Gullah Gullah Island
|Gullah Gullah Island|
|Directed by||Chuck Vinson|
|Theme music composer||Peter Lurye|
|Opening theme||"Let's All Go to Gullah Gullah Island"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original language(s)||English, introducing Gullah|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||70 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Nickelodeon Studios|
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Picture format||SDTV (480i)|
|Original release||October 24, 1994 – January 9, 1998|
Gullah Gullah Island is an American musical children's television series that was produced by and aired on the Nickelodeon network from 1994 to 1998. The show starred Ron and Natalie Daise, who also served as the cultural advisors, and was inspired by the Gullah culture of Ron Daise's home of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, part of the Sea Islands.
Origin and development
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. After one of their performances, the Daises met with an executive producer from Nickelodeon. 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. 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. 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.
Format and production
Gullah Gullah Island is a sing-along half-hour live-action show. The format was part of a flexible thinking initiative that taught children to make good choices rather than using rote memorization.
The series revolves around a family headed by Ron and Natalie Daise, playing fictionalized versions of themselves, known as the Alstons, set 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. 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. Outdoor shots featured Beaufort, South Carolina and Fripp Island. Charleston, SC was featured in one episode when the family took a trip to the City Market.
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. 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.
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." It was described as "a combination summer camp, cheerleading session and music video." 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.
In 1996, TV Guide named the show one of "10 best children's shows". During its original broadcast it was Nickelodeon's highest-rated preschool show, averaging more 750,000 viewers per episode.
|1995||Parents' Choice Award||DVDs - Home Video||Gullah Gullah Island: Sing Along With Binyah Binyah||Won|
|1996||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Educational/Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special||Gullah Gullah Island||Nominated|
|1997||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Educational/Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special||Gullah Gullah Island||Nominated|
|Daytime Emmy Award||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||Children's Script||Eric Weiner||Look Who's Balking||Nominated|
|1998||NAACP Image Award||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||Outstanding Educational/Informational Youth or Children's Series/Special||Gullah Gullah Island||Nominated|
The show ran for 4 seasons from 1994 to 1998, with a total of 70 episodes. Following the series' end, reruns aired through July 2000. Reruns also aired on Noggin (now Nick Jr.) from February 2, 1999 to April 2004 and again from 2008 to December 31, 2011.
Several special home video releases accompanied the original broadcast, including: Gullah Gullah Island: Binyah's Surprise (1994), Gullah Gullah Island: Play Along With Binyah and Friends (1994), Gullah Gullah Island - Dance Along with the Daise Family (1997), and Gullah Gullah Island - Christmas (1998).
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. Nickelodeon licensed a series of children's books, musical cassettes and "Binyah Binyah Polliwog" plush animals.
The first 37 episodes are available to watch on the Noggin subscription service as of October 14, 2015.
- Vanessa Baden - Vanessa Alston
- James Edward Coleman II - James Alston
- Ron Daise - Ron Alston
- Natalie Daise - Natalie Alston
- Manolo Villaverde - Abuelo
- Iris Chacón - Ms. Juana
- Pixee Wales - Grandma Pixee
- Mike Walker - Ranger Mike
- Anita Endsley - Miss Audra (1995-1997)
- Corey Hayes - Corey
- Marcus T. Paulk - Himself
- Siti Opeal - Miss Siti
- Simeon Othello Daise - Simeon Alston
- Shaina M. Freeman - Shaina Alston (1994–1997)
- Tristin Mays - Shaina Alston (1997–1998)
- Cristian Sola - Miguel (1997)
- Sara Makeba Daise - Sara (1994–1997)
- Mia Barrington - Mia
- Greg Davis, Jr. - Greg
- Armando Guerra - Armando (1994–1997)
- Philip D. Garcia - Binyah Binyah (1994–1996) Philip Garcia was killed in a car accident in 1996
- Justin Campbell - Binyah Binyah (1996–1998) Replaced Garcia in the role of Binyah Binyah after Garcia's death.
