(UPDATE: The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign reached its $1,000,000 goal in less than 24 hours. The campaign currently has 41,000 backers who have pledged over $1.8 million).
Because of LeVar Burton's work as the host of the public television series Reading Rainbow and from his role as Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he's become such an American hero that a seasons-long running joke on Community involved a character's inability to even speak in his presence.
There's a whole new generation of young readers who are likely to grow up sharing that feeling about Burton, as his much-beloved PBS series is due for a comeback--Kickstarter-style. Burton announced today the "Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere" campaign, which will bring a new version of the series that fostered a love of reading in countless children to the Internet--and to schools in need, for free.
Burton announced the campaign this morning, and it's spread like wildfire--as of this writing, he's at $400,000 of his $1,000,000 goal, but it's basically like watching a clock ticking up, which just further reflects how passionately people adore Burton and the series he hosted on PBS for 21 seasons, until 2006 (Update: predictably, the campaign has now reached and nearly doubled its goal).
It also reflects how exciting some of the perks here are: A private dinner with the man himself runs a cool $3,000, during which he promises to share any Star Trek or "Butterfly in the Sky" details you may want to know (for $10,000, meanwhile, big-time Trekkers can have that same experience and also try on the visor he wore as Geordi LaForge on Star Trek). For those with deep pockets and a sense of social responsibility, meanwhile, that same $10K will bring Burton to a school of their choice for an assembly, and early access to the new Reading Rainbow. Lower-dollar perks, naturally, include T-shirts, bumper stickers, and tote bags. Consider those if the idea of meeting LeVar Burton in person might lead you to sit silently in a state of catatonic shock.
[Image courtesy of Reading Rainbow]