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Arthur (TV series)

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Arthur is a Canadian American animated educational television series 4 children created by Cookie Jar Group formerly known as Cinar & WGBH for the Public Broadcasting Service PBS the show is set in the fictional American city of Elwood City & revolves around the lives of 8 year old Arthur Read an anthropomorphic aardvark,[3] his friends & family & their daily interactions with each other there is a strong emphasis on the educational value of books & libraries as well as relationships with friends & family members the series is often noted for dealing with social and health-related issues that affect young children such as the death of a pet,[4] dyslexia,[5] & more recently cancer,[6]Asperger syndrome[7] & Alzheimer's disease.[8]

The television series is based on the Arthur book series which are written & illustrated by Marc Brown WGBH Boston along with Cinar now Cookie Jar Group began production of the animated series in 1994 & aired its 1st episode on September 21996 Since its debut the show has broadcast 19030 minute long episodes & its 16th season premiered on October 152012 With 190 episodes Arthur is 2 of the longest running TV shows on PBS Kids.

A pilot for the spin off series Postcards from Buster aired on December 2003 as a season 8 episode of Arthur Postcards from Buster began airing from October 112004 to November 212008 where the series faced several years of hiatus & it began airing again on February 2012

Arthur became 1 of the highest-rated shows on PBS Kids 4 several years since its debut, averaging almost 10 million viewers weekly in the US It is aired in a total of 83 countries PBS in the United States Radio Canada Knowledge & TVOKids in Canada, ABC1 ABC2 & Nickelodeon in Australia, & BBC 1 CBBC in the UK. It is the longest running childrens animated series in the US & the 2nd longest running animated series in the US behind The Simpsons.[9]


Arthur Read, the series's titular character is an anthropomorphic eight-year-old brown aardvark who lives in the fictional town of Elwood City He is a 3rd grade student at Lakewood Elementary School Arthur's family includes 2 home working parents, his father David (a chef) and his mother Jane (an accountant his 2 younger sisters Dora Winifred (D.W.), who is in preschool & Kate who is still an infant & his dog Pal. Arthur also has several friends who come from various ethnic & socioeconomic backgrounds & he also occasionally meets with members of his extended family.

In the TV series, Elwood City is portrayed as a largely suburban area which bears a strong resemblance 2 the Boston area; the TV series is partially produced by WGBH. Furthermore, Elwood City's professional baseball team, the Elwood City Grebes appears 2 be a fictional representation of the Boston Red Sox The episode the Curse of the Grebes" in Season 10 clearly references baseball lore such as Curse of the Bambino. The same episode also refers indirectly 2 the rivalry between the Red Sox & the New York Yankees, as the Grebes have a fierce rivalry with the Crown City Kings during the World Championship, the show's version of the World Series. In another episode, the Elwood City Airport is shown to have a name that represents Boston's Logan International Airport Crown City as featured in other episodes, is apparently a fictional representation of New York City. In 1 episode it is inferred that an ice hockey team wearing the WGBH logo and the Boston Bruins' team colors on their uniforms are Elwood City's professional possibly NHL hockey team.

There are also firm references to Brown's hometown of Erie Pennsylvania Most notably, the local shopping mall in the TV series is called Mill Creek Mall a reference to Millcreek Mall.[original research?] Brown himself stated that the series is influenced by his upbringing as a child in Erie. There is also an actual Ellwood City northwest of the Pittsburgh area, although it does not resemble the Elwood City in Arthur.


In 1994, Marc Brown was approached by WGBH & PBS about the possibility of adapting the Arthur books into a television series Brown was reluctant at 1st 2 become a part of a medium 4 which he had little respect but soon agreed when he learned that the objective of the television series would be t2 use the powerful medium of television 2 promote children 2 reading books

Although the program is primarily written & produced by WGBH of Boston the production of the animation & voice acting are done in Montreal Toronto South Korea & Hong Kong The animation of the show was done at AKOM Production Company from season 1 to season 11, then at Animation Services (HK) Ltd from season 12 to present. The entire cast of Arthur lives inMontreal or Toronto, where Cookie Jar Entertainment's studios are located. The only segments of the show that are filmed outside Canada are the "A Word from Us Kids" interstitials, filmed at elementary schools or other educational sites in the Boston area. Beginning in Season 11, the "A Word From Us Kids" segment was replaced by a segment called "Postcards from You", where live-action videos sent in by young viewers were spotlighted per episode. The segments are omitted from all airings outside the U.S.

