3-2-1 Contact

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Overview

3-2-1 Contact was an American educational program which aired on PBS from 1980 to 1992. The show, a production of the Children's Television Workshop, taught scientific principles and their applications. One segment featured The Bloodhound Gang, a group of junior detectives who used science to solve crimes.

History

3-2-1 Contact was the brainchild of Samuel Y. Gibbon, Jr., who had produced The Electric Company for CTW in 1971-77. Gibbon left CTW before production began, though. The first season of 65 programs began airing January 14, 1980 on select PBS affiliates. Funds for a second season were not sufficient until 1982. By then, 3-2-1 Contact was reformatted. Ozzie Alfonso was its new director and Al Hyslop its executive producer. When production resumed for the second season (first aired October 17, 1983), the show entered a more reality-based feel. The new cast convened at a suburban basement (these segments were shot at Reeves Teletape, which also housed Sesame Street at the time). For a time in the mid '80s, the program was coproduced with the French television network FR3 and featured several new French cast members in addition to the American cast.

Title Song

The lyrics of the 3-2-1 Contact theme, composed by Tom Anthony, are rarely listed correctly online:

Three, two, one / Contact / Is the secret / Is the moment / When everything happens / Contact / Is the answer / Is the reason / That everything happens / Contact / Let's make contact / Three, two, one, contact


Hosts

Hosts of 3-2-1 Contact usually spanned one to four years on the show:

  • Liz Moses as Lisa (1980)
  • Leon W. Grant as Marc (1980)
  • Ginny Ortiz as Trini (1980)
  • Liz Gorcey as Jackie (field segments, 1983)
  • Kelly Pino as Kathy (1983-85)
  • Frank Gomez as Miguel (1983-86)
  • Benjamin H. Carlin as Paco (1983-86)
  • Judy Leak as Robin (1983-86)
  • Manny Mendiola as Diego (1985-86)
  • Tannis Valley as Mary (1985-86)
  • Candida Romero as Monique (1986)
  • Abigael Maryan as Chantal (1986)
  • Ericka Pazcoguin as Maggie (1986-87)

And as themselves:

  • Mary Lopez (1986)
  • David Drach (stress last syllable) (1986-87)
  • David Quinn (1986-88)
  • Debra Allison Shapiro (1986-88)
  • Todd A. Rolle (1986-88)
  • Hopey Fitzpatrick (1987-88)
  • Stephanie Yu (1987-88)

The Magazine

The show spawned a print magazine of the same name that also focused on science. In the late 1980s, the magazine absorbed some of the content of sibling publication Enter, which included computer programs written in the BASIC computer language. Later, it occasionally featured content from Square One television as well, another CTW production. Under Sesame Workshop the magazine later became Contact Kids, removing the original reference to the television show. Production of the magazine was suspended indefinitely in 2001.

After Production

Though the show went off the air in 1992, it appeared in reruns from 1999 to 2003 on the cable television network Noggin, then a joint venture of CTW and Nickelodeon. Occasionally, shows were also rerun on Nickelodeon's "Cable in the Classroom" time period. For all these Nickelodeon and Noggin airings, the series was rated TV-Y7 (possibly due to the target audience).

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