Denver, the Last Dinosaur

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Denver, the Last Dinosaur
Denver the Last Dinosaur title card.jpg
Title card of Denver, the Last Dinosaur
Genre animation, children's
Created by Peter Keefe[1]
Country of origin United States
France
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 50 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 30 min
Production company(s) World Events Productions
Calico Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel Syndication
Original run September 12, 1988 (1988-09-12) – November 22, 1988 (1988-11-22)

Denver, the Last Dinosaur is an American-French cartoon for children originally released in 1988 by World Events Productions (the same company responsible for the English dubs of Voltron and for Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs). It was nationally syndicated throughout the United States in 1988 with reruns airing until 1990. Episodes often focused on issues of conservation, ecology, and friendship.

The show ran for two seasons, as the dinosaur boom that had followed The Land Before Time waned, causing viewership to drop. The series received a recommendation from the National Educational Association.

Plot[edit]

The show revolves around the adventures of Denver, the last dinosaur - a Corythosaurus - who was released from his egg by a group of multicultural modern California teens: Jeremy, Mario, Shades, Wally, and Casey, along with tag-along older sister, Heather. The kids taught Denver the finer points of skateboarding and other pastimes while protecting him from rock concert promoter Morton Fizzback who wanted to use the dinosaur to make money.

The series begins when Jeremy, while preparing for his Natural History test, and his friends visit the La Brea Tar Pits - A place in Los Angeles (which is spread over a large area and contains a large collection of extinct animal and plant fossils) and go to the Museum. At the museum, the friends encounter a gang of bullies. The friends escape the bullies by hiding behind a fence near the tar pits. Behind the fence they find a pit that contains a large prehistoric egg. As the friends are playing with the egg it suddenly cracks and a green friendly dinosaur emerges who, inexplicably, understands English. The kids name him Denver after they spot an advertisement for the city of Denver on a passing bus.

The children decide to keep Denver and to keep his existence a secret. Denver is first hidden in a pool house at Wally's home. After Wally's sister discovers Denver they move Denver to the old school gym. After a while Denver gets kidnapped by the manager Morton Fizzback. Morton puts Denver on a stage in front of an audience in order to become rich.

When the children confront Morton about his abduction, he becomes paranoid that someone might find out that Denver is a real dinosaur. At the end, Denver is sold to a scientist named Professor Funt who wants to examine and experiment on him, and use him to become famous. Eventually, everything turns out fine and Denver gets to return to the gang and rescue them from Nick and his thugs.

In addition to his natural skills and abilities, Denver can also, with the help of a piece from the shell of his egg, take the gang with him back to the time whence he came.

Voice Characterizations[edit]

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Denver the Last Dinosaur - The title character. Voiced by Pat Fraley.
  • Wally - Boy who takes Denver in, Denver's closest friend. Cares for various animals - including Rocky (his pup), 3 cats, Ears (a rabbit), and a parrot. Voiced by Adam Carl.
  • Jeremy - the intelligent guy amongst the gang who is able to provide information about dinosaurs. Voiced by Adam Carl.
  • Mario - A kid with an enormous ego. Voiced by Cam Clarke.
  • Shades - A cool kid who always wears sunglasses (where his name is derived from). Voiced by Cam Clarke.
  • Casey - Girl with a crush on Mario. She is also the machinist of the gang. Voiced by Kath Soucie. Youngest of the gang.
  • Heather - Wally's older sister, voiced by Kath Soucie.

Minor characters[edit]

  • Rocky - Wally's pup.
  • Chet - Heather's boyfriend, voiced by Rob Paulsen.
  • Daniel - A teenage genius who is also a fan of comic books, and has a strong, though somewhat comical, sense of justice. He was originally hired by Morton Fizzback to conduct an experiment on Denver's tar egg shell, but later helps out Denver and the gang, and provides technical support.

Villains[edit]

  • Morton Fizzback - Evil rock concert promoter, voiced by Brian Cummings.
  • Professor Funt - Evil scientist, sometimes works with Morton, voiced by Brian Cummings.
  • Nick - Leader of three other bullies, Curt, Scott, and Rod, who cause trouble for the boys, voiced by Rob Paulsen.

Merchandise and DVD releases[edit]

Knott's Berry Farm offered a Denver promotional tie-in with its new Kingdom of the Dinosaurs attraction (which would later take its last rider in 2004), as did Ralston Cereals with its new brand Dinersaurs (which sold poorly and was discontinued by the end of 1988).

World Events Productions released two DVD volumes through their Voltron.com website. The first volume included the hour-long pilot and the following eight episodes. The second volume includes 10 episodes. World Events Productions had the complete series on YouTube; it was removed on December 31, 2010, because of synchronizing problems, but as of February 2012, all but three episodes had been restored. On February 11, 2011, World Events Productions released the complete series on Hulu.

