August 31, 2019

THE OZ KIDS


THE OZ KIDS
(ABC, September 14-November 9, 1996)

Hyperion Animation, Meldac, Canal + D.A., Wang Film Productions


MAIN CAST:
Eric Lloyd – Neddie Hugson
Frank Welker – Toto II, Kalidahs, Wolf-fish
Jonathan Taylor Thomas – Scarecrow, Jr.
Benjamin Salisbury – Tin “Nickle” Boy
Bradley Pierce – Boris
Shayna Fox – Bela
Shay Astar – Andrea
Alex Zuckerman – Frank Jr.
Aaron Michael Metchik – Jack Pumpkinhead


            The Oz Kids is a sequel series to the Wizard of Oz franchise created by L. Frank Baum. While taking cues from Baum’s works and the 1939 MGM film, it was an entirely original concept with all-new characters.

Dot and Neddie.


            The series was set sometime in the future after the chronicled events of the Oz stories. Dorothy Gale (Erika Schickel) had married Zebediah Hugson (Ross Mapletoft)--a main character from the 4th Oz book, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz--and they had two children: fearless tomboy Dot (Julianne Michelle), who essentially wore a version of Dorothy’s well-known blue dress, and her inquisitive younger brother Neddie (Eric Lloyd). They also had a dog named Toto (an uncredited Frank Welker, reprising the role from the 1990 animated series), named after Dorothy’s dog—his father. Dot and Neddie spent their time in the Land of Oz along with the children of Dorothy’s friends, who were essentially miniaturized versions of their parents (often with juxtaposed personalities).

Jack, Neddie, Dot, Tin Boy, Scarecrow and Boris.

Amongst them was Scarecrow, Jr. (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), son of the Scarecrow (Andy Milder), who possessed a high intellect but could be very childish when he didn’t get his way; Tin “Nickle” Boy (Benjamin Salisbury), son of Tin Woodman (Steve Stoliar), who was very mechanically inclined and often managed to get into trouble through his trusting nature; the twins of the Cowardly Lion (the only original character never seen on the show), the gentle and easily-frightened Boris (Bradley Pierce) and the aggressive, sometimes bullyish Bela (Shayna Fox); Jack Pumpkinhead, Jr. (Aaron Michael Metchik), son of Jack Pumpkinhead (Mapletoft), who had a neurotic obsession with cleanliness; Frank Jr. (Alex Zuckerman), son of the Wizard (Stoliar), the oldest of the group who inherited his father’s blustery nature along with an inclination for science; and Andrea (Shay Astar), daughter of Glinda (Schickel), who was socially inept and a bit egotistical. On one of their adventures they met Rick (Lawrence Terney), a homeless man from New York City who helped them when they were there and was invited to come live in Oz where he’d have a home and friends. Character designs by Stephen Anderson, Ken Boyer, Christi Lyon and Tom Owens took strong influence from the 1939 film.

Otto taking a break from being a jerk with Toto II.

            The primary antagonist of the show was Otto (Chauncey Leopardi), the son of the Nome King (Marc Allen Lewis) who had once tried to take over Oz but ended up outsmarted by Dorothy and banished to an underground lair. Because of that, and because of feeling lonely for being left out, Otto often tried to cause as much trouble for the Oz kids as possible—often with disastrous results for him. Occasionally, he managed to convince Andrea to help in his schemes. Andrea, while not exactly bad, had a mischievous streak in her and often used her magic to play pranks on the others when she felt like she was being ignored or excluded by them. Mombi (Darlene Cornley), an evil witch that first appeared in The Marvelous Land of Oz, returned once from her banishment to try and conquer Oz again utilizing Dot’s magic belt; the one that once belonged to the Nome King and was used by Dorothy to defeat him (this confrontation was also the only time Dot actually used the belt).

Promo image of the kids with all you ever see of their parents.

            The Oz Kids debuted on ABC on September 14, 1996. It was the second animated series based on Oz to air on the network after the aforementioned 1990 series. Similarly to Muppet Babiessole adult character, none of the original Oz characters were ever fully seen on screen. The kids’ parents’ bodies were only shown from the neck down, and the Nome King was only seen in shadow on the wall. The entire series was written by Willard Carroll, a fan of the franchise who was known to have the largest privately held collection of Oz memorabilia. In fact, the series was produced by Hyperion Animation, a subsidiary of Hyperion Pictures co-founded by Carroll. Michael Muhlfriedel composed the music. Animation duties were handled by Wang Film Productions.

Oz Kids VHS with Andrea front and center.

            The Oz Kids only ran for nine weeks before it left the network. The series was released onto nine VHS collections by Paramount Home Video between October 1st and February 18th. The VHS releases had a different opening to the show: showing the kids running around and playing as the titles and credits flashed over them. The show’s original opening featured Dot talking to the audience to introduce them to her and her world.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“Toto, Lost in New York” (9/14/96) – Andrea accidentally sends Toto off in Frank’s hot air balloon to New York.

“The Nome Prince and the Magic Belt” (9/21/96) – Otto finds one of the Nome King’s tunnels under Oz and manages to get his hands on Dot’s magic belt.

“Underground Adventure” (9/28/96) – An earthquake swallows up the kids’ bus and sends them on an underground adventure.

“Who Stole Santa?” (10/5/96) – The kids try to help elf Wisk find a missing Santa before Christmas.

“Christmas in Oz” (10/12/96) – While the kids try to get Rick to come to the Christmas party, Otto tricks Andrea into thinking she wasn’t invited.

“The Monkey Prince” (10/19/96) – One of Dot’s fairy tales inspires Neddie to program the computer to take him and Toto to China where the Monkey Prince steals it from them.

