The Magic School Bus, known by fans as the Original Series or by its full name Scholastic's The Magic School Bus, is an animated children's television series based on Joanna Cole's book series of the same name, that ran from 1994 to 1997 on several PBS stations in the United States. It is the prequel and predecessor to 2017-present's The Magic School Bus Rides Again.
Like the books it's based on, the show focuses on the exploits of Ms. Frizzle and her class of eight students (nineteen in the books) who board their titular school bus, which takes them on field trips to the solar system, inside the Earth, and inside the human body, or to other such impossible locations.
Because the books present scientific facts in the form of stories in which fantastic things happen (for example, a bus turns into a spaceship, or children shrink to the size of blood cells), each has a page at the end detailing in a humorous manner which parts of it represented scientific fact and which were inventive storytelling. In the show, this was replaced by the Producer Says segment at the end of each episode, in which the producer (voiced by Malcolm-Jamal Warner) receives phone calls from kids complaining about how some things that happened on the show and could not happen in real life.
In early-mid 1994, The Magic School Bus concept was made into an animated television series of the same name by the Canadian animation studio Nelvana and Scholastic. Executive producer Deborah Forte explained that adapting the books into an animated series was an opportunity to help kids “learn about science in a fun way". Each episode ran for 30 minutes. In the United States, it originally premiered on PBS, through South Carolina's SCETV network; it was the first fully animated series to be done so. On September 1998, the series ended due to PBS demanding more shows aimed towards younger children.
PBS aired it in 1994-1997 of the Magic School Bus. Strangely, there is a Fox Kids airing of it as a special in the commericals for Fox Kids incorrectly dated in September 10, 1994. Please note that the credits starts at 7:32 to 8:03.
Fox Kids acquired the rights to the show from PBS on September 1998 and it ran on there until September 2002.
The show was also shown on TLC and Discovery Kids from 2003-2008 to 2004-2009. The Qubo Channel picked up the show in Fall 2010. According to the website, it no longer airs on the channel or any Qubo block.
When the show is syndicated on international networks, the Producer Says segment is edited out to make room for commercials. The segments are only seen when the series is shown on non-commercial networks (e.g. Fox Kids) and children's networks (commercial breaks are shorter).
It streamed on Netflix from 2013 to May 19 2021. Instead of being at 640×480 pixels like the DVDs, other streaming services, and VHS, it is downscaled to 576×432.
The show's theme song was performed by the late Little Richard.
The show was released on VHS by KidVision Video between 1995 to 2004, and on Region 1 DVDs by Warner Bros. from 2002 to 2011. In 2012, New Video picked up home entertainment rights to distribute Region 1 DVDs, including an entire series set. In the home video and DVD releases, all the episodes are uncut with the Producer Says segments intact.
- Lily Tomlin as Ms. Valerie Frizzle (now known as Professor Valerie Frizzle, PhD as of The Magic School Bus Rides Again)
- Max Beckford (season 1) and Andre Ottley-Lorant (seasons 2-4) as Timothy "Tim" Wright
- Amos Crawley (season 1) and Danny Tamberelli (seasons 2-4) as Arnold Matthew Perlstein
- Daniel DeSanto as Carlos Ramón
- Maia Filar as Phoebe Terese
- Erica Luttrell as Keesha Franklin
- Tara Meyer as Dorothy Ann "D.A." Hudson
