July 29, 2017

THE ADVENTURES OF RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDY

THE ADVENTURES OF RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDY
(CBS, September 17-December 10, 1988)


CBS Entertainment Productions


MAIN CAST:
Christina Lange – Raggedy Ann
Josh Rodine – Raggedy Andy
Charles Adler – Grouchy Bear
Kenneth Mars – The Camel with the Wrinkled Knees
Dana Hill – Raggedy Dog
Katie Leigh – Sunny Bunny
Kath Soucie – Raggedy Cat
Tracy Rowe – Marcella


Raggedy Ann is a rag doll with a candy heart in her chest, making her a gentle and caring sort. Her brother, Raggedy Andy, is more adventurous, bold and mischievous. They have graced the pages of many books and even spawned their own line of actual dolls whose popularity has long surpassed those of the books. Now, while it may have been a given to make fictional toys into real one, they were, in fact, based off of an actual toy.

The original book.

            Author and illustrator Johnny Gruelle was searching for something in the attic of his parents’ home sometime in the early 20th century and stumbled upon an old homemade ragdoll that belonged to his sister. Gruelle thought the doll would make a good story and kept it; however it wasn’t until his daughter, Marcella, was born that anything came of it. Watching her play with her dolls inspired Gruelle’s stories surrounding the doll he had found.

One of the original handmade dolls.

            Gruelle named the doll “Raggedy Ann” from the James Whitcomb Riley poems “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie” and submitted it to the U.S. Patent office. By the time his patent was granted in 1915, Marcella had died from an infected vaccination at the age of 13. Raggedy Ann was subsequently utilized as the mascot for the anti-vaccination movement at the time. In 1918, Gruelle published the first Raggedy Ann book, Raggedy Ann Storiesthrough the P.F. Volland Company. A version of the doll was handmade by Gruelle’s family to sell along with the book. The book and the doll proved a success, and Gruelle released the follow-up in 1920, Raggedy Andy Storieswhich introduced Ann’s brother Andy, while the doll entered mass production. Their owner in the book, Marcella, was modeled after Gruelle’s daughter.



            Gruelle continued writing new Raggedy Ann stories until his death in 1938, however books kept being made and he received credit for them for the next two decades. In 1941, Fleischer Studios adapted the series into a theatrical short called Raggedy Ann and Andy. They produced two more in 1944 and 1947. Dell and Gold Key published comic books starring the characters between 1946 and 1973.The franchise received a feature film in 1977 called Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure directed by Richard Williams and starring Didi Conn, which was adapted into a stage play in 1981. The next two years, CBS aired two holiday-themed specials directed by legendary director Chuck Jones and starring June Foray and Daws ButlerRaggedy Ann and Andy in the Great Santa Claus Caper and Raggedy Ann and Andy in the Pumpkin Who Couldn’t SmileAn adaptation of the book The Camel with the Wrinkled Knees aired as an episode of CBS Storybreak.

Production cel featuring Ann, Andy, Grouchy, Camel, Raggedy Cat and Raggedy Dog.

            Based on the ratings for the specials it aired, and for the franchise’s 70th anniversary, CBS commissioned a new animated series starring Raggedy Ann (Christina Lange) and Andy (Josh Rodine). The series revolved around Ann and Andy, as well as their friends Grouchy Bear (Charles Adler), The Camel with the Wrinkled Knees (Kenneth Mars), Sunny Bunny (Katie Leigh), Raggedy Dog (Dana Hill) and Raggedy Cat (Kath Soucie) as they journeyed to foreign lands or alternate dimensions to combat the evil, but inept, sorcerer, Cracklin. Their owner, Marcella (Tracy Rowe) was unaware of their adventures as the toys would remain lifeless in the presence of humans (ala Toy Story).

The evil wizard Cracklin.

            The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy premiered on September 17, 1988. It ran for a single season of 13 episodes, all directed by Jeff Hall and written by Chris Weber, Karen Willson, George Atkins, Gordon Bressack, Sheryl Scarborough, Kayte Kuch, Linda Woolverton, Buzz Dixon and Janis Diamond, who also served as story editor and developed the show. Davis Doi provided the character designs as well as produced the show. Bobby Bennett and David Storrs composed the show’s theme, and animation was handled by Wang Film Production Company’s Cuckoo’s Nest Studios and Hung Long Animation Company.

Off on another adventure!


Despite the show’s short run, CBS kept it on its schedule until the fall of 1990. In 1998, 20th Century Fox released most of the show on single-episode VHS tapes. In 2014, New Video Group released the complete series to DVD, as well as across three DVD collections containing four episodes each. 


EPISODE GUIDE:

“The Perriwonk Adventure” (9/17/88) – The toys track down Marcella’s missing locket to a village where it will be offered as a sacrifice.

“The Pirate Adventure” (9/24/88) – A treasure hunt leads to Andy being kidnapped by priates.

“The Mabbit Adventure” (10/1/88) – Ann, Andy and Sunny Bunny have to help the Mabbits protect their spell book from Cracklin.

“The Beastly Ghost Adventure” (10/8/88) – The ghosts from Marcella’s ghost story appear to come to “life”.

“The Pixling Adventure” (10/15/88) – Ann and Andy have to return a prince before the evil Count Gerich takes over.

“The Ransom of Sunny Bunny Adventure” (10/22/88) – Cracklin has Sunny Bunny kidnapped in order to lure Ann and Andy into a trap.

“The Megamite Adventure” (10/29/88) – Marcella’s cousin’s robot Magamite is taken to another dimension and used by Cracklin to transform that world’s water into silver.

“The Boogeyman Adventure” (11/5/88) – Ann and Andy have to rescue a good boogeyman from Cracklin before he turns him into his own personal monster.

“The Christmas Adventure” (11/12/88) – Ann and Andy try to help find Santa’s stolen sleigh in order to save Christmas.

“The Sacred Cat Adventure” (11/19/88) – A magic genie kidnaps Raggedy Cat and unintentionally takes the other toys with them.

“The Little Chicken Adventure” (11/26/88) – Marcella’s rocking horse pretends to be a unicorn and ends up in the sights of Little Chicken, an Indian boy that needs to rope a unicorn.

“The Warrior Star Adventure” (12/3/88) – Ann, Andy and friends end up embroiled in a conflict between Marcella’s new toys and have to keep one of them from conquering the universe.

“The Magic Wings Adventure” (12/10/88) – Ann and Andy attempt to return a gigantic purple egg to its nest.



Originally posted in 2017. Updated in 2020.

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