November 25, 2017

101 DALMATIANS: THE SERIES

101 DALMATIANS: THE SERIES
(ABC, Syndication, September 1, 1997-March 4, 1998)


Jumbo Pictures, Walt Disney Television Animation


MAIN CAST:
Pamela Adlon (ABC) & Debi Mae West (syndicated) – Lucky
Kath Soucie – Cadpig, Roly “Rolly” Poly, Anita Dearly
Tara Strong – Spot, Two-Tone
Jeff Bennett – Roger Dearly, Sergeant Tibbs, Lieutenant Pug
April Winchell – Cruella de Vil, Princess (2 episodes)
Tress MacNeille – Cruella de Vil (2 episodes), Cornelia
David L. Lander – Horace Baddun
Michael McKean – Jasper Baddun



            The Hundred and One Dalmatians, or The Great Dog Robbery, was a 1956 novel written by Dodie Smith. Pongo and Missis were a pair of Dalmatians, owned by the newly-married Dearly couple, that recently had a litter of puppies. Those puppies would end up dognapped with 97 others by the evil Cruella de Vil and her henchmen in order for them to be skinned for their fur. Pongo and Missis set out to find their puppies in what became a grand adventure involving many other animals all working together. Smith would follow it up with a direct sequel, The Starlight Barking, in 1967.

The original book.

            When Walt Disney read the book in 1957, it grabbed his attention and he immediately set out to acquire the rights; fulfilling a secret desire of Smith’s. Disney assigned Bill Peet to write the screenplay for the film adaptation, the first time that a story for a Disney animated film was written by a single person. He condensed some elements from the book and focused on others. Peet completely removed the characters of Cruella’s husband and cat, a second stolen litter of Dalmatian puppies and their father, Prince, and merged their mother, Perdita, with Missis while keeping the former’s name. He also changed the name of the humans from Dearly to Radcliffe, and one of Cruella’s henchmen from Saul to Horace. Pleased with the script, Disney prompted Peet to begin storyboarding. Peet sent Smith some of the material he was working on, and she praised his work stating he had actually improved her story and the designs looked much better than the book’s illustrations.

Pongo, Perdita and a fraction of their puppies.

            By this point in the Disney company’s history, Sleeping Beauty had disappointed at the box office and Disney himself had grown disenchanted with animation to the point of contemplating shutting down the animation division. Only nostalgia and the fact the company was built on it kept it going. This meant Disney was a lot more hands-off than he had been with previous features and allowed art director Ken Anderson to use a Xerox process Ub Iwerks had been experimenting with on the film. It let them put drawings directly onto cells, bypassing the inking process, and allowed them to animate all the dogs and their spots quickly and for a reduced cost. Disney initially disliked the look the method gave the film, but over time came to appreciate it.

Cruella and Nanny.

            Although the look of Cruella was established in the book, Marc Davis took additional inspiration from Bette Davis, Rosalind Russell, Tallulah Bankhead and her voice actress, Betty Lou Gerson, in rendering her final design. Her disheveled style originated from old magazine images of hairstyles from the 1940s. The rest of the cast was filled by Rod Taylor as Pongo, Cate Bauer as Perdita, Ben Wright as Roger Radcliffe, and Lisa Davis (who was originally sought for Cruella) as his wife, Anita. Unlike other Disney animated features, the movie only featured three songs; however additional ones were written for it by Mel Leven.



            101 Dalmatians was released to theaters on January 25, 1961. It quickly became a box office success with $14 million, pulling the studio out of its financial slump. The film was re-released in 1969, 1979, 1985 and 1991, bringing its total box office gross to $215 million. The ’91 release was the 12th-highest earning domestic film of the year. When it was released to VHS for the first time in 1992, it became the sixth best-selling video of all time. In 1996, Disney produced a live-action remake starring Glenn Close as Cruella. The film was written by John Hughes and directed by Stephen Herek, turning in a $320.6 million box office following its release on November 27. Unlike the animated version, the dogs didn’t talk but the vocal effects for Pongo and Perdita were provided by Frank Welker.

The stars of the show: Roly, Spot, Cadpig and Lucky.

            Following the success of the film, Disney decided to expand on the franchise by producing a new animated series. Walt Disney Television Animation was paired up with the recently-acquired Jumbo Pictures to bring the series to life with Jim Jinkins, David Campbell, Tony Craig and Roberts Gannaway serving as executive producers. The series marked the franchise’s return to animation, using the original 1961 designs as a base with modern flourishes like thicker borders and brighter coloring, as well as some minor design tweaks. Unlike the original film animated entirely in the United States, animation duties were doled out to Disney Animation’s Japan office, Jade Animation, Sun Min Animation, Sun Woo Animation and Plus One Animation.

