Rainbow Brite

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Rainbow Brite
Rainbow Brite.jpg
Rainbow Brite Title screen
Directed by Bruno Bianchi
Osamu Dezaki
Rich Rudish
Voices of See Rainbow Brite#Voices
Composer(s) Shuky Levy
Haim Saban
Country of origin United States
France
Japan
No. of episodes

13 half-hour animated episodes
2 half-hour live-action episodes
4 read-along videos

1 feature-length movie
Production
Executive producer(s) Jean Chalopin
Andy Heyward
Producer(s) Jean Chalopin
Andy Heyward
Tetsuo Katayama
Running time 25 minutes per episode
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment
Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Distributor LBS Communications Inc.
Broadcast
Original channel Syndication
Original run June 27, 1984 – July 24, 1986

Rainbow Brite is a media franchise by Hallmark Cards, introduced in 1983. The animated television series of the same name was started in 1984.

Production[edit]

Creation of Rainbow Brite for Hallmark Cards is credited to Garry Glissmeyer, VP-Creative/Licensing, Hallmark Cards, and Lanny Julian, VP-Sales & Marketing/Licensing, Hallmark Cards. Both were charged with getting Hallmark into the Licensing business, in particular to create Saturday Morning TV programs with characters aimed at young girls, and secondarily, young boys. Glissmeyer's concept of developing a very young girl with powers over nature needed a team to now fully develop a story, and supportive characters; a team of artists and writers (borrowed from Hallmark's immense Creative Division): Cheryl (Falck) Cozad, Manager/Art, and Dan Drake, Director/Writing and Editorial became key managers in this process. Julian brought in a Public Relations Manager, Jim McDowell, from Hallmark's marketing organization with the charge of finding ways to develop visibility for this emerging character and story. Each person became integral to the ultimate success of getting the full character development artistically completed, and the storyline and purpose of Rainbow Brite's earthly mission fully formed (to save the colors of the universe). Mattel was chosen as the doll/toy licensing partner, and DIC Animation of France was selected to develop Rainbow Brite as TV cartoons. Cheryl Cozad worked closely with Mattel; Glissmeyer and Drake with DIC Animation side while Julian and Glissmeyer worked with NBC TV.

Ownership, licensing, and creation rights of Rainbow Brite were retained by Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, MO. USA. The Hallmark Artist, G.G.Santiago, provided the finishing "look" to Rainbow Brite, and Hallmark writer, Mary Loberg, expanded the final, basic storyline for Rainbow Brite and the inhabitants of Rainbow Land, for TV.

Rainbow Brite made her animated debut in a syndicated prime-time special, "Peril in the Pits", first aired on June 27, 1984. Two more two-part specials were subsequently made, "The Mighty Monstromurk Menace" and "The Beginning of Rainbowland".

In April 1986, Rainbow Brite became a regular series, as part of DIC's weekly syndicated Kideo TV block; eight new episodes were made for this run. Rainbow Brite remained part of the Kideo TV lineup until May 1987.

Premise[edit]

In the franchise's backstory, a little girl named Wisp is brought to a colorless land. To bring color back to the land she must find the Sphere of Light. Along the way she befriends a sprite named Twink, a white horse named Starlite and a mysterious little baby. She finds the Color Belt and rescues the 7 Color Kids. After using the belt to defeat the King of Shadows, Wisp is renamed Rainbow Brite. She, the Color Kids and Sprites live in Rainbow Land and are in charge of all the colors in the universe.

Each Color Kid is in charge of his/her respective color, and their Sprites mine Color Crystals from the Color Caves, which are turned into Star Sprinkles.

In the movie Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, the setting is changed to a diamond planet named Spectra. All the light in the universe must pass through Spectra before coming to Earth. The Dark Princess causes problems when she tries to wrap ropes around Spectra, which blocks out the light and throws Earth into a permanent winter. See Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer for details.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids, in the "Brand New Day" song from the Star Stealer movie
  • Rainbow Brite (voiced by Bettina Bush) - The main protagonist of the series.
  • Twink (voiced by Robbie Lee) – Rainbow Brite's white sprite. In one of the books, it is revealed that Twink used to be red, until villain Murky Dismal removed his colors. In the 2014 reboot, Twink's name was changed to Mr. Glitters, and doesn't speak.
  • Starlite (voiced by Andre Stojka) – Rainbow Brite's egotistical talking horse, who calls himself "the most magnificent horse in the universe". He is white with a yellow star on his forehead, and can fly only with the help of the rainbow. His mane and tail are rainbow-colored.

Color Kids and Sprites[edit]

  • Red Butler (voiced by Mona Marshall) - He is in charge of the color red. Red Butler's personality is adventurous and daring.
  • Lala Orange (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color orange. Lala Orange's personality is romantic and stylish.
  • Canary Yellow (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color yellow. Canary Yellow's personality is cheerful and optimistic.
  • Patty O'Green (voiced by Mona Marshall) - She is in charge of the color green. Patty O'Green's personality is mischievous and lively.
  • Buddy Blue (voiced by Pat Fraley) - He is in charge of the color blue. Buddy Blue's personality is athletic and valiant.
  • Indigo (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color indigo (and cooler shades of purple). Indigo's personality is dramatic and creative.
  • Shy Violet (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color violet (and warmer shades of purple). Shy Violet's personality is intellectual and resourceful.

