Behind the Scenes
Presented byPenn Jillette
StarringPenn Jillette
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes10[1]
Executive producersAlice Trillin
Jane Garmey
Running time28–30 minutes
Production companyLearning Designs
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 6 (1992-09-06) –
November 8, 1992 (1992-11-08)

Behind the Scenes was a 10-part television miniseries aimed towards 8- to 12-year-olds about various aspects of the arts, that was broadcast on PBS in 1992.[2] The series was executive produced by Alice Stewart Trillin and Jane Garmey, produced and directed by Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, and hosted by Penn & Teller.[3] It was developed to illuminate the creative process underlying the working of artists.


The show used a wide variety of short films, computer animation, and music to illustrate certain abstractions associated with the artistic process. Each of Penn & Teller's skits were specifically geared towards demonstrating an aspect of that episode's theme.

"'To show rhythmic patterns in a song, we produce a mouse each time the pattern goes one way and when there is a variation, we produce a frog,' Teller said. 'This continues until there are quite a number of mice and frogs all over the place.'"

"Penn and Teller said they didn't want to talk down to the series' young viewers. 'Kids tend to be desperately curious,' Teller said. 'There is a certain element we are doing in this that is making the analogy between the arts and a magic trick. When you think of something like perspective in a painting, it really is a magic trick.'"[4]


Ep. # Title Featured artist Additional artists Central theme(s) Comments
1 "Drawing: Illusion of Depth" David Hockney Bobby McFerrin Drawing
2 "Framing" Carrie Mae Weems Photography
3 "Texture" JoAnn Falletta Music
4 "Line" Wayne Thiebaud Matt Groening
5 "Setting a Scene" Julie Taymor Theatre Featured scenes from Taymor's production of William Shakespeare's The Tempest
6 "Melody" Allen Toussaint Jane Ira Bloom, Bobby McFerrin Music
7 "Color" Robert Gil de Montes
8 "Pattern" David Parsons B.H. Barry Dance
9 "Rhythm" Max Roach MC Lyte, The Blue Man Group Music
10 "Balance" Nancy Graves Sculpture


  1. ^ "Watch Behind The Scenes Free Online". 1992-08-11. Archived from the original on 2013-07-07. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  2. ^ Hall, Jane (1992-02-12). "PBS Slates Children's Arts Series : Television: Penn & Teller will host 'Behind the Scenes,' aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds. It premieres in September. - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  3. ^ "Behind the Scenes | Middlemarch Films". Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  4. ^ King, Susan (1992-09-06). "Tricks for Kids : Penn and Teller host PBS series aimed at boosting creative skills - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2013-01-27.