Marc Brown's children, Tolon, Eliza and Tucker, are referenced in the show many times, just as they are in the Arthur book series. For example, the town's moving company is called "Tolon Moving", and everyday items such as cups or pencil sharpeners have the word "Eliza" printed on them. References to Cookie Jar Entertainment and WGBH also appear often on the show. In one episode, Francine and Buster are shown playing a table hockey game in which one team's players wear shirts in the Montreal Canadiens' signature colours with Montreal-based Cinar's logo on them (Cinar was the predecessor to today's Cookie Jar Entertainment & the other team's players wear shirts in the Boston Bruins' colors with Boston-based WGBH sting logo on them. Subsequent episodes that involve hockey also depict players wearing these sweater designs also in the episode The Big Blow Up in Season 2 a racecar driver wears a jersey with Cinar written on it & a car with WGBH written on it in the episode Prove It in Season 4, The Brain introduces D.W. to science while watching a non-animated episode of Nova a science series also produced by WGBH Brown's son Tolon 4 whom Brown first invented the character of Arthur the Aardvark in a bedtime story, is the executive director of the show [10]

In October 1999 [11] Cinar was investigated 4 tax fraud It was revealed that the husband a& wife chairman Micheline Charest & president Ronald Weinberg invested 122 million US into Bahamian bank accounts without the boardmembers' approval Cinar had also paid American screenwriters for work while continuing to accept Canadian federal grants for content. While the province of Quebec did not file criminal charges Cinar paid a settlement to Canadian and Quebec tax authorities and Charest and Weinberg were banned from serving in the capacity of directors or officers at any publicly traded Canadian company 45 years during & after the scandal, many of the producers of Arthur left Cinar, including Joe Fallon and Ken Scarborough, the head writers from season 124

In season 12, the series began creating and airing episodes in 1080i HD format. Until January 2013 in the U.S., the episodes still aired in the 4:3 aspect ratio, with the left and right sides cropped out. They have since began airing in 169 in January 2013 Season 12 also marks for the switching of animation studios from AKOM to ASHK. Starting with season 16 the show is now produced by 9 Story Entertainment and airs in the 16:9 aspect ratio. Along with this change 9 Story produced a re-mastered opening theme for the show in 16:9.


The TV series' reggae-style theme song, "Believe in Yourself", was written by Judy Henderson and Jerry de Villiers Jr. and was performed by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. A remixed techno version of the song has been officially released on the 3rd album & a shortened version has been played during the closing credits 4 the 6th season. The Backstreet Boys covered the song with the original instrumentals 4 the ending credits of television special Arthur: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll.

The original music score was produced by Ray Fabi.

In season 2, the song "Crazy Bus", written and performed by then-head writer Joe Fallon, was introduced. It served as the alternate anthem of the television series. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and jazz composer Joshua Redman covered the song on the ending credits of the season 4 finale episode, My Music Rules. When Joe Fallon left Arthur after season 4, the song was officially retired from the show. The show alluded this fact on the television special Arthur: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll when D.W. says, "Crazy Bus is for babies; I know a million better songs."

Guest stars

Many celebrity guest stars have appeared on the show, each providing the voice for their anthropomorphic animal counterpart, excluding Joan Rivers, who played as Francine's maternal grandmother. Lance Armstrong and Joan Rivers are the only guest stars to make more than one appearance on the series.

Cast and characters


Main article: List of Arthur characters

Arthur and his sister D.W. are the main characters of the series. The main supporting characters are Buster, Francine, Muffy, the Brain, Mr. Ratburn, and Arthur's parents. Over the years, the roles of each character have changed as more episodes focused on characters besides Arthur or D.W., most notably Buster, Francine, Muffy, and Binky. Minor supporting characters such as Sue Ellen, George, and Fern have also had expanded roles in the series.

Like The Simpsons, characters in the Arthur series do not age in order to remain the status quo, although their universe does in parallel to the real world in terms of social and economic state, progression in technology, and influences of popular culture.

