The product of three years' development, 3-2-1 Contact (B. 1980 D. 1988) stands as the third-longest-running series ever produced by the Children's Television Workshop (as it was then called). Its premise was to bring the world of science, and all its excitement, to middle-school students, particularly girls and minorities. Through seven seasons, various hosts traveled around the world to find science in everything. Over the years, features such as clever animation, biographies, and the detective series The Bloodhound Gang were included. Complementing the series for middle-school students and teachers alike was 3-2-1 Contact magazine, edited by Jonathan Rosenbloom. In the first season of 3-2-1 Contact, three hosts Lisa, Marc, and Trini met at a regular set, called the "workshop," to discuss their scientific adventures. It looked every bit the science equivalent of The Electric Company, with loads of animation and regular celebrity segments.
This week sees the new hosts of 3-2-1 Contact gather at the Blue Sky Café in Montclair, New Jersey. David Quinn and his French friend, David (stress the last syllable), wonder why Maxine the waitress uses that cryptic luncheonette lingo.
In France, Mary and Chantal discover sheepherders relaying messages to each other–by whistling.
Mary and Frenchman David go to Wyoming, where they see several native tribes share common hand signals.
FILM INSERTS: Signs are an international language; ways to say hello; common body-language signals.
Debra sees an anthropologist understanding a parrot's simple form of English. Chantal enters a hospital room that responds to a person's voice to open doors, etc.
FILM INSERTS: Bird words, ways to say hello, animal sounds, uses of the X symbol.
THE BLOODHOUND GANG: "The Case of the Human Whale, Part One." An apparent hit-and-run victim employs the gang to find the guy who ruined his tennis career.
French-born David says his dog obeys human speech, but it's clear he is signaling the commands to the dog.
Mary goes to Sea World in San Diego, where Chuck Thompkins shows the hand signals he uses in his show with Shamu. In France, Mary gains insight on visual telephones.
FILM INSERTS: Ways to say hello; animal sounds; uses of the X symbol.
THE BLOODHOUND GANG: "The Case of the Human Whale, Part Two." The gang uncovers the identities of both their client and the man he seeks.
Debra sees how quickly USA Today uses satellites to send information for printing in the next day's paper. David does a two-minute lecture on television signals. The Bloodhound Gang traces the Human Whale.
The final visit to the Blue Sky Café finds the hosts mystified. How does Maxine the waitress know what everyone wants if no one says anything?
In Eastern France, Todd and Chantal discover towers relaying coded messages.
Debra goes to Boston to observe reading machines and a voice-pattern recognition apparatus. She then goes to Berkeley to see a composer put together synthesized music.
FILM INSERTS: Ways to say hello; signs are an international language.
Todd gets to see, on the shore and in a lab, the motion of waves in the ocean. There are no still waters out there. The runner for this week is "The Wreck," an underwater search taking place in the Caribbean.
Adventures include: placing artificial reefs off the coast of Florida; moving two whales from one pool to another.
There are a lot of things in the seas, such as salt and kelp. This program talks of humans surviving on sea voyages, discusses kelp in depth, and continues that probe into "The Wreck."
Oceanographer Jill Yager takes up much of this program with her studies around an island, followed by another installment of "The Wreck."
Along with some previously-broadcast bits from earlier in the week, this program includes a visit to Penguin Encounter at Sea World in San Diego. "The Wreck" investigation concludes with nothing settled.
The show begins at "Maggie's Machine Shop," where Maggie discusses pulleys. In Barre, Vermont, we see how granite is removed from a quarry and polished. In Paris, Todd and Monique examine the elevators at the Eiffel Tower. David and Chantal get a tip on riding bicycles.Film insert: a canal lock system.
David rides a bicycle with a skeleton at a Paris science museum. Robin visits veterinary radiologists in action. At Cal State Long Beach, Diego witnesses track students' video analyses.
Robin, Paco, and Mary learn about the illusion of impact in stunts. In Vitry sur Seine (near Paris), Chantal visits a collision research area to observe the buffers on high-speed trains. David explains how to measure the coefficient of restitution of several balls. Maggie explains the forces at work in bouncing on a trampoline. RECYCLED FROM EARLIER IN SEASON 5: Linus Pauling remembers his first science lesson: how to sharpen a pencil.FILM INSERTS: The principle of seat belts; how a kangaroo is like a rubber ball.
Friction is emphasized in demonstrations with snakes, TGV trains, and ice-gliding boats.
Leverage is discussed at sea, in a French village, and at Maggie's Mechanical Shop.
David's dental visit anchors a discussion on teethkinds of teeth and their uses.
The natural world is full of fussy eaters. In this program, the flea, koala bear and panda bear are singled out for their specialized dietary habits.
The bulk of this show is set in the San Diego Wild Animal Park, where certain meals are arranged for the animals. The Bloodhound Gang begins "The Case of the Haunted House."
David polls people about digestion, without success. Todd discovers what digestion means to the body. The Bloodhound Gang questions several men in continues "The Case of the Haunted House." (Concludes in next episode.)
An online stat page says this episode "explores the ways in which food is processed by the body for energy and building material." Actually, this show has remains to be seen. An archaeologist studies what ancestral humans ate by digging up those unmentionable remnants. The Bloodhound Gang cracks "The Case of the Haunted House."