Promotional image featuring Dipstick, Tripod, Two-Tone, Patch and Wizzer, along with the stars.

101 Dalmatians: The Series took elements from both Disney films and the books in crafting its universe; although the books presented a greater influence to the overall tone than the films. The series shifted focus off of Pongo (Kevin Schon & Michael Donovan) and Perdita (Pam Dawber) and put them on the puppies; specifically the plucky Lucky (Pamela Adlon & Debi Mae West), who had a horseshoe-shaped spot; Roly Poly (Kath Soucie), whose obsession with food often led the pups into trouble; and Cadpig (also Soucie), the runt of the litter and most intelligent of the puppies. Cadpig was a prominent character in the books, but not in the Disney productions before this point. Other pups included the fearless three-legged Tripod (Toran Caudell), the dim-witted Dipstick (Thom Adcox-Hernandez), the accident-prone Wizzer (Adlon for one episode, Christine Cavanaugh the rest of the time), and the fashion diva Two-Tone (Tara Strong).

Patch: show (top) vs. films (bottom).

Initially, Lucky, Roly and Cadpig were joined by two other pups named Patch and Penny, but it was feared that there were too many main characters. Penny was dropped from the show, and Patch was relegated to a minor role voiced by Justin Shenkarow. Patch would go on to have his own starring feature with the direct-to-video sequel 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure in 2003. The Patch in the show, however, differed from the film version in that he was heavier and wore a knotted rope collar.

The pups wrapped up with Cynde.

The pups lived on the Dearly Farm (aka the “Dalmatian Plantation”) run by Roger (Jeff Bennett) and Anita (Soucie), with the help of Nanny (Charlotte Rae). Roger was also a video game programmer as established in the live movie, which also marked the return of the original surname from the books. The farm was populated by a variety of animals, including Spot (Strong), a chicken who hung out with Lucky, Roly and Cadpig and desperately wanted to be a Dalmatian (she was added as a last-minute replacement for Patch and Penny); Cornelia (Tress MacNeille), Spot’s mother who wanted her to act like a chicken; Duchess (Marla Gibbs) and Princess (April Winchell in two episodes, Cree Summer for the remainder), two dairy cows; Mayor Ed Pig (Jim Cummings), the self-appointed leader of the animals; his daughter Dumpling (Cavanaugh), who was in love with Lucky; Swamp Rat (Bennett), a salesman that lived in the nearby swamp; Steven the alligator (Welker), Swamp Rat’s associate who wanted to eat Spot; Lucy (Paddi Edwards), a goose that got angry whenever the pups played in her pond; Cynde (also Welker), a snake who hung out with both Swamp Rat and Steven; and the bullying Sheepdog mix Mooch (Danny Cooksey).

Lucky with The Colonel and Sergeant Tibbs.

The farm was protected by the Bark Brigade, of which Pongo and Perdita were members. It was headed up by The Colonel (Cummings), a Catalan Sheepdog from the original movie; his trusted ally, an Abyssinian named Sergeant Tibbs (Bennett); Captain (Welker), a horse that helped Nanny with her chores; and Lieutenant Pug (Bennett), a training officer paranoid about a potential feline invasion.

Cruella paying a "visit" to the Dearlys.

Cruella (Winchell, with MacNeille handling two episodes) had moved on from fur and developed a new interest in real estate. She lived next to the farm and constantly schemed on how to get it away from the Dearlys. Aiding her as always was Horace and Jasper (David L. Lander and Michael McKean). Cruella also had a pet ferret, Scorch (Welker), who shared Steve’s appetite for Spot. To diminish their impact on young viewers, the villains were less menacing and more bumbling; comically failing in all their attempts against the farm and the pups.

The Dearly Farm.

101 Dalmatians: The Series was produced for both syndication and Saturday mornings. It began airing on September 1st, 1997, before making its debut as one of the launch programs for ABC’s Disney’s One Saturday Morning programming block on September 13th, 1997. It, like all the other programs, were meant to debut a week early on the 7th, but their broadcast was delayed by the simulcast of the funeral of Princess Diana. The Saturday episodes were exclusive to ABC and were only seen there. The series’ theme was composed by Randy Petersen, Kevin Quinn and Tim Heintz, with Mark Watters and Dan Sawyer handling the rest of the show’s music.

Searching for that prosocial message.

