flower, shower; Spring, swing; Cat, hat--on Gullah Gullah Island the beat goes on as rhyming fever spreads like wildfire among the Alstons and their friends. Homeboy James struts his stuff with a new rap tune and Ron adds a twist to some well-known nursery rhymes and stories. Even Binyah Binyah Polliwog gets into the groove with some wacky inventions of his own.

Season 2 (1995–96)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
181"Let the Games Begin"Chuck VinsonCraig SheminSeptember 10, 1995 (1995-09-10)
James goes on a mission to see how many kinds of games he can find.
192"Friendship-Just the Perfect Blendship"Chuck VinsonKermit FrazierSeptember 28, 1995 (1995-09-28)
Shaina is excited about meeting a new boy named Corey; Vanessa and James go crabbing.
203"Natalie's Sick"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanSeptember 12, 1995 (1995-09-12)
The kids take care of Natalie while she is sick with a cold and Binyah Binyah picks her flowers.
214"Taking Care of Business"Chuck VinsonCarin Greenberg-BakerSeptember 21, 1995 (1995-09-21)
Shaina goes to the dentist.
225"Double Dutch"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanSeptember 26, 1995 (1995-09-26)
Vanessa is excited to learn how to Double Dutch.
236"Look Who's Balking"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerSeptember 11, 1995 (1995-09-11)
Jessica is very jealous of losing attention to her new baby sister, Willa.
247"Move Your Body"Chuck VinsonWillie RealeOctober 11, 1995 (1995-10-11)
Jessica fears dancing so the family tries to help her get over her fears so she can enjoy dancing with them.
258"My Favorite Things"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanSeptember 13, 1995 (1995-09-13)
The family shares with each other their favorite things.
269"Beat It!"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanSeptember 19, 1995 (1995-09-19)
The gang learns about rhythm.
2710"Armando's New Home"Carl LautenCarin Greenberg-BakerNovember 14, 1995 (1995-11-14)
The kids learn the importance of having rules.
2811"Spring Can Really Hang You Up"Chuck VinsonTeleplay by: Marc Catapano
Story by: Marc Catapano & Kathleen Minton
September 18, 1995 (1995-09-18)
The gang celebrates the arrival of spring.
2912"Whose Friend Are You Anyway?"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanSeptember 20, 1995 (1995-09-20)
James gets jealous of his new great best friend.
3013"Gullah Gullah Ghoul-Land"Chuck VinsonHillary RollinsOctober 17, 1995 (1995-10-17)
The kids get scared while sleeping outside.
3114"Things that Go Bump in the Night"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanOctober 2, 1995 (1995-10-02)
The family is awakened at night by something.
3215"The Pet Show"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanSeptember 11, 1996 (1996-09-11)
Vanessa is given the task of watching the class pet rabbit over the weekend. But when the rabbit goes missing, it's up to Vanessa and James' new club, The Lost and Found Agency, to find him.
3316"The Troll That Ate Gullah Gullah Island"Chuck VinsonCarin Greenberg-BakerNovember 3, 1995 (1995-11-03)
All the kids act to their own version of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff."
3417"The Talent Show"Chuck VinsonFracaswell HymanOctober 25, 1995 (1995-10-25)
The family holds a talent show to raise money to buy a new bike for Vanessa after her old bike broke.
3518"Grandmas and Grandpas"Chuck VinsonTeleplay by: Lynn Nottage & Fracaswell Hyman
Story by: Lynn Nottage
September 12, 1996 (1996-09-12)
Grandma visits the family and the kids learn about grandparents.
3619"Get Out of My Hair"Chuck VinsonTeleplay by: Lynn Nottage & Fracaswell Hyman
Story by: Lynn Nottage & Maria Magdalena Perez
December 26, 1995 (1995-12-26)
Simeon gets his first haircut, James puts on a beard and the girls have their very own hair show.
3720"Feeling Soup"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerSeptember 13, 1996 (1996-09-13)
The kids and family learn about different feelings.
3821"Mercy Mercy Me"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerOctober 19, 1995 (1995-10-19)
The gang learns to recycle and organizes their very own cleanup.
3922"Miss Ella Mae Breadsticks"Carl LautenFracaswell HymanNovember 16, 1995 (1995-11-16)
Shaina is embarrassed of her imaginary friend. Meanwhile, the kids learn about driftwood art.
4023"Shaina's Birthday"Chuck VinsonPat CummingsJune 6, 1995 (1995-1998-06T13)
Shaina celebrates her fifth birthday.

