(NBC, Syndication, September 9, 1989-??, 1992)
DiC Entertainment (season 1), Saban International Services, Worldvision Enterprises, Frostback Productions
John Candy – John Candy
Lewis Arquette – Xavier DeForest III
Valri Bromfield – Nurse Molly
Danny Mann – Chester
Tony Ail – George “Binky” Jones (season 1-2)
Chiara Zanni – Alex Dawson (season 1-2)
Andrew Seebaran – Rick Quimby (season 1-2)
E.G. Daily – Alex Dawson, George “Binky” Jones, Rick Quimby (all season 3)
Danielle Fernandes (season 1), Cree Summer (season 2), Candi Milo (season 3) – Robin McClain
Willow Johnson – Vanessa Van Pelt (season 1-2)
Gail Matthius – Vanessa Van Pelt (season 3)
Tom Davidson – Iggy Jones (season 1-2)
Katie Leigh – Iggy Jones (season 3)
Originally studying journalism at McMaster University, John Candy ended up starring in several small roles throughout the early 1970s until landing a spot in Toronto’s branch of The Second City improvisational troupe. As a member, he began to achieve wide North American popularity that only seemed to increase once the troupe spun off into the television series Second City Television (SCTV). In 1979, Candy began to branch out by being cast in larger films such as 1941 and The Blues Brothers. He continued to have starring or supporting roles in movies of varying success throughout the 1980s and appeared twice on Saturday Night Live.
In 1989, Candy decided to use his experience as a camp counselor to produce a Saturday morning television series. Created by Joel Andryc, Ellen Levy and Phil Harnage and developed by Jack Mendelsohn and Scott Shaw along with Candy, Camp Candy centered on camp counselor John Candy (voicing himself) and his ethnically diverse collection of young campers. Although there were more depicted in wider shots, the primary campers included nature lover Robin McClain (Danielle Fernandes, Cree Summer & Candi Milo); tomboy Alex Dawson (Chiara Zanni & E.G. Daily); rich and snobby fashionista Vanessa Van Pelt (Willow Johnson & Gail Matthius); hypochondriac Iggy Jones (Tom Davidson & Katie Leigh) and his more adventurous younger brother George “Binky” Jones (Tony Ail & Daily); and arrogant prankster Rick Quimby (Andrew Seebaran & Daily). The camp’s nurse, Nurse Molly (Second City veteran Valri Bromfield) had a poorly-hidden crush on Candy, although Candy himself was smitten with the camp’s receptionist, Miss Sweetingham.
|DeForest and Chester plotting.|
Most episodes would center around Candy showing his campers how to do something outdoors, which would almost always remind him of a story. He would proceed to regale his charges with the tale, teaching a lesson about nature and life in the process. Some episodes also dealt with crooked developer Xavier “Rex” DeForest III (Lewis Arquette) and his dim-witted henchman, Chester (Danny Mann). DeForest wanted nothing more than to tear down Camp Candy and the surrounding forest in order to build a condominium near Lake Katchatoree.
Camp Candy was introduced to audiences through the Saturday morning preview special Who Shrunk Saturday Mornings, which was hosted by the cast of Saved by the Bell. The show began its run the next day on NBC on September 9, 1989, replacing fellow SCTV alum Martin Short’s show The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley on the network’s schedule. It was written by Doug Molitor, Bradley Kesden, Sean Roche, Skip Shepard, Anthony Adams, Christina Adams, Chris Bittler, David Carren, J. Larry Carroll, Diane Dixon, Mark Edward Edens, Michael Edens, Sam Graham, Chris Hubbell, David Markov, Michael O'Mahony, Sharon O'Mahony, Chris Weber, Karen Willson, Betty G. Birney, Eleanor Burian-Mohr, David Ehrman, Jack Hanrahan, Sandra Ryan, Kati Rocky and Judy Rothman Rofé. The series was produced by DiC Entertainment with animation from Sei Young Studios, Ltd. Harry Nilsson composed the theme, which was sung by Nilsson and Candy. The rest of the series’ music was handled by Shuki Levy. Playing over the closing credits were songs about the camp set to the tune of various well-known campfire songs.
