The Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Program
" I am the image and likeness of god, I am I am I am, I am the image and likeness of God, I am I am I am..."
— Albert Hermann, first reader
" It's the most bizarre, horrible, extraordinary piece of Christian puppeteering I think you'll ever see."
— Andy Nyman on a episode of Charlie Brooker's ScreenwipeThe Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Program
was a Los Angeles Public Access program run by songwriter, singer and puppeteer David Liebe Hart. Spanning an impressive run of nearly 20 years
, The Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Program was just that
- a Christian scientist
Children's Program. It featured Liebe Hart controlling a cast of animal puppets and ventriloquist dummies while delivering lectures on the dangers of alcohol and drugs, Bible hymns in which said puppets would sing, and very, very strange video editing and visual effects. It has been hailed as the most bizarre children's program ever conceived.
Each episode featured a Special Guest
who would give an affirmation for kids on the dangers of drugs, and would help Liebe read passages from The Bible
and sing with the puppets. The cast of puppets included "head reader" Albert Hermann, Chip The Black Boy, Teddy Eddy and several others.
According to many accounts, the show exuded a certain hypnotic charm. The puppets, as creepy and frightening as some of them were, are very funny to watch, The show itself is fun to laugh at in kind of a So Bad, It's Good
kind of way, granted you can sit through the lengthy sermons and Anvilicious anti-drug sentiments read by people who look like drugged-out hippies
Tropes included in this show:
- The Bible
- Chroma Key: Abused heavily, to the point where parts of cast members and puppets will be bluescreened out and amazing technicolor backgrounds used rampantly. To note, in some episodes, Liebe Hart's name isn't legible in the post-credits sequence due to the severely-dark blue background.
- Creepy Doll: Albert Hermann and Chip The Black Boy
- Drugs Are Bad: Don't do the drugs there.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Underground Legend Count Smokula makes a few appearances with his accordion. The idea of a blood-sucking creature of the night who smokes tobacco on a largely anti-drug Christian show is a sizable Logic Bomb.
- Funny Animal: Though not the way they intended.
- Grotesque Gallery
- Guttural Growler: Bluey Louie the Raccoon. "91 Psalms, first song on the third disc!".
- Long Runner: The show amassed thousands of episodes over a 20-year timespan, with plenty of topics covered and appearances by special guests.
- Melismatic Vocals: Reserved for the Bible hymns.
- Not Christian Rock : Some of Liebe Hart's more upbeat songs have little to do with Christianity.
- Once per Episode:
- Liebe will ask the Special Guest: "Do you have an affirmation to teach kids to say no to drinking and drugs?"
- "We have the very talented ________ on today!"
- Opera: Liebe Hart's preferred singing style.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Averted. One might think the rock-bottom production quality and the defiant lack of improvement during the show's run might lead one to believe Liebe Hart is full of himself. But upon further research, one gets the impression that Liebe Hart is a modest man who always makes time to interact with is fans and genuinely wants to bring happiness and joy by way of his puppeteering and music.
- Special Guest: Tim and Eric from the titular series of the same name, along with various public access hosts (Count Smokula, Francine Dancer) and other media personalities.
- Stylistic Suck
- Surreal Humor: Anti-drug lectures delivered by a talking panda bear, puppets that are demonstrably falling apart, references to Hart's ex-wife and background, fourth-wall breaking comments and surreal musical performances make it unintentionally funnier than most other public access shows.