Diggin it at Henson Studios with PBS

I was delighted to receive an invitation to screen the latest offering of PBS Kids at the Jim Hensen Studios, so this afternoon I put the Critter down for a nap, got Uncle Robert to oversee the napping, and headed over to Hollywood. Wilson and Ditch is the new web series that the two titans of educational kids’ programming have put together to satisfy ever growing need for online kids’ content. My interest was trifold – it’s incredible education for me as a person who is developing an illustrated character myself (and knowing nothing about it), to see the historic studio lot on LaBrea, which was originally erected by Charlie Chaplin 1918, and to be in the prescence of Jim Hensen’s own kids, Brian and Lisa.

As Halle Stanford told us, “We’re excited to bring an innovative series like this to the web, where a variety of online and offline activities will help inspire kids’ interest in learning more about he United States. As they travel the country with these lovable gopher guides, our audience will gain a greater understanding of their national citizenship that extends beyond their own community”.

After viewing a few of the hilarious episodes which take two brother gophers who miss their mom and their “homeland”(go to France and take a left) all over the United States, I can see how the grade school crowd will love to learn with them . The web site will see the furry faces through their hijinks and will eventually have webisodes with all fifty states including the top three destinations for families to travel. There are games, video and a blog from each brother. This is content that will be emblazoned on the minds of kids in the same way that Schoolhouse Rock taught my generation, as I mentioned to the group during the Q and A. I can still sing the preamble!

After viewing the new show, we were given a studio tour of the grounds and had the unexpected treat of seeing inside “The Loft” where we had access to Brian Henson (son of Jim, genius of all things puppet and muppet) and the former A&M Records soundstage where production for the Critter’s favorite show Sid the Science Kid was happening. If I wasn’t overjoyed enough to have all this wonderful perspective, a very smart mom asked Brian “What was it like?” to grow with the creator of creatures that every child in the world loves – I wondered this too, as everything I think about these days is what it is like for my little Critter. You can see his response in the video – I’m sure his dad is smiling from heaven.

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