Drawing With Fred Promotes Water Safety


By Fred M. Grandinetti


(Left: Photo of a young Fred Grandinetti)

Fred M. Grandinetti recalls watching I Dream of Jeannie, with his mother, during the program’s original broadcast on the NBC television network. 


He later followed the series when it began airing in syndication. His affection for the magical situation comedy would come in handy years later. In 1992, Grandinetti began hosting, producing and writing Drawing With Fred for The Watertown Cable Access Channel in Massachusetts.  Originally the series featured cartooning lessons and animated films which included the adventures of Popeye, Betty Boop and Felix the Cat

In 2009 Grandinetti added original water safety segments. He nearly drowned as a little boy in his Aunt’s swimming pool.  Grandinetti explained, “The pool had a white line at the bottom indicating the height of the water. I was playing on the side right for my size but crossed over the line. Water suddenly was over my head.  Fortunately, a neighbor saw my distress and dove into the pool rescuing me. From that moment on I wore a lifejacket.”


The water safety segments on Drawing With Fred mainly focus on the importance of wearing a life jacket. The message is conveyed in a creative fashion inspired by I Dream of Jeannie, Popeye or other favorites of Grandinetti. They also feature actors who have appeared in prominent film and television productions.


Cuyle Carvin and Eugene the Jeep

Cuyle Carvin’s television and film credits include Modern Family, The Bold and The Beautiful, Cobra Kai, NCIS: New Orleans, MacGyver, The Inspectors, The 24th, American Made, The Walking Dead, and Alienate.


Cuyle Carvin’s water safety tips promote the need to wear a life jacket.  In He Knows Safety Bluto ponders why both Betty Boop and Olive Oyl admire Carvin? Bluto discovers it’s because he wears a life jacket.  Popeye’s animal friend, Eugene the Jeep, uses his magical tail to zap a life jacket on Cuyle Carvin in The Jeep’s Water Safety Tip.  For Snap Into Safety Popeye, the sailor’s nephews and Olive Oyl wonder what is causing a loud noise until they see Carvin snapping up his lifejacket.  Late Safe Beach Date has Grandinetti blinking a life jacket on Cuyle Carvin before he meets a date at the beach.  At the conclusion of this segment Carvin sings, to Popeye’s theme song, “It’s better to be late than forget to be safe says Cuyle the Swimming Man.” Regarding his appearances on Drawing With Fred, Cuyle Carvin said in 2012, “I love working with Fred on many levels. He really cares about reaching out and helping the younger and more impressionable generation.”

(Photo left: Chad Michael Collins)

Chad Michael Collins has numerous acting credits including Bones, Blue Bloods, Once Upon a Time, Howlers, Christmas Cupid’s Arrow and the popular video game series, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.  In the water safety segment titled, Sign Up for Safety, Collins introduces himself via photos from his career and is shown reading warning signs at the beach. He advises the audience to do the same. The signs include the hazards of shark and jelly fish sightings.


(Photo left: Brendan Lynch)

Brandon Stumpf is an art teacher and professional model who graces the cover of author Jon F. Mertz’s vampire series portraying Lawson. Stumpf appears in the water safety segment Wearing What’s Right which incorporates magic, inspired by Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie and Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch. Stumpf magically tries to remember what safety device he should wear before swimming. Finally, he eats spinach to jolt his memory. When Stumpf swallows the vegetable a life jacket pops on him!


Smoke from a genie bottle transforms into theatrical and musical performer, Brendan Lynch, in The Magic Word is Safety. By blinking Lynch produces the items he needs for his trip to the beach. These are a towel, sandals, a book (which happens to be Still Dreaming of Jeannie written by Grandinetti) and finally an item he calls “safety’ which is a lifejacket. 


(Photo left: Eric Petersen)

Gymnast Eric Petersen appears in both live action and cartoon form in A Magical Meeting. After blinking on a lifejacket Petersen becomes blue colored smoke which travels to meet his friend, Popeye, at the beach. Both, of course are wearing life jackets. 


Michael Forget, Joseph Patrick Michel and Michael Michel also appear in water safety segments stressing the importance of wearing life jackets.


Segments have been edited by Vatche Arabian and Marc Vadeoncoeur. Drawing With Fred can be seen on additional cable access stations and episodes have been donated to children’s hospices and hospitals.


(Photo left: Fred Grandinetti (r) with the inspiration for his water safety segments, Barbara 'Jeannie' Eden. The actress is holding Grandinetti's book on the series published in 1985.

Grandinetti said, “Wearing a life jacket is such an easy thing to remember and can save lives. I’ll continue producing water safety segments for my show to provide a magical inspiration to wear one.”


The water safety segments can be seen on the Drawing With Fred face book page located at https://www.facebook.com/pg/DrawingWithFred/videos/?ref=page_internal


Fred M. Grandinetti Home Page

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