Season 3 (1996)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
411"What's Up with Jobs?"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerOctober 16, 1996 (1996-10-16)
The kids learn about all different types of jobs.
422"Away All Boats"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerJune 8, 1996 (1996-06-08)
Mia and the kids help build a paper boat.
433"How You Sound"Chuck VinsonKermit FrazierJune 9, 1996 (1996-06-09)
The family sings and acts in their very own band.
444"The Gullah Gullah Games"Chuck VinsonTeleplay by: Marc Catapano
Story by: Marc Catapano & Kathleen Minton
November 5, 1996 (1996-11-05)
Pro-basketball player, Dennis Scott, teaches James to play basketball and the importance of practice.
455"Chansome's Big Surprises"Chuck VinsonKermit FrazierSeptember 8, 1996 (1996-09-08)
Chansome has a big surprise for the family.
466"A Day at the Beach"Chuck VinsonHillary RollinsSeptember 22, 1996 (1996-09-22)
The family spends the day at the beach.
477"Binyah Binyah's Parade"Chuck VinsonAndy YerkesOctober 27, 1996 (1996-10-27)
Binyah Binyah is lonely and dreams of a big parade.
488"Animal See, Animal Do"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerSeptember 30, 1996 (1996-09-30)
Shaina is upset when she can't have a horse.
499"Food, Glorious Food"Chuck VinsonCarin Greenberg-BakerNovember 11, 1996 (1996-11-11)
The family prepares food for a potluck dinner.
5010"Home Alone With Grandma"Chuck VinsonKermit FrazierOctober 9, 1996 (1996-10-09)
The kids spend the weekend alone with Grandma.
5111"Fixing a Hurt"Chuck VinsonCarin Greenberg-BakerOctober 14, 1996 (1996-10-14)
Ranger Mike takes Shaina to see how to help an injured animal at the vets after Shaina hurt her knee at the house earlier that day.
5212"Special Places"Chuck VinsonKermit FrazierOctober 22, 1996 (1996-10-22)
The kids learn about special places that people go to for a quiet time. Vanessa makes one in the garage after being annoyed by Shaina's tea party.