“Journey Beneath the Sea” (10/26/96) – Jack takes the kids on a boat ride where they end up taken to a magical world by two mermaids.

“Virtual Oz” (11/2/96) – Lonely Otto traps the kids in a virtual game in order to play with them, but patchwork baby causes an overload and traps them in the program.

“The Return of Mombi” (11/9/96) – The kids have to rescue their parents from Mombi, the evil witch.

August 30, 2019

GORDON BRESSACK DEAD AT 68



You can read the full story here.

He was a writer that worked on a number of Saturday morning shows, including The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Smurfs, Snorks, Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, The Real Ghostbusters, Pound Puppies (1986), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), The Adventures of Raggedy Ann & Andy, DuckTales, New Kids on the Block, The Wizard of Oz (1990), Tiny Toon Adventures, Yo Yogi!, Darkwing Duck (for which he was also a story editor), Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain and Loonaticks Unleashed.

August 24, 2019

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS SHOW


THE BERENSTAIN BEARS SHOW
(CBS, September 14, 1985-March 7, 1987)

Hanna-Barbera Productions, Southern Star/Hanna-Barbera Australia Productions




MAIN CAST:
Ruth Buzzi – Mama Bear, Grizzly Gran, Teacher Jane, Officer Marguerite, Queen Nectar, various
Brian Cummings – Papa Q. Bear, Mayor Honeypot, Too-Tall Grizzly, Bigpaw, Jake, Henchweasels, Grizzly Gramps (1 episode), various
David Mendenhall – Brother Bear
Christina Lange – Sister Bear
Josh Rodine – Cousin Freddy
Frank Welker – Raffish Ralph, Professor Actual Factual, Weasel McGreed, Grizzly Gramps, Farmer Ben, Henchweasels, Snuff the Dog, various
Marissa Mendenhall – Additional female voices


            The Berenstain Bears is a series of illustrated children’s books that was very much a family effort. Stanley Berenstain and Janice Grant met in 1941 while attending the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. After the interruption of World War II, they were married in 1946 and worked as art teachers while also pursuing a career in cartooning; providing humorous sketches and cover art for various publications. In 1951, they began a series of humorous how-to books described by Stan as “cartoon essays” with The Berenstain’s Baby Book, inspired by the raising of their son, Leo.

Jan, Mike, Leo and Stan Berenstain.


            In the 1960s, the Berenstains wanted to make books for young children. They decided to make their main characters a family bears as the animal held wide appeal and were easy to draw, plus it was fun to dress them in silly clothing. Initially they came up with three characters: a wise Mama Bear who wore a blue dress with polka dots; an overenthusiastic Papa Bear in bib overalls who was a bumbling carpenter; and a bright, lively cub named Small Bear (later becoming Brother Bear when he gained siblings Sister and Honey).

The original book.

The manuscript, titled Freddy Bear’s Spanking, found its way into the hands of Random House editor Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Geisel challenged the Berenstains to look deeper at their characters, their relationships and their motivations while also improving the writing and structure. After two years, Geisel was satisfied enough to send the book to print in 1962 as The Big Honey Hunt. With no plans for a sequel, Geisel advised the Berenstains to look into a different animal for their next book as bears were plentiful in fiction. However, that notion soon came to an end when Geisel called and told them “We’re selling the hell out of that bear book.” A sequel came in 1964, titled The Bike Lesson. Without consulting them and for “marketing reasons”, Geisel had renamed the authors as Stan and Jan and added The Berenstain Bears title to all subsequent books.

Papa, Mama, Brother and Sister Bear.

As described by the Berenstains, their books usually followed a basic formula: Small Bear would present a problem to Papa bear who would proceed to make it worse at his own expense, until Mama came in and straightened everything out. The books usually dealt with real life issues drawn from their own life experiences such as bullying, lying, being scared of the dark, sportsmanship, safety, physical health and more. Sister Bear was introduced in 1974’s The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby in response to requests from female readers, and Honey’s arrival was announced in 2000’s The Birds, the Bees and the Berenstain Bears along with a contest to name her.

The latest 2019 release of the series.

Despite frequent criticisms that the books are overly syrupy and sappy lectures disguised as stories and for perpetuating outdated gender roles, The Berenstain Bears have sold over 260 million copies and received multiple awards. Their sons, Leo and Mike, began working on the “Big Chapter Book” series under their parents’ names. Following Stan’s death in 2005, Mike collaborated with Jan on new installments while Leo took over the business side of the franchise. Jan would pass away in 2012, leaving Mike to continue to create new books in the series.

The Bears settling down for Christmas...fish?....in the first animated special.

On their way to becoming a media franchise, The Berenstain Bears have had board games, card games, toys and video games made about them. And, of course, cartoons. Beginning in 1979, a series of five annual specials were made by Perpetual Motion Pictures and The Cates Brothers Company and aired on NBC. With the success of those specials, it was decided to turn the concept in a full-fledged television series. Joe Cates and Buzz Potamkin remained as producers and Elliot Lawrence continued to score the music; taking cues from his pieces in the specials but at a faster pace, including the series’ theme which incorporated parts of  John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever”.

The Bears showing off their home.

