Don Dickinson as

Episodes 20

0.0

Balls

1x1

Mouse and Orange Balloon are having a discussion about the possibility of Mouse being a ballplayer. Although Orange Balloon is skeptical of the idea, this gets the narrator talking about the history of balls. She talks about balls being an old tradition, with eventually someone inventing rules and various types of ball games beingt created. We go inside a factory where toy balls are made. There, we see how rubber is manipulated in various ways such as rolling, heating, and squeezing to create balls. We see how the rubber is rolled in talcum powder to keep from sticking and how it is that they're painted. Viewers also get a look at the special process of creating red, white and blue striped balls. This takes three days of work, as each color must be dipped and dried. Although Mouse decides on a preference for hide-and-seek, the narrator encourages viewers to go further, by doing such things as writing a story about a ball, or considering the differences of various sports.

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After a debate about speed between Orange Balloon and Mouse gets Mouse claiming that a bike is the fastest thing on wheels, the narrator takes us for an in-depth look at bikes. We learn that bikes make sense as a vehicle because of the way they exercise our bodies and also are designed to fit us comfortably. We learn that early bikes were so rickety that they were called ""bone-shakers,"" but today's bicycle is a near perfect machine. We see that some bikes are hand-made, but these custom-built bikes cost three-four times the price of ordinary bikes. Most are built in factories on an assembly line and we're taken inside one to see how it works. Mouse then watches a bike-racing show, but the narrator changes the channel to a hockey game because it's time to learn about how hockey pucks are made. We visit another factory, where we see various materials being mixed into rubber. Afterwards, a machine called an extruder shapes the rubber into sticks, which are then cut into the shape of a puc

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When Orange Balloon cracks a joke about how elephants never forget because they can't write and so they'd better not, it gets the narrator talking about how important drawing and writing are to us. We take a look back and see how cavemen communicated through drawing and also learn about the invention of the first writing tools, such as using sharpened goose feathers for pens. Nowadays, there are all sorts of tools for drawing, from crayons and markers to even using charcoal for sketches. We visit a factory which makes Crayola crayons and see they begin as sticky but not greasy wax. Colored powder is dumped into them, they're then shaped and set to cool and later a machine places wrappers on them. They are also all checked to make sure that they're not broken and that they all have a point. We also take a look at how markers are made, from the construction of the writing points called ""nibs"" to injecting the ink into the markers. After taking a look at a sketch of Mouse in full-color, t

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Balloons

1x4

One of our favorite characters is a balloon and in this episode we find out all about them, from simple party balloons to large balloon airships and even balloons used for safety. We find out the first ever balloon was a toy for a young Chinese emperor and that one of the first hot air balloons ever nearly crashed on the head of the King of Portugal. We learn that the French Montgolfier brothers were pioneers in ballooning, filling up bags of hot air and watching them rise and that from these experiments came balloons that could lift sheep, roosters, ducks and eventually humans. As more and more hot air balloons were created, crowds came to watch the beautiful balloons and the ""Balloon Age"" was born. We go inside a hot-air balloon factory, where we see how the ballons are constructed, from baskets being woven by hand to the installation of instruments that measure the height of the balloon. We learn that most hot-air balloonists take up a compass and a radio in case of an emergency and

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Chewing Gum

1x5

After Orange Balloon gives an impressive demonstration of his gum-bubble blowing abilities, we learn that chewing gum has been around for over 3,000 years, helping everyone from the Egyptians to the ancient Romans to relax and concentrate. We check out the gum base used to make gum, a tasteless substance composed of chicle, waxes, fat and rubber and more. We go inside a gum factory and watch how gum base is turned into actual gum. We see that the base is turned into a hot strip, then glycerin, sugar/imitation sugar and coloring are added, then it's all mixed together. The batter looks a lot like bread batter and big rollers are used to turn it into a thin sheet that's cut into strips. It's all checked for size and weight and it has to be placed in a conditioning room to cool. After more sugar mix and coloring is added, then it's time for packaging. There are machines that package it all, from bubble gum to small chiclets and it all has to run very precisely, or it won't be packaged pro

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Elevators

1x6

We begin our history of elevators by looking at ancient civilizations, learning that some early civilizations used animals or slaves to lift heavy objects and that the Egyptians had hoists to build the pyramids. We find out that originally, people didn't usually ride on elevators because the kept breaking and werevery dangerous, so until safety brakes were invented, buildings generally didn't get higher than five stories tall. Then, Elisha Otis invented the safety brake, a device that kicked in and stopped the elevator if the rope snapped. These days, elevators have allowed us to build huge skyscrapers and they've also made it easier for miners to work underground. When skyscrapers are built, one of the first things that they have to keep in mind is the elevator. They begin by creating the core, into which they have to carefully place openings where the doors for the elevators will be. Once the core is built, they can build the actual structure around it. We learn that before elevators

