Reading Rainbow (TV Series 1983– )

Season 1986


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1Animal CafeAnimal Cafe (23 Jun. 1986)
LeVar goes to a 24-hour diner to look into night jobs, and profiles people who have occupations in the evening and early morning hours, like radio DJ's, bakers, cab drivers, and police officers. In a separate story, a man ventures into a cave to see bats and other nocturnal animals. Martin Short narrates the story of "Animal Cafe," about a cat and dog who operate a third shift restaurant for all the animals in their neighborhood while keeping it a secret from their human owner.
2Alistair in Outer SpaceAlistair in Outer Space (24 Jun. 1986)
LeVar checks out the Library of Congress. Among the activities shown: how a book is delivered to the front desk, the vast film library, and how damaged books are repaired. Arnold Stang reads Alistair in Outer Space, a story about a young boy that is so dedicated to returning library books on time that he doesn't even let getting abducted by space aliens stop him.
3FeelingsFeelings (25 Jun. 1986)
LeVar seems to have a lot of things going wrong for him as he spends a day in the park, causing lots of different emotions. In an animated feature, a group of school children read poems about feelings and how to deal with situations. In another profile, LeVar introduces Koko the Gorilla, who learned to communicate through American Sign Language.
4Watch the Stars Come OutWatch the Stars Come Out (26 Jun. 1986)
Videotaped at Ellis Island in 1985, this show is truly American or, more correctly, a salute to all those who immigrated to America. Laura Haymann reads Watch the Stars Come Out, a true story about a young boy and girl who ride a boat from their native country to New York in order to join their parents and older sister, who emigrated to the United States earlier and sent for them.
5Mama Don't AllowMama Don't Allow (27 Jun. 1986)
LeVar shows how music can help interpret a situation, from meeting alligators in a Louisiana swamp to joining a party on a Mississippi riverboat. Fred Newman narrates the story of Mama Don't Allow, about how a young musician starts his own swamp band with his friends. Viewers are then treated to a recording session with Fred Newman as he makes up all the sound effects for the book, including the band's music.
6Space CaseSpace Case (30 Jun. 1986)
Is there life on other planets and stars? LaVar sends a message to aliens who might be watching and a radio telescope in Puerto Rico is profiled. Today's featured story is about a being from outer space who visits Earth.
7The Milk MakersThe Milk Makers (1 Jul. 1986)
LeVar spends a day at the dairy seeing how cows are milked and understanding what care cows need. Alaina Reed Hall reads the story of The Milk Makers, detailing how milk is collected from cows, processed in dairies and sent to grocery stores.
8Imogene's AntlersImogene's Antlers (2 Jul. 1986)
LaVar visits the Philadelphia Zoo in Pennsylvania to learn about animals with horns and antlers. In today's featured story, a young girl wakes up one morning to discover she's grown her own pair of antlers.
9Germs Make Me Sick!Germs Make Me Sick! (3 Jul. 1986)
LeVar goes on a search for microorganisms, distinguishing the good ones from the bad. An animated satire of Hill Street Blues (which ran 1981-1987) shows white blood cells ready to fight germs. Molly Mandlin reads Germs Make Me Sick!, explaining how people can catch colds and diseases from exposure to germs.
10AbiyoyoAbiyoyo (4 Jul. 1986)
In one of the rare times Reading Rainbow uses a studio set, LeVar tells about storytelling through music. The then-new art of music videos is first up, with clips of "Who's Johnny" (among others). Pete Seeger appears on the set to perform his version of Abiyoyo. Pete explains that he adapted an old African folk tale, about a boy who helps get rid of a giant terrorizing his town, when Seeger's children pestered him to come up with a unique bedtime story that included music. Also unique to this episode: all the book reviewers share the stage with LeVar.