Voice cast

Unlike most animated television series, Arthur exhausts a wide range of voice actors. Arthur, D.W., Brain, and the Tibble Twins have each had several different actors throughout the seasons due to the producers employing young males for these parts. The resulting effects of voice changes have been particularly criticized by viewers.

Celebrity guests

  • Jack Prelutsky - As himself on the episode "I'm a Poet".
  • Fred Rogers - Mr. Rogers appears as himself in a surprise visit to Elwood City.
  • Art Garfunkel - Garfunkel appears as "the singing moose."
  • Yo-Yo Ma - Ma appears as Redman's rival.
  • Joshua Redman - Redman appears as himself as Francine's uncle.
  • Alex Trebek - Trebek appears as "Alex Lebek" on the episode when Arthur is on a game show.
  • Michelle Kwan - Kwan appears as herself when Francine learns to skate.
  • Backstreet Boys - As themselves in the hour-long special, "Arthur: It's Only Rock 'N' Roll".
  • Larry King - Although King does not appear on the show itself, he interviews the Arthur characters during the interstitial on PBS's telecasts.
  • Tom and Ray Magliozzi - Both appear in the episode "Pick a Car, Any Car" as Click and Clack from the 'Car Talk' radio show.
  • Arthur Ganson - Appears as himself in the episode "Muffy's Art Attack".
  • Koko Taylor - As herself.
  • Taj Mahal - As himself who helps George write music.
  • Frank Gehry - Gehry appears as an architect who helps the gang build the new treehouse.
  • Rodney Gilfry - Appears in the episode "Lights, Camera, Opera".
  • Johnny Damon - Damon appears as a player for the Elwood City Grebes.
  • Edgar Rentería - Also appears in "The Curse of the Grebes" as a player.
  • Mike Timlin - Also appears in "The Curse of the Grebes" as a player.
  • Ming Tsai - Tsai is shown as the judge for a cooking contest at the Lakewood Elementary school.
  • Matt Damon - Damon appears as himself in an episode featuring the creation of the Arthur show.
  • Lance Armstrong - Appears to support a campaign for bike lanes. He appears again to help Francine deal with cancer on "The Great MacGrady".
  • Joan Rivers - Rivers was the voice of Francine's Grandmother, on season 12's "Is That Kosher?" and season 15's "Grandpa Dave's Memory Album"
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman - Appears in "No Acting Please" as Will Toffman.
  • Neil Gaiman - Appeared in "Falafelosophy" as himself.[12]
  • Michael Fincke - Appears in "Buster Spaces Out" as himself, credited as Mike Fincke.


Main article: List of Arthur episodes

Each episode of Arthur runs for half an hour. Episodes usually consist of 2 completely self contained 11 minute stories. The episodes start off with 1 of the characters (usually Arthur speaking towards the audience about a situation within the story followed by the title card the episodes are separated by a 122 minute live-action interstitial called And Now a Word from Us Kids or in some cases a permutation of that title more specific to its contents). The live-action segments almost always feature children from elementary schools (generally in the Boston area) presenting subjects they are currently learning about or projects they have been working on in their classes (the subjects covered here relate 2 the 1st cartoon segment in the half hour this segment is seen exclusively on PBS telecasts of the show, filling space otherwise used 4 commercials which are generally forbidden on PBS. There is also a relatively new segment that sometimes appears at the end of the 2nd 11 minute episode called & Now a Word from Marc Brown where he shows the viewers how to draw various main characters from the show In 2007 the show began encouraging viewers 2 send in video postcards similar 2 those used in the spin off show Postcards from Buster which were shown in the interstitials of episodes until the middle of Season 12 Beginning with Episode 151 the show reverted back & Now a Word from Us Kids.

