Joya's Fun School

Joya's Fun School was a children's series that was produced and broadcast by WPIX-TV in New York City from March 1970 to December 1982. The cast included the host Joya (Joya Sherrill), The Professor (Luther Henderson), Mr. BB (Brumsic Brandon Jr.) and a bookworm puppet named Seymour. The series aired on Fridays in the same time-slot as The Magic Garden, another popular children's series that was produced by WPIX-TV but run only Monday through Thursday. Joya's Fun School featured stories, songs, and activities.

Facts About "Time For Joya" & "Joya's Fun School"
In the spring of 1970, Joya Sherrill became the second African/American New York City-based entertainer to host a children's TV show, and the first African-American woman to do so.

A former vocalist with Duke Ellington's Jazz Band, Sherrill was originally slated to host an adult talk show at WPIX-TV, but viewers wanted more diversity in the types of children's TV programs that were being aired - something for kids of different races.

The station executives decided to have Sherrill host a show that would appeal to the needs of kids from many ethnic backgrounds. She liked the idea, and "Time For Joya" was seen on Sunday mornings beginning Sunday, March 29, 1970.

Joya Sherrill would engage her studio audiences and viewers in games, songs (with musical accompaniment provided by the show's musical director, Luther Henderson aka The Professor), stories, craftmaking, hobbies and comedy skits with her puppet pal, Seymore, the Bookworm (created and manipulated by the show's resident cartoonist Brumsic Brandon, AKA Mr. BB). Informational segments and interviews with guest personalities were also regularly seen.

The show was successful with New York City children, and it received praise from critics and educators alike. "Time For Joya" remained on the air until Sunday, October 3, 1971.

By this time, TV censor groups like Peggy Charren's Action For Children's Television wanted television stations to create and produce what they considered to be better quality educational kiddie shows. As a result, "Time For Joya" was moved to a weekday morning timeslot, and the format was revamped from a kid's variety show to a half-hour educational series - which Sherrill hosted without a studio audience.

The series was seen weekday mornings under its new title, "Joya's Fun School," from Monday, January 2, 1972 to Friday, March 27, 1972.

After its short time on the air, the station executives at WPIX-TV decided not to tape any new episodes of "Time For Joya" and they simply re-ran the existing shows only on Friday afternoons from Friday, April 7, 1972 until some time in 1982. The "Magic Garden" ran in the same time slot from April 3, 1972 to some time in 1984. After Joya's Fun School was dropped, Magic Garden ran Fridays as well.

After Sherrill left WPIX, she went on to work on other projects. She hosted another kid's TV show in the Middle East during the 1980s - until military and political situations there became too dangerous, and she and her family were forced to leave.

Sadly, video tapes of "Time For Joya" and "Joya's Fun School" are lost to history.