Around the World in 80 Days (1972 cartoon)

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Around the World in 80 Days is an animated cartoon for television, lasting only one season of sixteen episodes covering 1972 and 1973, which the NBC television network transmitted during that season. It was the first Australian-produced cartoon to be shown on American network television. The cartoon, all of whose sixteen episodes Leif Gram directed, was loosely based on the novel written by Jules Verne, which Chester "Chet" Stover adapted.

The synopsis[edit]

More comedic in overall tone than Verne's original novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, the cartoon followed a similar course to it, but the motives of this Phileas Fogg differed somewhat from those of his literary forerunner.

The stakes[edit]

The cartoon Phileas Fogg (whose voice Alastair Duncan provided), was passionately in love with Belinda Maze. (Janet Waldo provided Belinda's voice.) Belinda's uncle, Lord Maze (whose voice Owen Weingott provided), was the villain of the cartoon—an evil British aristocrat who sternly disapproved of the idea of the commoner Fogg being his nephew-in-law. But Fogg provided a gentleman's solution: If he could go around the world in eighty days, then Lord Maze would give him Belinda's hand in marriage; Lord Maze reluctantly agreed. To keep it interesting, Lord Maze wagered ₤20,000 that Fogg would fail, and Fogg counter-wagered the same sum that he would NOT fail.

The journey[edit]

Fogg recruited his manservant, Jean Passepartout (voiced by Ross Higgins), and Passepartout's pet monkey Toto, to accompany him. The three employed all the methods of transportation the late 19th Century provided to travelers, e.g., balloons, trains, elephants, and steam ships, in the course of crossing through the wilds of several continents. As they so traveled, Fogg and Passepartout gave tidbits of geographical knowledge to audiences with each of their stops. (The program was intended primarily for an audience of children.)

The complication[edit]

Being evil as he was, Lord Maze hired a saboteur, called Mr. Fix, to stop Fogg, Passepartout, and their journey. This Mr. Fix, unlike his counterpart in Verne's novel, was NOT a Scotland Yard detective attempting to arrest Fogg on suspicion of bank robbery. (The Australian actor Max Osbiston provided Fix's voice.)

The result[edit]

Though he needed an entire season's run of the sixteen episodes to do it, Fogg managed to complete his journey, winning Belinda Maze's hand with little time to spare. Since the two were not keen on repeating his global circumnavigation, there was no second season of the show.

The chapters[edit]

One interesting characteristic of the series is that each chapter has the same structure:

  • Fogg explains to Passepartout where they will travel today.
  • Fogg asks Passepartout to pack the bag with a seemingly random collection of items.
  • Fogg teaches a certain proverb.
  • Fix speaks to himself about his plan to stop Fogg.
  • Fogg and Passepartout go on their way, with Fix trying to stop them.
  • During the journey, Fogg finds the time to explain about the history and geography of the locations they go through.
  • Eventually, all the items Fogg and Passepartout took with them prove to have been essential.
  • The proverb Fogg introduced at the beginning of the chapter also proves to be essential for their success.
  • The chapter ends with Fogg saying "Good show, Passepartout!"

The places and proverbs in each chapter[edit]

Number of chapter Place Proverb
1 London, Buckingham Palace The motto of the wise is, be prepared for surprises.
2 Paris Don't jump to conclusions, or conclusions may jump on you.
3 Switzerland and the Alps There is always a way to save the day.
4 Rome Don't put the cart before the horse.
5 Naples, Pompei Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
6 Mediterranean sea, Greek islands Doubting your chances before you're done, may cost you the race you might have won.[1]
7 Greece, Athens There is a time and a place for everything.
8 Egypt and the pyramids Always think a problem through, before deciding what to do.
9 Sinai and Petra The cure to most fear is knowledge.
10 Gaza, Damascus and Palmyra The little things in life are like links in a chain: they never seem important by themselves.
11 Persia, Isfahan To win life's game without a fall, keep your eyes open and on the ball.
12 India, Udaipur We always help ourselves whenever we help others.
13 China sea, China Honesty is the best policy.
14 Japan, Tokyo, Mount Fuji Our rewards will be sweet, if we keep our world neat.
15 USA, California, San Francisco Don't let your thoughts get in a rut; the knife which spreads may also cut.
16 USA, Louisiana, New Orleans; boat to England. Learn to use what you have got, and you won't need what you have not.

Known production history[edit]

The cartoon was produced through Australian Air Programmes International, one of whose staff producers, Walter J. Hucker, served as the showrunner. NBC transmitted the sixteen episodes in the United States on its Saturday-morning schedule during the 1972-1973 season.

The theme[edit]

The cartoon's theme, whose music John Sangster composed (set to the tune of Mademoiselle from Armentières), had lyrics, the writer of which was unknown as of early December 2010. These are the words of the theme song:

Around the world in 80 days, Passepartout.
So Fogg may marry Belinda Maze, Passepartout.

Fogg may fail because of Fix,
Unless Fogg nixes Fix's tricks.
Around the world with Passepartout.

Around the world in 80 days,
So Fogg may marry Belinda Maze,
Around the world with Passepartout.

Availability[edit]

Around the World in 80 Days was released in the United States (in Region 1 format) on a 2 DVD set by Visual Entertainment Incorporated on September 27, 2011. No additional details are known.

References[edit]

  1. ^ On the other hand: "If you're over confident, you might miss the boat".

External links[edit]