Clifford the Big Red Dog (TV series)

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Clifford the Big Red Dog
Clifford-the-Big-Red-Dog-title-card.jpg
Created by Norman Bridwell (characters)
Directed by John Over
Voices of John Ritter
Grey DeLisle
Cree Summer
Kel Mitchell
Cam Clarke
Country of origin

United States (PBS)

United Kingdom (BBC)
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 65 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Deborah Forte,
Gary Conrad
Producer(s) Scholastic Corporation
Running time 30 Minutes (15 Minutes per segment) (approx. per episode)
Broadcast
Original channel PBS Kids (US)
BBC One and Tiny Pop (UK)
Original airing September 4, 2000 (2000-09-04)[1] - February 25, 2003 (2003-02-25)
Chronology
Followed by Clifford's Puppy Days

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an American-British animated children's television series, based upon Norman Bridwell's famous children's book series of the same name. Produced by Scholastic Studios, it originally aired on PBS Kids from September 4, 2000 to February 25, 2003.

Clifford the Big Red Dog was one of many children's educational shows. Two 15-minute stories made up each half-hour cartoon. Usually one story featured Clifford and his canine friends, T-Bone and Cleo among them; the other story would focus on Emily Elizabeth and friends her age. One principle was kept religiously: the dogs talked only when humans were not present; otherwise, they only barked.

Veteran actor John Ritter voiced Clifford in all episodes. This was originally done by Brent Titcomb in the series that debuted in 1988 and ran into the early 1990s. Generally speaking, his schedule dictated the production of Clifford the Big Red Dog. By the time the last of the 68 half-hour cartoons and the 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 a week before PBS debuted Clifford's Puppy Days, a function of keeping Clifford's legacy going.

While no new Clifford episodes have been released since Ritter's death in 2003, voice actors for the main characters have reprised some of their roles for the Ready to Learn. The film 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.

Characters[edit]

Dogs[edit]

  • Clifford the Big Red Dog (voiced by John Ritter (US) / Tom Eastwood (UK)): The eponymous title character of the series, he is based on a giant Labrador Retriever\Vizsla mix. He is friendly, outgoing and helpful. He sometimes gets into trouble because of his size, or is tempted into trouble by his friends and those he meets. The depiction of Clifford's size is inconsistent; he is often shown as being about 25 feet tall from paws to head, but can appear far larger. In one episode he removes the top of the lighthouse and swims out with it to guide the ferry through the fog to the dock. The character is based on the imaginary friend of creator Norman Bridwell's wife.[2] Clifford's owner is, of course, Emily Elizabeth, to whom he is devoted. Sometimes, he can be gullible and fall for people's tricks, but is wise beyond his years (if not counting dog years). Despite being the protagonist, he seldom has episodes focusing on him and ends up being the voice-of-reason.
  • Cleo (voiced by Cree Summer): An energetic, selfish, trouble-making purple Poodle who sometimes doesn't tell the truth, but remains loyal to her friends. Her catchphrase is "Have I ever steered you wrong?", which she inadvertently does immediately after. She also gets punished in the most ironic ways (in one episode, she and Mac make fun of a dog with a cone and they end up wearing one). In one of the make-believe games with Clifford and T-Bone, she portrays "the evil Fluffy-Face." She is one of Clifford's best friends. Her owner is Mrs. Diller.
  • T-Bone (voiced by Kel Mitchell): A male yellow and orange Bulldog with a large appetite. He is often cowardly, soft, clumsy, and cautious, but does have his moments of bravery. In one of the make-believe games with Clifford and Cleo, he likes to pretend he is Super T-Bone, a caped hero. He is one of Clifford's best friends. T-Bone is in love with Mimi, another dog who visits from time to time. He often misunderstands things (as evidenced in the movie). His owner is Sherriff Lewis. T-Bone had a best friend named Hamburger (voiced by Kel Mitchell's longtime co-star and best friend, Kenan Thompson) who moved away before Clifford arrived.
  • Mac (voiced by Cam Clarke): A male blue Greyhound with an inflated sense of his own importance, who shifts between aloofness and wanting to be part of Clifford, Cleo, and T-Bone's circle of friends. Mac competes in dog shows. His owner is Jetta. He can be vain, bossy and selfish and often thinks he should be boss. However, he seems to be devoted to Jetta more than Clifford is to his owner.

