At the age of 20, LaVar Burton played Kunte Kinte in “Roots.” He also played helmsman Geordi La Forge in the first season of Star Trek before being promoted to chief engineer. His large fan base is drawn to him at any Dragon Con experience.
To me, he’s a celebrity because of only one show: Reading Rainbow. This show was different because it didn’t just focus on literacy, but specifically on books. Burton’s talent made him seem sincere and made books seem truly magical in each episode. Growing up in a very tiny, very rural town had its limitations. Reading Rainbow expanded my cultural horizons with the diverse genres of stories.
For rewards, my mother would take us in to town and let us choose books at the library. We faithfully showed up with the title we jotted down from Reading Rainbow. If Burton featured a book from our own collection, we felt like we were celebrities, too! I feel certain that my siblings and I could break out into – and still get every word right – the show’s theme song today.
PBS has released what is becoming a series of PBS Icon Remixes. Reading Rainbow is the newest among them. Check it out and let us know what you think.