The show was developed with consultation from Harvard’s Project Zero, a consortium of child experts that ensured the series upheld the FCC’s strict mandates of cartoons teaching kids prosocial messages. As a result, writers were tasked with having to address an issue in each script they submitted, as well as a solid lesson learned by its conclusion. These elements were included in the series’ publicity packets leading up to the show’s debut along with a synopsis of the episode’s story. Cydne Clark and Steve Granat served as the show’s supervising story editors, as well as two of its writers. Other writers included Mirith J.S. Colao, Ken Koonce, Michael Merton, Bruce Shelly, Anne Baumgarten, Jess Winfield, Fracaswell Hyman, Don Gillies, David Hemingson, Len Uhley, Bruce Talkington, Chris Hubbell, Sam Graham, Thomas Hart, and Carin Greenberg, amongst others. Gannaway wrote several episodes as well. The majority of episodes had two segments, and titles with dog-related puns.

On an adventure.

The series ran through its entire 65-episode run within the season; the Saturday episodes concluding in January of 1998 and the syndicated episodes ending that March. Reruns continued on ABC until 2000, when it was moved to The Disney Channel and then Toon Disney. It gradually stopped airing in various countries until its last known airing in 2013. The series has yet to be released in its entirety to home video, with only “A Christmas Cruella” and “Coup  de Vil” being put out on VHS by Buena Vista Home Entertainment and the three-part “Dalmatian Vacation” on Video CD in the United States, VHS and DVD internationally, and LaserDisc in Japan. The song “Surf Puppies” from those episodes was included on the album The Music of Disney’s One Saturday Morning.



Little Golden Books published three books based on the show: the original The Big Dig, the scratch and sniff sticker book Springtime Fun, and the coloring book Hide-and-go-Seek at the Farm. A Disney Chapter book, Cruella Returns, featured an adaptation of the episodes “You Slipped a Disk”, “Leisure Lawsuit” and “Snow Bounders”. In 1998, McDonald’s included flip car racers in their Happy Meals which featured different characters on either side. McDonald’s located in Wal-Mart stores also offered exclusive curly straws. Caldor offered beanbag plush toys of the main characters along with their Sweethearts Candy. In Japan, fans could get branded keychains courtesy of The Disney Channel.

November 18, 2017

PEPPER ANN

PEPPER ANN
(ABC, September 13, 1997-November 18, 2000)


Walt Disney Television Animation


MAIN CAST:
Kathleen Wilhoite – Pepper Ann Pearson
Clea Lewis – Nicky Anais Little
Danny Cooksey – Milo Kamalani
April Winchell – Lydia Pearson, Sherie Spleen, Abriola Stark, Grandmother Lilly, Milicent the Militant, Gerta Liederhosen, Mrs. McClain, various
Pamela Segall – Margaret Rose “Moose” Pearson, Hush, Sean
Don Adams – Principal Hickey
Susan Tolsky – Janie Lilly Diggety
Tino Insana – Jo Jo Diggety, various
Jenna Von Oy – Trinket St. Blair
Jeff Bennett –Craig Bean, Dieter Lederhosen, Ned Diggety, Peter “Pink-Eye Pete” Oglevee, Mr. Little (1 episode), various
Kath Soucie – Cissy Rooney, Mrs. Little, Supermodel Mindy, Gina, Tina, Crying Girl (1 episode), various
Cree Summer – Tessa James, Vanessa James, Crying Girl (most episodes)


            Former advertising executive Sue Rose created the character of Pepper Ann for a comic strip appearing in YM Magazine. The titular character would spend each strip talking to herself about her inner feelings. A friend suggested to Rose that she should try and adapt the strip into a television show. Rose created a storyline, made Pepper Ann a little younger, and gave her a supporting cast.

Early Pepper Ann designs.

            Rose pitched the series to Nickelodeon in 1995, but they felt it looked too close to Fido Dido; another character she created that appeared in commercial bumpers for CBS and in ads for things like Slice and 7-Up. Rose approached Tom Warburton, who had worked with her previously on the Fido campaigns and became responsible for Fido’s annual style guide, to redesign her characters to make them less Fido-ish. Nickelodeon eventually passed on the series entirely, leaving it open for Disney to acquire it for their upcoming One Saturday Morning programming block.

Milo, Lydia, Pepper Ann, Moose and Nicky.

