July 15, 2017


(Discovery Kids, NBC, July 9, 2005-July 15, 2006)

Discovery Kids, WGBH Boston, Soup2Nutz

Sarah Gadon (ep. 1-14) & Tajja Isen (ep. 15-26) – Jodie Arthur
Tony Daniels – Joe the Magnificent, Mad Jack

            They were just three ordinary seven-year-old friends from Brooklyn, New York. Joe Arthur was an aspiring magician. Sam was an amateur inventor and history buff. Fred was headstrong and brash and loved sports. However, they stopped being ordinary when Joe’s uncle, flawed stage magician Joe the Magnificent, gave him a magical book on his birthday that allowed the kids to travel through time. The Book, however, had a mind of its own; seemingly shunting them off to random places due to the boys’ lack of knowledge on how to use it properly.

The first Time Warp Trio book.

            That was the basis of The Time Warp Trio; a series of children’s books created and written by Jon Scieszka with illustrations by first Lane Smith and later Adam McCauley. Published by Puffin Books, 16 books were released between 1991 and 2006. The series followed the three boys as they stumbled through time with The Book, encountering various historical figures and even their 22nd Century great granddaughters--Joanie, Samantha, and Freida--who also used The Book to travel through time; although much more adeptly than the boys.

The boys (right) meet their great granddaughters (left) in the 22nd Century.

            WGBH Boston, in association with Soup2Nutz, adapted the books into an animated series through funding from The National Endowment for the Humanities. As with the books, Joe (Mark Rendall), Sam (Darren Frost) and Fred (Scott McCord), now depicted as 10-years old, travelled through time with The Book, encountering the various peoples and historical figures that dwelled there. They had to find The Book in each new time period before being able to get home (and generally to safety). Also featured were the elder Joe (Tony Daniels), Jodie (Joanie renamed, voiced by Sarah Gadon for half the show and Tajja Isen for the rest), Samantha (Laurie Elliott) and Freddi (changed from Freida, voiced by Sunday Muse), as well as the younger Joe’s parents Mr. (Tom Arnold) and Mrs. Arthur (Susan Roman), Joe’s sister Anna (Annick Obonsawin) and Fred’s mean older brother Mike (Dan Petronijevic). Newly created for the show was the recurring villain Mad Jack (also Daniels); Joe’s evil uncle who wanted The Book in order to rule eternity. The character models by John Dee  differed slightly from the style used in the books, although they retained their respective familiar characteristics.

The boys surrounded by Mayans.

            Time Warp Trio began on July 9, 2005, airing both on Discovery Kids (currently Discovery Family) and on NBC as one of the final programs of the programming block Discovery Kids on NBC. It was also slated to air on PBS Kids and PBS Kids Go! on the same day, but never ended up being broadcast (PBS Kids does currently have the distribution rights to the show as of this writing). Each episode was followed by a segment detailing the real history behind the plot or objects from the preceding story narrated by one of the characters. Kathy Waugh served as the show’s head writer for the first half of episodes with Peter K. Hirsch filling the role for the remainder. The series was written by them, Gary Apple, Glen Berger, Cydne Clark, Steve Granat, Gentry Menzel and Matt Steinglass. Scieszka and Smith served as the series’ consultants. The theme song was performed by Riddlin’ Kids and written by Steve D’AngeloJohnny “Stuntman” Obercian and Terry Tompkins. The rest of the show’s music was composed by Eggplant Productions, Inc.

Even experience can't help one totally avoid the chaos of time travel.

            The show only ran for a single season of 26 episodes, taking a hiatus in February of 2006 before burning off their remaining episodes on July 15th with a marathon. It continued to air on NBC until September when Discovery Kids’ contract with the network was allowed to run out as Discovery wanted to focus exclusively on their own channels. Time Warp Trio remained on Discovery Kids until 2010 when it became The Hub after Discovery partnered with Hasbro.

One of the graphic novels.

In August of 2006, various episodes were adapted into graphic novel and easy reader formats by HarperCollins. That same year, Funimation Productions released Past, Present & Future, a DVD compilation of six episodes. In 2010, they released Passport to Adventure with three episodes. As of mid-2017, the official Time Warp Trio website was still live and continued to provide games and activities, as well as information on the show and its characters.

“The Not-So-Jolly Roger” (7/9/05) – Fred’s desire for buried treasure pits the boys against Blackbeard.