- Stuart Stone as Ralph Alessandro Giuseppe "Ralphie" Tennelli
- Lisa Yamanaka as Wanda Li
- Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Susan Blu as the Producers
Recurring and One-Time Characters
- Renessa Blitz as Janet Perlstein
- Robby Benson as Archibald Seedplot (Phoebe's old teacher (and current in Rides Again))
- Carol Channing as Professor Cornelia C. Contralto II
- Rosalind Chao asMrs. Li (Wanda's mother)
- Tyne Daly as Dr. Tennelli (Ralphie's mother)
- Dana Elcar as Mr. Terese
- Elliott Gould as Mr. Perlstein
- Wynonna Judd as Molly Cule
- Eartha Kitt as Mrs. Franklin
- Dan Marino as Garth Sinew
- Rita Moreno as Carmina Skeledon
- Edward James Olmos as Mr. Ramon
- Dolly Parton as Murph
- Tony Randall as Radius Ulna "R.U." Humerus
- Paul Winfield as Mr. Ruhle
- Kevin Zegers as Mikey Ramon
- Sherman Hemsley as Mr. Junkett
- Michael York as Harry Herp
- Ed Asner as General Araneus
- Ed Begley Jr. as Larry
- Dom DeLuise as the Baker
- Swoosie Kurtz as Mrs. Hudson, Dorothy Ann's mother
- Cindy Williams as Gerri Poveri
- Alex Trebek as the host from "Shows and Tells"
- Matt Frewer as Inspector 47
- Jessica Walter as Ashley Walker Club-Dupree
- Dabney Coleman as Horace Scope
- Bebe Neuwirth as Flora Whiff
- Malcolm McDowell as Mr. McClean
- Executive Producers: Jane Startz, Kristin Laskas Martin, Alison Blank, Deborah Forte, Robin Grey, Marty Keitz
- For Nelvana Ltd: Patrick Loubert, Clive A. Smith, Michael Hirsh
- Directed by: Charles E. Bastien, Lawrence Jacobs
- Produced by: Hasmi Giakoumis
- Supervising Producers: Stephen Hodgins, Kristin Laskas Martin
- Coordinating Producers: Patricia R. Burns, Karen Stevens
- Associate Producer: Steve Schmer
- Assistant Producers: Steve Schmer, John Van Bruggen
- Production Designer: Andrew Hickson
- Production Manager: Ruta Cube
- Production Supervisor: Steve Chadwick
- Production Assistants: Mia Katoh, Stephanie Kravos, Carmina Marcial, Caroline Simmons
- Unit Manager: Tyler Baylis
- Unit Director: Colen Sylvester
- Executives in Charge of Production: Marty Keitz, Deborah Forte
- Coordinators: Patty Beausoial (design), Asha Damiera (production), Rick Dubiel (pre-production), Bryan Biell (science content), Aidan Closs (layout), Norman Kagan (science research), Erika Strobel (script), Laurie Towals (storyboard)
- Assistant Directors: Jocelyn Hamilton, Paul Bouchard, Scott Glynn
- Casting Director: Jessie Thomson
- Voice Direction: Susan Blu
- Storyboard Artists: Alan Bunce, Gerry Chappelle, Jim Caswell, John Flagg, Alex Gatsis, Andrea Robbins, Bob Smith, Andrew Tan
- Storyboard Consultant: Yvette Kaplan
- Illustrations: Bruce Degan
- Layout Artists: Blayne Burnside, Ted Collyer, Suzanne Dargie, Michael Daze, Stefanie Gignac, Brad Graham, Chad Hicks, John Hill, Kevin Klis, John Lei, Jeff Lyons, Mary Lyons, Brad Markewitz, Chris Minz, Mike Nichols, Brian Poeniman, Frank Ramierz, Terry Rotsaert, Rob Sadler, Fred M. Walmot, Alfee Yepp
- Layout Supervisor:
- Design Supervisor: Andrew Hickson
- Designers: Scott Bennett, David Boudreau, Ross Campbell, Trevor Davies, Steve Daye, Kevin Fraser, Brad Goodchild, Joe Gosselin, Niall Johnston, Richard Livingston, Stephen Wood, Steve Manning, Leif Norheim, Derek Prout, Richard Weston
- Key Animators: Shane Doyle, Bill Giggle, Dennis Gonzalez, Lynn Reist, Eva Smith, Gerry Fournier, Paul Riley, Alan Knappett, Jan Tillcock
- Background Artist: Michael Hitchcox
- Lip Sync: Steve Fifth
- Timing Directors: Dave Cox,
- Color Stylists: Rebecca Barclay, Jennifer Lee, Nasrim Monem
- Paint Supervisor: Mary Bertoia
- Dialogue Editors: Steve Shelski, Keith Traver
- Science Content Coordinators: Bryan Bleil, Norman Kagan
- Science Content Director: Michael Templeton