            Pepper Ann followed the adventures of seventh grader Pepper (Kathleen Wilhoite) at Hazelnut Middle School. Pepper would deal with the trials and tribulations of adolescence by often falling into a fantasy situation with her fertile imagination and coming up with a solution. Of course, that doesn’t prevent her from sometimes making the wrong decisions and sometimes making things worse. Her best friends were Nicky Little (Clea Lewis), a soft-spoken and overachieving violinist that was a reformed bully, and Milo Kamalani (Danny Cooksey), an eccentric and highly dramatic artist. As her parents were divorced, Pepper lived with her perky, though overprotective, mother, Lydia (April Winchell) and tomboyish little sister, Margaret Rose, aka “Moose” (Pamela Segall). Her father, Chuck (Maurice LaMarche), flew blimps and sometimes, though rarely, came to visit. Pepper’s aunt, Janie Diggety (Susan Tolsky), a former Green Beret-turned-activist, often aided Pepper in finding the solutions to her problems. Pepper had a crush on eighth grader Craig Bean (Jeff Bennett), who played in a band and seemed to also have a crush on her.

Trinket stressing out.

            Pepper’s principal rival was Trinket St. Blair (Jenna von Oy), a rich, spoiled, popular girl who wasn’t subtle about telling people how to improve their looks and was always on the phone with an unseen character named “Marie”. Trinket’s best friend was Cissy Rooney (Kath Soucie), a popular airhead. Another rival was Alice Kane (Lauren Tom), who always seemed to try and one-up anything Pepper did. Pepper’s final rival was Wayne Macabre (Wallance Langham), a student who briefly ran the school’s radio station and whom Pepper regarded as a loudmouth since he made fun of everything she liked.

Tessa and Vanessa James.

Other characters included Tessa and Vanessa James (both Cree Summer), were twins and classmates of Pepper’s who were always quick to spread the latest gossip around the school; Brenda (Tara Strong), Pepper’s old best friend who moved to town and discovered they no longer had anything in common; Amber O’Malley (Jodi Benson), who became the most popular girl in school for a week when Cissy went away; Dieter Liederhosen (Bennett), a transplant from Germany who moved to America with his mother; Effie Shrugg (Hedy Burress), a tall girl that befriended Pepper and her friends, but was also a bit of a bully; Constance Goldman (Candi Milo), a shy and awkward girl that decided to hang out with Pepper and her friends in order to absorb some of their “coolness”; Ned Diggety (Bennett), Pepper’s older slacker cousin who had an obsession with cheese; Crying Girl (Soucie & Summer), who was overemotional and could run out of a room in tears at any moment; Stewart Walldinger (Luke Perry & Cam Clarke), a unique individual that could fit in with any crowd, including the ultra-cool eighth graders; Hush (Segall), a cool eighth grader that rarely spoke; Sketch (Karen Duffy), the coolest of the eighth graders that threw awesome parties; and Poison and Tank (Brittany Murphy and Meredith Scott Lynn as either role), a pair of eighth graders that hung out with Hush and Sketch who also rarely spoke outside of an eighth grade lingo.

Teaching a class is no reason to stop knitting.

            What would a school be without teachers? And, like the students, they all had their little quirks. Roland Carter (Jim Cummings) was the science teacher who seemed to be as hard on Pepper and eager to give her detention as he was in love with science; Coach Doogan (Kathy Najimy) left being a nun in a convent in order to become a physical education instructor; Mr. Reason (Kurtwood Smith), the shop teacher who somehow earned a nasty reputation; Abriola Stark (Winchell), an eccentric math teacher who was very passionate about the subject and also led the Drama Club; Carlotta Sneed (Julia Sweeney), an economics teacher whose penchant for knitting got her fired from an accounting firm when she used it to help her do math; Sherman Finky (Don Lake), the social studies teacher who tries to (poorly) connect with his students by using what he thinks is their lingo; Coach Bronson (Thomas F. Wilson), the football coach who had a prominent bite mark on his right ear; Mr. Clapper (James Avery), the music teacher who gave music lessons and conducted the band; and Bronte Bladdar (BeBe Neuwirth), a monotoned and unenthusiastic English teacher who was only teaching until she found a man. The principal was Herbert Kickey (Don Adams), who wished he could abolish the First Amendment and counted down the days until Pepper and her crazy misadventures would finally graduate. His secretary, Vera Schwartz (Paddi Edwards), was often responsible for announcements in the school and had a talent for scatting and beat poetry.

Magazine ad for One Saturday Morning.

