(NBC, September 9-December 23, 1972)
Alastair Duncan – Phileas Fogg
Ross Higgins – Jean Passepartout
Max Osbiston – Mr. Fix
Owen Weingott – Lord Maze
The fall is here, and that typically meant: NEW TV SCHEDULES! These are the Saturday morning schedules that kicked off the new season across the decades:
|(Top) The original Waldo characters: Odlaw, Wizard Whitebeard, Wenda, Waldo and Woof.|
(Bottom) The crew gets a new look: Arf, Wizard Whitebeard, Wenda, Waldo, Odlulu and Fritz.
Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The race was on to get the key before Anti-Wanderer Odlulu (Eva Carlton) got it first. Odlulu was a former Wanderer who was impulsive and patient, wanting the keys to fulfill her own selfish desires for success, attention, or as some banal appliance—like a hair dryer. She was a gender-flipped version of franchise antagonist Odlaw, but rather than just be an evil double to Waldo, she wore an outfit similar to the classic Wenda outfit in Odlaw’s black and yellow stripes, a brimmed cap, and Odlaw’s pointed glasses. Odlulu was accompanied by her pet ferret, Fritz (Michael), who wore a purple and green hoodie. While he was loyal to Odlulu, he was even more loyal to his stomach and couldn’t keep from being distracted by any food item they encountered. Despite being the series’ “villain”, Odlulu wasn’t really malicious or evil. Rather, she was just self-absorbed and oblivious to the negative affects her actions took on others or the world around her. Her use of the keys often led to chaos that the Wanderers had to overcome and eventually clean up. There were times she even helped and seemed remorseful; of course, whatever lesson she learned was gone by the time the next episode rolled around. It was never explained how Odlulu knew about the location of the keys or got around as she always seemed to be in place ahead of the Wanderers, or why she left the Wanderer society.
A number of recurring gags occurred through the series’ run. Wherever Odlulu and Fritz were, there would always be an occasion for someone to misidentify Fritz’s species; prompting Odlulu (and occasionally someone else) to correct them. Situations arose where Waldo found himself needing to construct a very elaborate device which he always christened with a name that ended in “-inator” (kind of like Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb, but without the whole trying to conquer the world part). As a nod to the books, there would be several moments where the viewer was tasked with finding Waldo in a crowded shot. These 10-second intervals would typically occur when the Wanderers went to a new location or Waldo needed to make one of his devices. Waldo would wander off while Wenda was distracted, prompting her to ask “Waldo? Where’s Waldo?” when she realized. Unlike the books and the original series’ “Waldo Minute”, these scenes weren’t as densely populated and did feature some limited motion as living things would gradually move out of the way to expose Waldo more. For the first 8 episodes, Tju would appear to introduce the episode and task the viewer with finding three additional objects in those scenes, returning at the end to highlight where they were and promote the next episode. After a few weeks’ hiatus, Tju would only occasionally appear to challenge the viewers to find Waldo as many times as they could in a quick character pop-up sequence.
While Peacock had all of the episodes, only the first season and first seven episodes of season 2 were available to view for free; the remainder required a paid subscription to the service. The first season was also made available to stream on Hulu, and purchasable on Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play and Vudu. Several clips have been uploaded to the official Peacock Jr. YouTube channel as both promotional material and interactive content.