The Berenstain Bears Show debuted on CBS on September 14, 1985. Like the books, the series focused on the daily lives of Papa (Brian Cummings), Mama (Ruth Buzzi), Brother (David Mendenhall) and Sister (Christina Lange) in their woodland home of Bear Country. Brother and Sister often deal with the trials and tribulations of growing up and often turn to their Papa for help, who then promptly manages to screw things up spectacularly leaving Mama to clean up the mess. Occasionally, the Bear family has to deal with the machinations of local con artist Raffish Ralph (Frank Welker, using a W.C. Fields impression) and the schemes of Weasel McGreed (an original creation for the show, also Welker) who wanted to take over Bear Country any way possible. Other characters included the cubs’ cousin Freddy (Welker) and his dogg, Snuff (also Welker); Too-Tall Grizzly (Cummings), the tallest cub in school and frequent bully; Professor Actual Factual (Welker), the community intellectual and owner of the Bearsonian Institution (a museum); Mayor Horace J. Honeypot (Cummings), who often mixed up letters in words as he spoke; Bigpaw (Cummings), a giant throwback to prehistoric cave bears; Queen Nectar (Buzzi), a bee in charge of making “Wild Wild Honey” that Papa is always after; and Papa’s parents Gramps (Welker, Cummings in 1 episode), who liked to build ships in bottles and complain about government, and Gran (Buzzi), who enjoyed telling people their fortunes, among others.

Series villains Weasel McGreed and Raffish Ralph.

The series was mostly written by the Berenstains along with Martin Pasko, Rebecca Parr, Rowby Goren, Earl Kress, Bill Shinkai and Linda Woolverton, with Goren serving as the story editor. It ran for two seasons, airing 13 episodes per season comprised of two segments each; half of which were adapted straight from the books. Animation duties were moved to Southern Star/Hanna-Barbera Australia, where the character designs were refined to be more in line with the books’ updated style as well as simplified for weekly animation. The series was nominated for a 1987 Daytime Emmy Award and a Humanitas Prize.

Professor Actual Factual.

The Berenstain Bears Show remained on the network until the 1987 fall schedule. It was rerun on TLC as part of their Ready Set Learn programming block in 1998 until a contract dispute forced them to take it off. The show ended up being acquired by DiC Entertainment and was run in the early 2000s as part of the DiC Kids Network programming block with some editing and time compression. Random House Home Video began releasing collections onto VHS in 1985 collecting three segments apiece. The opening title was altered, removing the introductions showing highlights from the episode, flipping a shot and changing the on-screen title. The episode title cards, which featured a portrait of the Bears on a green background, were replaced with a shot from the opening title. The end credits were also changed to scroll up the screen and the music sped up. In 1995, Sony Wonder took over distribution of the VHS collections after signing a deal with Random House, doing so until 2004.



Between 2003 and 2004, a second The Berenstain Bears cartoon was produced by Nelvana and aired on PBS for 40 episodes also comprised of two segments each. Because of laws necessitating that Nelvana only employ Canadian talent, Stan and Jan’s involvement in the series was minimal. As new books had been published since the CBS series, the 2003 series was approached as a supplement to that rather than as a pure reboot. However, both shows were never aired together, certain characters never appeared, and some elements like character personalities were changed. 



EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“The Messy Room / The Terrible Termite” (9/14/85) – Mama wants the cubs to clean their room or she’ll throw out all their stuff. / The cubs discover Raffish Ralph is using Terrible Termite to further his insurance business.

“Go Fly a Kite / The Trojan Pumpkin” (9/21/85) – Papa inadvertently enters the hang-gliding contest. / Papa plants a pumpkin seed that turns into a mutant pumpkin.

“The Spooky Old Mansion / The Fly Away Pizza” (9/28/85) – Mama encourages her family to face their fears about the spooky mansion down the road. / Papa’s pizza flies away during the pizza-twirling competition.

“The Giant Bat Cave / The Wild Wild Honey” (10/5/85) – The cubs help the bats protect their cave from Raffish Ralph. / Papa steals some of Queen Nectar’s honey.

“The Neighborly Skunk / The Missing Pumpkin” (10/12/85) – The Bears worry when a skunk moves in next door. / The cubs search for Farmer Ben’s prize pumpkin.

“Too Much Birthday / To the Rescue” (10/19/85) – While her family plans a big birthday party, Sister is distressed about getting older. / Papa tries to help the cubs earn their merit badges but ends up needing rescuing.

“The Soccer Star / Shoot the Rapids” (10/26/85) – Brother tries out for the soccer team. / The Bear Scouts head out for their whitewater rafting merit badges.

“Knight to Remember / The Super Duper Bowl” (11/2/85) – The cubs and Professor Actual Factual find a cursed suit of armor that seems to come alive at night. / Raffish Ralph comes up with a football scheme.

“The Not So Buried Treasure / The Condemned Backscratcher” (11/9/85) – The Bears discover a treasure map and go on a hunt. / A new highway threatens an important landmark.

“Kong for a Day / Blaze a trail” (11/16/85) – Bigpaw ends up captured and put on display. / Papa interferes with the cubs’ latest scouting activity.

“No Girls Allowed / The Missing Dinosaur Bone” (11/23/85) – When Sister finally gets the best of Brother, he and his friends exclude her from their clubhouse. / The Bears decide to investigate the disappearance of a dinosaur bone from the museum.

“The Spookiest Pumpkin / The Dancing Bees” (11/30/85) – Papa is determined to win the pumpkin carving contest, making his design in utter secrecy. / Papa buys a book from Raffish Ralph to help him get some of Queen Nectar’s honey.

“Learn About Strangers / The Disappearing Honey” (12/7/85) – The Bear parents teach Sister about dealing with strangers. / The cubs investigate the disappearance of Papa’s honey supply.

Season 2:
“In the Dark / Ring the Bell” (9/13/86) – Sister becomes scared of the dark after Brother reads her a scary book. / Papa ends up accepting a challenge against Two-Ton at the fair while Queen Nectar wants revenge against him for honey theft.

