The ABC’s of Why!

The ABC's of Why

During the late 1970’s, Bernard S. Clendenin partnered with friends Sally Baker and Peter Lance to create a children’s television series based on the one question children all over the world ask. “Tell Me Why”

the children cry, as parents find themselves at a loss trying to answer every single time their child repeats the same question. WHY?


Young children are very inquisitive by nature. Bernard, Sally and Peter wanted to develop a children’s show for television that would both entertain and educate young children and hopefully address all of their questions.  The team created Music and lyrics for various songs, including: “The A, B, CS OF Y”, “A IS FOR ART”, “LOONEY BALOONEY”, “MY PLACE IN IT ALL”, “C, PORQUE NO?” and “LOVE IS LIKE BUTTER.
The first song takes us through the alphabet with; “Gim-me an A, Gim-me a B and so on until we get to Give me a dou-ble you! Its for WHAT! WHAT! WHAT!  Lets for-get it! — Gim-me an X, Gim-me a WHY! WHY! WHY! WHY! WHY! WHY! WHY!  Gim-me the A!, B!, C! OF WHY!

            A IS FOR ART  Just for a start, A IS FOR ART, TRA la – lala – lala la la!  Just draw, Just draw, Take it from me, Youre an artist too!

The songs are whimsical and clever as they entertain, encourage, inspire and educate young children.  One song; “MY PLACE IN IT ALL” the child sings; “Am I the only one who walks underneath the sun and asks things that no one seems to know?”  And in “C, PORQUE NO?” the song goes; “would you like to learn my language too?  A Spanish word or two?  A game we play?  We can have some fun, a language run, Why not say Por-que no?”


“In The Art Museum” is just one of more than a dozen story boards Bernard painted in water color to tell the story of children getting into mischief and mother who does the best she can to answer the indescribable Why?

Other drawings of story boards Bernard created for the “Tell Me Why” series may be viewed here:

Bernard, Sally & Peter created a pilot program (songs, music, script and story boards) to tell the story of Children who want to know Why!  Mothers don’t always have answers to satisfy the curiosity of their children’s insistent query Why?  Understandably, Mother is overwhelmed by the continuous stream of questions.  It’s always the same one question they can’t answer.  Tell me Why?

Sally Baker, also known as Hobo Kelly and for the popular television show of the 70’s & 80’s “The Froozles” felt confident in their chance of having their series, “Tell Me Why?” picked up by Channel 9, since she was a bit of a celebrity at that television channel.  If my memory serves me correctly, the project was well received in 1979 after much dedication and creativity from all three very talented individuals.  However, due to budget constraints and other competing children’s shows already slated, “Tell Me Why” was put on the proverbial shelf.  That’s the way it is in television, you take your chances and do the best you can.  Every now and then with a little luck you get a hit.

Bernard was an eternal optimist, he was never discouraged.  He just went on to his next project.  For him, there was always another project right around the corner.  He was that creative in every aspect of art and the world of entertainment.

From my perspective this story needs to be told!  The writer in me says, “Stay Tuned” for more on “Tell me Why!”


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