            Pepper Ann was one of the debut programs of One Saturday Morning on September 13, 1997 on ABC, along with fellow Disney property 101 Dalmatians: The Series and the recently-acquired Brand Spanking New Doug. It was the first show made by Walt Disney Television Animation created by a woman. The show’s opening sequence typically ended with Pepper Ann finding something under her desk and showing it to the audience. For the first season, she always found five bucks, but in each subsequent season she would find something different. The show’s theme music was composed by Brian Woodbury and performed by Whilhoite, while the series’ music was by Pat Irwin. It was animated by SunWoo Animation Co., Inc.

Pepper Ann showing her gym teacher her recently-acquired sport bra.

Episodes were typically broken up into two story segments, however single stories were peppered throughout the show’s run. The year it began was when television networks implemented the FCC-mandated ratings system. The majority of the series was rated TV-Y, however several episodes were rated TV-Y7 due to their subject matter being deemed too mature for children under 7; such as “In Support Of”, which dealt with puberty and implied nudity. In reruns, the TV-Y7 rating was attached to the entire series due to the presence of such topics as divorce, dating, racism, death, gender equality, moral ambiguity and unemployment in many of the stories and their lessons. The series kept a fairly small stable of writers that included Mirith J.S. Colao, Laura McCreary, David Hemingson, Nahnatchka Khan, Matthew Negrete, Scott M. Gimple, Madellaine Paxson, Sean Whalen, Eddy Sato, Allison Heartinger, Emily Kapnek, Roger Reitzel, and Edward Guzelian. Comedian Mo Rocca joined the writing staff during the second season; the same year he began his tenure as a correspondent on The Daily Show. Rose herself only co-wrote “The Big Pencil”. Khan also served as a story editor, sometimes with McCreary and Negrete. Dr. Diana Meehan, founder of The Archer School for Girls, served as an educational consultant on several episodes.

Spelling out one of the show's pro-social messages.

            After five seasons, the show was replaced by The Weekenders and entered into syndicated reruns. It moved to the sister block Disney’s One Too on UPN where it aired on weekday afternoons and Sunday mornings between 2000 and 2001. After that, it aired on The Disney Channel for a few months before finding a new home on Toon Disney. It remained there until it was replaced by the Jetix programming block in 2004. The last known airing of the show in the United States was a two-hour block on Toon Disney in 2007. The show has been seen on Disney Channel Portugal as late as 2011. It has yet to be released on any kind of home video in any form.

A  page of the comic from Disney Adventures.

            Golden Books released a collection of paper dolls and outfits that could be removed from the book they came in and put together. They also published an adaptation of “Old Best Friend.” Disney Press published Soccer Sensation as part of their Disney Chapters line. Mattel released a figurine doll of Pepper, along with a fully plush doll. Comics based on the show appeared in pages of Disney Adventures magazine.

Pepper Ann and Lydia "meet" Pete.

The final appearance of Pepper Ann and her mother was in a cameo of the first episode of Disney’s House of Mouse, “The Stolen Cartoons.” They were the only Walt Disney Television characters to appear on the series, which otherwise made use of Disney’s feature film, short and occasionally comic book catalogue of characters. 



EPISODE GUIDE:
(Coming soon)

November 11, 2017

DOUG / DISNEY'S DOUG

DOUG/
BRAND SPANKING NEW! DOUG/
DISNEY’S DOUG
(Nickelodeon, August 11, 1991-January 2, 1994
ABC, September 7, 1996-June 26, 1999)


Jumbo Pictures, Walt Disney Television Animation, Plus One Animation


MAIN CAST:
Billy West (Nick) - Douglas Yancey “Doug” Funnie, Roger M. Klotz, Boomer Bledsoe, Joseph “Joe” Valentine, Coach Spitz
Tom McHugh (Disney) – Douglas Yancey “Doug” Funnie
Chris Phillips (Disney) – Roger M. Klotz, Boomer Bledsoe, Larry
Fred Newman – Mosquito “Skeeter” Valentine, Porkchop, Cleopatra “Dirtbike” Funnie, Mr. Bud Dink, Joseph “Joe” Valentine (Disney), Stinky, Ned Cauphee
Constance Shulman – Patricia “Patti” Mayonnaise
Alice Playten – Beebe Bluff, Ruby Valentine
Becca Lish – Theda Funnie, Judy Funnie, Connie Benge, Wendy Nespah
Doug Preis – Phillip Funnie, Lamar Bone, Chalky Studebaker, William “Willie” White, William “Bill” Bluff III, Walter “Skunky” Beaumont (Disney), Monroe Yoder, Clyde “Chap” Lipman
Eddie Korbich – Albert Sleech, Moose “Moo” Sleech
Fran Brill –Loretta Lequigly (Nick), Emily Kristal (Disney)
Guy Hadley (Disney) – Guy Graham


            It’s rare when a show can be a part of the debut of two different eras of television.