- Ana Christina Randolph - Marisol
- Bryan Nguyen - Bryan
- Zachary Chartier - Zachary
- Jessica Gorski - Jessica
- Kelly Holden - Greta
- Willa Nathan - Willa
- James J. Kroupa - Chansome the Pelican
- Hillary Hawkins - (singing voice of Vanessa)
Season 1 (1994–1995)
|The family throws a surprise party for Ron.|
|The family visits the Charleston Market down in South Carolina.|
|03||"The Binyah Binyah Polliwog Show"|
|Binyah Binyah runs away after breaking a broom. (Note: A segment of this episode can be seen in the video Kids for Character to learn about Caring.)|
|04||"Gullah Gullah Island Day"|
|Today is Gullah Gullah Island Day and the whole town celebrates their heritage.|
|The family goes on a ride in Mr. Bradley's shrimp boat.|
|06||"Yes I Can"|
|The family learns new skills.|
|07||"Rain, Rain Go Away"|
|The kids have some fun despite a rainy day.|
|The family learns about baby animals and how to properly take care of them.|
|The kids learn about mistakes|
|10||"James' Treasure Box"|
|James searches for a treasure box to put his collection inside.|
|11||"Please Don't Eat the Alstons"|
|The children go to the market and see all that it has to offer. Meanwhile, Binyah Binyah learns about having good manners.|
|The family has a carnival in their backyard.|
|The family sees far-away relatives and learn Spanish.|
|14||"The Green Show"|
|Shaina learns how to take care of plants.|
|15||"The School Show"|
|Shaina and Sara go to kindergarten.|
|The kids learn to listen to all the sounds around us, such as gospel singers singing.|
|17||"Rhythm & Rhyme All the Time"|
|James writes his own rap song and the family sings nursery rhymes.|
Season 2 (1995–1996)
|18||"Let the Games Begin"||TBA||TBA|
|The family participates in games.|
|19||"Friendship-Just the Perfect Blendship"||TBA||TBA|
|Shaina makes a new friend while James and Vanessa go crabbing.|
|20||"Natalie's Sick"||Chuck Vinson||Fracaswell Hyman|
|The kids take care of Natalie while she is sick with the cold and Binyah Binyah picks her flowers.|
|21||"Taking Care of Business"||TBA||TBA|
|Shaina goes to the dentist.|
|Vanessa is excited to learn how to double Dutch.|
|23||"Look Who's Balking"||TBA||TBA|
|Jessica is very jealous of losing attention to her new baby sister, Willa.|
|24||"Move Your Body"||TBA||TBA|
|Jessica fears dancing so the family tries to help her get over her fears so she can enjoy dancing with them.|
|25||"My Favorite Things"||TBA||TBA|
|The family shares with each other their favorite things.|
|The gang learns about rhythm.|
|27||"Armando's New Home"||TBA||TBA|
|The kids learn the importance of having rules.|
|28||"Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most"||TBA||TBA|
|The gang celebrates the arrival of spring.|
|29||"Whose Friend Are You Anyway?"||TBA||TBA|
|James gets jealous about his new great best friend.|
|30||"Gullah Gullah Ghoul-Land"||TBA||TBA|
|The kids get scared while sleeping outside.|
|31||"Things that Go Bump in the Night"||TBA||TBA|
|The family is awakened at night by something.|
|32||"The Pet Show"||Chuck Vinson||Fracaswell Hyman|
|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.|
|33||"The Ego That Ate GGI"||Chuck Vinson||Carin Greenberg Baker|
|All the kids act to their own version of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff."|
|34||"The Talent Show"||Chuck Vinson||Fracaswell Hyman|
|The family holds a talent show to raise money to buy a new bike for Vanessa after her old bike broke.|
|35||"Grandmas and Grandpas"||TBA||TBA|
|Grandma visits the family and the kids learn about grandparents.|
|36||"Get Out of My Hair"||TBA||TBA|
|Simeon gets his first haircut, James puts on a beard and the girls have their very own hair show.|
|37||"Feeling Soup"||Chuck Vinson||Eric Weiner|
|The kids and family learn all about different feelings.|
|38||"Mercy Mercy Me"||TBA||TBA|
|The gang learns to recycle and organizes their very own cleanup.|
|39||"Miss Ella Mae Breadsticks"||TBA||TBA|
|Shiana is embarrassed of her imaginary friend. Meanwhile, the kids learn about driftwood art.|
|Shaina celebrates her fifth birthday.|
Season 3 (1996–1997)
|41||"What's Up with Jobs?"||TBA||TBA|
|The kids learn about all different types of jobs.|
|42||"Away All Boats"||TBA||TBA|
|Mia and the kids help build a paper boat.|
|43||"How You Sound"||TBA||TBA|
|The family sings and acts in their very own band.|
|44||"The Gullah Gullah Games"||TBA||TBA|
|Pro-basketball player, Dennis Scott, teaches James to play basketball and the importance of practice.|
|45||"Chansome's Big Surprises"||TBA||TBA|
|Chansome has a big surprise for the family.|
|46||"A Day at the Beach"||TBA||TBA|
|The family spends the day at the beach.|
|47||"Binyah Binyah's Parade"||Chuck Vinson||Andy Yerkes|
|Binyah Binyah is lonely and dreams of a big parade.|
|48||"Animal See, Animal Do"||Chuck Vinson||Eric Weiner|
|Shaina is upset when she can't have a horse.|
|49||"The Dentist Makes Me Smile"||TBA||TBA|
|The family visits the dentist.|
|50||"Home Alone With Grandma"||TBA||TBA|
|The kids spend the weekend alone with Grandma.|
|51||"Fixing A Hurt"||TBA||TBA|
|Ranger Mike takes Shaina to see how to help and injured animal at the vets after Shaina hurt her knee at the house earlier that day.|
|The kids learn about special places that people go to for quiet time. Vanessa makes one in the garage after being annoyed by Shaina's tea party.|
