Jay Jay the Jet Plane
- 1 History
- 2 Characters
- 3 Places
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Production
- 6 Jay Jay's Mysteries
- 7 Broadcasting
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012)|
|Jay Jay the Jet Plane|
Jay Jay the Jet Plane
|Genre||Children's television series|
|Written by||John Semper
|Voices of||Donna Cherry
|Narrated by||Brian Cant (British version)|
|Opening theme||"Jay Jay the Jet Plane" by Parachute Express|
|Ending theme||"Jay Jay the Jet Plane"|
|Composer(s)||Stephen Michael Schwartz|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||60|
|Production company(s)||PorchLight Entertainment
Knightscove Family Films
|Distributor||Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment
|Original channel||The Learning Channel (USA)
PBS Kids (Canada)
Nick Jr. (Canada)
|First shown in||December 13, 1994|
|Original run||2 November 1998 – December 2005|
|Related shows||Olly the Little White Van|
|[www.jayjay.com Production website]|
Jay Jay the Jet Plane is an American CGI children's television series based at the fictional Tarrytown Airport. It has about 60 episodes and is aimed at ages 2–6. Characters include talking airplanes and ground vehicles, a helicopter and humans. The episodes are commonly distributed in 25-minute-long (as without commercials) pairs, with one header sequence and one end credits for each pair. Each episode contains one or more songs. The theme song and the majority of the other songs were written by well-known children's singer/songwriter Stephen Michael Schwartz and sung by his popular musical group, Parachute Express. Produced by John Semper, the series is intended to be educational and to teach life and moral lessons to children.
The series premiered originally on November 2, 1998 on TLC, but later moved to PBS Kids on June 11, 2001 with the same episodes plus new episodes in 2001 and in 2005. Home video releases were released by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment through 2003 as part of their "Columbia TriStar Family Fun" collection. Distribution was then moved over to the children's division of book publisher Thomas Nelson, despite not being a Christian series.
Voice actor Mary Kay Bergman provided the original voice of Jay Jay and several other characters.
In 2006, new episodes were produced featuring new characters, including a red Latino plane named Lina. The new episodes feature a beginning segment called "Jay Jay's Mysteries", in which Jay Jay and Lina solve mysteries such as how planes fly and how the five senses are used. The mysteries segment is followed by a story pulled from the original version of the series, making the "new" episodes a repackaging of a new format with old episodes tacked on to the end.
Before the well-known animated series there was a short non-animated series made in 1994, where the plane characters were live action films of real models and human characters were of crafted models. They did not talk, but had the same personalities. The original series was narrated similarly to early episodes of Thomas The Tank Engine or Theodore Tugboat. It contained three videos: Jay Jay's First Flight, Old Oscar Leads the Parade, and Tracy's Handy Hideout. These three episodes were known as the "pilot series".
Within the series, the propeller speeds of all the plane characters have varied over the years. The first 20 stories show the propellers spinning very slowly. Beginning with the story "Picture Day", the propellors are made to look more believable. In the remaining stories the propellors spin fast (unless a character is underwater). Before "Picture Day" the characters had lights but they did not appear to function. In the opening theme the propellers spin rapidly: this opening is used for the entire series.
Each of the plane characters seems to have a biological part including a stomach that needs the same food humans eat, and a mechanical part that needs fuel and engine oil. Some of the things that the planes are reported as doing off-camera would need foldaway arms to handle items with, but those arms are never seen on camera.
The planes and ground vehicles are CGI characters.
Young plane characters
- Jay Jay. Male. 6 years old. Small blue and red jet airliner. Mary Kay Bergman was the first to provide his voice. Debi Derryberry replaced Bergman after her death. She was then replaced by Donna Cherry, who originated several of the other new character voices including Savannah.
- Tracy. Female. 6 years old. Small pink and yellow jet airliner. Normal hearing, but understands American Sign Language.
- Snuffy. Male. 4 years old. Small green propeller monoplane. Is equipped for skywriting. In episode consistency (which depends on the order), one episode says that he has not flown further away from Tarrytown than Lightning Bug Lake, but other episodes show him flying much further; in "Catch the Buzz" Snuffy still has not got rid of his original shyness, but in many other episodes he shows no sign of shyness.
- Herky. Male. 5 years old. Yellow and green helicopter. In the original series, he spoke with a stutter. In the CGI series, he rolls his "R"s whenever he speaks, and often pronounces stressed "er" as long vocalic "r" ([ɹ̩]), e.g. "I'm Herky" as [aɪm hɹ̩ːˈkǐ], with a strong high-rising pitch accent on the final "-y". He has skids instead of wheels and cannot taxi on the ground.
