90s Kid Show Theme Songs
TV in the Information Age
Good theme songs are kind of like good doormen: they usher you in, show you where you need to go, and send you on your way feeling good about being there. They rumble around in your brain, and can instantly transform your mood. Popular since the early days of radio, theme songs cover every era and every style of music. These are some of my faves from the world of kid shows in the 1990s.
Photo by bennthewolf on Flickr
Out of the Box
Out of the Box is a term that means creative, non-traditional thinking. "Out of the Box" was a show about an after-school clubhouse, run by Tony and Viv, literally made out of boxes...and where creativity ran wild. This much missed Playhouse Disney show encouraged kids to use their imagination through song, crafts and play. Even their goodbye song is awesome.
PB & J OTTER
Playhouse Disney produced 65 episodes of this show about a family of otters and their neighbors on "Lake Hoohaw, a fishing community of animals who live on houseboats. The three otter children are named Peanut, Jelly and Baby Butter (get it) and have to "use their noodles" to help solve their regular kid problems. I loved how it reminded viewers to THINK, and even came up with a cool tool to help them - "The Noodle Dance." "PB & J Otter" was developed along with Project Zero, Harvard's Cognitive Skills Group, which monitored the show's educational message.
Based on the popular children's books by Marc Brown, the Emmy-winning "Arthur " revolves around an 8 year old aardvark and his friends as they grow and learn about the world and each other in Elwood City. The longest running animated children's series in the U.S., "Arthur" excels at showing issues that real kids face every day including wide-ranging topics such as friendships, dyslexia, loss of a pet and (yuck) lice. Its reggae theme song is performed by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.
TV Guide ranked Arthur #26 on its list of the "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time."
Big Comfy Couch
Starring a clown named Loonette (originally an extremely limber Alyson Court) and her doll, Molly, "Big Comfy Couch" was an offbeat Canadian series that premiered there in 1992 and in the U.S. in 1995. While each episode revolved around a theme, the show mostly consisted of a day-in-the-life of a little girl who lived on a couch: playing, napping, reading to Molly and visiting with the other clowns in her neighborhood including Granny Garbanzo and Major Bedhead. My favorite segment was the Ten Second Tidy wherein Loonette had 10 seconds to clean up her assorted kid mess. I still use that one.
What do you get when you mix sugar, spice, everything nice and a little bit of Chemical X? The Powerpuff Girls! Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup are superpowered kindergarteners who kick butt and take names, namely those monsters and villains who stalk the city of Townsville. And they do it all to a technotronic theme song.
When "The Powerpuff Girls" debuted in 1996, it was the highest rated premiere in Cartoon Network's history.
This show is so trippy it could be from the 1970s. Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Lala and Po are lovable pear-shaped creatures who have televisions in their tummies. They spend their days exploring Teletubbyland where they enjoy Tubby toast and Tubby custard, and wait for their TVs to show pictures of real world children doing real world things. Despite its psychedelic environment, this BBC show is sweet and gentle and really connects with its toddler demographic. The fun starts with the march-like theme song which is full of happiness and babies. Time for Teletubbies, indeed.
The song "Teletubbies Say 'Eh-Oh'," based on the show's theme song sold over a million records and hit number 1 on the UK singles chart in 1997.
Jazzy a la 80s Cosby Show, this is one very cool theme song. Created for Nickelodeon in 1996, "Hey Arnold" features a 4th grader who lives with his grandparents in a boarding house in fictional Hilltown. We follow football-headed Arnold and his multi-racial friends as they face everyday problems. It featured great voice talent including Dan Castellaneta and Tress Macneille, both of "The Simpsons."
Due to viewer requests, TeenNick added "Hey Arnold" to its popular 90s Are All That programming block.
Best Theme Song Poll
Which 90s kids show had the best theme song?
Check out these sites for more information on great 90s shows and more.
- Teen Nick
The official home of the Teen Nick 90s Are All That block.
Wikipedia's Playhouse Disney as all the info on this 90s Disney Channel programming.
- The Electric Company
This site from Sesame Workshop gives you the lowdown on both the new and classic versions of the show.
- Retro Junk
This site is a fun look back at TV shows from the 70s, 80s and 90s.