Pinwheel was Nickelodeon's first original series. It is a puppet-driven program that premiered on December 1, 1977, on QUBE's local C-3 channel in Columbus, Ohio. On April 1, 1979, QUBE rebranded the C-3 channel as Nickelodeon, and Pinwheel was broadcast to a national audience. New episodes of the series continued until 1984, and it was reran until 1990.


Pinwheel took place in and around a Victorian-style boarding house called Pinwheel House. The show had live actors interacting with puppets, as well as animated shorts imported from Europe and Canada.

Live action characters included Sal and Smitty (an elderly couple who ran a newspaper called "The Daily Noodle"), Jake (who had small boxes which emitted various sound effects), and Kim (played by Arlene Miyazaki). Puppet characters included Plus and Minus (similar-looking characters whose favorite game was "Gotcha Last!"), Aurelia (a gypsy who owned the house and used a special phone to dial the "Opposite City Operator"), Silas the Snail (had an elderly-looking face, and took an entire episode to go from one end of the garden to the other), Ebeneezer Squint (a green-faced killjoy, much like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street), Luigi (ethnic-looking guy who ran a fruit & veggie stand), and a mole (Molly Mole) who lived in a tree in the backyard.


Pinwheel first appeared on channel C-3 of the Warner Communications experimental cable system QUBE on December 1, 1977. The early history of the show was dominated by a musician named George James. James was in charge of writing, performing and producing several thousands of song during the early years of Pinwheel. Along with performing music James played the role of the main character called Jake.

In 1979, Warner decided to launch a dedicated kids network on their regular packages called Nickelodeon, with Pinwheel being one of the inaugural programs. Production moved from Columbus to New York. The revamped Pinwheel had a higher budget and started to include animated shorts that were imported from Europe and Canada. Production continued until 1984,[1] with the last project being a touring live show. Reruns continued to air until 1990.



  • George James as Jake
  • Arline Miyazaki as Kim
  • Betty Rosek as Sal
  • Dale Engel as Smitty
  • C.C. Loveheart (1977-79) and Lindanell Rivera (1979-84) as Coco


  • Brad Williams as Plus, Aurelia, Luigi O'Brien, and Ebeneezer T. Squint
  • Jim Jinkins as Minus
  • Craig Marin and Olga Felgemacher as Silas the Snail, Molly Mole, Herbert, Lulu, and Admiral Bird[2]

List of shorts

  • About Dressy Sally (O Parádivé Sally)
  • The Adventures of the Mole (Krtkova Dobrodružství)
  • The Adventures of Parsley
  • The Adventures of Portland Bill
  • Alfie Atkins
  • The Amazing Adventures of Morph
  • Bagpuss
  • Bod
  • Bunny in the Suitcase (A Kockásfülű nyúl)
  • Captain Pugwash
  • Chapi Chapo
  • Charlie's Climbing Tree (Kalles klätterträd)
  • Clangers
  • Coe Film Associates animated shorts
  • Crystal Tipps and Alistair
  • Curious George
  • Emily
  • The Family-Ness
  • Flower Stories
  • The Flumps
  • Hattytown Tales
  • Henry's Cat
  • Jim & Jam (Bolek and Lolek)
  • King Rollo
  • La Linea
  • Lilliputput
  • Ludwig
  • Madeline
  • The Magic Roundabout (redubbed with American actors and renamed The Magic Carousel)
  • Miaunel and Balanel
  • Mixometric
  • Mouse On Mars (Maus Auf Dem Mars)
  • Mr. Hiccup
  • Musti
  • National Film Board of Canada animated shorts
  • Noah and Nelly in... SkylArk
  • Paddington Bear
  • The Perishers
  • Picture Pages with Bill Cosby
  • The Pilis
  • Professor Balthazar
  • Peelie and Poolie
  • Roobarb
  • Schnoodle
  • Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings
  • Tip and Tap
  • Topsy and Tim
  • The Wombles


  1. Peggy Sue Clay and Andy Anderson (July 23, 2014) Classic Nick Wed. – Interview with George James. The Classic Nickelodeon Fan Blog. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  2. GaryW48 (April 28, 2012) Pinwheel Closing Credits 1981 Nickelodeon. Retrieved April 24, 2019.