The wave of emotions that overcome every child of the ’80s and ’90s when they hear the iconic theme song to LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow is probably not an insignificant part of why the Kickstarter campaign to resurrect the show has been so wildly successful. In the video Burton made to promote the campaign, countless children and adults are rendered unable to speak in his presence except to utter the words “Butterfly in the sky / I can go twice as high…”
Which makes for a cute gag, but the ability to rob others of their speech skills is only one of the powers that reading bestows upon individuals, Burton makes clear in a new video for Funny or Die. In this one, the ability to go twice as high, go anywhere, and be anything are matched by the power to juggle planets, incinerate butterflies with but a touch, and finally incinerate an entire library’s worth of books by shooting incendiary rainbows from your hands in order to prevent anyone else from obtaining reading power.
It’s a simple gag, but Burton is essentially the most beloved man in America right now, at least if we use the vaguely capitalistic measuring stick of “how much money have people given him to just do what he already does,” so he can get away with what’s basically a victory lap on his amazingly successful fundraising campaign. At the moment, the Reading Rainbow resurrection campaign is just a smidge under $3.5 million, with 27 days left on the calendar. That’s good for a current eighth-place finish on the all-time Kickstarter scale (for scale, Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here feature film is 14th on the list), and Burton’s gunning for a top-five–or better–finish, with a new goal of $5 million added. That would put Reading Rainbow in the Veronica Mars range (No. 4, $5.7 million), which is no mean feat.
The highest-funded Kickstarters of all time, of course, aren’t “projects” like Reading Rainbow or Veronica Mars–they’re essentially pre-orders for products like the Pebble Watch (No. 1, $10 million), the OUYA video game console (No. 2, $8.6 million), and the Pono Music Player (No. 3, $6.2 million). It’s unlikely that any campaign whose perks don’t include actual ownership of a thing that people desperately want to buy at the end is likely to challenge the Pebble for supremacy–but the power of reading is immense, indeed, and if anyone can do it, it’s probably LeVar Burton, who can literally do anything because he reads books.