Educational Shorts are short (5 minutes or less) stand-alone programs designed to convey a moral about something within the space of a standard commercial break. Often shown at the tail-end of American Saturday morning cartoon shows, or during the commercial breaks in-between shows. Parodied often elsewhere (who can forget those "Knowledge Is Power" G.I. Joe
shorts, or their various spoofs?). First created as a form of commercial during the early days of TV, where commercials actually tried to inform the viewing audience of the uses of a product, instead of simply making the product attractive through glitz and glamour.
Compare And Knowing Is Half the Battle
- In the 1970s, CBS had "In the News", narrated by Christopher Glen.
- The Ur-Example of this concept is the Schoolhouse Rock series, featured on ABC (later ABC Family) television in the early-to-mid 1970s. Popular enough that the entire series is available in a 2-DVD boxed set.
- The aforementioned G.I. Joe "Knowledge is Power" blurbs, which aired at the end of each episode, after the teaser but before the credits. In each one, two kids are going to do something, but a member of the GI Joe team stops them and moralizes about why what they're doing is wrong, ending with the phrase "And Knowing Is Half the Battle". Cheesy doesn't describe them...enough. These blurbs were sometimes shown as stand-alone shorts, hence their inclusion in this part of the Wiki.
- When Disney bought ABC and reformatted its Saturday morning lineup, it included a whole slew of Educational Shorts, including How Things Work starring The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa, and Great Minds Think For Themselves, with Genie from Aladdin. Unfortunately, most of the shorts were gone after two seasons.