Season 4 (1997–98)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
531"Simeon's Day"Chuck VinsonTeleplay by: Carin Greenberg-Baker
Story by: Nancy Krulik & Carin Greenberg-Baker
March 11, 1998 (1998-03-11)
Simeon has a special day with many surprises including hot dogs for breakfast and a puppet show.
542"Family Day"Otis SallidEric WeinerDecember 6, 1997 (1997-12-06)
James is upset when Saturday doesn't go as he planned.
553"The Mighty Cootas"Otis SolidDon GilliesFebruary 16, 1998 (1998-02-16)
Shaina and Binyah Binyah play baseball for the Cootas and learn that being a good sport is the right thing to do when playing games, no matter if you win, lose, or even make a mistake.
564"Campout"Otis SallidEric WeinerFebruary 8, 1998 (1998-02-08)
The family goes on a camping trip in the woods.
575"Here Come the Hatchlings"Carl LautenTeleplay by: Carin Greenberg-Baker
Story by: Carin Greenberg-Baker & Annie Evans
March 3, 1998 (1998-03-03)
Vanessa stays home while the family goes with Ranger Mike to see turtles hatch.
586"Binyah the Barbarian"Otis SallidTeleplay by: Carin Greenberg-Baker
Story by: David Wyatt
February 15, 1998 (1998-02-15)
Binyah Binyah learns proper table etiquette and how to act at an anniversary party.
597"Magic Show"Carl LautenNoel MacNealFebruary 11, 1998 (1998-02-11)
James can't seem to get his magic tricks to work.
608"Gullah Rocks"Otis SallidLisa JonesMarch 5, 1998 (1998-03-05)
Shaina builds her confidence and learns to be herself.
619"Stray Dog Blues"Otis SallidTeleplay by: Carin Greenberg-Baker
Story by: James Ponti & Carin Greenberg-Baker
April 6, 1998 (1998-04-06)
Jessica's dog runs away right before the Gullah Gullah Island pet show.
6210"James' New Buddy"Otis SallidTeleplay by: Kermit Frazier
Story by: Maria Perez & Kermit Frazier
March 9, 1998 (1998-03-09)
The family is introduced to James' new friend. However, Vanessa and Jessica bicker.
6311"The Hottest Day of the Year"Carl LautenTeleplay by: Marc Catapano
Story by: Kathleen Minton & Marc Catapano
February 24, 1998 (1998-02-24)
On a very hot day, the air conditioning in the house breaks, and everyone try to find new ways to cool off.
6412"A Barrel of Laughs"Chuck VinsonEric WeinerMarch 23, 1998 (1998-03-23)
The gang tries to make each other laugh on "Tickle My Ticklebone Day".
6513"Binyah Goes to School"Chuck VinsonCarin Greenberg-BakerMarch 15, 1998 (1998-03-15)
Binyah Binyah goes to school with the kids.
6614"A Gullah Gullah Christmas"Carl LautenFracaswell HymanDecember 11, 1997 (1997-12-11)
Shaina dreams that she is in the north pole. This is the Christmas special of Gullah Gullah Island.
6715"Big and Small"Carl LautenDon GilliesFebruary 22, 1998 (1998-02-22)
The family goes on a bicycle outing; Shaina teaches Simeon many new things.
6816"The Big Sleepover"Chuck VinsonCarin Greenberg-Baker & Kermit FrazierApril 1, 1998 (1998-04-01)
The children feud over who gets to sleep in the living room during each other own sleepovers.
6917"Lightning is Frightening"Otis SallidCarin Greenberg-BakerDecember 26, 1997 (1997-12-26)
The family tries to help Vanessa overcome her fear of thunder and lightning.
7018"Polliwog Day"Carl LautenFracaswell HymanJanuary 9, 1998 (1998-01-09)
The family learns all about polliwogs.

Production[edit]

Origin and development[edit]

Ron Daise's book Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage was published in 1987. He and his New York-born wife, Natalie Daise (née Eldridge), followed by creating and touring with a multimedia show, Sea Island Montage, based on the book as well as stories from oral histories of elderly St. Helena Island residents.[6][7] After one of their performances, the Daises met with an executive producer from Nickelodeon.[8] Creator Maria Perez-Brown had planned on building a multicultural program featuring a "magical island" and was inspired by the Daises to use the Sea Islands and elements of Gullah culture.[9][10][11] Part of Nickelodeon's initiative to broaden its preschool programming, Gullah Gullah Island was the first show of its kind to star an African-American family set in an indigenously black community.[8][12] The show's originality caused some upfront concerns. "We were apprehensive about naming it 'Gullah Gullah Island'. We wanted to make sure the portrayal was positive and didn't in any way poke fun at the culture or the community," Ron Daise said of creating a show based on an existing culture.[13]

Format[edit]

Gullah Gullah Island is a sing-along half-hour live-action show.[5] The format was part of a flexible thinking initiative that taught children to make good choices rather than using rote memorization.[10][14]