On June 10, 2014, it was announced that World Events Productions (distributed by VCI Entertainment) will release Denver, The Last Dinosaur - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time on September 16, 2014.[2][3]

Episode list[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Ep Title Original air date
1 1 "Denver, the Last Dinosaur" 12 September 1988
Hour-long pilot episode.
2 2 "In the Chips" 13 September 1988
3 3 "Videohhhh!" 14 September 1988
4 4 "The Monster of Lost Lake" 15 September 1988
5 5 "Denver Makes the Grade" 16 September 1988
6 6 "Big Top Denver" 19 September 1988
Denver and the gang help Kip and his father save the circus by performing their specialty acts with the other circus performers.
7 7 "The Misunderstanding" 20 September 1988
8 8 "Lions, Tigers, and Dinos!" 21 September 1988
9 9 "Change of Heart" 22 September 1988
10 10 "Broncosaurus" 23 September 1988
11 11 "Denver, Dino-Star!" 26 September 1988
12 12 "Dinoland" 27 September 1988
Heather's new job makes for an exciting day of chases and thrills as Denver is mistaken for an employee of the park who is out to spy for a rival amusement park. Denver saves the day as he rescues five kids stuck on top of a roller coaster.
13 13 "Winning" 28 September 1988

Season 2[edit]

Ep Title Original air date
14 1 "Enter the Dino" 29 September 1988
15 2 "Radio Denver" 30 September 1988
16 3 "The Phantom of the Movie Theater" 3 October 1988
17 4 "Missing Links" 4 October 1988
A boy genius, Freddy Facknitts, invents a time machine that sends Denver and Morton Fizzback into the past and into the middle of a crazy caveman competition called Mammothball.
18 5 "Dog Gone Denver!" 5 October 1988
19 6 "Party Time" 6 October 1988
20 7 "Aunt Shadie's Ghost Town" 7 October 1988
21 8 "Moviestarus" 10 October 1988
22 9 "Denver at Sea" 11 October 1988
23 10 "Ski Denver" 12 October 1988
24 11 "Beach Blanket Dino" 13 October 1988
25 12 "History Repeats Itself" 14 October 1988
26 13 "Battle of the Bands" 17 October 1988
27 14 "The Comic Book Caper" 18 October 1988
28 15 "Carnival" 19 October 1988
Denver practices his magic act for the Charity Carnival when he and the gang get more than they bargain for. When Denver wins a rare historical artifact that was mistakenly donated for the raffle, he finds himself on the run from the shady Bird family who are out to get their priceless piece back.
29 16 "Pen Pal" 20 October 1988
30 17 "China Town Caper" 21 October 1988
31 18 "Denver, the Lost Dinosaur" 24 October 1988
32 19 "Denver and the Cornstalk" 25 October 1988
33 20 "Tee Time for Dinosaur" 26 October 1988
Denver's mistaken identity at a golf tournament sets Fizzback and Funt off on a high-tech cheating spree, while the golf course Groundskeeper tries to capture what he believes to be the Loch Ness Monster.
34 21 "Birthday Party from Outer Space" 27 October 1988
The kids need Denver out of the way while they prepare a surprise birthday party for their dino-pal. But dino-sitter Freddy Facknitts gets them both into trouble when his "space ship" puts Dr. Funt, who thinks he is an alien from outer space, on their tail.
35 22 "Food Wars" 28 October 1988
36 23 "Jogging Denver"
"Dino-cise"
1 November 1988
Denver is put through his paces, participating in an exercise program with the kids while trying to hide a mischievous baby gorilla.
37 24 "Denver, the Last Dragon" 2 November 1988
38 25 "High Flying Denver" 3 November 1988
39 26 "Denver at the Digs" 4 November 1988
40 27 "Chef Denver" 7 November 1988
41 28 "Fizzback's Follies" 8 November 1988
42 29 "Dinos Are My Life" 9 November 1988
43 30 "Bayou Blues" 10 November 1988
44 31 "Canatta" 11 November 1988
45 32 "Pluto Needs People" 14 November 1988
46 33 "Arabian Adventure" 15 November 1988
47 34 "Venice Beach Blast" 16 November 1988
48 35 "Big News Denver" 17 November 1988
49 36 "Viva Denver!" 21 November 1988
50 37 "There's No Business Like Snow Business" 22 November 1988

International airings[edit]

Reception[edit]

One of very many children's animated series of the 1980s, Denver didn't leave a lasting impression on many viewers. In 2014, listing it among twelve 1980s cartoons that did not deserve remembrance, io9 characterized it as "a cartoon about coolness and friendship created by a marketing committee of old white men who had never experienced either of them before."[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barnes, Mike. "'Voltron' producer Peter Keefe dies", The Hollywood Reporter, May 28, 2010. Accessed August 26, 2010.
  2. ^ 'The Complete Series' is Coming to DVD from WEP and VCI
  3. ^ 'The Complete Series' Front and Rear Box Art, Bonus Material
  4. ^ a b c "More mythology on DD’s Sunday slot". The Indian Express. 8 June 1996. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Bricken, Rob (11 November 2014). "12 Cartoons From The 1980s No One Will Ever Have Nostalgia For". io9. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 

External links[edit]