Classic Doug.

            Cartoonist Jim Jinkins created his character one day while doodling in his sketchbook. Initially, he planned to make it an autobiographical character named “Brian”, but decided on “Doug” instead as it sounded plainer and middle of the road. Jinkins viewed Doug as an alter-ego and drew him in a variety of scenarios in his sketchbook.

Doug's book debut.

            In 1984, Jinkins’ life took a hard turn and he wanted to create a bit of escapism from the harshness of reality. He began to develop Doug and his environment further, with the help of friend and eventual business partner David Campbell and margaritas from a local Mexican restaurant. Campbell suggested turning Doug into a children’s book, which Jinkins did. He shopped Doug Got a New Pair of Shoes to all of New York’s publishers and it was passed up by everyone except Simon & Schuster—at least until a management change happened before the deal could be finalized. In 1988, Jinkins brought Doug to television in a series of Florida Grapefruit Growers commercials (narrated by Lorenzo Music) and for USA Network promotional bumpers in 1989.

Doug, Judy and their parents are comin' to town!

            Meanwhile, cable network Nickelodeon was looking to expand its original content and find creative people to do it. Jinkins met with executive Vanessa Coffey and showed her his Doug book. Coffey immediately became excited for the project and quickly ordered a pilot based on Jinkins’ characters. His was one of three pilots chosen out of eight to become one of Nick’s debut “Nicktoons”. Jinkins negotiated a contract that would allow him to maintain a strong measure of control over the show, allowing his Jumbo Pictures studio to produce the series. He also got the right to shop the series to another network if Nick failed to order a complete run of 65 episodes as a means to keep his creation alive.

Doug hanging out with Porkchop and working on a Quailman story.

            The show, while no longer strictly autobiographical, drew heavily on Jinkins’ experiences growing up and the people he knew. It centered around the title character, 11-year-old Douglas Yancy Funnie (Billy West), moving to the fictional town of Bluffington (loosely based on Jinkins’ childhood home of Richmond, Virginia) with his family: mother Theda (Becca Lish), father Phillip (Doug Preis), older sister Judy (also Lish), and faithful dog Porkchop (Fred Newman). Doug spent a lot of time writing about his experiences and lessons learned in his journal, while also partaking in some creative writing; particularly in the adventures of his own superhero, Quailman (inspired by Jinkins home movies playing pretend). The Funnies lived next door to the Dinks, Bud (Newman) and Tippy (Doris Belack). Doug often turned to Mr. Dink for advice, although most of the time his eccentric neighbor was no help at all. The Dinks’ name came from the acronym for “Dual Income, No Kids”.

Doug with Skeeter and Patti.

            Doug’s first new (and eventually best) friend was Mosquito “Skeeter” Valentine (Newman), who helped Doug navigate the strange ordering system at the local fast food hangout, the Honker Burger. Skeeter was modeled after Jinkins’ best friend, Tommy Roberts. Doug’s other close friend was Patricia “Patti” Mayonnaise (Constance Shulman), who was kind and helpful towards others but could become very competitive and exhibited a short fuse when pushed far enough. She was based on Jinkins’ crush from junior to high school and her name came from two girls he knew growing up. There was also the Sleech Brothers; identical twins Albert and Moose (both Eddie Korbich) who were geniuses and occasionally helped Doug with some of his problems. Their other friends were Beebe Bluff (Alice Playten), the spoiled heiress to the Bluff family fortune, and Connie Benge (who had a different appearance and went unnamed in the first season, voiced by Lish), Patti’s best friend who seemed to have a crush on Doug.

Roger with his gang of Willie, Boomer and Ned.

            Of course, no town is a purely friendly place. Doug often found himself at odds with the local bully, Roger Klotz (West), based on a bully that plagued Jinkins’ neighborhood. Roger was three years older than everyone else, having been left back repeatedly. He lived in a trailer park with his mother and cat, Stinky (Newman). Roger also had an on/off crush on Judy (awk-ward!). Roger’s main cronies were William “Willie” White (Pries), the dimwitted son of the scatterbrained Mayor Bob White (Greg Lee); Ned Cauphee (Newman), the smartest and most vocal of the trio with ten brothers and twin sisters; and Boomer Bledsoe (West), who was comparatively the nicest of Roger’s gang. Antagonists weren’t just fellow classmates, however, but also authority figures. Particularly in the form of Assistant Principal Lamar Bone (patterned after Don Knotts, voiced by Pires), who was extremely strict and uptight when it came to his job, although not entirely unreasonable when presented with a good argument.