Older plane characters
- Big Jake. Male. Adult (supposed early 40's). Father figure. Silver Cargo carrier. Propeller-driven.
- Savannah. Female. Adult. (supposed mid 30's). Mother figure. Silver supersonic airliner. She was made at Savannah in Georgia (USA), hence (in the story) her name. She somewhat resembles the Concorde supersonic jet.
- Old Oscar. Male. Old adult (supposed early 80's). Grandfather-like figure. Old green biplane.
- Revvin' Evan. Red fire engine, Cousin of Tuffy.
- Tuffy. Blue and red towtruck, Cousin of Revvin Evan.
- Brenda Blue: Woman in blue clothing and usually wears a red cap or a blue cap. In charge of the airport, and is the mechanic. She does not use the airport's control tower but communicates with the planes by a portable two-way radio from the ground. Played by Eve Whittle and Vanessa Stacey in the UK version.
- Mrs. Blue: is Brenda Blue's mother who sometimes visits Tarrytown Airport.
- Miss Jones: is a deaf librarian at Tarrytown Library who knows American Sign Language.
- E.Z. O'Malley. He founded E.Z. Airlines and his cousins are Grumpy O'Malley (lives at Dewdrop Farm), Pierre O'Malley (lives in France) and Tex O'Malley (lives in Texas). (Note: here 'Z' is pronounced 'zee', not 'zed'.)
- Other human characters appear from time to time.
- Tarrytown Airport is run by a small firm called E.Z. Airlines.
- In Tarrytown is a school called the Michael O'Tarry School.
- Breezy: is a Monarch butterfly.
- Bobby Bee and Billy Bee: are two bees.
- The lightning bugs at Lightning Bug Lake.
- The Blue Whale in the ocean.
- Tarrytown is in a hilly area with enough rain to keep the land green, and frost and snow sometimes in the winter. There are forested mountains and a desert near.
- Tarrytown Airport is where Jay Jay and his friends live and Brenda Blue works.
- Tarrytown National Park
- Smiling Meadow
- Sandy Landing, has a waterfront area
- Pangabula Island
- Tarrytown Quarry
- Sunshine Desert
- Tippy Toppy Peak
- Frosty Pines.
- Echo Canyon.
- Cherry Tree Lake
- Crystal Cave
- Lightning Bug Lake
Tarrytown and its airport are never seen in moving-camera shots, and therefore are likely real miniature sets which were photographed and those photographs were used as backgrounds in the CGI images. The airport runway may be a CGI ground plane texture mapped with a photograph of real full-size or miniature tarmac. Sometimes, the planes taxi on the town streets.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
- The backgrounds were miniature sets (usually built on 2 4'x8' sheets of plywood)
- Brenda Blue was a live action actress shot in front of a greenscreen
- The planes were computer models created in Maya and a proprietary software.
- The movement of the planes was recorded by playing out the scene with wood models equipped with magnetic position sensors. The planes had a switch to aid landing and taxiing, due to some minor fluctuations in the magnetic positioning data.
- The planes' faces and lip synching were done by face tracking, a technique where reflective spots are put on a voice actor's face. The voice track is digitally recorded along with the spot data. Then the face is rendered using a form of parametric animation.
- Head movement and other effects were done by joysticks.
The complex mathematical and CGI issues were solved by Frank Ford Little, PhD.
A number of proprietary software systems were used:
- Data/audio recording and smoothing were done on a Windows machine.
- Daily cuts were done on "Compaq Alpha" computers running a 64-bit version of Windows NT 4.0.
Jay Jay's Mysteries
10 new episodes
In foreign versions of the show, the human characters are often replaced with different actors. For example, in the Korean version of the show, a Korean actor takes the role of Brenda. Unusually, the Irish version of Jay Jay the Jet Plane mostly uses non-native speaker actors from Belfast (although some minor parts are played by native-speaking actors from the Gaeltacht).
- The series is known as Jay Jay le Petit Avion
- The series is known as Jay Jay, el avioncito
- The series was broadcast in Irish Tadhg an t-Eitleán and English
- The series is known as Jay Jay, o Jatinho 
- the series formerly aired on MediaCorp TV12 Central.
- "Amazon.com Jay Jay's First Flight VHS".
- Wonderwings.com (now called Jay Jay the Jet Plane Productions) published the series. This is a new site and it needs Macromedia Flash.
- Free episodes at KidMango