Wednesday , March 3 2021

From Elmo to Boohbah

I had to stay home today as the Little Man, who is 13 months old, was sick with a stomach flu and my wife has a real job. Since he he didn’t feel well he was droopy and clingy and I couldn’t just plop him down in the middle of his toys and get back on the computer, I had to interact with the lad. But he didn’t feel like doing much other than being held and watching a little Sesame Street on PBS.

That kid loves his Elmo: when the furry little monster came on the screen his sad little leaky face lit up, he pointed, gestured, made sure I was paying attention and emitted all kinds of meaningful wordlets of approval. We watched Elmo wrestle with his computer, taunt a baby, sing a one-word song to his goldfish Dorothy, have a one-way conversation with the now-dead Mr. Noodle, and just generally do his Elmo thing until the end of the show. Alex watched raptly.

I was about to turn it off but then saw Boohbah was coming on and I was curious to see the actual show because my daughter (not the one in college) loves to play on the colorful, geometrically-active, eccentric website, which releases an endless stream of bleats and blurts sounding something like a cross between bike horns and particularly fanciful farts, or perhaps kittens and hot air balloons.

As the show came on we were both transfixed: it’s even more subjective and abstract than the Teletubbies (both created by Anne Wood’s UK-based Ragdoll studio) with virtually no words other than during the Storyworld segment: very Yellow Submarine, Peter Max-type pastel animation and art design, and mesmerizing minimalist electronic music with world beat — especially Indian subcontinent — inflections.

The Boohbahs are “five colorful atoms of energy”: Humbah, Zumbah, Zing Zing Zingbah, Jumbah, and Jingbah are “powered by the laughter and joy of children they encounter all over the world.” The Boohbahs live in a glowing white ball of light, the Boohball, which travels from country to country when called by children.

Each Boohbah has a “recharging pod” within the Boohball. The recharging energy is created by the laughter of children when they play with the Boohball, the Boohbahs and the Storypeople. I love the names of the live-action Storypeople: Grandmamma, Grandpappa, Mrs. Lady, Mr. Man, Brother and Sister, Auntie and Little Dog Fido. In today’s episode Mrs. Lady had some issues with a big yellow sweater.

The whole thing just washes over you, bathing the senses in what under different circumstances might be called a “head trip.” I’m not sure how strong the attraction is for older kids (although the target age is listed a 3-6) but for a 1 year-old and his dad, Boobah is mother’s milk.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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