Babar (TV series)
Babar title card
|Directed by||Raymond Jafelice
|Theme music composer||Milan Kymlicka|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||78 (List of episodes)|
Clive A. Smith
|Running time||23 min.|
|Production company(s)||Nelvana Limited
The Clifford Ross Company
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|Original run||28 March 1989 – 3 December 1991|
|Followed by||Babar and the Adventures of Badou (2010-present)|
Babar is a Canadian/French/Japanese animated television series produced in Quebec, Canada by Nelvana Limited and The Clifford Ross Company. It premiered in 1989 on CBC and HBO, subsequently was rerun on HBO Family and Qubo. The series is based on Jean de Brunhoff's original Babar books, and was Nelvana's first international co-production. The series' 78 episodes have been broadcast in 30 languages in over 150 countries. Episodes of Babar currently air on Ion Television and Qubo.
While the French author Laurent de Brunhoff pronounces the name Babar as "BUH-bar", the TV series in its first five seasons pronounces the name as "BAB-bar".
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Kids for Character
- 5 Characters
- 6 Movie
- 7 Critical reception
- 8 Awards
- 9 DVD releases
- 10 2000 series
- 11 PBS funding
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Based on the books by Jean de Brunhoff and Laurent de Brunhoff, the plot focuses on the story of Babar as it is told by him to his children. Babar is a young elephant who undergoes many challenges and adventures. However, Babar always finds the strength to rise above difficulty and search out every cloud's silver lining. Babar is crowned king of the elephants, plans and builds Celesteville, and becomes a father himself. And he learns the greatest lesson of all: "despite life's challenges, great things are possible if one never gets discouraged".
As a young boy, Babar witnesses the slaughter of his mother by a hunter and flees from the Great Forest to the city, where he is cared for by a kind Old Lady. Babar learns the workings of the world and returns to elephant land full of ideas for progress in his land. The elephant elders see that Babar has become wise beyond his years and crown him as the New King of elephant land.
- Gordon Pinsent as King Babar
- Dawn Greenhalgh as Queen Celeste
- Lea-Helen Weir as Flora #2 (1989–present)
- Stuart Stone as Cousin Arthur (1989–1990)/ Alexander #2 (1990–present)
- Lisa Yamanaka as Flora #1(1989–1990)/ Isabelle (1990–present)
- Jeff Pustil as Zephir
- Paul Paddick as Uncle Arthur
- Stephen Ouimette as Pompadour
- Elizabeth Hanna as Madame
- Allen Stewart-Coates as Lord Rataxes
- Corrine Koslo as Lady Rataxes
- John Stocker as Basil
- Chris Wiggins as Cornelius
- Noah Godfrey as Victor (1990–present)
- Gavin Magrath as Babar (Child) (1989–1990)
- Tara Charendoff as Celeste (Child) (1989–1990)
- Bobby Becken as Pom (1989–1990)
- Amos Crawley as Alexander #1 (1989–1990)
- Dan Hennessey as Truffles
Kids for Character
The show can be seen as a skit in the Citizenship segment of Kids for Character.
- Babar: The King of Celesteville. He brought his love of the city back to the great forest and built the beautiful, happy kingdom of Celesteville. However, he is a dedicated ruler and world traveler. Babar is very happy when he picnics at the lake with his family or joining in the antics of his lively children. His mother was shot by a poacher when he was young, so he is very protective and caring of his family, as well as the elephants and other animals of the kingdom in general.
- Celeste: Babar's wife and Queen of Celesteville. She has also traveled the world and has had many great adventures. She has a regal presence, an engaging manner and a gentle sense of humor.
- Arthur: Babar's mischief-making brother-in-law. He often gets himself (and one or more of the children) involved with practical jokes and stunts. Although the English and French versions of the official characters page lists him as a cousin, this goes against the canon of the show where he is clearly referred to as Celeste's brother, Babar's brother-in-law, and the uncle of Babar and Celeste's children. The Japanese version also refers to him as Celeste’s younger brother. In addition, neither Celeste nor Arthur is ever referred to as a cousin of Babar in the show. In the book, "The Story of Babar," Celeste and Arthur are shown to have two different mothers and we are told they are Babar's cousin and little cousin, respectively. This difference between the source material (the books) and adaptation (the animated television series) could explain the discrepancy between the English and French character pages and the show's own canon.
- Pom: The oldest of the triplets and the leader of the children. He is protective of his brother and sisters though he will gladly join in with Alexander in playfully teasing his sisters, Flora and Isabelle.
