Featured Artist Bio
RUTH BYERS - Creator of the 1960s Childrens Series, JOT THE DOT
Jot the Dot, a Cartoon series of 30 Episodes, each four and one-half minutes long, was originally produced by the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission. The Series initially conceived in 1959, was finally released with its first film in 1963. Jot was developed by Ruth Byers and Commission staff member, Ted Perry. Designed from a children’s point of view, Jot represents a character that children can easily identify with simply because he experiences the same kind of mischief they do. Adults are never seen in the films. They are heard, but the emphasis is upon Jot, his friends, and their own personal world. “If you could tell only one thing to a child in his lifetime, what would it be?” This question became Ruth Byers’s core principle in development of the Jot series. Her answer, “The reason you make right decisions is not because you will be caught and punished, but because when you do right you’re in tune with yourself, God, and others.” Ruth Byer’s concept with Jot the Dot is to guide a child’s creative imagination and spiritual growth simultaneously. Many Psychologists believe a child’s first concept of man is a circle. It is often the first shape a child learns to draw. So, the shape of the cartoon became a dot, who goes by the name Jot. Since the pilot film, Ruth Byers has written and supervised every production of Jot. Many of the story lines are taken from her childhood experiences. Jot has been translated in Spanish, Korean, and Chinese. Ruth Byers is also the author of the book, “Creating Theatre: From Idea through Performance with Children and Teens.” Episode Highlights of the Jot the Dot series, include Episode Four, “Jot Hits a Homer”, which relates to children the virtues of doing the right thing in difficult situations as well as Episode Twelve, “Noah and the Flood”, whose message is one of having trust in God in uncertain times. Forty-One years after his original debut, Jot has shown his staying power. His timeless appeal is due not only to his stylize yet simplistic design, but to his universal message.
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