(WASHINGTON POST) Back in the heyday of Saturday mornings, back when cartoon viewing was a scheduled date for 8-year-olds and their ­cereal bowls, back before Nickelodeon made animation into a 24-hour buffet, there arose a phenomenon that was good and pure and true. It was called “Schoolhouse Rock.”

“I still play the songs in my jazz jobs,” says Bob Dorough, who wrote and voiced much of the original “Schoolhouse” canon. “I used to play very hip songs, but then one of the waiters — who would be 25 or 30 — would say to me, ‘your voice sounds familiar.’ ” Dorough would reveal why. The waiter would get excited. “Oh!” he would say. “Can we have one, please?”

Bob Dorough just turned 89. “Schoolhouse Rock” turns 40 next week: On the morning of Jan. 13, 1973, a three-minute animated video called “My Hero, Zero” materialized on ABC, sandwiched between programs such as ­“Superfriends” and “Yogi’s Gang” and “The Roadrunner Show.”

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