A new documentary will celebrate Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton’s classic series.
LeVar Burton may or may not get a second shot at becoming the permanent host of Jeopardy!, but either way, he’ll soon be in the public eye again, thanks to an upcoming documentary about the classic PBS series he hosted, Reading Rainbow.
Must-see viewing in living rooms and Language Arts classrooms across the country for 26 years, Reading Rainbow introduced countless children to the joys of reading and the love of books.
In each of the series’ 155 episodes, Burton—who was then best known for his powerful performance as Kunta Kinte in the 1977 miniseries Roots and his role as Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation—encouraged kids to “take a look” inside a wide range of classic and contemporary books for children and young adults, written and illustrated by a wide range of authors and artists.
Burton showed his audience, in entertaining ways, how reading could help equip them to not only enjoy a good story but also live a good life. In one episode, he even took viewers behind the scenes of TNG. (At one con appearance, Burton quipped he loved not having to commute between his two jobs during that episode’s production!)
Kids and their families loved Reading Rainbow, and so did the TV industry. Among its many accolades, the series garnered 26 Emmy Awards and the prestigious Peabody.
Butterfly in the Sky will chronicle Reading Rainbow’s story and staying power
Documentary film studio XTR has announced it is producing Butterfly in the Sky, a documentary about the phenomenal success, influence, and legacy of Reading Rainbow.
The documentary’s title comes from the lyrics of Reading Rainbow’s memorable theme song, in which the singer (Tina Fabrique) claimed she could “fly twice as high” as a butterfly thanks to the magic of books.
Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb, both late of GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, are co-directing the project.
In a statement quoted by Comicbook.com, Thomason said:
"As a Mexican-American growing up in Houston, I was always surrounded by diversity. More than any show on television, Reading Rainbow reflected the cultures that surrounded me. I didn’t know it at the time, but the show’s mission statement was manifesting itself in me. I devour books to this day and I know Reading Rainbow had a hand in that."
As of this writing, Butterfly in the Sky has no release date. But it’s a safe bet that, whenever it’s released, plenty of people, including more than a few Star Trek fans, will want to watch this documentary celebrating the TV series and its host who helped “engineer” them into the readers and people they are today.