Ron and Natalie Daise play the Alstons, who live on the fictional "Gullah Gullah Island". Additional cast featured the Daise's actual children Simeon and Sara among others, including a full-body puppet frog, Binyah Binyah ("binyah" is the Gullah word for "island native").[15] The show was taped and recorded at Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando at Universal Studios Florida, with the show Clarissa Explains It All shot on the same set interior and exterior.[8][16][17] Modifications were made, like adding different shades of red to the home as shown on Gullah Gullah. Outdoor shots featured Beaufort[13] and Fripp Island, South Carolina.[18] Charleston, South Carolina, was featured in one episode when the family took a trip to the City Market.[19]

Episodes are presented with a unified plot and not separate segments, featuring singing, dancing, learning and encouraging children to think about things like taking care of yourself, animals, telling the truth, social skills, and problem solving.[14][20] The show also highlights the culture and language of Gullah, descendants of former slaves who live on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.[21]

Broadcast, syndication and marketing[edit]

The show ran for four seasons from 1994 to 1998, with a total of 70 episodes. Following the series' end, reruns aired on Nickelodeon through July 2000. Reruns also aired on the Noggin channel during its preschool block; when the Noggin brand was revived as a streaming app in 2015, the entire series of Gullah Gullah Island was made available until its removal in early 2020.[22]

Several special home video releases accompanied the original broadcast, including Gullah Gullah Island: Binyah's Surprise (1994),[23] Gullah Gullah Island: Play Along With Binyah and Friends (1994),[24] Gullah Gullah Island: Dance Along with the Daise Family (1997),[25] and Gullah Gullah Island: Christmas (1998).[26]

Home videos of the show were released on VHS format by Sony Wonder from 1995–1996 and later by Paramount from 1997–1998. As of February 7, 2012, every season of the series is being released to DVD through Amazon.com's MOD (Manufacture On Demand) program.[27] Nickelodeon licensed a series of children's books, musical cassettes and "Binyah Binyah Polliwog" plush animals.[16]

In January 2021, the entire series was added to Paramount+ (at the time CBS All Access).[28]

Home release[edit]

Nickelodeon and Amazon.com teamed up to release Gullah Gullah Island and other Nick Jr. shows on manufacture on demand (MOD) on DVD-R discs available exclusively through Amazon.com's CreateSpace arm.

Title Release date Episodes
"Gullah Gullah Island: Season 1" February 8, 2012[29] (region 1) 1-17
Three-disc release, contains 17 episodes, exclusively released on Amazon.com, as a "CreateSpace" program of "Burn-On-Demand" DVDs.
Title Release date Episodes
"Gullah Gullah Island: Season 2" February 8, 2012[30] (region 1) 18-40
Four-disc release, contains 23 episodes, exclusively released on Amazon.com, as a "CreateSpace" program of "Burn-On-Demand" DVDs.
Title Release date Episodes
"Gullah Gullah Island: Season 3" February 8, 2012[31] (region 1) 41-52
Two-disc release, contains 12 episodes, exclusively released on Amazon.com, as a "CreateSpace" program of "Burn-On-Demand" DVDs.
Title Release date Episodes
"Gullah Gullah Island: Season 4" February 8, 2012[32] (region 1) 53-70
Three-disc release, contains 18 episodes, exclusively released on Amazon.com, as a "CreateSpace" program of "Burn-On-Demand" DVDs.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Critical reception of the show was consistently positive, both as a children's show and as groundbreaker for African American programming, it was praised for "vividly colored sets, infectious sing-alongs, unique character accents and quirky humor that defined the show and introduced millions of children to an overlooked but centuries-old branch of African American culture."[33] It was described as "a combination summer camp, cheerleading session and music video."[34] The issues, especially with the first season, had to do with show's depiction being unrealistic. "The songs were lively and catchy, the kids were cute and the general theme was unlike other kids' programming," Jenifer Managan of the Chicago Tribune wrote. However:

