September 30, 2023



(ABC, January 14-December 16, 1995)
Kevin Slattery Productions, Amblin Television, MCA Television Entertainment



Jake Richardson – Peter Warren Hatcher
Luke Tarsitano – Farley Drexel “Fudge” Hatcher
Eve Plumb – Anne Hatcher
Forrest Witt – Warren Hatcher
Nassira Nicola – Sheila Tubman
Alex Burrall – Jimmy Fargo



Judy Blume is the author of children’s, young adult and adult fiction. Having always been concocting stories in her head, she finally decided to put them down on paper when her children began pre-school. He first book, The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo, was published in 1969, and she’d go on to write a total of 32 (to date) across her career. She became one of the first young adult authors to write about controversial topics like masturbation, menstruation, birth control, teenage sex and death. These not only made her books beloved by generations of audiences, but often landed her at the top of banned book lists. She had won more than 90 literary awards and was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, among other honors. Her work has also been adapted several times into other media; with the first being a 1978 TV film based on the novel Forever.

Fudge, Peter and ill-fated turtle Dribble as depicted by Roy Doty.

In 1972, Blume introduced the beginning of the Fudge series of books. “Fudge” was the nickname of Farley Drexel Hatcher, a 2 ½-3-year-old toddler who was very loud, demanding and mischievous with an overactive imagination who deathly hated his given name. Despite the series being named after him, the protagonist was actually his long-suffering older brother, Peter, and the stories were generally told from his perspective. One of his contentions is that Fudge is seemingly allowed to get away with anything or always gets what he wants, along with driving him crazy in the process. Other characters included their parents (naturally), Peter’s best friend Jimmy Fargo, and his neighbor and rival, know-it-all Sheila Tubman.

A more realistic depiction on a later edition cover.

The first book, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, was inspired by Blume’s babysitter, Willie Mae Bartlett, showing her a news article about a toddler swallowing a tiny pet turtle. She wrote a picture book called Peter, Fudge and Dribble that made the rounds to various publishers and was rejected. Later, it was submitted to Ann Durrell, editor of children’s books at E.P. Dutton, who suggested changing it from a picture book and making its story a chapter in a longer book about the whole family. So, Blume did; basing Fudge on her son, Larry, and setting it in the New York City building where her best friend, Mary Weaver, lived. Durrell loved the book, but the title needed to change thanks to the book Peter Potts having just come out. Out of a list of 20 suggestions by Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was chosen and the book was published.

Sheila gets her chance to shine.

The next book was a spin-off, called Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, as Blume wanted to give focus to Sheila after finishing the first book. The next three books—Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Double Fudge—returned to the Hatcher family and their everyday adventures. Blume never actively worked on the series as much as fans kept requesting further installments; rather, she wrote each successive book as soon as inspiration for their story struck. “The thing about funny books is, they have to spill out spontaneously, or they don’t work. (At least that’s how it is with me)” Blume explained on the Superfudge page of her website.

DVD cover to Sheila's film.

The first adaptation of a Fudge book was Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, written and produced by Blume and her son and directed by him. It aired as one of two new entries during the 13th season of ABC Weekend Specials. The next adaptation was a made-for-TV film based on Fudge-a-mania, also airing on ABC on January 7th, 1995. Written and directed by Bob Clark (director of A Christmas Story and its original sequel), the film starred Jake Richardson as Peter, Eve Plumb and Forrest Witt as his parents Warren and Ann, Nassira Nicola as Sheila, Alex Burrall as Jimmy, and Luke Tarsitano as Fudge in his first acting role. Florence Henderson also appeared as grandmother Muriel, bringing a small Brady Bunch reunion with Plumb.

The Hatchers come to life.

As not much information currently exists about Fudge’s live-action adaptations, it’s unknown whether the film was always intended to act as a potential pilot or if the network liked what they saw enough to move forward with a series. Regardless, Fudge the sitcom would debut the following week on January 14th, with all of the film’s primary cast carried over. It was a co-production of Kevin Slattery Productions, Amblin Television and MCA Television Entertainment. Episodes were largely adapted from the chapters of Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge, with a few original stories sprinkled in. As with the books, Peter provided narrative commentary and would address the audience directly in fourth wall breaks. Writers included Tom J. Astle, George Thompson, Robin Stein, Jay Ingram, Joseph Purdy and producers Russell Marcus and Mary Gregory de Butts. Dick Marx, Shelly Berg and Tom Halm handled the music, while costume designs were done by Nancy Fox-Taylor.

Sheila observes some Fudge shenanigans.