Season 4 (1997–1998)
|53||"Binyah Goes to School"||TBA||TBA|
|Binyah Binyah goes to school with the kids.|
|Simeon has a special day with many surprises including hot dogs for breakfast and a puppet show.|
|James is upset when Saturday doesn't go as he planned.|
|56||"The Mighty Cootas"||Otis Sallid||Don Gillies|
|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.|
|The family goes on a camping trip in the woods.|
|58||"Here Come the Hatchlings"||Carl Lauten||‘’Teleplay by:’’ Carin Greenberg Baker|
’’Story by:’’ Carin Greenberg Baker and Annie Evans
|Vanessa stays home while the family goes with Ranger Mike to see turtles hatch.|
|59||"Binyah the Barbarian"||Otis Sallid||‘’Teleplay by:’’ Carin Greenberg Baker|
’’Story by:’’ David Wyatt
|Binyah Binyah learns proper table etiquette and how to act at an anniversary party.|
|James can't seem to get his magic tricks to work.|
|Shaina builds her confidence and learns to be herself.|
|62||"Stray Dog Blues"||TBA||TBA|
|Jessica's dog runs away right before the Gullah Gullah Island pet show.|
|63||"James' New Buddy"||TBA||TBA|
|The family is introduced to James' new friend. However, Vanessa and Jessica bicker.|
|64||"The Hottest Day of the Year"||TBA||TBA|
|On a very hot day, the air conditioning in the house breaks and everyone tries to find new ways to cool off.|
|65||"A Barrel of Laughs"||Chuck Vinson||Eric Weiner|
|The gang tries to make each other laugh on "Tickle My Ticklebone Day".|
|66||"A Gullah Gullah Christmas"||Carl Lauten||Fracaswell Hyman|
|Shaina dreams that she is in the north pole. This is the Christmas special of Gullah Gullah Island.|
|67||"Big and Small"||Carl Lauten||Don Gillies|
|The family goes on a bicycle outing; Shaina teaches Simeon many new things.|
|68||"The Big Sleepover"||Chuck Vinson||Carin Greenberg Baker & Kermit Frazier|
|The children feud over who gets to sleep in the living room during each other own sleepovers.|
|69||"Lightning is Frightening"||TBA||TBA|
|The family tries to help Vanessa overcome her fear of thunder and lightning.|
|70||"Polliwog Day"||Carl Lauten||Fracaswell Hyman|
|The family learns all about polliwogs.|
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. A separate theme song written by Sean Altman 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 a part of the cast as well. 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.
- "Think For Yourself". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
- 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.
- Gullah Gullah Island Episodes 1994, TV Show. "Gullah Gullah Island (70)". TV Guide. © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- deVere, Paul (September 2008). "Ron and Natalie Daise: A Conversation". CH2 (Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine). Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- National Park Service, US Department of the Interior. "Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor FL,GA,NC,SC". National Park Service: Management. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- Daise, Ronald (1987). Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage. Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 103. ISBN 087844081X. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- McCormick, Moira (April 25, 1995). "Nick Jr.'s Preschool Lineup Debuts on "Gullah Gullah"". Billboard Magazine. pp. 77–78. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- 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.
- Brown, Carolyn (February 1996). "The Promise Of Programming". Earl G. Graves, Ltd. Black Enterprise. p. 172. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.org. 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. rMissing or empty
- 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.
- "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.
- 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.
- Amazon DVD. "Gullah Gullah Island, Charleston Market". Amazon.com. Amazon.com. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- 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.
- Smith, Bruce (AP Writer) (June 6, 1996). "GaGa over Gullah". Freelance-Star. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- 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,
- "Polliwog Helps Bring Gullah Culture To Life". Sun Sentinel. Features. July 7, 1996. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Gullah, Gullah Island (1994–1998) Awards". IMDB. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
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- "Binyah's Surprise". Amazon.com. November 5, 1997. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Gullah Gullah Island: Play Along With Binyah and Friends". Amazon.com. November 5, 1997. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
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- "Gullah Gullah Island Christmas". Amazon.com. Paramount. September 8, 1998. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Gullah, Gullah Island DVD news: Announcement for Gullah, Gullah Island". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
- "Yesterworld: 5 Lost, Destroyed, and Locked Away Television Episodes & Broadcasts". YouTube. Yesterworld Entertainment. Retrieved 22 August 2018.