'Schoolhouse Rock!' Co-Creator George Newall Dies
Newall co-created the animated educational series, which featured songs like "I'm Just A Bill" and "Conjunction Junction."
George Newall, one of the co-creators of Schoolhouse Rock!, has passed away at the age of 88. He died of a cardiopulmonary arrest on Nov. 30 at a hospital close to his home of Hasting-on-Hudson, New York, per PEOPLE. He was the last surviving original creator of the educational series that covered math, grammar, American government and history, and science.
The animated educational series ran on ABC from 1973 to 1985 and taught kids everything from the function of conjunctions and how three is the magic number. It made having to memorize the U.S. Constitution preamble for middle-school social studies class a breeze. It was a staple rerun on Saturday mornings during the ‘90s. Seriously, what ‘90s kid doesn’t know the tune to “I’m Just A Bill”?
Newall, who was a creative director at the McCaffrey & McCall ad agency, came up with the idea after agency president David McCall complained to Newall that his son “can sing along with Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones” but struggled with multiplication. Newall quickly reached out to musician Bob Dorough. Two weeks later, “Three Is a Magic Number” was written, and Schoolhouse Rock! was on its way to becoming the nostalgic TV show it is today.
The show had a quick revival from 1993 to 1996. During its original run, the animated series of shorts won four Daytime Emmy Awards. In 2009, Schoolhouse Rock! Earth was released, which featured 11 new songs.
Newall is survived by his wife, singer Lisa Maxwell, stepson Lake Wolosker, and sisters Jessie Newall Bissey, Kathy Newall Hogan, and Anne Newall Kimmel, per TV Insider. All 41 episodes of Schoolhouse Rock! are available to stream on Disney Plus.