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Peanuts

1x7

When weather gets too hot in the city for Orange Balloon, he's happy that a stiff breeze blows him into the country, where he sees crops of peanuts being harvested. We learn that peanuts need fairly warm weather and a good even rainfall to grow well and that they aren't actually nuts at all, they're actually legumes and grow under the ground like potatoes. They grow in bunches, up to thirty on one plant and when it's time for them to be harvested, the farmers can tell, thanks to a special color chart. It turns out that humans have been eating peanuts for thousands of years, but it was only a couple of hundred years ago that peanut butter was first created, in Haiti in Africa. About 50% percent of all the peanuts grown in North America end up as peanut butter and some that aren't good for eating become animal feed or soap. Most of the rest are shelled and roasted, although some are sold still in shell. We end by learning that goober is an African word for peanut. We also take find out a

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Orange Balloon believes that radio works because there's a little man inside it, but a kid named Ben thinks that just can't be true, so we visit an actual radio station to find the truth. There, we see an actual radio announcer doing his job, such as reading the weather and we also see all the switches and functions of the master control room. We learn that there are various controls for the microphone, the volume of the music and more and that most of the music the station plays comes from compact discs. We also learn that it all takes up a lot less room than a television station, which is our next stop to visit. In the television station, we learn often when a new show comes in, they repaint all of the walls and floors. After taking a look at an empty studio, we see one where an actual broadcast is taking place. Using shots of guinea pigs as an example, we how the television cameras are placed on wheels to move them easily and can take any number of different shots, based on what th

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Mouse and Orange Balloon are having a competition to see who can hold their breath the longest and naturally a stopwatch is needed to time it. This leads to a discussion of clocks and watches, which as the narrator explains, we use for all sorts of things these days, from timing the changing of traffic lights to waking us up in the morning. As we watch a group of kids take some clocks apart to learn about how they work, we find out that it's taken hundreds of years to make clocks that we can depend on, about four hundred years to be exact. The first clocks were very large and not practical for keeping in homes, but the invention of the pendulum led to smaller clocks which could be used in your house. Clocks also have decorative purposes and we learn that pictures on clocks have been around from their beginning. Over time, clocks became better and the demand got larger, so machines were invented to speed up the process, although they still all had to be checked by hand. Eventually, the

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We start out by taking a look at Chinatown because it turns out that the Chinese came up with the earliest idea for some sort of popsicle - a type of confection called a ""water ice."" We learn that a French chef came up with the idea of putting cream in it and ice cream came about. After watching some kids at a school try to make their own ice cream, we visit a factory to see an easier way to make ice cream. We learn that it starts in the mixing room, where a mix of milk, sugar, cream and sometimes eggs is used. It's poured into a pastuerizer to kill the germs and then homogenized to smooth it out by breaking the fat into tiny bits. We also take a look at the making of ice cream sandwiches and Nutty-Buddy style cones. Taking another look at the water ices, we learn that it was hard to keep them cold, but today specialized refrigeration systems are able to keep popsicles cold. At at a popsicle factory, we see how syrup is squirted into a mold and cooled down and a stick is inserted into

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After a kid suggests that Orange Balloon and Mouse write a letter complaining about a pollution problem, we're taken on a tour of the postal station. We begin by learning that in the early days, it took a lot longer to deliver mail because it all had to be carried by horse and wagon. Today, things are a lot different. When you drop a letter in the mailbox, it's picked up by a truck, which takes it to the postal station, a central processing facility that gets mail to where it needs to go. It's like a giant post office that operates at night, with lots of machines to get the mail to the right place. A machine actually sorts the mail, places all of the envelopes so that the stamps are facing the right way and applying a special light to the stamps to make sure that they haven't been previously used. After the date and time are pressed on so that the postage stamp can't be used again, a machine checks the postal code written on the envelope and sorts them by city. The machine can actually

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Lightbulbs

1x12

When a kid tries to make a rabbit disappear, but fails, she turns out the lights and makes Orange Balloon disappear instead. This gets us talking about lights and electricity: nowadays, hardly anything has to stop due to darkness, but sometimes we still have blackouts and we learn that you can't always take lights for granted. We visit a light bulb factory to see how they're made and learn that this particular factory puts out enough light bulbs for just about everyone in Canada. It all starts with ""scrambler"" that gets the light bulbs ready to go on the production line, starting out with simple glass, which is then coated wtih a white powder to help the light shine brightly. The stem goes on the bottom of the bulb to hold the filament, a thin strand that's very hard to see, in place. The filament is treated with a special liquid and designed to last a long time and is placed into the bulb by a sealing machien. After the bulbs are all cleaned out and tested, they're sent off for packag