“Forget Their Manners / The Wickedest Weasel Spell” (9/20/86) – Brother and Sister pick up bad habits after Too Tall pushes them around at their cousin’s party. / Weasel McGreed plans to hypnotize Bigpaw to turn him against Bear Country.

“The Truth / Save the Bees” (9/27/86) – A fight leads to the cubs accidentally breaking Mama’s favorite lamp. / Weasel McGreed targets the bees in order to cut off Bear Country’s honey supply.

“Get in a Fight / The Bigpaw Problem” (10/4/86) – Bad moods spread throughout the family, leading to fights. / Bigpaw causes tremors in town that end up saving it from an earthquake Weasel McGreed starts.

“Get Stage Fright / Go Bonkers over Honkers” (10/11/86) – Sister gets the lead in the school play and develops stage fright. / Raffish Ralph trades some geese to Bigpaw for a gold rock.

“The Great Honey Pipeline / The Great Grizzly Comet” (10/18/86) – Papa promises not to go after wild honey anymore, but the cubs soon discover he broke his promise. / Aliens arrive to warn that the coming comet will collide with Bear Country.

“The Sure-Fire Bait / The Cat’s Meow” (10/25/86) – Papa is determined to catch an elusive fish. / While catsitting the Bears decide to figure out why Puff has such a unique meow.

“The Trouble with Friends / The Coughing Catfish” (11/1/86) – Sister wants some friends her own age, but the one she ends up getting is far too bossy. / The cubs try to figure out how to motivate the community to clean up the pollution from the lake.

“The Substitute Teacher / The Mansion Mystery” (11/8/86) – The cubs decide to pull pranks on their substitute teacher. / The cubs and Papa investigate a series of thefts at Squire and Lady Grizzly’s mansion.

“Bust a Ghost / The Ice Monster” (11/15/86) – Papa decides to dress up like a ghost to scare the Bear Scouts. / Raffish Ralph stumbles across an ice monster.

“The Crystal Ball Caper / The Raid on Fort Grizzly” (11/22/86) – Weasel McGreed plans to steal Gran’s crystal ball. / Raffish Ralph and Weasel Mcgreed plan to rob the fort’s treasury.

“The Forbidden Cave / The Hot Air Election” (11/29/86) – The Bear Scouts end up trapped in a cave. / Raffish Ralph convinces Papa to run for public office, leading to a heated race.

“Life with Papa / Save the Farm” (12/6/86) – While Mama is visiting her cousin, Papa is in charge and ends up making a mess of the house. / Farmer Ben has to fend off Weasel McGreed’s attempts to buy his farm.

August 17, 2019

MADELINE / THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MADELINE


MADELINE / THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MADELINE
(The Family Channel, September 14-November 29, 1993
ABC, September 9-December 2, 1995
Disney Channel, September 9, 2000-March 1, 2001)

DiC Entertainment




MAIN CAST:
Tracey-Lee Smythe - Madeline (season 1), Danielle (season 2)
Andrea Libman – Madeline (season 2-3 & 1st film)
Stevie Vallance (as Stephanie Louise Vallance) – Genevieve, Miss Clavel
Whoopi Goldberg – Miss Clavel (2nd film)
Jane Mortifee – Miss Clavel (3rd film)
Kelly Sheridan – Danielle (season 1)
Chantal Strand – Danielle (season 3), Madeline (2nd & 3rd film)
Ashleigh Ball – Danielle (3rd film)
A.J. Bond (season 1), David Morse (season 2), Michael Hayward (season 3), Alex Hood (1st film) & James Street (3rd film) – Pepito
Vanessa King - Chloe (season 1-2)
Shannon Chan Kent – Chloe (2nd & 3rd film)
Kristin Fairlie – Nicole (season 1)
Veronika Sztopa – Nicole (season 2), Chloe (season 3)
Brittney Irvin – Nicole (season 3 & 2nd film)
Jessie Young – Nicole (2nd film)
Britt McKillip – Nicole (3rd film)
Sonja Bell – Marie (season 1-2)
French Tickner – Lord Cucuface
Christopher Plummer – Narrator (season 1-2 & 1st film)
Christopher Gaze – Narrator (season 3, 2nd & 3rd film)


            Madeline is a media franchise that has spanned television, films, comic books, computer games, and toys. But it began as a series of children’s books created by Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans had been writing children’s since 1934 after forming a relationship with Viking Press editor May Massee. But his most famous creation would come in 1939.

The original Madeline cover.


 The series centered on the titular character--who was named after his wife—that was one of twelve girls (all unnamed until the animated adaptations) attending a Catholic boarding school in Paris. All of the girls looked similar except for Madeline, who was not only the smallest of them but the only one to have red hair. She was adventurous and inquisitive, which often meant she found herself in mischief. Their teacher was Miss Clavel, who was strict but loving and genuinely cared for her charges and their ideas. Lord Cucuface was chairman of the school’s board of trustees, and although he often tried to lay down the law, he was really a big softie.

Miss Clavel and her charges.


Bemelmans wrote the books in verse, often starting with “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…” and ending with Ethel Barrymore’s famous closing line to rebuff curtain calls “that’s all there is, there isn’t any more”. Bemelmans illustrated them from an overhead point of view which was deceptively simplistic for younger readers but artistically complex for adults. Perhaps too complex, as Massee ended up deeming the book too sophisticated for Viking to publish.


