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An Oral History of 'The Wonder Years'

An Oral History of The Wonder Years Rolling Stone


It may not seem like it, but The Wonder Years was fairly unconventional for its time. For starters, the plot device of the narrator — a grown-up Kevin Arnold (voiced by Daniel Stern) looking back on his youth — was something brand new, as was the show's single-camera format. Then there's the fact that it was one of the first real pop-culture forces to capitalize on boomer nostalgia (The Big Chill notwithstanding). Children of the Sixties were only two decades or so removed from that period, and had just started looking back on the era; the series managed to do so without seeming schmaltzy or overly wistful.  Despite all this, the series has been mostly unavailable either on DVD or streaming services. Getting the rights to the music featured on the show (some 200 songs from artists like the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Percy Sledge, not to mention Joe Cocker's iconic cover of "With a Little Help From My Friends") proved expensive and difficult, and the less said about reruns cursed with poorly-chosen cover versions, the better. But that's all about to change: This month, Time-Life is releasing a massive DVD box set of the series, with the original songs included. In the wake of that, we caught up with some of the series' major players to get an oral history of the show, warts and all.

Stashed in: Are You Not Entertained?, Beatles!, 1980s, 1960s

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Wow, we are 25 years from the 1980s, but the 1980s were less than 20 years from when the show took place. Mind blown.