The Beakman's World logo.
|Based on||You Can with Beakman and Jax by Jok Church|
|Presented by||Paul Zaloom|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||91 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
Columbia Pictures Television (1992-1996)
Columbia TriStar Television (1996-1997)
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
The CW (for some reruns)
|Picture format||480i SDTV|
|Original release||September 19, 1992 – August 1, 1998|
Beakman's World is an educational children's television show. The program is based on the Universal Press Syndicate syndicated comic strip You Can with Beakman and Jax created by Jok Church. The series premiered September 19, 1992 on CBS, TLC, and in national syndication.
On September 18, 1993 it moved from national syndication to CBS's Saturday morning children’s lineup. At the peak of its popularity, it was seen in nearly 90 countries around the world. The series was canceled in 1998. Reruns returned to national syndication in September 2006, after which it was transferred to local stations such as KICU. The show debuted a year prior to Bill Nye the Science Guy, which covered similar topics. The show's host, Paul Zaloom, still performs as Beakman in live appearances around the globe.
The program starred Paul Zaloom as Beakman, an eccentric scientist who performed comical experiments and demonstrations in response to viewer mail to illustrate various scientific concepts from density to electricity to flatulence. When his experiments were successful, he would often exclaim "Zaloom!", referring to his last name.
Over the years, Beakman was aided in his experiments by a female assistant just as in the comic strip on which it was based. The assistant's name changed throughout the show's run; for the episodes of season 1, it was Josie (played by Alanna Ubach); for the episodes of seasons 2 and 3, it was Liza (played by Eliza Schneider); and for the episodes of season 4, it was Phoebe (played by Senta Moses). Beakman was also assisted by his "lab rat" Lester. In the pilot episode, Lester was a puppet, but in every subsequent episode he was simply a clueless, crude man (Mark Ritts) in a tattered rat suit. In a running joke, it was never asserted that his character was actually supposed to be a rat; rather he was specifically identified by himself and others as a guy in a rat suit, or as a serious actor with a bad agent. Sometimes unwilling to help out, Lester was often persuaded by Beakman with the promise of food. Another occasional cast member is the unseen cameraman "Ray", who is played by prop-master Ron Jancula's hands. Ray assists Beakman by handing him various items, such as the "boguscope". It is suggested throughout the program that Ray has a romantic crush on the show's unnamed make-up lady. Actress Jean Stapleton also appeared on the show as Beakman's mother, "Beakmom". In some of the skits during the show the character Professor I. M. Boring (also played by Paul Zaloom, in a dual role) makes appearances and talks about various science topics. Zaloom also appeared as various "guest scientists" and historic figures, such as Thomas A. Edison, Robert H. Goddard and Philo T. Farnsworth. When Senta Moses was added to the show's cast, the producers began to use a majority of the sound effects from the NBC game show Scrabble.
One segment of the show was the famed "Beakman Challenge". During this segment, Beakman would challenge Lester to do a stunt that illustrated a basic scientific feat. During the first season, virtually every challenge related to either air pressure or Bernoulli's principle. The show addressed this during the second season, by having Lester exclaim to Beakman (as he was explaining the science behind a trick) "AIR PRESSURE! IT'S ALWAYS AIR PRESSURE!". In Later episodes, the rest of the cast would sometimes have their turn to perform a "Beakman Challenge" under their own name (I.e. "The Lester Challenge" or "The Liza Challenge", etc.) and challenge Beakman to accomplish the feat.
At the beginning and end of the show, as well as before or after commercial breaks, the show featured short scenes portraying puppet penguins, Don (voiced by Bert Berdis) and Herb (voiced by Alan Barzman), at the South Pole watching Beakman's World on television. The penguins were named after Don Herbert, who starred as Mr. Wizard in Mr. Wizard's World. Mark Ritts (Lester) was also one of the puppeteers operating the penguins.
Beakman's World plays in weekend syndication in the United States and in several other countries. It is distributed by Sony Pictures Television in the U.S. and in other countries.