So, the first book, titled simply Madeline, was published by Simon & Schuster instead. In it, Madeline was rushed to the hospital for an appendicitis. The book sold well and was named a Caldecott Honor Book for 1940. In 1952, United Productions of America adapted the book into a 6-minute animated theatrical short that was nominated for an Academy Award. Realizing their error, Viking published the sequel books beginning with 1953’s Madeline’s Rescue. Each subsequent book introduced the girls’ pet dog, Genevieve, their neighbor, the Spanish Ambassador, and his son, Pepito, as well as Pepito’s naughty cousins. Five books in total were published in Bemelmans’ lifetime, with one sitting in the pages of the August 1961 issue of Holiday Magazine until it was finally released as a book in 1985. All but that story would go on to become audio books recorded by Carol Channing, and the first three sequels would become educational films by Rembrandt Films. Bemelmans would pass away in 1964, but his creation would continue to live on. Beginning in 1999, his grandson, John Bemelmans-Marciano, produced and released 6 new books through Scholastic’s former Arthur A. Levine imprint.



In 1960, Madeline came to television as the books were adapted into a one-hour color episode of The Shirley Temple Show; starring Gina Gillespie as Madeline, Michel Petit as Pepito and Imogene Coca as Miss Clavel. Madeline would return to animation in 1988 when DiC Entertainment adapted the first book into a special for HBO that received an Emmy Award nomination. The remaining books were adapted for The Family Channel by CINAR and France Animation Studios between 1990 and 1991.

Madeline and Genevieve.

With each special proving a success, The Family Channel decided to go all the way and turn Madeline into an animated series. Going back to DiC, and with no more material from the books to adapt, the series went on to feature original stories with life-lessons that emulated Bemelmans’ work. Returning from the specials was Judy Rothman Rofé as a writer, lyricist and story editor and Christopher Plummer reprising his role as the narrator. Joining Rofé on writing duties was Susan Amerikaner, Betty Birney, Diane M. Fresco, Cambria Gordon, Rowby Goren, Anthony Kant, Sandy Kopitopoulos, Peter Landecker, Stephan Martiniére, Martha Moran, Sandra Ryan, Reed Shelly, Janice Sonski and Shelley Zellman.

Miss Clavel dealing with Pepito's mischief.

Madeline made its debut on September 14, 1993 on The Family Channel. Its original theme was “I’m Madeline”, originally composed by Joe Raposo for the specials with lyrics by Rofé and re-recorded by the series’ new voice cast. Assuming the role of Madeline was Tracey Lee Smythe, with Stephanie Louise Vallance (also doubling as a voice director) as Genevieve and Miss Clavel, A.J. Bond as Pepito and French Tickner as Lord Cucuface. Each actor used a French accent to emphasize the setting of the series, as well as a sprinkling of authentic French words in their dialogue. Following the death of Raposo and the departure of his replacement on the specials, Jeffrey Zahn, Andy Street took over composing duties for the show with Rofé still providing lyrics. Each episode contained one song number, and Plummer’s narration began and ended the same was as the original books. Animation duties for the season were handled by Plus One Animation Co., Ltd.



Madeline ran for 20 episodes, proving a ratings success for The Family Channel. It was decided to try and expand the audience by bringing it to network television. In 1995 the show came to ABC under the title The New Adventures of Madeline. Andrea Libman took over the role of Madeline while Smythe became the new voice for classmate Danielle. David Morse also took over as Pepito. While “I’m Madeline” was retained for several episodes, the series had a new theme in “Hats Off to Madeline” by Street and Rothman and a new animation company in Sae Rom Animation, Inc. Debuting on September 9, 1995, the new season proved a ratings disaster; the lowest of any of ABC’s offerings that season. After its 13 episodes had aired, ABC pulled it off its schedule and replaced it with reruns of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Lord Cucuface preparing for one of his trips with the girls.

That could have been the end of Madeline if The Disney Channel had not acquired rerun broadcast rights in 1997. Once again proving a ratings success on cable television, Disney Channel commissioned the creation of a third season of all-new episodes. At this time, DiC was a subsidiary of Disney and the year before had released the first entry into their direct-to-video division, Madeline: Lost in Paris. Although Plummer remained for the film, Christopher Gaze took over as the narrator for the season and several of the girls’ actors were shuffled or replaced. Pepito also received a new voice actor in Michael Hayward (following Alex Hood in the film). A new recording of “Hats off to Madeline” was used as the theme (however, the 2001 home video releases used a different song called “Our Madeline”). Pre-production animation work was handled by Slightly Off Beat Productions while Hong Ying Universe handled the post-production.

Miss Clavel leading the girls out of the Old House.

Still going under The New Adventures title, the third season debuted on September 9, 2000 and ran for a total of 26 final episodes. The series was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program in 2001 and won in 2002. DiC would go on to produce two more films in the franchise. My Fair Madeline aired in 2002 as part of DiC Movie Toons on Nickelodeon, which only saw Ticker and Gaze returning and Chantal Strand, who played Danielle in the third season, taking over as Madeline. Vallance was also present as Genevieve, but Whoopi Goldberg replaced her as Miss Clavel. The final film, Madeline in Tahiti, was made in 2005 and released in 2007.

Miss Clavel is kidnapped by Quasimodo.

A series of 10 educational point-and-click computer games were made between 1995 and 1999. The Magnificent Puppet Show, Thinking Games, European Adventures, Classroom Companion: Preschool and Kindergarten and 1st and 2nd Grade were all published by Creative Wonders (a joint venture between ABC and Electronic Arts); Thinking Games Deluxe, Rainy Day Activities, 1st and 2nd Grade Reading and 1st and 2nd Grade Reading Deluxe were published by its successor, The Learning Company; and 1st and 2nd Grade Math was published by its successor, Mattel Interactive. The games were made in cooperation with the animated series, utilizing the “I’m Madeline” theme and the first season voice cast; in particular Smythe, who was featured in every game. In fact, several of the animators who made the game had worked on the animated series.

