Season Cast 3
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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.Read More
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 pucRead More
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, tRead More
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 andRead More
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 proRead More
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 elevatorsRead More
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 aRead More
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 thRead More
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, theRead More
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 intoRead More
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 actuallyRead More
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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 packagRead More