... it stars "perfect" parents, Ron and Natalie Daise, who with their three children (who never fight), neighbors and friends seek to entertain and socially educate kids through a sing-song series. While the show encourages active participation from at-home viewers, the dictionary responses and incomparable energy from the Daises make normal parents look like misfits. Perhaps as the show seasons, the lip-syncing will improve and the characters won't be so picture-perfect.[13][14]

In 1996, TV Guide named the show one of "10 best children's shows".[7] During its original broadcast run it was Nickelodeon's highest-rated preschool show, averaging more 750,000 viewers per episode.[12][16][20]

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Episode Result
1995 Parents' Choice Award[35][36] DVDs - Home Video Gullah Gullah Island: Sing Along With Binyah Binyah Won
1996 NAACP Image Award[35][37] Outstanding Educational/Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special Gullah Gullah Island Nominated
1997 NAACP Image Award[35][37] Outstanding Educational/Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special Gullah Gullah Island Nominated
Daytime Emmy Award[35][37][38] Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series Kathleen Minton (executive producer), Maria Perez-Brown (executive producer), Diane Fazio (supervising producer), Stephanie N. Jones (coordinating producer) Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award[35] Children's Script Eric Weiner Look Who's Balking Nominated
1998 NAACP Image Award[35][37] Outstanding Educational/Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special The Christmas Special Nominated
Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special Ron Daise, Natalie Daise The Christmas Special Nominated
2000 NAACP Image Award[35][37] Outstanding Educational/Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special Gullah Gullah Island Nominated

Binyah Binyah![edit]