Complete DVD set.

Classic Media released the first season through Sony Wonder on VHS and DVD starting in 1998. Buena Vista Home Video released Lost in Paris onto VHS in 1999, and it was later re-released onto DVD by Shout! Factory in 2010. The third season was released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Trimark Home Video on various VHS and DVD sets between 2001 and 2002. MGM Home Entertainment released My Fair Madeline onto DVD in 2002 as well. Madeline in Tahiti was released in some regions in 2007, but didn’t go worldwide until it was made available for streaming on iTunes and Amazon Video in 2015. In 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment released three single-disc collections: Adventures in Paris featured 6 episodes from season 3; Merry Musical Melodies contained various musical numbers from the show; and Bonjour Madeline contained all 6 TV specials. In 2014, they combined the three releases into a box set as well as released Madeline: The Complete Collection containing every episode plus the 6 specials. 




EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Madeline and the 40 Thieves” (9/14/93) – When hats, gloves and scarves go missing all over town, Madeline, Pepito and Detective Moreau work together to solve the case.

“Madeline and the Dog Show” (9/18/93) – Genevieve is disqualified from the dog show for not being a purebred until she rescues the Mayor’s dog.

“Madeline and the Easter Bonnet” (9/22/93) – Madeline makes a new hat for the milk horse, but the wind carries it away to the shop of a struggling designer.

“Madeline and the New House” (9/26/93) – The Old House ends up condemned and the girls are forced to relocate to a new one where the neighbors don’t particularly like them.

“Madeline and the Soccer Star” (9/30/93) – Everyone looks down at Madeline’s cousin visiting from the country until he’s needed to help in the big soccer match.

“Madeline and the Toy Factory” (10/4/93) – A visit to the toy factor ends up with Madeline being accidentally boxed up as a doll and sold to a handicapped girl.

“Madeline at the Cooking School” (10/8/93) – Lord Cucuface enrolls the students into a cooking school, but come Madeline doesn’t receive her diploma since she gave her food to the hungry.

“Madeline at the Ballet” (10/12/93) – The girls are going to perform with a famed ballet master, but Madeline becomes insecure when she’s believed too small to succeed.

“Madeline and the Singing Dog” (10/16/93) – After Genevieve is kicked out of the opera for singing along, she ends up dognapped by an impresario and put into a dinner theater show.

“Madeline’s Winter Vacation” (10/29/93) – The girls and Pepito visit Miss Clavel’s aunt and nephew at their alpine chalet where they become trapped by an avalanche.

“Madeline in Hollywood” (10/24/93) – Madeline is cast in a movie with her idol who turns out to be a spoiled brat.

“Madeline and the Pirates” (10/28/93) – Lord Cucuface takes the girls and Pepito on a cruise, but after they dock Madeline and Pepito are swept away in the boat when the line breaks.

“Madeline’s Birthday at the Zoo” (11/1/93) – Pepito’s father takes him and Madeline to the zoo so the girls can get ready for her birthday party, and a monkey escapes and causes trouble.

“Madeline at the Louvre” (11/5/93) – When Madeline accidentally leaves her painting at the Louvre, it’s mistaken for a masterpiece and hung next to the Mona Lisa.

“Madeline and the Missing Clown” (11/9/93) – Miss Clavel takes the girls to the circus, but the clown scheduled to perform is nowhere to be found.

“Madeline and the Costume Party” (11/13/93) – Everyone’s excited for the costume party at Pepito’s house until all the girls come down with a case of chicken pox.

“Madeline and the Old Violin” (11/17/93) – The girls are scheduled to put on a performance, but the only one of them with any musical talent ends up too injured to perform.

“Madeline and the Mean, Nasty Horrible Hats” (11/21/93) – The girls visit Pepito’s relatives in Spain where they meet his naughty and mischievous cousins.

“Madeline and the Talking Parrot” (11/25/93) – Madeline tries to return a parrot who constantly repeats the same street names over and over.

“Madeline in New York” (11/29/93) – In exchange for the first home run ball of the season, a millionaire gives Madeline the Brooklyn Bridge.

Season 2:
“Madeline and the Lost Crown” (9/9/95) – Madeline convinces the prince of Monaco to leave his crown to pretend to be a normal boy, but they find it missing when they return.

“Madeline on the Orient Express” (9/16/95) – On the way to a spelling bee Madeline and Pepito volunteer to help a snake charmer find his lost snake.

“Madeline and the Dinosaur Bone” (9/23/95) – The girls are excited when Genevieve finds a dinosaur bone until the Old House is besieged by scientists.

“Madeline and the Magic Carpet” (9/30/95) – Pepito throws away a lamp when it fails to produce a genie, but a magic carpet comes to Madeline to help it find the lamp which does have a genie.

“Madeline and the Treasure Hunt” (10/7/95) – The girls participate in a treasure hunt but end up spending most of their time helping others in need.

“Madeline and the Mummy” (10/14/95) – While on a trip to Egypt the kids become lost in the pyramids where a mummy puts a curse on them.

“Madeline’s Detective School” (10/21/95) – Madeline starts a detective school to raise money for Miss Clavel’s gift, but ends up having to find out who’s trying to frame her for theft instead.

“Madeline and the Hunchback of Notre Dame” (10/28/95) – Visiting Notre Dame to convince Pepito to star in their play Quasimodo leads to Miss Clavel being taken by a real one.

“Madeline and the Big Cheese” (11/4/95) – The girls distract Lord Cucuface in order to get Miss Clavel to help them replace his fancy cheese that the mice ate.

