Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 8, 2012.

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This innovative pilot TV program is a rock 'n' roll Mister Roger's Neighborhood. Music, history, social issues and participatory fun.

NOTE: Funds raised in excess of goal will help pay for post-production editing and animation. Thanks for your support!

Time Machine Guitar is like Mr. Rogers with a Stratocaster. (Ready to sing along?) It's a TV pilot by me, Ralph Covert – For those of you who don’t know me, I'm a kids' music rock dude who's been on the Disney label with my Ralph's World band. And, yes, I can hear those of you who do know me chiming in, “But we like the music as much as our kids do!” 

I’ve been nominated for a GRAMMY, been on the front page of the New York Times Arts section, and if the number of hours my music’s been played in mini-vans counted toward my miles, I’d have free tickets to the moon.

So now I’m going back to my indie roots to make a TV show, with the help of a few animal puppets and a tricked-out guitar that transports me back in time to meet folks such as Columbus, Bach and Ben Franklin. All from our home base in a treehouse TV set. Yeah, it's that kind of fun. Makes you nostalgic for that kind of positive, social-lesson-teaching, puppet sing-a-long show you grew up with.

But, as in all childhood morality tales, I need help from my friends. So, I've wrangled up a star-studded production team to get this pilot made. (Check out the short list at the bottom.)

The other friends I'm reaching out to are my Ralph's World fan base – the thousands and thousands of kids and parents (apparently, I'm pretty big among the big people, too) who collect my albums, come to my concerts, and like to rock 'n' roll. Besides, they're a lot more fun to do the Alphabet Dance with than most studio executives.

The pilot will start being shot in January 2012 in Charlottesville, Virginia – thanks to enormous support from the community. But, you can only go so far on in-kind donations. Cash funds raised from Kickstarter will go toward fixed production costs (and help pay what's already been spent in development and pre-production). We like transparency. So, fans will be able to check out the process via periodic behind-the-scenes video updates and interviews with cast and crew.

The final Time Machine Guitar pilot will be edited to roughly a half hour (00:23:30, actually). From there, with a little luck and a lot media strategy, it goes to the networks – hopefully another fun addition to the educational pantheon of my all-time heroes Mister Rogers and Captain Kangaroo.

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Meet the Crew

Puppeteer: Pam Arciero

Pam is a principal puppeteer with Sesame Street, performing numerous characters, most notably Grundgetta Grouch and Leona Lion. She has worked on Blue's Clues, Blue's Room, Chappell's Show, Allegra's Window, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, TV Funhouse, Oobi, Eureeka's Castle and The Great Space Coaster.

Puppeteer: Jim Kroupa

Jim is a master puppeteer, puppet builder and mechanism genius who has worked on Sesame Street, The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets in Space. He’s a co-owner of 3/Design Studio, which has built puppets for shows such as Eureeka’s Castle, Between the Lions and The Great Space Coaster. He has also worked with Woody Allen.

Puppeteer: Brodrick "Jigsaw" Jones

An aficionado of comics, puppetry and accordion music, Ben assumed he’d work for Jim Henson when he grew up. Ben missed out on the Henson experience, so he created Jigsaw, a puppet web series featuring Lump, Doktor Kranium and Milton the robot.

Sets: Helen Williams Ward

Illustrators, set designers, visionaries – their credits include work on such erudite projects ranging from the HBO series John Adams ... to Elmo in Grouchland and Muppets from Space ... to Hannah Montana: The Movie.

Animation: Jonah Tobias

Jonah spends much of his time animating music videos for Dave Matthews Band, Tim McGraw, Jay-Z and the Beach Boys. His work has also been featured in the documentary Super Size Me, TED Talks and Jean-michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures.

Director & Cinematographer: Eric Hurt

Eric has both helmed and contributed to dozens of feature films, television, commercial and music video projects such as The Parking Lot Movie, Anchor Man, The OC, Alias and Tim McGraw concerts. As writer/director, Eric recently completed his fifth feature film.

Supervising Producer: Mark Cowen

Mark has produced, directed and written Television Specials for HBO, A&E, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and the BBC and worked on projects with such film luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Sydney Pollack, Ron Howard and Steven Soderberg.

