After Joan Rivers passed away on September 4, there have been a lot of tributes on television, radio, blogs, and podcasts. One podcast that I am subscribed to – The Fame Fatale (formerly The Answer B!tch) – is hosted by Leslie Gornstein, who is a member of our ’80s generation. On her latest podcast, Leslie reminded me (and her other listeners) about a big role that Joan Rivers played in our early lives – the narrator of The Adventures of Letterman.
I know that this took place in the ’70s, but many of us from the ’80s had some or most of our early childhood in the ’70s. There was a block of shows on PBS that was Must-See-TV for us youngsters. It started with the grandaddy of them all – Sesame Street, then Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and then came my favorite of them all, The Electric Company.
For those of you who don’t remember The Electric Company, it was basically a sketch show, which was funny and educational. It featured skits with some great actors such as Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, and Bill Cosby, as well as some animated shorts in between.
One of my favorite animated shorts was The Adventures of Letterman. I had not seen any episodes of The Electric Company since it had originally aired. I do remember a lot of the characters, but I had not known that Joan Rivers was the narrator of The Adventures of Letterman! In each episode, somebody would be going about their business, such as eating a Pear. Then the dastardly Spell Binder would come around and screw with the poor sap by changing a letter in the featured word, turning it into something else. In this example, just as the lady was going to take a bite out of her Pear, Spell Binder changed the “P” to a “B”, making it a Bear! The Pear would then turn into a Bear! What a crazy bastard!! What is the lady to do? Well, have no fear!
Faster than a rolling ‘O’
Stronger than silent ‘E’
Able to leap capital ‘T’ in a single bound!
It’s a word, it’s a plan…it’s Letterman!
Letterman would show up, and change a letter, making it a less threatening word. Spell Binder is foiled again!
Here are a few of the shorts. Check them out. I think they are still entertaining. It is awesome hearing a young Joan Rivers. Oh, and if Letterman’s voice sounds familiar, it’s for good reason. Gene Wilder provided the voice of our hero. Zero Mostel also provided the voice of Spell Binder. There are a lot of these on YouTube, so enjoy!
And thanks to Leslie for bringing some of my childhood back, and reintroducing us to some great Joan Rivers material! If you enjoy celebrity news and gossip, then you need to listen to her podcast, The Fame Fatale.
Now, enjoy The Adventures of Letterman.