In 1997, five episodes of a "Gullah Gullah Island" miniseries titled "Binyah Binyah!" were produced at the now-defunct Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida, and aired from February 2 to February 6, 1998.[39] A separate theme song written by Sean Altman[40] was given to these episodes. The miniseries also featured several new puppet characters in addition to the original cast and focused on polliwog Binyah Binyah journeying to locations outside of Gullah Gullah. Ron and Natalie Daise were part of the cast as well.[41] It was never broadcast again after its initial airing of episodes, nor was it released to home video. A promo advertising the series' debut is the only known footage; all five episodes were believed to be lost until 2017 when snippets of episode 5 and all of episode 4 surfaced online, evidently coming from a homemade VHS tape of old Nickelodeon shows.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Think For Yourself". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  2. ^ HALL, JANE (1994-10-21). "Nickelodeon Expanding Its Lineup : Television: The channel's schedule is designed to appeal to both older and younger children. The preschool slate is an attempt to take on an area dominated by PBS". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  3. ^ "Gullah Gullah Island - Season 4". Amazon Video. Amazon.com. Retrieved August 24, 2020. Stray Dog Blues: April 7, 1998
  4. ^ Gullah Gullah Island Episodes 1994, TV Show. "Gullah Gullah Island (70)". TV Guide. © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b deVere, Paul (September 2008). "Ron and Natalie Daise: A Conversation". CH2 (Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine). Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  6. ^ Daise, Ronald (1987). Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage. Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 103. ISBN 087844081X. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b McClure, Greg (April 30, 2013). "Gullah stories, songs featured in BCC presentation at Fowler Hall". Purdue University. Purdue News. Retrieved 7 June 2014. Ron and Natalie Daise starred in and served as cultural consultants for the "Gullah Gullah Island" television show on Nick Jr. from 1994-98. It was named one of the 10 best children's shows by TV Guide in 1996 and in 1997 was nominated for a daytime Emmy in the preschool series category. The show was nominated twice for the NAACP Image Award and won two Parent's Choice Awards. Ron, a native of St. Helena Island, S.C., and Natalie Daise have been performing together since 1983 and were married in 1985. They then began touring with their show, Sea Island Montage, based on Ron's book Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage, in 1986. The performances were based on stories from oral histories of elderly St. Helena Island residents.
  8. ^ a b c Cooperstein, Natalie (May 25, 2013). "Natalie Daise Reveals What it Takes to Become Harriet Tubman" (SPOLETO). Evening Post Industries company. The Post and Courier. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014. Daise: I was already a storyteller before the show. My husband had written a book about Gullah culture called "Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage." He interviewed a lot of the elders on St. Helena Island and I brought those stories to the stage. At one performance, we met an executive producer from Nick and she said, "We could do a show with you guys!" I was pregnant with my second baby at the time and we shot the show in Orlando until he was five.
  9. ^ Spivack, Elena (February 27, 2014). "Author, actor shares Gullah songs, stories at Gund". The Collegian of Kenyon College. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014. Daise managed to bring Gullah culture to children's television with Gullah Gullah Island, which ran from 1994 to 1997 and was the first children's programming to feature an African-American family. "Somehow — this has been misreported every time — this was not our [intention]," Daise said. He said that, by chance, he lunched with a producer who was visiting a prominent writer on St. Helena Island. For three days after, the producer stayed in Daise's home, observing him and his family. "That show is our life, but we did not create it," he said.
  10. ^ a b McCormick, Moira (April 25, 1995). "Nick Jr.'s Preschool Lineup Debuts on "Gullah Gullah"". Billboard Magazine. pp. 77–78. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  11. ^ RUIZ PATTON, Susan (April 24, 1998). "'Gullah' Coming To Fest * Nickelodeon Show Will Be Part Of Asa Packer Series". The Morning Call (LeHigh Valley). Retrieved 7 June 2014. The tour brings Ron and Natalie and their huge yellow pre-school frog friend, Binyah Binyah Pollywog, directly to fans of "Gullah Gullah Island." (For the uninitiated, the program teaches about helping people and enjoying life while it celebrates the rich cultural and linguistic heritage of the Gullah people, originally West African slaves whose descendants still live in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia.) Going on the road was old hat for Ron and Natalie, who, before "Gullah Gullah Island," traveled the country for a decade performing "Sea Island Montage," a two-person show featuring the songs and stories of the Gullah people. Ron said that he and Natalie aren't terribly disappointed they won't be making any more "Gullah Gullah Island" shows. After all, he said, they have shot four seasons of shows already, a year more than Nickelodeon's standard three-year production for successful pre-school shows. There may be some specials. And they know the show will inspire generations of pre-schoolers to come through syndication.
