“I’m Hal Linden……and this is a snake.” Retro SAT AM Classic: ANIMALS ANIMALS ANIMALS


(CORRECTION: make that “Retro SUNDAY AM Classic”!)


Do you remember that there was kids’ programming on ABC-TV on SUNDAY mornings too? And about two hours worth too? In the late 70s, ABC-TV started to nationally broadcast a 90-120 minute mishmash block of repeats from Saturday morning shows as well as adding some new live action fare such as ANIMALS ANIMALS ANIMALS, the kinder-friendly zoological edutainment hosted by BARNEY MILLER‘s Hal Linden. In fact, Hal’s Sunday morning show became the award-winning keystone to the ABC Sunday AM programming block, airing from 1976-1981. If you grew up during that time there is a chance that you never knew of this Sunday/Saturday morning reprise on ABC since not all affiliate stations bothered to air the programming block, instead opting for their own local interest programs or other syndicated series.

But if you did turn on the TV Sunday mornings desperately trying to find something to watch other than the preachy DAVID & GOLIATH, you more than likely ended up watching ANIMALS ANIMALS ANIMALS and singing its highly contagious theme song for the rest of the day.

Go ahead- hit play and have this ear-bug rolling around in your head every waking minute:

Looks like Hal Linden and Indiana Jones seem to have at least one thing in common; they both are obviously weirded out by snakes.

Here’s the bit from the Wikipedia entry for the show:

“Animals, Animals, Animals is an educational television series on ABC about different species of animals. The program, produced by ABC News, was hosted by Hal Linden. Information about animals was provided by Roger Caras and, songs about animals were performed by Lynn Kellogg, who also performed the opening theme song. Zoo personnel and animal researchers frequently appeared on the show. During segments about animals, voiceover was provided by Estelle Parsons and Mason Adams. The show first aired in 1976, replacing Make a Wish on ABC’s Sunday morning schedule.

The series won Emmies for four consecutive years and the Peabody Award. 1978 Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Informational Series. Animated segments were provided by Al Lowenheim, Arland Barron, Jeff Melquist, Jim Comstock, Ray Pointer, and Stacey Mann of Lions’ Den Studio and David Labelle of David Labelle Animation Studios.

Five years later, in 1981, Animals, Animals, Animals was replaced by This Week with David Brinkley; this marked the end of ABC’s scheduling of children’s programming on Sunday mornings, a practice which began with Discovery (the predecessor to Make a Wish) in the 1960s.”

[source: Wikipedia: Animals, Animals, Animals]

If Hal Linden wasn’t telling kids about animals on Sundays, he was popping up between shows during ABC’s weekday daytime programming to tell adults about, well, everything!

This was Hal Linden’s FYI series of one-minute interstitials which covered a wide and diverse range of topics: Singing to your baby is good, Sex & Old Age, Spinning is good for kids, and this one below on the dangers of improperly shoveling snow…

And here’s what the busybodies who create Wikipedia entries have to say about Hal Linden’s FYI:

“FYI was an information series seen on the ABC network in the early 1980s. Hosted by Hal Linden (at the time the star of Barney Miller), the program features answers to questions that many viewers ask, from common questions such as, “What’s the leading cause of burns in children?”, to questions not many ask, but may be interesting to know, like “Can a child dance his/her way to better grades?”, just to name a couple.

With each show lasting sixty seconds (including intros and outros), FYI was seen three times a day on weekdays, following ABC’s popular soaps All My ChildrenOne Life to Live and General Hospital, using a formula not unlike ABC’s Saturday morning mini-programs, such as Time for TimerThe Bod Squad and Schoolhouse Rock.

Two books based on the television series have been published, both by M. Evans and Company: FYI (For Your Information): Unexpected Answers to Everyday Questions (1982) and More FYI (For Your Information): Further Tips for Healthful Living (1983).”

[source: Wikipedia: FYI (TV Series)]

If Hal Linden wasn’t telling you about animals, or about how to shovel snow, then he’s telling you how the bad guy committed the crime in his ’86 mystery drama series BLACKE’S MAGIC…

So as you now go about your day, whistling the refrain from ANIMALS ANIMALS ANIMALS (you’re welcome), just keep in mind that Hal Linden is the go-to-man when you need to know!

Mr. Linden is very active in entertainment to this day, especially in the theater of the West Coast. Please visit Hal’s official website to see where and what he’ll be performing in next. Do yourself a favor and attend a performance by one of the best American actors still active today!


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