Postcards from Buster
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|Postcards from Buster|
|Created by||Marc Brown
|Written by||Stephanie Simpson|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||58 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Marc Brown
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cookie Jar Group
Marc Brown Studios
|Original channel||PBS (PBS Kids Go!)|
October 11, 2004 – November 21, 2008 (hiatus)
February 18, 2012
Postcards from Buster is a children's television series for children containing both animation and live-action that originally aired on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It is a spin-off of the Arthur cartoon series. The show stars Arthur's best friend, 8-year-old rabbit Buster Baxter. Inspired by a 2003 episode of Arthur entitled "Postcards from Buster", the television series was produced by Cinar (now known as Cookie Jar Entertainment) and Marc Brown Studios.
It first aired October 11, 2004, on PBS Kids Go!. Buster's interests include eating anything, reading comic books, and playing video games. Buster's personality is that of a fairly intelligent and curious child. He also believes that extraterrestrials are real. Buster's parents are divorced; in this series, Buster is seen with his father, Bo Baxter.
Arthur Read and many other characters from the PBS Kids Go! animated television series Arthur make cameo appearances in this series, and most episodes have an Arthur character playing a minor role. The series went through a hiatus between November 2008 and February 2012.
Postcards from Buster centers on Buster traveling to various places around North America, usually in the United States but also in the Caribbean, Canada – and other places – with his father, who is a pilot for a group of musicians. In each episode Buster meets children in the location, who show him aspects of their family lives and local culture. The sequences with Buster are animated, while the portions featuring the children are live action (viewed from the viewpoint of Buster's video camcorder). After each trip, Buster sends to Arthur a "video postcard" videotape summarizing what he's done and who he's met in each location. The children and their families that are presented on the series are meant to be multicultural and diverse, and range from a Mormon family in Utah to a Mestizo family in Texas.
In January 2005 Margaret Spellings, United States Secretary of Education, criticized the show for exploring same-sex marriage. Episode #33, "Sugartime!", which features Buster visiting Hinesburg, Vermont to learn about the production of maple sugar, includes Buster meeting several children who have lesbian parents. Vermont was one of the first states to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples. In the episode, the word lesbian or homosexual is never said, and the episode — like all Postcards episodes — has no sexual content. Buster meets the children and comments, "Boy, that's a lot of moms!"; one girl mentions her "mom and stepmom," adding that she loves her stepmother very much, and no other comments are made about the couple. PBS vice president of media relations Lea Sloan said at the time, "The fact that there is a family structure that is objectionable to the Department of Education is not at all the focus of the show, nor is it addressed in the show." Spellings demanded that PBS return all federal funding that had been used in the production of the episode, claiming that "many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode." PBS decided not to distribute this episode, but some member stations across the country chose to air the episode, including WNET in New York, KCET in Los Angeles, and KERA in Dallas–Fort Worth, which are flagship stations; and the show's co-producer, WGBH in Boston (which distributed the episode directly to public television stations after PBS's decision). Some of these stations opted to air this episode in prime-time, with some following the episode with a local discussion on the controversy. Shortly after the controversy, PBS's CEO announced she would step down when her contract expired in 2006. Cusi Cram, a writer for Arthur, later wrote a play titled Dusty and the Big Bad World, based on this controversy.
Voice actors and their characters
- Daniel Brochu - Buster Baxter
- Ellen David - Bitzi Baxter
- Martin Shaugnessy - Bo Baxter
- Elyzabeth Diaga - Mora of Los Viajeros (season 1)
- Stephanie Martin - Mora of Los Viajeros (season 2-3)
- Norman Groulx - Carlos of Los Viajeros (season 1)
- Glenn Coulson - Carlos of Los Viajeros (season 2-3)
- Mukundan Jr - Triple J (season 3)
A series of Postcards from Buster DVDs of a certain topic have been released by PBS Home Video thru Paramount Home Entertainment. These include Buster's Outdoor Journeys (featuring episodes Sugartime, Meet Me at the Fair, The Giant Pumpkins and Bayou by Me), Buster's Got the Beat (featuring episodes Beats by the Bay, Buster and Beatrice, The Music Mystery and Buster's Sweet Song), Buster's Buddies (featuring episodes Buster's League of Champions, Best Friends, A Sense of Direction and Sleepy in Seattle) and Buster's World of Sports (featuring episodes Winter Gold, Swimming in the Desert, Rock and Roll and Rodeo Cowgirl).
On October 12, 2010, Mill Creek Entertainment released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1. For some unknown reason, the cover art for the DVD states that this is 'The complete series', when in fact it is not as there are 13 more episodes.
- Associated Press."Education chief rips PBS for gay character: Network won't distribute episode with animated 'Buster' visiting Vt.," MSNBC, January 26, 2005.
- Lisa de Moraes. "PBS' 'Buster' Gets An Education" (TV column), Washington Post, January 27, 2005.
- Controversial PBS Cartoon Is Focus of Denver World Premiere, Dusty – Playbill.com
- PBS Kids: Official Site
- Postcards from Buster at the Internet Movie Database
- Postcards from Buster at TV.com
- Online NewsHour article covering the Sugartime! controversy