Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Literary Toons: Clifford, the Big Red Dog (2000)

Writer-artist Norman Bridwell's Clifford, the Big Red Dog, was brought to television by Scholastic Productions and independent producer Mike Young in 2000. The series lasted 2 seasons, spread out over 3 years (2000-03), followed by a prequel series, Clifford's Puppy Years.

Clifford (John Ritter) is the family pet of the Howards, and more specifically, is owned by Emily Elizabeth Howard. When not with the family, Clifford is on various misadventures with his canine friends. Ritter's passing in 2003 may have been what put an end to the series, although Scholastic & PBS could've arranged for the British cast to take over if needed. Yes, they had a separate cast for British broadcasts of the series. I just don't get it.

"Welcome to Birdwell Island" explains how the Howards moved from the city to the island.



It does look like a form of flash animation, doesn't it? Taking the original character designs that Bridwell created and transferring them onto a computer to animate them was meant to be the hook for the kids that were reading the original books.

Rating: A.

4 comments:

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Clifford (John Ritter) is the family pet of the Howards, and more specifically, is owned by Emily Elizabeth Howard. When not with the family, Clifford is on various misadventures with his canine friends. Ritter's passing in 2003 may have been what put an end to the series, although Scholastic & PBS could've arranged for the British cast to take over if needed. Yes, they had a separate cast for British broadcasts of the series. I just don't get it.

Sometimes these things just happen. I suppose John Ritter's absence put a big dent on things if that was the case.

Incidentally, this wasn't the FIRST time Clifford was animated, that went to Nelvana during the late 80's for a series of educational videos, comparing those to the PBS series here is definitely apples and oranges in terms of quality and approach (Clifford can talk directly to Emily for instance, which was not something they would do in the PBS series). Animation is certainly a lot looser but more Saturday morning-ish for its time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXYM6IGUj-8

hobbyfan said...

Wasn't aware of the earlier Nelvana Cliffords, Chris. Thanks.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

It probably hasn't aged when besides, Clifford gets a voice that is your basic "Dummy" voice (perhaps a little like Scooby-Doo without the "R" sound), since Emily often has to teach him what to do in all these and he'll simply figure it out.'

Also of note, a feature film that came out on 2003 from Warner Bros. didn't realize this came out....
https://youtu.be/eI1e_Hi8o9w

hobbyfan said...

I'll have to look it up.