Line Producer: Jack Steinberg

Jack’s AD credits include the HBO series John Adams and Six Feet Under.  His feature films include Starsky & Hutch, The Last Samurai and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Producer/Casting: Erica Arvold

Erica’s feature film credits include Lincoln, Charlotte’s Web and The Horse Whisperer. She also worked on the TV series Wings, Frasier and Almost Perfect

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    20 backers

    Piggybank Special: Because you’re never too young to be a part of something that matters to you. YOU ROCK!! I will email you my personal thanks AND I will list your name on my “Wall of Superstars” at TimeMachineGuitar.com. Please email me your name as you would like it to appear to TMGrewards@gmail.com

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    51 backers

    Above, PLUS you will receive a pre-release download of the Time Machine Guitar theme song. In addition, email me your picture and/or your child’s picture (grand children too) and I will post it on our “Wall of Superstars”. Pictures should be emailed to TMGrewards@gmail.com

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    4 backers

    Above, PLUS a pre-release download of the 4 all-new Ralph’s World songs that are featured in the pilot and that will be appearing on my next Ralph’s World CD. PLUS a digital photo album of me on-set during the filming of the TMG pilot.

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    31 backers

    Above, PLUS I will personalize and autograph an 8x10 picture of myself (up to 3 because I know each child will want their own ;-) AND I will send you an old-school, snail mail, personalized hand-written thank you note.

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    10 backers

    Above, PLUS I will text or email (your choice) a personalized iphone video thank you AND your choice of ONE of the following: (for international there may be a small shipping fee) -autographed limited-edition TMG T-shirt -autographed limited-edition TMG poster -autographed Ralph’s World Hat -autographed copy of Ralph’s Book: Sawdust & Spangles -autographed copy of Ralph’s Book: A Nutty Nutcracker

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    20 backers

    Same as the $75 level, including the iphone video thank you, except now you choose TWO of the following: (for international there may be a small shipping fee) -autographed limited-edition TMG T-shirt -autographed limited-edition TMG poster -autographed Ralph’s World Hat -autographed copy of Ralph’s Book: Sawdust & Spangles -autographed copy of Ralph’s Book: A Nutty Nutcracker

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    6 backers

    Same as the $75 level, including the iphone video thank you, except now you choose THREE of the following: (for international there may be a small shipping fee) -autographed limited-edition TMG T-shirt -autographed limited-edition TMG poster -autographed Ralph’s World Hat -autographed copy of Ralph’s Book: Sawdust & Spangles -autographed copy of Ralph’s Book: A Nutty Nutcracker

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    8 backers Limited (2 left of 10)

    An autographed TMG Script PLUS Everything at the $75 level

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    2 backers

    I’ll sing your outgoing message on your answering machine PLUS Everything at the $75 level

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    1 backer

    I’ll Skype with you for 15-20 minutes. It will be such fun to see you and talk to you. We can talk about whatever you would like. I could even play a couple of your favorite songs.

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    4 backers

    4 tickets to one of my Ralph’s World shows with backstage passes to meet the band AND an on-stage appearance to perform a song with me. Travel expenses not included. PLUS Everything at the $100 level

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    1 backer

    4 tickets to a private screening of Time Machine Guitar in Charlottesville, VA or Chicago at which I will do a short performance and be available for pictures etc…Travel is not included. PLUS Everything at the $100 level

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    4 backers

    I’ll come to your house and perform for your child’s party (solo acoustic) in or around the Chicago area (limited to 25 children plus partents). If your house is more than 3 hours from Chicago you will need to cover travel expenses. PLUS, your choice of a TMG t-shirt or Ralph’s World hat as a party favor for each child attending the party.

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    I will personally give you a guided tour of the TMG set when the series films. PLUS I’ll sing your outgoing message on your answering machine.

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    0 backers

    I will write an original song and record it for you (Solo Acoustic). I will record your customized song and shoot a simple video of me singing the song during the recording session which will be open for you and your family to attend. Ralph's World retains commercial rights to the original recording and the composition, but you'll have a copy to share with your friends and we’ll post it on our youtube channel.

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    0 backers

    Same as above only I will record your song with the Full Ralph’s World Band at the Waterdog Records Studio in Chicago. We'll shoot a simple video of me singing the song during the recording session which will be open for you and your family to attend. Ralph's World retains commercial rights to the original recording and the composition, but you'll have a copy to share with your friends and we’ll post it on our youtube channel.

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    Make your own reward: Email me what you would like to have as a reward and I’ll see if it’s possible. TMGrewards@gmail.com.

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    0 backers

    I’ll credit you as associate producer on the either the pilot or one of the series episodes.

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Funding period

- (32 days)