  12. ^ a b Brown, Carolyn (February 1996). "The Promise Of Programming". Earl G. Graves, Ltd. Black Enterprise. p. 172. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  13. ^ a b c Managan, Jenifer (April 25, 1996). "Gullah-baloo Preschoolers And Their Moms Are Crazy For 'Gullah Gullah Island'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 June 2014. Ron and Natalie live in a Buford County, S.C., a Gullah community, with their two children Simeon, 2, and Sara, 5, who also are cast members of "Gullah Gullah Island."The recipient of two Parents' Choice Awards, "Gullah Gullah Island" is more than just playful entertainment for preschoolers. The series revolves around an African-American family--the first in preschool television--and it celebrates the real-life culture and language of Gullah, descendants of formerly enslaved Africans on the Sea Islands off South Carolina and Georgia. Ron, who grew up on St. Helena Island as a native Gullah, wrote a book titled "Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage" that included a collection of islander memoirs and spirituals. He and Natalie toured the country performing original productions of songs and stories depicting Gullah legends and lore, which eventually spawned the TV series. "We were apprehensive about naming it `Gullah Gullah Island,' " Ron said. "We wanted to make sure the portrayal was positive and didn't in any way poke fun at the culture or the community.
  14. ^ a b c Managan, Jennifer (October 19, 1994). "Think For Yourself New Nick Shows Stress Reasoning Over Memorization". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 June 2014. "Gullah Gullah Island." The shows are part of a reported $30 million initiative to expand Nick Jr., the cable network's preschool block (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) weekdays and to promote flexible thinking, an approach the network says encourages kids to think on their own when making choices rather than using rote memorization.
  15. ^ Hendry, Erica (March 2011). "Holding on to Gullah Culture A Smithsonian curator visits a Georgia island to find stories of a shrinking community that has clung to its African traditions". Smithsonian Magazine. Bailey drove Amos around the island in a boxy utility van, pointing out houses and fields and slipping into island dialect: binya is a native islander, comya is a visitor. r
  16. ^ a b c On TV (July 7, 1996). "Polliwog Helps Bring Gullah Culture To Life". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 8 June 2014. Gullah Gullah Island, the first preschool show centered on a black family, is the network's top-rated live action preschool show with an estimated 767,000 children between ages 2 and 5 watching daily.The Daises live in nearby Beaufort with their children, 6-year-old Sara and 3-year-old Simeon, who are both in the cast. The show's rising popularity has forced them to get an unlisted number, but fans and their parents still seem to find their way to the Daises' doorstep. Since last fall, the network has licensed a series of children's books, videos, CDs and cassettes. The first of the Binyah Binyah plush animals hit the stores in April. The children in the cast are consulted about the dancing and dialogue in the show. "We use kiddieography instead of choreography," said choreographer Ken Grant as he watched Vinson take another angle on the beach. The cast, which includes three child actors in addition to the Daises' two children, tapes exteriors for about three weeks each year near Beaufort. The interior scenes are shot at the Nickelodeon studios in Orlando.
  17. ^ "Nick Kids Random Facts". NickKids.net. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014. Random fact: the house on Gullah Gullah Island and the house on Clarissa Explains It All were the same house.
  18. ^ Suhay, Lisa (October 2, 2013). "Real-life 'Gullah Gullah Island' in danger The real life residents of former Nickelodeon television series, 'Gullah Gullah Island' are in danger of losing their island to developers, presenting a rare opportunity for families to connect childhood memories with current events". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 7 June 2014. Granted, the Gullah Gullah Island show is long gone, having run from 1994-1997, but the lessons it taught our kids on healthy eating, telling the truth, and problem solving are worth revisiting today. We can use this news item as an opportunity to talk to our kids about problem solving and how the real life residents on this island may need help solving this problem. Reading the news I realized that every day the news gives us a chance to work a "flash challenge" with our kids. It's worth saving and by extension so is this real world Gullah Island community. Granted, the Nickelodeon show was filmed on the more touristy Fripp Island, Ga., but the cultural base for the show was all Sapelo.