“2105” (7/16/05) – A class trip ends up sending the boys into the future where they meet gun-toting robots and their great-granddaughters.

“You Can’t, But Genghis Khan” (7/23/05) – Experiencing life in 12th Century Mongolia teams the boys up with 9-year-old Temuijin, aka Genghis Khan.

“Tut Tut” (7/30/05) – The boys accidentally end up in Ancient Egypt where they meet 10-year-old Thutmose III.

“Sam Samurai” (8/6/05) – A haiku sends the boys back to Japan in the middle of the Tokugawa Shogunate where the great leader Tokugawa Ieyasu is being targeted.

“See You Later, Gladiator” (8/13/05) – The boys end up facing a gladiator in ancient Rome.

“Lewis and Clark…and Jodie, Freddi and Samantha” (8/20/05) – The girls wanted to go camping, but instead they end up on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

“Viking It and Liking It” (8/27/05) – The boys just wanted to play a game and instead end up on Leif Ericson’s expedition to America.

“Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge?” (9/3/05) – The boys travel to 19th century New York City where they meet Emily Roebling and Thomas Edison.

“Me Oh Maya” (10/1/05) – The boys compete in a game of Maya ringball in Mexico.

“The Good, the Bad and the Goofy” (10/8/05) – The boys head to the Old West where they face a stampede, the Cheyenne, and Custer’s Seventh Cavalry.

“Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba” (1/7/06) – Fred and Joe meet Napoleon in Paris while Samantha hangs out with pioneering aeronaut Sophie Blanchard.

“The Seven Blunders of the World” (1/14/06) – When the book gets stolen, the boy shead to Babylon to find it.

“Jinga All the Way” (1/21/06) – Jodie, Sam and Fred join fierce Queen Jinga on her tribe’s journey to meet the Portugese governor in 17th century Angola.

“Birdman or Birdbrain?” (2/4/06) – The book’s pages transform into rongorongo script and sends Freddi, Samantha and Fred to Easter Island.

“Dude, Where’s My Karma?” (2/11/06) – Sam, Fred, Samantha and Freddi have to help Joe’s ancestor get married or else Joe will disappear from history.

“My Big Fat Greek Olympics” (2/18/06) – Fred and Samantha are sent to the Olympic games in ancient Greece where they have to help Plato avoid a historical disaster.

“Wushu Were Here” (2/25/06) – When Sam gets trapped in the book, Anna, Fred and Joe head to the Tang dynasty in China to figure out how to free him.

“What’s So Great About Peter?” (7/15/06) – After hearing some stories about his ancestor, Sam Fred and Samantha head back to Russia to help him escape Peter the Great.

“The Caveman Catastrophe” (7/15/06) – The kids trade Jodie’s binoculars to Neanderthals to get the book back, but suddenly end up hairy.

“Nightmare on Joe’s Street” (7/15/06) – Frankenstein’s Monster escapes from Mary Shelley’s imagination into Joe’s apartment.

“Breaking the Codex” (7/15/06) – Jodie, Freddi and Joe head to the Renaissance where they have to protect Leonardo Da Vinci from Mad Jack.

“Break an Egg” (7/15/06) – The boys end up in 1911 Antarctica and discover Mad Jack lured them to the one place too cold for the book to work.

“The High and the Flighty” (7/15/06) – After getting a distress call, the girls head to 1937 to try and solve the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

“Harem Scare’m” (7/15/06) – Jodie, Sam and Fred travel to the Ottoman Empire where they meet Selim II and his monkey, Dimples.

“Plaid to the Bone” (7/15/06) – In 14th century Scotland, Uncle Joe and Mad Jack engage in a battle over the fate of the universe.


Anonymous said...

I think that everything posted was actually
very logical. However, think on this, suppose
you composed a catchier post title? I ain't suggesting your content isn't good., however suppose you added a headline to possibly grab
a person's attention? I mean "TIME WARP TRIO" is a little boring.
You ought to look at Yahoo's front page and see how they create article headlines to
get viewers interested. You might add a related video or a
related picture or two to grab people excited about what you've
got to say. In my opinion, it could make your posts a little livelier.

Chris Buchner said...

You do realize that it's not an "article title" but rather the actual name of the show? It's meant to help readers find the shows they're looking for. They don't need to be punched up beyond that.