Clifford the Big Red Dog (TV series)

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Clifford the Big Red Dog
Clifford-the-Big-Red-Dog-title-card.jpg
Also known asClifford
Genre
Created byDeborah Forte
Based on
Directed byJohn Over
Voices of
Composer(s)
Country of origin
  • United States[1]
  • United Kingdom[1]
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes65 (130 Segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time30 minutes (15 minutes per segment) (approx. per episode)
Production company(s)
DistributorScholastic (US, original series)
TV-Loonland AG[3] (Europe, Original Series)
9 Story Media Group (Revival)
Release
Original network
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseOriginal series:
September 4, 2000 (2000-09-04)[4]
February 25, 2003 (2003-02-25)
Revived series:
December 7, 2019
Chronology
Followed byClifford's Puppy Days

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an American-British educational animated television series, based upon Norman Bridwell's book series of the same name. Produced by Scholastic Productions, it originally aired on PBS Kids from September 4, 2000 to February 25, 2003. The UK version (where it was dubbed with British voice actors replacing the original American soundtrack) originally aired on BBC Two on April 1, 2002.[5]

The show was close captioned by the National Captioning Institute when it was seen on PBS Kids in the United States of America and it kept the same close captioning by the National Captioning Institute when it was seen in Canada on CBC.

John Ritter voiced Clifford in all episodes. This was originally done by Brent Titcomb in the 1988 direct-to-video series. Ritter's schedule dictated the production of Clifford the Big Red Dog.[citation needed] By the time the last of the 68 half-hour episodes and the subsequent film Clifford's Really Big Movie were completed, Ritter was back on ABC's prime time schedule, starring in 8 Simple Rules. Ritter's death on September 11, 2003 came less than two weeks after PBS debuted Clifford's Puppy Days. While no new Clifford episodes have been released since Ritter's death, voice actors for the main characters have reprised some of their roles for the Ready to Learn PBS Kids PSAs. Clifford's Really Big Movie serves as the series finale due to Ritter's death, as no new episodes were made to continue from where it left off. However, Clifford's Puppy Days still continued to air until its cancellation in 2006.

On May 16, 2018, Scholastic announced a reboot of the series, which is scheduled for a December 2019 premiere on both PBS Kids and Amazon Prime Video.[6][7]

Overview[edit]

Two 15-minute stories made up each half-hour episode. Usually one story featured Clifford and his canine friends, Cleo, T-Bone and Mac among them; the other story would focus on Clifford's owner, Emily Elizabeth and her friends, Jetta, Vaz and Charley. During scenes focusing on the dogs' perspective, human speech would replace barking to show the storyline from the dogs' point of view.

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 40 September 4, 2000 (2000-09-04) December 5, 2001 (2001-12-05)
2 25 May 16, 2002 (2002-05-16) February 25, 2003 (2003-02-25)

Characters[edit]

Dogs[edit]

  • Clifford the Big Red Dog (voiced by John Ritter; Tom Eastwood in the British version): A giant red Labrador Retriever. The depiction of Clifford's size is inconsistent; he is often shown as being about 30 feet tall (9.1 m) from paws to head, but can appear far larger. The character is based on the imaginary friend of creator Norman Bridwell's wife.[8]
  • Cleo (voiced by Cree Summer; Regine Candler in the British version): A purple female poodle. Her owner is Mrs. Diller.
  • T-Bone (voiced by Kel Mitchell; Benjamin Small in the British version): A yellow and orange, male bulldog. His owner is Sheriff Lewis.
    • T-Bone had a friend named Hamburger (voiced by Kel Mitchell's longtime comedy partner Kenan Thompson) who moved away before Clifford arrived.
  • Mac (voiced by Cameron Clarke): A blue male greyhound. It is revealed in a few episodes that his name is short for Machiavelli. His owner is Jetta Handover.

Humans[edit]

  • Emily Elizabeth Howard (voiced by Grey DeLisle; Joanna Ruiz in the British version): Clifford's 8-year-old[9] owner. Emily Elizabeth adopted Clifford when he was a very small puppy, when her parents gave him to her on her 6th birthday.[10] Emily's love apparently caused Clifford to grow enormous, thus starting their new lives on Birdwell Island. Emily was named for creator Norman Bridwell's daughter and based on the imaginary adventures of Bridwell's wife.[8]
    • Caroline Howard (also voiced by Grey DeLisle): Emily Elizabeth's mom. She owns and works at The Sea Shell, which is a small store on Birdwell Island.
    • Mark Howard (voiced by Cameron Clarke): Emily Elizabeth's dad and the spouse of Caroline Howard.
  • Charley (voiced by Gary LeRoi Gray): Emily Elizabeth's friend who is Jamaican American. He lives on a houseboat with his father, who owns a restaurant.
    • Samuel (voiced by Terrence C. Carson): Charley's father and the Jamaican owner of Samuel's Fish and Chips. He runs most of the pier.
  • Jetta Handover (voiced by Kath Soucie): Mac's owner. She is a friend of Emily Elizabeth. Her mother owns one of the island stores.
    • Cosmo Handover (voiced by Debi Derryberry) is the infant brother of Jetta. He is first seen in the episode "And Baby Makes 4".
  • Vaz (voiced by Ulysses Cuadra): A boy who is friends with Emily Elizabeth and Charley.
  • Sheriff Lewis (voiced by Nick Jameson): T-Bone's owner. The island's sheriff and the soccer coach.
    • He had a friend named Deputy Wilson who moved away with T-Bone's friend, Hamburger.
  • Ms. Diller (voiced by Cree Summer): Cleo's owner.
  • Violet Bleakman (voiced by Edie McClurg) is the first neighbor of the Howards to introduce herself.
    • Horace Bleakman (voiced by Earl Boen) Violet's husband.