  19. ^ Amazon DVD. "Gullah Gullah Island, Charleston Market". Amazon.com. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  20. ^ a b Smith, Bruce (AP Writer) (June 6, 1996). "GaGa over Gullah". Freelance-Star. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  21. ^ Duckett, Jody (August 2, 1998). "Imaginations Can Visit 'Gullah Gullah Island'". The Morning Call. Retrieved 7 June 2014. The tour brings Ron and Natalie and their huge yellow pre-school frog friend, Binyah Binyah Pollywog, directly to fans of "Gullah Gullah Island." (For the uninitiated, the program teaches about helping people and enjoying life while it celebrates the rich cultural and linguistic heritage of the Gullah people, originally West African slaves whose descendants still live in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia.) There will be familiar songs and stories and children will be encouraged to participate. But Ron doesn't want to say too much about the theme of the low-tech touring show. "It's to encourage the children to use their imaginations to pretend," is all he will say. "I'd like it to be a surprise for the audience." A big difference between the television show and the touring show is there's a lot less dialogue without the presence of the show's close-knit "family" of three children and relatives and friends. The Daises' own children, Simeon, 4, and Sara, 7, both act on the television show. The touring show started as a 30-minute live gig at bookstores and malls. It was called "Nick Jr. Story and Song Play Along." The crowds were so large that in January, Nickelodeon launched a 1-1/2-hour show for larger venues. Going on the road was old hat for Ron and Natalie, who, before "Gullah Gullah Island," traveled the country for a decade performing "Sea Island Montage," a two-person show featuring the songs and stories of the Gullah people. They also have toured extensively to promote their independently produced books and records, including Ron's children's book "Little Muddy Waters: A Gullah Folk Tale" and the recently released recording "Sleep Tight: Lullabies & Night-Night Stories." Ron said that he and Natalie aren't terribly disappointed they won't be making any more "Gullah Gullah Island" shows. After all, he said, they have shot four seasons of shows already, a year more than Nickelodeon's standard three-year production for successful pre-school shows. There may be some specials. And they know the show will inspire generations of pre-schoolers to come through syndication.
  22. ^ https://techcrunch.com/2015/02/25/nickelodeon-unveils-noggin-a-mobile-subscription-service-for-preschoolers-arriving-in-march/
  23. ^ Binyah's Surprise. November 5, 1997. ASIN 6304328613. ASIN: 6304328613
  24. ^ Gullah Gullah Island: Play Along With Binyah and Friends. November 5, 1997. ASIN 630432863X. ASIN: 630432863X
  25. ^ Gullah Gullah Island - Dance Along with the Daise Family. November 5, 1997. ASIN 6304328583. ASIN: 6304328583
  26. ^ Gullah Gullah Island Christmas. Paramount. September 8, 1998. ASIN 630507206X. ASIN: 630507206X
  27. ^ "Gullah, Gullah Island DVD news: Announcement for Gullah, Gullah Island". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  28. ^ "Gullah Gullah Island". Paramount+. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  29. ^ "Gullah Gullah Island: Season 1 (3 Discs): Movies & TV". Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  30. ^ "Gullah Gullah Island: Season 2 (4 Discs): Movies & TV". Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  31. ^ "Gullah Gullah Island: Season 3 (2 Discs): Movies & TV". Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  32. ^ "Gullah Gullah Island: Season 4 (3 discs): Movies & TV". Retrieved 2019-07-19.
  33. ^ Novak, Tom (September 5, 2013). "BCC brings creators of '90s nostalgia heavy kids' show 'Gullah Gullah Island' to Fowler". Purdue University. Retrieved 8 June 2014. Some may be a little too young to remember, but many students won't be able to forget the vividly colored sets, infectious sing-alongs, unique character accents and quirky humor that defined the show and introduced millions of children to an overlooked but centuries-old branch of African American culture. The Gullah culture exists on the rice plantation islands of South Carolina and southern Georgia, where slaves from Sierra Leone were taken to work at because of their knowledge of rice farming. Because bridges were not built to these islands until the mid 20th century, their culture remained isolated and free to develop on its own. It is one of the most well-preserved African American cultures, even with its own language, a mixture of English and West African dialects – much like Creole is to French. Just as the TV show was based upon a model of "call-and-response" taken from Gullah culture,
  34. ^ "Polliwog Helps Bring Gullah Culture To Life". Sun Sentinel. Features. July 7, 1996. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g "Gullah, Gullah Island (1994–1998) Awards". IMDB. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  36. ^ Parent's Choice http://www.parents-choice.org/product.cfm?product_id=4773&StepNum=1&award=aw. Retrieved 8 June 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  37. ^ a b c d e "NAACP Awards & Winners". NAACP IMAGE AWARDS. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  38. ^ http://awardsandwinners.com/category/daytime-emmy-award/1997/#sthash.7zWUpWv5.dpuf. Retrieved 8 June 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. ^ "Rick Lyon TV: Binyah Binyah". www.lyonpuppets.com. Retrieved Jul 19, 2019.
  40. ^ "SeanSongs". www.seanaltman.com. Retrieved Jul 19, 2019.
  41. ^ SUDYK, BOB. "GULLAH GULLAH GIRL". courant.com. Retrieved Jul 19, 2019.
  42. ^ "Yesterworld: 5 Lost, Destroyed, and Locked Away Television Episodes". YouTube. Yesterworld Entertainment. Retrieved 22 August 2018.

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