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FamilyNet to reprise animated series ‘JOT’

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The classic animated series “JOT,” created in 1964 by the former Southern Baptist Radio & Television Commission, will return to the airwaves on FamilyNet Television in May. “JOT Classics” will air daily during FamilyNet’s children’s block beginning May 6 and will be compiled for product sales.

JOT was conceptualized in 1959 by Ruth Byers, a Baylor University graduate who majored in children’s and teens’ theater, and Ted Perry, a writer with the RTVC. Paul M. Stevens, then-president of the RTVC, commissioned Byers and Perry to develop JOT into a children’s television show with the purpose to reach children with moral messages. Stevens, Byers and Perry along with staff from the-then Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board), educators, community leaders from across the United States and others collaborated on JOT. Preliminary sketches and scripts were submitted to a production company and after some tweaking, JOT came to life.

“The Lutherans had Davey & Goliath and I wondered what we Baptists could do for children’s television,” Stevens recounted.

In the preliminary sketches, he said, JOT had hands and feet in all the frames, but exorbitant production costs forced a change resulting in a “bouncy, fun” JOT whose hands and feet only appeared when he was at rest in a scene.

JOT teaches its young viewers morals and manners through easy-to-understand lessons. The four-and-a-half minute segments deal with topics such as racial tolerance, making right choices and adapting to life in the big city. JOT aired nationally and internationally for nine years.

“For people like me who grew up with JOT, seeing these stories again brings back fond memories,” said Martin Coleman, vice president of programming at FamilyNet. “I remember Dad honking the horn for me to come get in the car, so we could get to church on time. But I just couldn’t go until JOT was finished. Now I’ll get to watch JOT with my own kids.”

JOT was translated into 19 foreign languages with the simple lessons carried around the globe in the form of film, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School literature, lesson plans and products. Broadcast syndication continued for years after production ceased. JOT also inspired “A Day in the Life of JOT,” a stage production inspired by several episodes performed at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, FamilyNet is a 24-hour television network affiliated with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board airing more than 50 hours of original, values-based programs weekly. FamilyNet broadcasts to a potential 34 million TV households and is available on cable systems and broadcast stations nationwide. For more information, visit the FamilyNet website at www.FamilyNetTV.com or call 1-800-832-6638.

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