Production[edit]

The series was produced by Mike Young Productions and Scholastic Studios.

Setting[edit]

Birdwell Island
SeriesClifford the Big Red Dog
TypeIsland
First appearance"My Best Friend"
Last appearanceClifford's Really Big Movie

The TV series takes place in the fictional island of Birdwell Island, where Clifford lives. The name is inspired by Norman Bridwell, the author of the books, but the letters I and R are switched. Birdwell Island was inspired by Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where Bridwell lived.[11]

Emily Elizabeth used to live in an apartment in New York City, but she moved away with her parents and Clifford to Birdwell Island because her mother told her that a small apartment is no place for a big dog like Clifford.

Format[edit]

The series has at least 5 segments in the show, which are:

  1. Theme Song
  2. 1st Story - The opening theme is followed by the first central story, which is about the dogs, and a problem they face.
  3. Storytime with Speckle - Between the first and second story, Emily Elizabeth reads Clifford the Speckle Story, a small 60 seconds (approximately) time filler about a fictional dog (Speckle), and his animal friends.
  4. 2nd Story - This is followed by another central story, about Emily Elizabeth and her friends.
  5. Clifford's Big Ideas - Before the credits, another 30-second short takes place called Clifford's Big Ideas. The short is basically an animation of an etiquette, a proverb, or basic truth such as "Play Fair", "Help Others", etc., with narration by Emily Elizabeth. This segment was cut-out on PBS Kids Channel airings.

On UK airings, only one story is shown with either the Storytime with Speckle or the Clifford's Big Ideas segments at the end, shortening the show to only about 15 Minutes.

International broadcast[edit]

Clifford the Big Red Dog was shown on BBC One and Tiny Pop in the United Kingdom. It also aired in Canada on CBC and in Latin America on Discovery Kids.[citation needed]It aired in the Republic of Ireland on TG4 from 6 February 2001 in the early 2000s.[12]

2019 reboot[edit]

On May 16, 2018, Scholastic announced a reboot of the series, and will premiere on December 7, 2019 for both Amazon Prime Video and PBS Kids.[6][7] Scholastic, 100 Chickens, 9 Story Media Group, and Brown Bag Films will produce the series.[13]

In other media[edit]

Direct-to-video[edit]

In 1988, before the television series, six direct-to-video episodes based on the Clifford the Big Red Dog children's book series by Norman Bridwell, were released on videocassette by Family Home Entertainment, The Scholastic Learning Library and Nelvana Limited. The animation for direct-to-video series, came from the Peanuts cartoon team of Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, giving them a look similar to the Peanuts cartoons, in contrast to the later television series which was animated by Mike Young Productions. Brent Titcomb voiced Clifford in the videos, and Alyson Court voiced Emily Elizabeth.

Film[edit]

In 2004, Warner Bros. Pictures distributed a feature-length animated film based on the show titled Clifford's Really Big Movie. It was about Clifford, Cleo and T-Bone joining an animal show to win a lifetime supply of dog food to provide for Clifford. This was John Ritter's last film as he died on September 11, 2003, after completing voice work for the film. The film was dedicated to his memory.[citation needed] The movie also stars Wayne Brady as Shackleford the Ferret, Judge Reinhold as Amazing Larry, John Goodman as George Wolfsbottom, and Jenna Elfman as Dorothy the Cow. The film also serves as the series finale.[citation needed]

Video Games[edit]

Original series[edit]

  • Clifford's Reading
  • Clifford's Thinking Adventures

Modern series[edit]

  • Clifford's Learning Activities
  • Clifford's Musical Memory Games
  • Clifford's Phonics
  • Clifford's Big Puzzle Game (A Wendy's Kids' Meal DVD game, available for a limited time only)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Clifford the Big Red Dog (TV series) (2000)". British Film Institute. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "He's Big! He's Red! He's Coming to PBS Kids! Scholastic Productions' "Clifford the Big Red Dog" Animated Series Debuts on PBS Fall 2000" (Press release). PBS. January 7, 2000. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  3. ^ https://www.awn.com/news/tv-loonland-completes-central-and-eastern-european-sales
  4. ^ Zurawik, David (July 13, 2000). "PBS gives kids new Saturday morning shows". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  5. ^ "Search Results - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
  6. ^ a b Sopan, Deb (May 16, 2018). "'Clifford the Big Red Dog' Returning to TV in 2019". New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (June 4, 2019). "Scholastic's New 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' Launches in December". Animation Magazine.
  8. ^ a b Markstein, Donald D. "Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Clifford the Big Red Dog". www.toonopedia.com.
  9. ^ "The Cast of Clifford the Big Red Dog®". PBS Kids. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  10. ^ "Little Clifford" 19 September 2000, 6 candles on cake
  11. ^ Alvarez, Victor Paul (December 16, 2014). "'Clifford the Big Red Dog' Author Dies at 86". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  12. ^ RTÉ Guide, 3-9 February 2001 edition and subsequent dates
  13. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (November 6, 2018). "9 Story deepens PBS KIDS relationship". Kidscreen. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  • Richard Campbell, Christopher R. Martin and Bettina Fabos, Media and Culture, 5th ed. (1963).

External links[edit]