- Associate Content Director: Frances Nankin
- Voice Recording: Mark DeSimone
- Sound Designers: Dow McKeever, Marsha Moore
- Supervising Sound Editors: Steven Cole, Mac Holyoke
- Re-Recording Mixers: Andy Koyama, Brad Zoern
- Music by: Peter Lurye
- Theme Song (Ride on the Magic School Bus): written by Peter Lurye and performed by Little Richard, Lily Tomlin, Amos Crawley, and Lisa Yamanaka
- Assistant Editors: David Axelrad
- Picture Editors: Richard Bond, Karen Saunders
- Assistant Picture Editor: Stephanie Duncan
- National Advisory Board: Joel Bloom, Dr. Susan Carey, Dr. Milton Chen, Edward Chittenden, Richard Clark, Dr. Hubert Dyasi, Dr. Jane Butler Kanie, Stephen Schneider, Robert J. Semper, Bonnie Smith, Dorothy Strickland, Ellen Ann Wartella
- Special Thanks to: Andrew diSessa, Paul Horwitz, Sandra Jenoure
- Copyright Notice for Season 1: Copyright ©1994 Scholastic Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Magic School Bus and Logo are trademarks of Scholastic Inc.
- Copyright Notice for Season 2: Copyright ©1995 Scholastic Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Magic School Bus and Logo are trademarks of Scholastic, Inc.
- Copyright Notice for Season 3: Copyright 1996 Scholastic Productions, Inc. Scholastic, The Magic School Bus and logos are Trademarks and/or Registered Trademarks of Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved.
- Copyright Notice for Season 4: Copyright 1997 Scholastic Productions, Inc. Scholastic, The Magic School Bus and logos are Trademarks and/or Registered Trademarks of Scholastic Inc. All rights reserved.
- National Science Foundation (1994-1997)
- Microsoft (1994-1996) (Microsoft Home in Seasons 1 and 2; Microsoft in Season 3)
- United States Department of Energy (1994-1996)
- Carnegie Corporation of New York (1994-1997)
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1995-1996)
- "Viewers Like You" (1995-1997)
- Daniel DeSanto, Danny Tamberelli and Amos Crawley have starred in their own shows on Nickelodeon at the time they did The Magic School Bus together. DeSanto starred as Tucker in the original version of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Tamberelli starred as Little Pete in The Adventures of Pete and Pete and Crawley starred as Owl in Little Bear. Maia Filar even made an appearance in one episode of the original Are You Afraid of the Dark? The show was also broadcast on Nickelodeon for a time in India.
- Another TV show that aired in the Season 1 and the 8th episode of the series that aired on October 29, 1994 on PBS, was the premiere of "AAAAH!!...Real Monsters!! on Nickelodeon. The show also resembles the air dates of the Magic School Bus of Seasons 2, 3, and 4 only that Season 3 of MSB aired on the 14th of September 1996 with the episode In a Beehive, and the Holiday Special that aired on Christmas 1996.
- The downsizing of Ms. Frizzle's class (8) when compared to the books (20) is likely to reduce time constraints and to give every student an opportunity for starring roles per episode.
- In the TV series here, the bus is Ms. Frizzle's only vehicle she owns and operates and she even has it at home as seen in "Gets Charged". In some books, Ms. Frizzle was revealed to drive other vehicles as seen in The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses, which was published later in 1999 two years after the show ended. However, in the next series, she also drives a motorbike with MagicWare.
- The only characters' homes that are revealed and visited are Ms. Frizzle's, Ralphie's, Dorothy Ann's and Wanda's. Arnold's and Carlos' homes are revealed, but never visited.
- This page was one of the first pages ever created on this Fandom wiki.