World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Square One TV

Square One
The Square One Logo
Format Educational/Children's television series
Starring Reg E. Cathey
Beverly Mickins
Arthur Howard
Larry Cedar
Luisa Leschin
Cynthia Darlow
Cristobal Franco
Beverly Leech
Toni DiBuono
Joe Howard
Narrated by Cynthia Darlow
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 230
Running time 30 minutes
Production companies Children's Television Workshop
Original channel PBS
Audio format Mono (1987–1991)
Stereo (1992–1994)
Original run January 26, 1987 (1987-01-26) – November 6, 1992 (1992-11-06), reruns aired until May 6, 1994 (1994-05-06)

Square One Television (sometimes referred to as Square One or Square One TV) is an American children's television program produced by the Children's Television Workshop to teach mathematics and abstract mathematical concepts to young viewers.

Created and broadcast by PBS in the United States from January 26, 1987 to November 6, 1992, the show was intended to address the math crisis among American schoolchildren. After the last episode aired, the show went into reruns until May 6, 1994. The show was revived for the 19951996 PBS season as a teacher instruction program, Square One TV Math Talk.

Square One was also shown on the U.S. cable television channel Noggin in syndication beginning in 1999, but was removed from its lineup along with other Sesame Workshop shows on May 26, 2003.



Square One comprised short sketches that introduced and applied concepts in mathematics such as counting, combinatorics, vulgar fractions, estimation, probability, and geometry. The sketches featured regular characters and were mainly parodies of pop culture icons or popular television shows. Sketches were presented in various formats, including music videos featuring a particular subject in mathematics and taught the subject through song (e.g., Roman numerals, obtuse and acute angles, percentages, negative numbers, etc.) or comedic sketches (e.g., General Mathpital, a parody of General Hospital; Nobody's Inn, a parody of Fawlty Towers; Late Afternoon with David Numberman, a parody of Late Night with David Letterman; etc.). "Patterns", a polka about patterns that can be detected in daily life, was performed by "Weird Al" Yankovic. (Since Yankovic did not write this song, it is unavailable on any of his records, though bootleg versions have circulated.)

Mathman was a regular segment and a parody of Pac-Man. The skit helped viewers learn to recognize common mistakes while solving math problems, such as forgetting to carry a digit, or making errors with negative numbers. A blue tornado character named "Mr. Glitch" was Mathman's enemy.

Backstage with Blackstone featured math-related magic tricks and performances by Harry Blackstone, Jr.. Each segment involved two cast members at a time (Reg E. Cathey portrayed Blackstone's assistant). After performing a trick, Blackstone explained how the trick worked.

Other animated segments included Dirk Niblick of the Math Brigade, who often use his mathematical skills to help his friends and neighbors in everyday situations; The Further Adventures of Zook & Alison; and Fax Headful, a parody of Max Headroom.

Game shows

Several segments featured child contestants competing to win prizes.

  • But Who's Adding?/But Who's Multiplying?: the show's first original game, hosted by Larry Cedar. Two players captured spaces on a gameboard by adding or multiplying two digits at a time, trying to be the first to complete a row/column/diagonal.
  • But Who's Counting?: hosted by Monty Carlo (played by Arthur Howard). Two pairs of players (season 1)/two players (seasons 3-4) (played by the cast members) tried to make the smallest/largest five-digit number possible (seasons 1 and 3), smallest/largest pair of fractions in season 4, placing one digit at a time as it was spun on a carnival wheel.
  • Piece of the Pie (Introduced in season 2, lasted until season 4): a survey-based game similar to Family Feud, using pie charts and teaching percentages. The game was hosted by Cris Franco and Arthur Howard, and later by Beverly Mickins.
  • Close Call: a game about estimation, using "how many beans are in this big jar"-type of questions, and bearing a similarity to The Price Is Right. Arthur Howard was the original host, replaced at the beginning of Season 4 by Luisa Leschin (who was co-host for the previous season). Leschin's co-host was Reg E. Cathey.
  • Triple Play: players spun wheels to choose two digits, then had to add/multiply them in order to match numbers on the gameboard, trying to complete a triangle. The game was hosted by Cynthia Darlow, and only lasted one season (Season 2).
  • Square One Squares: a tic-tac-toe game similar to Hollywood Squares and To Tell the Truth. The game was later replaced by Square One Challenge. Both were hosted by Larry Cedar.


Main article: Mathnet

Each episode featured a closing segment titled Mathnet, starring Joe Howard as George Frankly and Beverly Leech as Kate Monday. A parody of Dragnet, the story line of each skit featured the detectives attempting to solve a crime by using math. Each Mathnet story line spanned five episodes, or one complete broadcast week (Monday through Friday).

In season four, Toni DiBuono replaced Leech as Pat Tuesday.

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.