- Flora: Flora is fun-loving and strong-willed. She can more than hold her own with her two brothers. Whether building tree houses, sliding down the banister at the palace, or preparing a surprise breakfast for their parents,
- Alexander: The smallest of the triplets, is a non-stop ball of entertainment who is into everything and disarmingly naive about the commotion he causes.
- Isabelle: The youngest of the four children. She began to walk and talk at an early age. Isabelle started as a baby in the series, but as the series progressed, she matured as a toddler.
Babar's close friends and royal court
- Madame (The Old Lady): From their first meeting in the city, the Old Lady and Babar shared a special friendship. She gave him a home and taught him about life in the city. Though she missed him greatly, she understood his decision to return to the forest. Babar built her a home in Celesteville, where she made the decision to stay and live with her friends, the elephants.
- Zephir: A monkey who is one of Babar's oldest friends, and is considered one of the family. He is the first to take off with Arthur and the kids on some crazy adventure, but Babar knows that Zephir can always be trusted to look after the children and bring them home safely.
- Cornelius: The oldest and wisest elephant in Celesteville, and the Prime Minister, who takes his job as Babar's chief adviser very seriously, whether accompanying Babar on state visits or organizing numerous Celesteville parades. His catchphrase is "My tusks!". He sometimes has a hard time calming down Pompadour or seeing to the children due to his old age.
- Pompadour: Another adviser to Babar, and minister of royal protocol. He often opposes radical ideas, is easily alarmed, and is very adherent to protocol. He is very high-strung. He also serves as the Finance Minister.
- Troubadour: Pompadour's assistant, a smaller elephant who does not speak but is very dedicated to helping Babar and his family.
- Truffles: The palace cook, often easily upset by various situations in the palace.
- Lord Rataxes: The king of Rhinoland. He is the neutral character from the series. At some point between the flashbacks and the present day events of the show, Rataxes signed a peace treaty with Babar. In the series he is seen as a bumbling and occasionally incompetent oaf, although he is seen in the film as an evil and menacing ruler.
- Lady Rataxes: Rataxes' wife. She is very demanding of her husband, and is also on friendly terms with Babar, Celeste and the elephants, on most occasions. Her real name is Louise (as learned in the episode "No Place Like Home"), but she is generally called Lady Rataxes. In the Spin-off/Sequel "The Adventures of Badou" her personality changed radically in which she is very bitter and even more demanding.
- Victor: Rataxes' son. He is friends with Babar's three eldest children (the triplets). He is also in the same grade and class as they are.
- Basil: Rataxes' adviser, highly capable, competent, and organized. He does most of the paperwork, is the Head of Security for the rhino palace, and has also served as Rataxes' travel agent and spy. He is also a self-proclaimed fitness nut, an advocate of clean living in general, and a wonderful theatre director. He is extremely loyal to Rataxes and very humble, though not above poking fun at his boss in a very subtle manner from time to time.
In 1989, New Line Cinema, Nelvana, and Astral Films announced that a movie adaption of Babar would be released. This would be followed by a sequel released in 1998, titled Babar: King of the Elephants, and was released by Alliance Communications theatrically and New Line Home Video as a direct-to-video movie.
Babar and Father Christmas
The 1986 TV movie Babar and Father Christmas won the 1987 Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Merilyn Read, and Alison Clayton). The TV film was given a rating of 6.8/10 based on 30 votes and 1 review. It was released in the USA on 5 December 1986, and in Canada on 15 December 1986. The film's DVD title is also known as Babar et le Père Noël in France. The film was made in Canada. The Production Companies were: Atkinson Film Arts, MTR Productions and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).The Distributors were Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) (1986) (Canada) (TV), Hi-Tops Video (1986) (USA) (VHS), Home Box Office (HBO) (1986) (USA) (TV). The song "Christmas in Celesteville" was featured in the TV film. The music was by Gary Morton, the lyrics were by Merilyn Read, and it was sung by John Brough, Geri Childs, Teresa Dunn and Craig Kennedy.
On the site TV.com, the series as a whole was given a rating of 7.6 (Good) based on 189 votes.
At IMDb, Babar has an overall rating of 6.7/10 based on 343 votes and 6 reviews.
David Knox at TVTonight commented on the subject of death and the way it is depicted in Children’s Television, citing the pilot of Babar as an example, "This week ABC replayed the pilot episode of the animated series in which the baby elephant loses his mother to a hunter after being shot by a rifle. Produced by a Canadian company in 1989 it doesn’t shy away from the separation of mother and child, as written in the original Babar the Elephant stories." An ABC spokesperson told TV Tonight that ABC had carefully considered the content which aired at 3:30 p.m. on ABC2 for a G-rated audience, "At no point in the sequence was there any depiction of blood or wounds, and the depiction of the rifle being used was very careful and discreet. The simple animation style reduced the level of detail of the rifle and the action. While there was a sense of threat and menace associated with the hunter and his use of violence, having regard to the animation style, the level of visual detail, and the stylized manner in which the action was depicted, Audience and Consumer Affairs considers that this sense of threat and menace was very low. The violence in the sequence was very discreetly implied, and was not gratuitous as it was a pivotal, dramatic moment of great significance to the story.”