“Madeline and the Science Project” (11/11/95) – Genevieve ends up falling asleep in the girls’ scale-model hot air balloon and ends up going for a ride.

“Madeline and the Haunted Castle” (11/18/95) – The girls try to help movie star Sugar Dimples’ homesickness by providing her with a Halloween celebration.

“Madeline and the Wild West” (11/25/95) – Madeline’s horse leads to the girls being invited to attend a rodeo, but then her horse ends up being kidnapped.

“Madeline’s Holiday with Mr. Grump” (12/2/95) – When Miss Clavel is called away, Lord Cucuface replaces her with Mr. Grump who runs the Old House like a boot camp.

Season 3:
“Madeline’s Halloween” (9/9/00) – A Halloween trip to New York leads Madeline to finding some earrings that could lead to Miss Clavel’s missing cousin.

“Madeline and the Spider Lady” (9/16/00) – Visiting Miss Clavel’s cousin at the radio station leads the girls to accidentally broadcasting a scary story without context for the listeners.

“Madeline and the Cancan Cliques” (9/23/00) – Preparing for a cancan competition leads the girls to divide themselves up into unfriendly cliques.

“Madeline at Cannes” (9/30/00) – Needing a warmer climate for her sinuses, Lord Cucuface sends the girls to Cannes where Madeline ends up with terrible sunburn.

“Madeline and the Show Off” (10/7/00) – When Yvette is selected to model for a famous painter, she becomes incredibly full of herself.

“Madeline and the Wedding” (10/14/00) – While the girls help lead a couple to matrimony, Pepito is being teased by his cousin for liking Madeline.

“Madeline on Safari” (10/21/00) – The girls head to Africa to join Nicole’s aunt on a safari.

“Madeline at the North Pole” (10/28/00) – A trip to the North Pole leads the girls to help Santa prepare for Christmas when all the elves end up sick.

“Madeline and Santa” (11/4/00) – Santa overindulges on cakes Madeline bakes causing him to gain so much weight it interferes with his deliveries.

“Madeline and the New Girl” (11/11/00) – The girls are suspicious of the new girl from India after hearing that she’s an “alien”.

“Madeline at Versailles” (11/18/00) – Pepito touches a priceless harpsichord, leaving mud and chocolate all over it.

“Madeline at the Hotel Riche” (11/25/00) – The girls are temporarily relocated to Lord Cucuface’s suite and discover high living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“Madeline on Stage” (12/2/00) – Disappointed with their roles in the upcoming play, Madeline and some of the girls plan to boycott the production.

“Madeline and the Marionettes” (12/9/00) – The girls try to help turn around a puppeteer who has taken to disappointing children for failing to achieve his dreams of being an opera singer.

“Madeline and the Ice Skates” (12/16/00) – A new pair of ice skates leads to Madeline constantly practicing at the expense of everything else.

“Madeline and the Giants” (12/23/00) – Madeline becomes distressed when all the girls are found to have grown except for her.

“Madeline and the Fashion Show” (12/30/00) – The girls are invited to model for a top designer who wants them to wear creations made of cheese.

“Madeline’s Manners” (1/4/01) – The girls and Pepito are sent to an etiquette school, and upon graduation Pepito’s cousin tries to convince him to ditch what he’s learned.

“Madeline and the Magic Show” (1/11/01) – Harry Houdini inspires Pepito to take up magic, which leads to his putting Genevieve in danger.

“Madeline’s Valentine” (1/18/01) – The girls become jealous when Genevieve becomes infatuated with another dog.

“Madeline and the Perfume Factory” (1/25/01) – The girls try to fix a batch of perfume that Chloe ruins with the skunk Pepito snuck in.

“Madeline at the Eiffel Tower” (2/1/01) – Pepito dares Madeline to duplicate her science experiment on the Eiffel Tower and they end up trapped in its elevator overnight.

“Madeline and the Tea Party” (2/8/01) – Movie star Sugar Dimples visits the girls and turns their simple tea party into a Hollywood affair.

“Madeline and the White Lie” (2/15/01) – Madeline attempts to fill in for Lord Cucuface and show around the wealthy American tourists that could potentially donate to the school.

“Madeline and the Dog Who Cried Wolf” (2/22/01) – Genevieve enjoys the attention her ailment brought that she fakes being sick to continue receiving it.

“Madeline at the Flea Market” (3/1/01) – The girls find some old items in the attic that they decide to sell, not realizing one of them was Pepito’s father’s Ambassador ring.

Film:
“Lost in Paris” (8/3/99) – Madeline is taken from the school by a man claiming to be her uncle and is thrown into servitude with other stolen orphans in Madame LaCroque’s lace shop.

“My Fair Madeline” (11/11/02) – Madeline is sent to a London finishing school after attempting to stop two thieves at the Louvre.

“Madeline in Tahiti” (2007) – To prevent Miss Clavel from retiring because of her sinuses, the girls and Pepito convince her to go on a trip to Tahiti.

August 10, 2019

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (1967)


JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
(ABC, September 9-December 30, 1967)

Filmation Associates, 20th Century Fox Television




MAIN CAST:
Ted Knight – Professor Oliver Lindenbrook, Count Saccunson, various
Pat Harrington Jr. – Alec McEwin, Torg, Lars, Gertrude, various
Jane Webb – Cindy Lindenbrook


            Journey to the Center of the Earth (Voyage au centre de la Terre in the original French title) is an 1864 science-fiction novel written by Jules Verne. It was greatly influenced by geologists abandoning the biblical account of Earth’s development and new published findings on the origins of mankind. The novel focused on German scientist Professor Otto Lindenbrock who purchased an original runic manuscript of an Icelandic saga and discovered a coded message on it from 16th-century alchemist Arne Saknussemm. After deciphering the message that revealed a way to the center of the Earth, Lindenbrock, his nephew Axel, and their guide Hans Bjelke, entered a series of tunnels that led them to an entire subterranean world populated with long-thought extinct prehistoric creatures.