An assortment of the unique colorings of Bluffington's citizenry at the Honker Burger.

            A creative choice was made to give the characters all unique skin colors. Doug was pink, Skeeter was blue, Patti was orange, Roger was light green, Mr. Dink and Bebe were purple, and so on down the line. Jinkins selected that coloring after being inspired by his set of 200 design markers (and a few margaritas during the initial brainstorming sessions). In the years following, many would assume that Skeeter’s blue skin, along with his mannerisms, would indicate that he was African American. In reality, Jinkins just thought he would look good in blue. In interviews, Jinkins would say the colors “came to symbolize the irrelevance of race.”

An early rendition of the series' characters.

            Doug debuted on Nickelodeon on August 11, 1991 alongside Rugrats and The Ren and Stimpy Show. Jinkins wanted to change the show’s name to The Funnies, but the network encouraged him to use the original title. Jinkins was heavily involved in every aspect of the show and intended for it to have a timelessness that would keep it relevant in decades to come. He tasked the show’s writers to place a central theme at the top of each script to detail the issue Doug would be facing and what he’d learn from it. It was also important that the show didn’t become too preachy in its messages, so the production’s schedule was built around several weeks being dedicated to crafting the scripts. Every writer also had to familiarize themselves with the series’ massive bible which included a backstory for the town, street maps, and detailed floor plans for every featured house. The stable of writers included Ken Scarborough, Matt Steinglass, Marcy Winograd, Alan Silberg, Alan J. Higgins, Joe Fallon and Joe Aaron, amongst others. To oversee the writers, Nick assigned Mitchell Kriegman from Clarissa Explains it All and Will McRobb of The Adventures of Pete & Pete as the story editors.

Their favorite band, The Beets.

            For the music, Jinkins wanted to get away from the typical sound you’d hear in a cartoon soundtrack. The majority of the music utilized simple instrumentation with mouth sounds provided by Newman, and his scat singing was used for scene transitions. The most complicated piece of music was the series’ theme. The theme was composed before the intro was even made, which was unusual. For the outro, a song from that episode’s second segment would play until Porkchop donned a pair of headphones that drowned out the music with a piece from the first one. That practice continued throughout the first season, but was abandoned in subsequent seasons for a single piece of music over the same animation. Each episode’s title card featured Doug opening a door into a dark room and his turning a light on to reveal his name. Porkchop would then scribble the title below it and Doug with chase him off-camera with a variation of a gag to follow (such as getting his foot stuck in a paint can) before he returned and turned the light back off.

Doug runs into Patti, Connie and Beebe.

Doug ran for a total of four seasons, falling 13 short of the 65 Jinkins contracted Nick for. The network cited the show’s expensive budget as the reason why they wouldn’t order a new season. And while the show did gain good ratings after a rocky start, it really didn’t fit in with the manic energy of the other Nicktoons shown at the time. As Nick had a two-year window to reverse their decision, Jinkins and Campbell tried to speed up the process by letting them know every time another network expressed interest in continuing the series. Ultimately, Nick didn’t change its mind, leaving the door open for Disney executive Linda Steiner to acquire the show for Disney’s recently-acquired television network: ABC.

Trading burgers for ice cream.

Jinkins sold Disney both Doug and his production company. To explain the gap between runs, it was treated as an extended summer vacation for the characters and the new show began with the kids starting a new grade at Beebe Bluff Middle School; advancing from 11 to 12-years-old. That was far from the only change: Roger and his mother became rich through a real-estate deal with the trailer park; The Beets, the favorite band of the main characters, broke up; The Honker Burger, their primary hangout, became the trendy Chez Honque and was replaced by an ice cream parlor run by Mr. Swirly (Bruce Bayley Johnson); Connie lost a significant amount of weight; the Sleech Brothers completely bypassed middle school and went to high school, leaving them out of school-based stories; with Mrs. Dink having been elected mayor, the former mayor became the principal of the junior high; and many of the characters got new, yet similar, looks: Doug’s sleeves and pant legs grew, Skeeter wore a blue vest, Patti switched from skirts to pants and had shorter hair, Roger’s leather jacket became a leather vest, and Beebe gained pants under her dress, amongst others.

The Funnies with their new addition, Dirtbike.