Charles Solomon of The Los Angeles Times gave a review of Babar's first few episodes, "The designs for the characters and the simple animation capture the essence of Jean de Brunhoff's understated watercolor illustrations. The artists occasionally seem to lose their sense of the characters' size and weight: The young Babar jumps and climbs in ways that seem very unelephantlike (but very few elephants wear uniforms and crowns, as the adult Babar does). As the voice of Babar, Gordon Pinsent gives the elephant king a reassuring presence and keeps the mildly didactic stories from bogging down in moralizing. Child actors provide the voices for the young Babar and his friends, which makes the show sound a lot like a "Peanuts" special at times. Created by the Canadian Nelvana studio—the producers of the entertaining "My Pet Monster"--"Babar" manages to be endearing without sliding into the saccharine cutesiness of "Hello Kitty." Parents with children in the 4-to-10-year-old range should plan on setting their VCRs: The kids will probably want to watch "Babar" more than once."
At commonsensemedia, the show is advised for viewers aged 4 and up, and is given a rating of 4 stars. The show is given a "Good Stuff" rating of 3/5, adding, "Babar is a good role model who sees creatures for who they really are." They continued to say that Parents Need to Know that "Although the show is an ideal pick for preschoolers, most kids will probably outgrow it by the time they're 7". The review ended by saying, "Many shows adapted from books tend to move at a slow pace. But Babar provides enough adventure and silliness to keep even the most active preschooler engaged. As an extra plus, the music is beautifully orchestrated. Babar exemplifies the lesson that all of us are the same on the inside. These elephants hold their trunks high, but they also know that money doesn't conquer all. Many kids' shows depict well-off characters as villainous and/or gluttonous; Babar shows kids that wealth doesn't necessarily equate to greed."
In 1990, the show won a 7 d'Or award for Best Youth Program (Meilleure émission pour la jeunesse). In 1989, the show won a Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Patrick Loubert, Lenora Hume, Clive A. Smith, and Michael Hirsh). In 1990, the show won a Gemini for Best Animated Program or Series (Patrick Loubert, Michael Hirsh, and Clive A. Smith). It was also nominated for a Gemini award for Best Original Music Score for a Series (Milan Kymlicka). In 1992, the series won a Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Clive A. Smith, Patrick Loubert, and Michael Hirsh).
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Babar - The Classic Series: The Complete First Season||13||June 5, 2012|
|Created by||see creator|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Patrick Loubert
Clive A. Smith
|Running time||33 minutes|
|Original run||September 23, 2000 – May 5, 2001|
There was a revival of the animated series in 2000 for the company Nelvana Limited, Ellipsanime, and the Kodansha company in Japan. Most of the episodes for the revival series have Babar and his family traveling in a hot-air balloon to different Lands of Adventure, such as the Land of Toys.
Voices of the characters
- Dan Lett as King Babar
- Janet-Laine Green as Queen Celeste
- Kyle Fairlie as Alexander
- Kristen Bone as Flora
- Noah Reid as Pom
- Philip Williams as Zephir
- Payless Shoe Source
- Chuck E. Cheese's
- The Children's Place
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- U.S. Department of Education
- Viewers Like You
- Solomon, Charles (April 1, 1989). "'Babar' Debut on HBO Holds a Trunkful of Charm". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Babar at IMBd". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Babar at ABC". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Babar Comes to America at IMDb". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Babar and Father Christmas". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "History of Animation 1981 - 1990". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Babar on TV.com". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Knox, David (2010-11-12). "Babar’s first steps to tragedy". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Solomon, Charles (1989-04-01). "'Babar' Debut on HBO Holds a Trunkful of Charm". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Babar at commonsensemedia". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Awards for "Babar" at IMDb". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Babar - The Missing Crown Affair
- Babar - School Days
- King Tuttle's Vote
- Lambert, David. "Babar - Front Cover Box Art for 'The Classic Series: Season 1' on DVD". TVShowsonDVD.com. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- Babar at the Internet Movie Database
- Official Nelvana site
- Official Qubo Site for Babar
- Babar Movie Cast
- Babar: Treehouse TV
- Qubo: Babar Episodes