The book cover circa 1874.


            Since its initial publication, Journey has been translated into various languages and published around the world. It had influenced other authors to explore similar themes, as well as led to adaptations of the novel into various media. One of those adaptations was the 1959 film released by 20th Century Fox. Written by Charles Brackett and Walter Reisch and directed by Brackett, the film took some liberties with Verne’s original story. Lindenbrock became Sir Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason, replacing Clifton Webb), a Scottish scientist as 19th-century Scots were regarded as the best field geologists. Similarly, Axel became Alec McEwan (Pat Boone) and was more adventurous than his cowardly portrayal in the text. Feeling the story needed an antagonist, Brackett created Count Saknussemm (Thayer David, replacing Alexander Scourby); the evil brother of Arne who wanted to conquer and rule the inner world. Other new characters included female explorer Carla Goteborg (Arlene Dahl) and Hans Bejelke’s (Peter Ronson) pet duck Gertrude serving as comic relief.



            The only reason Fox greenlit the film was because two other Verne-based films—20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days—became box office successes. Journey proved no different when it opened in theaters on December 16, 1959. It took in more than double its production budget and was nominated for several awards.

Oliver, Gertrude, Lars, Cindy and Alec in their animated forms.

            Nearly a decade later, Filmation and Fox came together about turning the film into an animated series. It would be their second following The New Adventures of Superman. Filmation made a few alterations of their own to the material. While still featuring Oliver (Ted Knight), Alec and Gertrude (both Pat Harrington Jr.), Carla would be replaced by Oliver’s niece, Cindy (named Jenny in the film, voiced by Jane Webb), and Hans would be renamed Lars (Harrington). The evil Count Saccunson (Knight) would not only get the spelling of his last name changed, but his henchman would finally gain the name Torg (Harrington).

The Count and Torg.

            Journey to the Center of the Earth debuted on ABC on September 9, 1967. The show’s intro, narrated in character by Knight, introduced the audience to the fact that the characters were all trapped underground after the Count and Torg destroyed the entrance and were in a race to find the center of the Earth and the way back out. Along the way, they all encountered various types of human offshoots and prehistoric creatures on top of threats posed by the Count and Torg. The series was written by Bill Keenan, Ralph Goodman, Ken Sobol, Don Christensen, Barry Gaines, Lawrence L. Goldman, Fred Halliday, Ken Rotcop and Marshall Williams with music by Gordon Zahler.

Druids vs. Wolfmen.

            The series only ran for a single season of 17 episodes. It would be rerun on the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) as part of their Cartoon Quest (later named The Animation Station) programming block from 1993-96. A 10-page story based on the show appeared in the promotional comic America’s Best TV Comics, which was packaged by Marvel Comics and featured stories and ads related to ABC’s upcoming television season. It was drawn by Paul Reinman with letters by Jean Izzo. Whitman Publishing published a tie-in book as part of their Big Little Book series, as well as jigsaw puzzles and coloring books.




EPISODE GUIDE:
“Arena of Fear” (9/9/67) – A giant captures Oliver and puts him into an arena surrounded by cages full of savage creatures for his amusement.

“Caveman Captives” (9/16/67) – While attempting to escape a pit trap, Alec and Oliver are captured by a group of cavemen leaving Lars and Cindy stranded.

“The Creative World” (9/23/67) – After being separated, Lars and Cindy befriend descendants of the ancient druids and help train them to battle sinister wolfmen.

“Creatures of the Swamp” (9/30/67) – The explorers find themselves at the mercy of a tribe that lives in a dangerous swamp.

“The Doomed Island” (10/7/67) – Spider creatures cause the explorers to crash onto an unstable island that can sink at any moment.

“The Frozen Furies” (10/14/67) – The explorers come upon the furies drilling into a glacier that threatens the people living on the surface.

“The Labyrinth Builders” (10/21/67) – Bee people capture the explorers and take them into their hive.

“Land of the Dead” (10/28/67) – A river leads the explorers to a lost civilization that takes the Count, Torg and Alec captive.

“The Living City” (11/4/67) – Having to find an alternate path leads the explorers to a city full of strange creatures.

“The Living Totems” (11/11/67) – Cindy and Alec are charged with retrieving a brilliant diamond from some snow beasts to return it to a group of living totem poles.

“Moths of Doom” (11/18/67) – While Alec and Cindy deal with giant moths, Oliver, the Count, Torg and Lars end up prisoners of beings that call themselves The Controllers.

“Ocean of Destruction” (11/25/67) – The explorers find themselves at the mercy of a group of humanoid creatures that fancy themselves old fashioned pirates.

“Perils of Volcano Island” (12/2/67) – Arne’s trail leads the explorers to a volcanic cavern full of a gas that puts Alec, Cindy and Gertrude into suspended animation.

“Return of Gulliver” (12/9/67) – The explorers find themselves trapped between a giant and a group of tiny people.

“Revenge of the Fossils” (12/16/67) – While investigating some fossils the explorers inadvertently bring them back to life.

“Sleeping Slaves of Zeerah” (12/23/67) – The explorers come across a queen that seems to possess magical powers.

“Trail of Gold” (12/30/67) – The explorers find the gold-filled lost city of Atlantis, but they realize that things aren’t quite what they seem.