After running for two seasons, the show was cancelled by NBC as part of their animation purge in favor of more teen-oriented programming. However, the series was revived in 1992 for syndication in order to use Candy to attract his fan base, primarily preteen boys, to daytime television. Production was picked up by Saban International Services, bringing on Haim Saban as an executive producer along with Candy and Andy Heyward, with distribution by Worldvision Enterprises. The primary difference between the two versions, along with the recasting of all the kids’ voices to replace the Canadian actors, was the addition of live-action segments starring Candy that would bookend the episodes. Conceived by Candy himself, he would discuss various facts about the great outdoors and wildlife before leading into the day’s animated adventure. The revival, however, only lasted one additional season.
|Nothing like a little TV in the woods.|
Much as Short’s previous series had done, some of Candy’s former Second City colleagues made guest-appearances on the program. Amongst them were Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin and Dave Thomas. Other notable guest-stars included Roddy McDowall, David Lander, Marcia Wallace, and Candy’s own children, Jennifer and Chris.
|Camp Candy, the comic.|
In 1990, Marvel Comics published a 6-issue series based on the show. Thermos released a lunch box and Milton Bradley produced two 60-piece puzzles. In 1993, Anchor Bay Entertainment released several VHS tapes containing various episodes; the only release of the series so far.
“The Forest’s Prime Evil (9/8/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Small Foot, Big Trouble” (9/16/89) – Robin gets separated from the group during a birdwatching hike and ends up having to help a baby Bigfoot find his mother.
“The Katchatoree Creature” (9/23/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Tough as Nayles” (9/30/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Bird is the Word / Best Behavior” (10/7/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Fool’s Gold” (10/14/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Sleight of Hand / Thanks, But No Pranks” (10/21/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Mind Over Matter / Brat Pact” (11/4/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“May the Best Parents Win” (11/11/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Not So Brae Brave / Opposites Attract” (11/18/89) – John discovers a treaty from George Washington that gives the camp’s land to an Indian tribe.
“Indian Love Call / Spoiled Sports” (12/2/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Rick Gets the Picture / Poor Little Rich Girl” (12/9/89) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Christmas in July” (12/16/89) – The campers try to fend of a heatwave by make-believing it’s Christmas-time while also having to teach Vanessa about the Christmas spirit.
“Robo-Camp / The Glasnost Menagerie” (9/8/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Color War and Peace” (9/15/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Camp Cuisine / Take the Compass and Run” (9/22/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Candy Springs” (9/29/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Wish Upon a Fish” (10/6/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Taking the Bully by the Horns / Rock Candy” (10/13/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Dear Mom and Dad” (10/20/90) – The kids write home to their parents explaining how each was responsible for the destruction of the mess hall.
“Stand Up and Deliver / Ruthless Campers” (10/27/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Camp Candy’s Funniest Home Videos” (11/3/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Robin’s Ark” (11/10/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Candy and the Ants / Smart Moose, Foolish Choices” (11/17/90) – John tries to save his camp from a swarm of Navy Ants. / NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“One Million Years B.C.” (11/24/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Jokers of the Wild / Uncle Rexie” (12/1/90) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Scare Package” (1/19/91) – Iggy begins seeing monsters everywhere after John shows the campers his favorite scary movie.
“TV or Not TV” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Rock and Rest / Rick Van Winkle” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“The Last Word” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“A Ribbeting Experience / The Bamboo Woodpecker” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Wild, Wild Candy” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“When It Rains…It Snows” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Saturday Night Polka Fever” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Chester’s Millions” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Bee Prepared / Signs of Silence” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Dr. Tongue’s Amazing Adventure / Lucky Dog” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Wild World of Camping / Total Lack of Recall” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Battle of the Badges / The Return of the Magnificent Three” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Host, Bobby Bittman” - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
Originally posted in 2016. Updated in 2019.
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