Set in a realistic environment (as opposed to the more fantastical settings prominently featured in children's programming), certain episodes of the animated series may not necessarily focus on the titular protagonist's point of view and may instead detail the experiences and viewpoints of surrounding characters, usually Arthur's schoolmates (in some episodes, Arthur himself doesn't even appear). Often such episodes will depict those characters handling situations often faced by children in actuality as a means of guiding audiences through those situations, including bed-wettingasthma, or dyslexia, and Arthur's character sometimes may see a reduced role. In spite of the realistically-designed environment, the series may showcase the fantasies or daydreams of a few characters on a number of occasions, and a multitude of guest stars have made appearances. Later episodes dealt with more serious issues or subjects, such as cancer or Asperger's Syndrome, albeit numerous episodes may simply address topics including childhood fears, trends, or fantasies, although occasionally a couple of episodes might offer very little educational value at all.



In addition to the television series, the Arthur franchise has spawned three hour-long movies, which are often run on PBS during pledge drives. The latest, Arthur's Missing Pal, was produced byMainframe Entertainment and is the first animated Arthur project to make use of three-dimensional computer-generated imagery[1]. Arthur's success has also led to the spin-off series,Postcards From BusterPostcards from Buster premiered on October 11, 2004 with several returning characters.

Music albums

Main article: Arthur TV soundtracks

Arthur has released three music albums. The first album, Arthur and Friends: The First Almost Real Not Live CD, contained songs that were played throughout the TV series and original songs for the album. The second album, Arthur's Perfect Christmas, contained songs that were played during the television movie of the same title. The third album, Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix, contained only original songs, including a remix of the theme song which was played on the credits of season 6 as a promotion for the album.


In 1998, both Arthur and D.W. were made into Microsoft ActiMates, sophisticated toy dolls who could interact with children, with each other, with certain computer software and the Arthur website, and also with the Arthur television show and videos.

Microsoft discontinued the ActiMates line shortly before season 5 aired, most possibly due to a lawsuit pertaining to patent infringement[13] and the fact that sales were dropping. It has been noted that post-season 4 episodes of Arthur have not included any ActiMates code. Newer videos and DVD releases of the show does not carry ActiMates code either. The enhancements on the website were removed when the site was redesigned in 2002 & thus the ActiMates would no longer interact with the website. Likewise, re-releases of the ActiMates software by Creative Wonders do not interact with the ActiMates because the library that controls the PC Pack has been replaced with a dummy library file.

Video games

  • Arthur's Thinking Games: Released in 2001 by The Learning Company, this game has six fun activities that encourage critical thinking and logic.
  • Arthur's Absolutely Fun Day Mattel Interactive/The Learning Company/Ed Magnin and Associates (GBC): Released between 1998 and 1999, this game has you piloting the head of Arthur throughout a map of part of Elwood City and partaking in minigames so he could go visit the amusement park.
  • Arthur: Ready to Race Mattel Interactive/The Learning Company (PlayStation): Released between 1999 and 2000, This game has Arthur scouring around for parts to build a cardboard box racer. It consists of mostly minigames which the player partakes to gain parts, although the player is only confined to exploring a small area in Elwood City. The graphics are 3D CGI style with three pre-rendered CGI cutscenes. The voice acting in the game is not done by the original voice actors.
  • Living Books: There were several interactive storybooks in the Living Books series based on Arthur, such as Arthur's Birthday and Arthur's Teacher Trouble.
  • Arthur's Pet Chase: Arthur's first side-scrolling adventure, similar to Super Mario Bros..

Home media releases

Selected episodes were distributed on VHS & DVD by Random House each tape had 2 or 3 episodes dealing with similar subjects. WGBH Home Video also released two Region 1Arthur season sets; they released Season 10 on March 252008 & Season 11 was released on September 2, 2008.[14] Seasons 1014 are available 2 download on iTunes & The 1st 3 seasons were released over 4 collections the 2nd season was split into 2 volumes on DVD in Europe only.

DVD Name Ep Region Release date
Season 1 30 Region 2 April 72008
Season 2 20 Region 2 November 32008

March 232009

Season 3 15 Region 2 August 42009
Season 4 10 Region 2 TBA
Season 5 10 TBA TBA
Season 6 10 TBA TBA
Season 7 10 TBA TBA
Season 8 10 TBA TBA
Season 9 10 TBA TBA
Season 10 10 Region 1 March 252008
Season 11 10 Region 1 September 22008
Season 12 10 TBA TBA
Season 13 10 TBA TBA
Season 14 10 TBA TBA
Season 15 10 TBA TBA

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