List of episodes
|Episode #||Title||Original air date|
|66 (4-01)||"Sweat, Beakmania & Weighing a Car"||September 14, 1996|
|67 (4-02)||"Migration, Beakmania & Living Space"||21 September 1996|
|68 (4-03)||"Bunsen, Beakmania & Sewage"||5 October 1996|
|69 (4-04)||"Cats, Beakmania & Dynamite"||8 November 1997|
|70 (4-05)||"The Mouth, Beakmania & Scale"||19 October 1996|
|71 (4-06)||"Catalysts, Beakmania & Aerosal Cans"||20 September 1997|
|72 (4-07)||"Rubber, Beakmania & Hair"||14 December 1996|
|73 (4-08)||"Camels, Beakmania & Density"||29 November 1997|
|74 (4-09)||"Boomerangs, Beakmania & Circus Science"||18 January 1997|
|75 (4-10)||"Elephants, Beakmania & X-Rays"||28 September 1996|
|76 (4-11)||"Skin, Beakmania & Oxygen"||30 November 1996|
|77 (4-12)||"Bread, Beakmania & Measurement"||16 November 1996|
|78 (4-13)||"Electromagnets, Beakmania & Senses"||9 November 1996|
|79 (4-14)||"Chimps, Beakmania & Eye Exams"||13 September 1997|
|80 (4-15)||"Magic, Beakmania & Cosmetic Chemistry"||28 December 1996|
|81 (4-16)||"Pigs, Beakmania & Sound Frequency"||27 September 1997|
|82 (4-17)||"Sunken Treasure, Beakmania & Archimedian [sic] Screw"||11 October 1997|
|83 (4-18)||"Whales, Beakmania & Optical Illusions II"||18 October 1997|
|84 (4-19)||"Sound Barrier, Beakmania & Healthy Living"||25 October 1997|
|85 (4-20)||"Polar Exploration, Beakmania & Circular Motion"||4 October 1997|
|86 (4-21)||"Dogs, Beakmania & Bio-Medical Engineering"||11 January 1997|
|87 (4-22)||"Human Growth, Beakmania & Solutions and Suspensions"||15 November 1997|
|88 (4-23)||"Action-Reaction, Beakmania & Talking Birds"||22 November 1997|
|89 (4-24)||"Protozoology, Beakmania & Movie Stunts"||6 December 1997|
|90 (4-25)||"Horses, Beakmania & Refrigerators"||1 November 1997|
|91 (4-26)||"Fingerprints, Beakmania & Flatulence"||4 January 1997|
The Beakman's World theme song was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo fame. The Beakman's World theme is an amalgam of Zydeco and Synthpop. An accordion is used for its main riff. The song also prominently features a wide array of wacky sound effects.
On September 7, 2004, a DVD entitled The Best of Beakman's World was released. This DVD is a direct transfer of the VHS tape of the same name, and features only experiments and segments taken from The Beakman Challenge. There have yet to be any full-episode releases on VHS or DVD.
All 4 seasons were available on Netflix with the exception of the following five episodes: 9 (1-9), 24 (1-24), 31 (2-5), 51 (2-25) and 66 (4-1), as noted in the chart above. Their streaming license ended on September 30, 2014, and the content was removed from their site. Beakman's World returned to television on MeTV beginning on October 2, 2016, showing two episodes every Sunday, followed by an hour of Bill Nye the Science Guy.
In 1998, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal opened an interactive exhibit called Beakman's World On Tour, based on the television show. The 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) exhibit toured dozens of cities in the United States.
Beakman’s World was nominated for and won numerous awards:
- Excellence in Media's Silver Angel Award (1993)
- International Monitor Award for Outstanding Audio Post Production (1993)
- Television Critics Association nomination for Outstanding Children's Program (1993)
- Ollie Award - American Center for Children's Television (1993)
- Parent's Choice Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Children's Programming (1993)
- Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Live and Tape Sound Mixing and Sound Effects (1993–1994)
- CableACE Award for Best Children's Programming 7+ older (1994)
- International Monitor Awards for Best Achievement in Children's Programming and Best Audio Post *Production in Children's Programming (1994)
- Nominated for Seven Daytime Emmy Awards including Outstanding Children's Series (1995)
- Daytime Emmy Awards (2) for Outstanding Achievement in Live and Tape Sound and Sound Effects (1994–1995).
- "Beakman's World makes science fun for kids of all ages". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
- "For Quality TV, Mad Scientist Returns". NY Times. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
- "Beakman's World Episodes". tv.com. Archived from the original on 2009-12-24. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- Mendoza, N.F. (January 31, 1993). "What Becomes This Legend Most? Hard Work and Strong Determination". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Mendoza, N.F. (February 14, 1993). "Disney's celebrity concert hopes to raise spirits and money for kids facing AIDS". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Mendoza, N.F. (February 28, 1993). "HBO drives home the story of a teen and a mistake he'll never forget". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Beakman opens world of science to kids". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- Beakman's World - Best of Beakman's World, The DVD Information | TVShowsOnDVD.com
- http://www.netflix.com/Search?v1=beakman Netflix, Beakman's world - Show listings | www.netflix.com
- "Netflix: Expiring Soon". Wordpress.
- "For Quality TV, Mad Scientist Returns". MeTV.
- Yeager, Connie (1998-03-02). "Beakman's World: Museum hosts hands-on show". The Cincinnati Post. E. W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on 2004-09-06.
- Beakman's World at the Internet Movie Database
- Beakman's World at TV.com
- Jok Church Interview
- Beakmaniac's Beakman's World Fansite (Archive)