Several new characters were introduced. Doug gained a new baby sister, Cleopatra “Dirtbike” Funnie (Newman), so named based on a suggestion from Judy and her making fun of a list of Doug’s suggestions. Walter “Skunky” Beaumont (Pries) was a slacker surfer dude that was commonly mentioned in the Nick series and only heard once, but was made a regular character in the Disney series. Guy Graham (Guy Hadley) was the handsome and eccentric, though selfish and inconsiderate, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper (where Doug worked) and was made Doug’s rival, particularly for Patti’s affections; however, unlike Roger, Guy actually liked Doug. Doug’s new teacher was Emily Kristal (Fran Brill), who was a friendly and immense book lover and eventually became romantically involved with Patti’s father.

Quailman has a new rival for Patti's affections.

The biggest change of all came behind the scenes. As West’s status grew in the years since starting Doug, Disney couldn’t afford his salary on the show’s budget (rumored for years to be because he hated the changes Disney was making) and instead replaced him with Tom McHugh as Doug and Chris Phillips as Roger and Boomer. Along with West, many of those involved with the production of the series had also moved on to other projects and were unable to return for Disney’s run. Jinkins himself also had other commitments, meaning he wasn’t able to put as much attention on Doug as he had during the Nick years.



The series returned to television on ABC on September 7, 1996 for an additional three seasons, joining the One Saturday Morning programming block when it debuted the following year. Initially, it was called Brand Spanking New! Doug until it was renamed Disney’s Doug for the third and final season. Unlike the Nick version, the Disney show opted to feature a single story in every episode and the moral wasn’t as subtly presented. Along with returning writers Scarbrough, Steinglass and Fallon, new series writers included Don Gillies, Glenn Leopold, Dennis Garvey, Marcy Brown, Scott Fellows, and Steve Bannos, amongst others. Steve Granat and Cydne Clark served as the story editors, while Jim Rubin was the script coordinator. As Nickelodeon had copyrighted the original Doug theme, Disney’s version used a new theme as well as more instrumental music by Dan Sawyer. Some of Newman’s original score did remain, but in a much smaller capacity.



During the final season, a live stage show called Doug Live! opened in Disney MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and ran from 1999 until 2001. Doug and Patti appeared as meet ‘n’ greet characters around the park. Disney also revisited the concept of giving Doug his own movie. In 1993, Nickelodeon had planned to give its Nicktoons their own films with 20th Century Fox, but the plans fell through. Ultimately, Nick did succeed in bringing The Rugrats Movie to theaters in 1998 through Paramount. Doug’s 1st Movie was initially going to be a direct-to-video release called The First Doug Movie Ever, but when Rugrats proved successful, Disney decided to give Doug a theatrical release. Opening on March 26, 1999, the film was critically panned as feeling too much like an extended episode of the series, but due to its small budget it was able to become a commercial success by pulling in $19.4 million.



Doug continued to air on Nickelodeon in reruns until 2003, as well as on the Nicktoons channel from 2002-2005 and later on TeenNick in the programming block called The Splat. The Disney version was packaged for syndication under the Disney’s Doug title with a new closing credits sequence, replacing the one of Doug chasing Porkchop across the screen, and character-based shorts between commercial breaks. Reruns ran on The Disney Channel from 1999-2002, Disney’s One Too on UPN from 1999-2000 and Toon Disney from 2001-04. It would also have a run as part of the Kids’ WB weekday morning line-up.

Ad for Doug's 1st Movie toys.

Disney heavily merchandised Doug during its run. They released trading cards, toys by Mattel, a handheld game by Tiger Electronicsa video game by ImaginEngine and Disney Interactivelunchboxes and clothing. Three series of books were published by Disney Press: Disney’s Doug in the Disney Chapters series, which adapted various episodes, Doug Chronicles, which were all-new stories, and The Funnie Mysteries, which were all-new stories with a mystery twist. Picture books were also published for younger fans. Short comics were printed in the pages of Disney Adventures magazine. For the series’ debut, Jack-in-the-Box included toys with their kids meals, and McDonald’s did the same in 1999 for the release of the movie on VHS by Walt Disney Home Video.

Disney's Doug on VHS.

Beginning in 1993, Nickelodeon released a series of VHS tapes containing multiple episodes of Doug through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Video. They released three of the five seasons onto DVD across three sets between 2008 and 2009. In 2014, they released their entire run onto a complete series set. Beginning in 1997, Walt Disney Home Video released the Disney version onto a series of VHS tapes with two episodes apiece. However, to date, the only part of the Disney version to see a DVD release was the film as part of the Disney Movie Club in 2012.