The first season ran for only nine episodes, but viewers didn’t have to wait too long as the second season began that August. It wasn’t renewed for a third, however, which could be attributed to either the series failing to match the popularity of its source material or it being a casualty of the Disney purge after they had purchased the network and wanted to populate it with their own programming. Fudge’s second season returned to television in 1997 as part of CBSThink CBS Kids programming block, which was entirely populated by live-action programming designed to fill new educational and informational requirements mandated by the FCC (many sources mistakenly claim that the second season first ran on CBS, but the airdates and schedules contradict that). While the film has seen an official home media release the series itself remains largely forgotten outside of a VHS release for “Ducky Soup”. Only two fair quality episodes, the intro and outro have surfaced online so far. 

Fudge on the hunt for his audience.

The Fudge books continue to remain in print, receiving minor updates between editions to dialogue and featured technology to bring them closer to the current times. In February of 2022, it was reported that an animated adaptation of Superfudge would be coming to Disney+ courtesy of Joe and Anthony Russo (provided it hasn’t become a casualty of Disney’s cost-cutting measures in the interim). To date, Blume’s last published book was 2015’s In the Unlikely Event. In the meantime, she’s remained a steadfast activist against the banning and censorship of books as a  member of the National Coalition Against Censorship; served on the boards of The Authors Guild, the Society of Chidldren’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Key West Literary Seminar; and opened a non-profit book store called Books & Books in her current hometown of Key West, Florida.



“Fudge-A-Mania” (1/7/95) – The Hatchers and Tubmans decide to go to Maine together for a getaway only to have conflicts and chaos ensue.
Season 1:
“How Turtle Got His Name” (1/14/95) – After Fudge ate Peter’s pet turtle Dribble, his father got him a new dog that he named “Turtle” in his honor.
“Saving Up is Hard to Do” (1/21/95) – Fudge becomes an elevator operator in order to earn money for an anniversary gift for his parents.
“Fudge Meets Ratface” (1/28/95) – Fudge climbs to the top shelf in his kindergarten class and refuses to come down as his teacher won’t address him as “Fudge”.
“The TV Star” (2/4/95) – Spending a day at their father’s office results in Fudge becoming the star of a commercial.
“To Catch a Fudge” (2/11/95) – Sheila volunteers to babysit Fuge so that their parents can have dinner together.
“The Birthday Bash” (2/18/95) – Peter is forced to stay home for Fudge’s birthday party.
“The Flying Train Committee” (2/25/95) – Fudge vandalizes the project Peter and his friends were working on the day before it’s due, forcing their parents to build a wall to separate them.
“Uncle Feather” (3/4/95) – In order to keep their wall, Peter suggests getting Fudge a pet bird to help ease his fear of monsters in his room.
“Ducky Soup” (3/11/95) – Peter gives Fudge his stuffed duck until his stuffed monkey can be repaired after accidentally being washed.
Season 2:
“The Grade Escape” (8/19/95) – Fudge fills out Peter’s aptitude test, resulting in Peter’s being labeled a “genius”.
“The Art of Friendship” (8/26/95) – Jimmy’s father speaking at Career Day at school puts a strain on his friendship with Peter.
“No Exit” (9/2/95) – A visit from a cousin causes Peter to reconsider his thoughts about young kids.
“Play it Again, Dad” (9/9/95) – A girl winking at him after watching a street performer encourages Peter to consider taking up music.
“The Candyman Shouldn’t” (9/16/95) – After Fudge is found to have four cavities, his parents challenge the family to give up sweets for a week.
“My Grandmother the Card” (9/23/95) – Their grandmother comes to babysit the kids for the weekend, putting a damper on Peter’s plans with his friends.
“Big Little Lie” (9/30/95) – Peter gets his friends to help him fix a table before his parents find out he and Fudge broke it.
“Bye Anxiety” (10/7/95) – Sheila’s family announces they’re moving to Chicago.
“Bad Housekeeping” (10/14/95) – The new maid causes Peter and Warren to act strangely.
“Odd Man Out” (10/21/95) – Peter and Fudge’s classes end up paired together for a buddy program.
“A Foreign Affair” (10/28/95) – Peter falls for an exchange student from China.
“Slam Funk” (11/4/95) – A new neighbor trounces Peter in basketball.
“Reversal of Fortune” (11/11/95) – Peter is in a panic when he discovers Fudge gave away his lucky nickel.
“The Mouse Trappers” (11/18/95) – Fudge befriending a mouse leads Peter to believe their mother is pregnant with multiple babies.
“Midnight Cowboys” (12/16/95) – Peter is tasked with watching over Fudge during the Hatchers’ New Year’s Eve party.

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