Humans[edit]

  • Emily Elizabeth Howard (voiced by Grey DeLisle): Clifford's owner. A friendly, curious, and helpful eight-year-old girl. The best skater on the island, and also very good at soccer. Emily Elizabeth adopted Clifford when he was a very small puppy, and her love caused him to grow enormous, thus starting their new lives on Birdwell Island. Despite caring for Clifford and reading to him in every episode, she does not discipline him or command him and just lets him roam free. Emily was named for creator Norman Bridwell's daughter and based on the imaginary adventures of Bridwell's wife.[2]
  • Charley (voiced by Gary LeRoi Gray): Emily Elizabeth's best friend and the best soccer player on the Birdwell Birds (the school soccer team). He lives on a houseboat with his father, who owns a restaurant.
  • Jetta Handover (voiced by Kath Soucie): Mac's owner. She is a wealthy, self-centered friend / rival of Emily Elizabeth who is often oblivious to others' feelings. She is often shown leading parades and competing in talent shows as a majorette. Jetta often claims her accomplishments are bigger or better than others' and finds herself humbled when she aims too high to the points where she needs help. Her mother owns one of the island stores and seems somewhat oblivious to Jetta's behavior. She has an infant brother named Cosmo (voiced by Debi Derryberry) first seen in And Baby Makes 4. She often appears to dislike Clifford and criticises him for minor accidents caused by his size, but occasionally she shows she really does like him. On the whole, she is very friendly and seldom actually means to be insensitive.
  • Vaz (voiced by Ulises Cuadra): Somewhat clumsy, shy, and unlucky boy who is friends with Emily Elizabeth and Charley.
  • Caroline and Mark Howard (voiced by Grey DeLisle and Cam Clarke): Emily Elizabeth's parents.
  • Samuel (voiced by Terrence 'T.C.' Carson): Charley's father and the Jamaican owner of Samuel's Fish and Chips. He is a great storyteller and runs most of the pier.
  • Sheriff Lewis (voiced by Nick Jameson): T-Bone's owner. The island's sheriff and the soccer coach. He feeds T-Bone often (explaining why T-Bone is fat). He had a best friend named Chief Wilson who moved away with T-Bone's best buddy, Hamburger.
  • Mrs. Diller (voiced by Cree Summer): Cleo's owner.
  • Horace and Violet Bleakman (voiced by Earl Boen and Edie McClurg): The Howards' neighbors. Horace is often grumpy about the noise and mess Clifford inadvertently causes, but Violet is a little more patient. However, Horace is still a good neighbor and helps Clifford and the others from time to time.

1988 Series[edit]

This series was produced by Mendelson-Melendez Productions with Nelvana, Wang Film Productions, Family Home Entertainment and Scholastic Studios. The Nelvana logo has a gradient background and it came from the famous Peanuts cartoon team of Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson, giving them a look similar to the Peanuts cartoons on this direct-to-video series. Clifford was voiced by Brent Titcomb. Emily Elizabeth was voiced by Alyson Court. Each video had a 'Clifford's Fun With...' injected at the start of the title.

VHS No. Title Year Produced
1 Clifford's Fun With Letters[3] 1988
2 Clifford's Fun With Numbers[4] 1988
3 Clifford's Fun With Shapes[5] 1988
4 Clifford's Fun With Sounds[6] 1988
5 Clifford's Fun With Rhymes[7] 1988
6 Clifford's Fun With Opposites[8] 1988

2000 Series[edit]

This series was only produced by Mike Young Productions and Scholastic Studios. John Ritter voices Clifford on this series before his death in 2003. Grey DeLisle voices Emily Elizabeth. She would reprise this role in the spin-off Clifford's Puppy Days.

Episodes[edit]

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, T-Bone, and Emily Elizabeth 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 had died on September 11, 2003, after completing voice work for the film as Clifford. The film was dedicated to his memory. The movie also stars Wayne Brady as Shackleford the Ferret, Judge Reinhold as Amazing Larry, John Goodman as J.T Wolfsbottom, and Jenna Elfman as Dorothy the Cow. The film also serves as the series finale.

Video games[edit]

Original Series[edit]

  • Clifford's Reading
  • Clifford's Thinking Games

Modern Series[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

^ Media and Culture, 5th ed., Richard Campbell, Christopher R. Martin and Bettina Fabos.

  1. ^ Zurawik, David (July 13, 2000). "PBS gives kids new Saturday morning shows". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Clifford the Big Red Dog - Don Markstein's Toonopedia
  3. ^ "Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Fun with Letters (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Fun with Numbers (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Fun with Shapes (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Fun with Sounds (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Fun with Rhymes (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Clifford the Big Red Dog: Clifford's Fun with Opposites (1988)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]