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The episode starts out with Orange Balloon floating over a large map of streets, launching into a discussion about how cities are made up of hundreds of streets. Two hundred years ago, those very streets may have been forests or fields, but motorists got tired of breathing in dust and asks for roads that would take them places faster and more smoothly, an idea that stretches all the way back to Roman times. Back then, people had to use shovels and coal, but now there are machines that can take care of much of the work of building roads. Highway engineers are always looking for ways to make roads better and save money as well, as good roads are expensive to build and expensive to maintain: snow and rain can leave rust and potholes. Even the paint on the highways and roads must be tested to see how clean it will dry and if it'll come off the road too easily. With cities growing, more and more highways have to be built and constantly examined as well - there's a special truck that contain

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Tunnels

2x2

Viewers learn about all sorts of tunnels, from road tunnels to tunnels that actually go underwater. We get to see actual construction of subway tunnels in Hong Kong.

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Dolls

2x3

When the narrator offers to grant Orange Balloon and Mouse one wish each and their wishes both focus around dress-up, we get into a discussion of how much fun dress-up can be and how dolls make dress-up easy. Nobody knows exactly when the first doll was made, but we do know that it was handmade. Today, there are factories that that mass-produce dolls. We visit one where we see dolls being created from molds - they look like roast chickens at first. We learn that they use vinyl, which is so strong that it can be greatly twisted and still ""spring back"" - it has a memory. We learn that most dolls are also stuffed so taht they can be cute and cuddly. Hair is added once the main construction is complete and then they pop in eyeballs and visit the make-up department, where a stencil is used. We learn that dolls really have been around for a long time and are built to last - one was found buried for 2,000 years.

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Trucks

2x4

When Mouse gets a little lesson in where her breakfast comes from, we launch into a lesson about trucks - special vehicles that are associated with just about anything that be delivered and work in all sorts of conditions from snow to sun. Back in older times, animals such as horses were used to pull carts carrying deliveries, but today trucks can be built quickly and easily to handle this work. We learn that in the early days, truck drivers generally didn't leave the city limits because the road conditions were terrible and they even had to watch out for ditches, as opposed to today's complex and generally well-maintained network of roads and highways. Today's trucks are also a lot bigger than the older trucks, oftentimes enjoyable to drive, perhaps while wearing a suit and tie. We go inside a factory to see the making of a truck and find out that the process actually only takes a few hours because the parts are already fully made and ready to go when they reach the assembly line. The

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Houses

2x5

Orange Balloon is looking at some houses, saying that he likes old houses best, whereas Mouse would prefer something small and cozy like a nest. We learn that when it comes to houses, there are two things people can do: either build their own house or purchase one and that today's tendency is for people to live close together in groups of clustered houses, as opposed to the past when they were much more spread out. We learn that fifty years ago, many people still built their own houses, but in current times it has become a much more fast and streamlined process, with somewhat less attention to detail and more focus on fast building that take place in as little as a few months. Even then, there is still a set plan, with a house beginning as a model, perhaps even of an entire neighborhood. A foundation is laid, a process that was skipped in the old days, leading to slipping and cracking. After the foundation is built, the floor is laid, the walls go up, the plumbing and electricial wires

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Soup

2x6

For this look at soup, viewers are taken straight to the source: an actual Campbell's factory. There, they see the production of vegetable soup in detail. Chopping vegetables to canning is all included in this tasty look at the process.

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We open with Orange Balloon snoring and Mouse enjoying a late-night snack, a peaceful scene that is soon interrupted by the ringing of an alarm. It turns out that tonight we're visiting a newspaper office, the office of the Toronto Sun, to find about how they manage to turn out 400,000 papers to deliver by dawn. We learn that almost all of the writing of the stories is already done and that at this point the main action is in the printing and composing department, where they have just three hours to get everything ready to go. They sketch the layout of the newspaper and take pictures of everything that has to go in the paper and after making sure that the pictures are clear, they place them on a plate for the printing press. In the old days, the plates were made of very heavy metal and had to be bolted onto the printing presses, but it isn't quite so bad today. Still, everything has to be handled carefully and placed in the proper order in order to make sure that the paper comes out ri

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0.0

Soap

2x8

After Orange Balloon, Mouse and a girl discuss sweet-smelling soaps, the narrator talks about the development of soap, noting that serious bathing didn't start until around the 20th century and that nobody really knows who invented soap. Some people make their own soap, but most of it comes from factories. We're taken inside a factory, which we learn that while it isn't quite as much of a hot and steamy place as it was in the old days, it's still quite hot, which a kettle room containing large kettles that go 14 meters deep into the floor. These kettles boil the soap ingredients tallow, palm, coconut oil, soda (which helps aid the mixing) which are all together in what looks kind of like porridge. This mixture is tested many times for its thickness until finally, soap flakes are produced, which are kept in a warm and dry bin until needed. The perfume is finally added to the soap, which mixed more and more with a device called a double boiler, the idea being to completely remove any rem

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