Color Kids' Sprites[edit]

  • Romeo Sprite - Red Butler's sprite.
  • O.J. Sprite - Lala Orange's sprite.
  • Spark Sprite - Canary Yellow's sprite.
  • Lucky Sprite - Patty O'Green's sprite.
  • Champ Sprite - Buddy Blue's sprite.
  • Hammy Sprite - Indigo's sprite.
  • I.Q. Sprite - Shy Violet's sprite.

Other Rainbow Land characters[edit]

  • Puppy Brite & Kitty Brite - Rainbow Brite's pet dog and cat. Puppy Brite makes a cameo appearance at the start of Star Stealer and appears in an episode after the movie. Kitty Brite appears only in episodes produced after the movie.
  • Moonglow (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - Along with her navy blue Sprite named Nite Sprite (who has crescent moons at the tips of his antennae instead of stars like the other Sprites), Moonglow is in charge of making the night sky bright with stars and color. She appears in the episodes produced after the movie. The merchandise line has her name spelled as Moonglow, but the TV series has it listed as Moonglo. Both spellings may be considered correct.
  • Stormy (voiced by Marissa Mendenhall) - Along with her non-speaking horse Skydancer, Stormy lives in the clouds and is in charge of storms. Her favorite season is winter, as a scene from the 1985 movie "Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer" proves. Stormy does not apparently have a sprite, although in the episode "Invasion of Rainbowland", an unnamed sprite matching the color of her outfit follows her around (perhaps an indigo or violet sprite). She is in charge of winter, rain and lightning. Skydancer is dark purple with light purple hair. Skydancer's gender is never revealed; and unlike Starlite, Skydancer has the ability to fly unaided.
    • Skydancer - Stormy's horse
  • Tickled Pink (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - She is in charge of pastel colors and girl sprites.
    • Sunriser - Tickled Pink's horse

Villains[edit]

  • Murky Dismal (voiced by Peter Cullen) - Murky is the main villain from The Pits. In one episode it is revealed that, as a toddler, he colored on the walls with crayons, markers, paints, rollers, and finally an industrial airbrush. His mother made him wash off "every bit of color, if it takes all day, if it takes the rest of your life," leading Murky to his hatred of color as an adult. He loves to invent devices to create gloom clouds which remove color and make people hopeless. He is constantly trying to capture the Color Kids or take Rainbow Brite's Color Belt. His full first name is Murkwell.
    • Lurky (voiced by Pat Fraley) - Murky's sidekick who looks like a giant brown Sprite with a large nose. Lurky actually delights in "all the pretty colors!" It is possible that Lurky was once a sprite who is under Murky's spell due to a cloud that has been placed over his head. Lurky is generally goodhearted and often foils Murky's plans by his clumsy nature.
  • The Dark Princess (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - She is only officially called "The Princess." She lives in a palace in space and, as the movie's eponymous Star Stealer, tries to steal the diamond planet, Spectra. She is very spoiled and greedy, even going so far as to steal Rainbow's Color Belt after witnessing its power (although she never used it, herself). She has a magic jewel that is the source of her power.
    • Count Blogg (voiced by Jonathan Harris) - A green monster who is the Dark Princess' right-hand man. When he appears in the television series, he pretends to have the power to change people into frogs.

Episodes[edit]

Title Original airdate #
"Peril in the Pits" June 27, 1984 01
"The Mighty Monstromurk Menace" (part 1) December 4, 1984 02
"The Mighty Monstromurk Menace" (part 2) December 5, 1984 03
"The Beginning of Rainbowland" (part 1) April 22, 1985 04
"The Beginning of Rainbowland" (part 2) April 23, 1985 05
"Invasion of Rainbowland" June 5, 1986 06
"Mom" June 12, 1986 07
"Rainbow Night" June 19, 1986 08
"Star Sprinkled" June 26, 1986 09
"Chasing Rainbows" July 3, 1986 10
"Murky's Comet" July 10, 1986 11
"A Horse of a Different Color" July 17, 1986 12
"The Queen of the Sprites" July 24, 1986 13

Voices[edit]

Crew[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

Mattel[edit]

For the first Rainbow Brite generation (1984-1987), Mattel produced all of the dolls and some of the toys, including a large line of school supplies for Italy. Other Rainbow Brite licensed merchandise was produced by various companies. Among them were many story and activity books by Western Publishing (Little Golden Books) plus a number of puzzles, a line of costume jewelry, banks and suitcases by Kat's Meow, clothes, toys, games, doll and child furniture, radios, child cosmetics, linen, towels, personal care items, lamps, figurines, VHS videocassettes, audio cassettes, records, bicycles and much more were sold in the USA, Canada and the UK. In the rest of Europe there was a lesser variety of things sold. Even the full Mattel line wasn't sold in all countries. Books, comic books, audio tapes were the best selling licensed items outside the UK but other items did exist in different countries. In Germany alone there were no less than 31 story cassettes and 46 comic books. Because of Rainbow Brite's extreme popularity soon after she was launched, a number of companies produced lookalike unlicensed items. These did not have the Rainbow Brite name but did have the Rainbow Brite look which was of course slightly modified from the originals. Many Mattel items were made in Europe by local suppliers for the local markets. France, Spain and Italy all produced genuine Rainbow Brite merchandise by agreement with Mattel and the same again in Mexico. This had to do with high import duties in a number of countries at the time. Two Rainbow Brite dolls plus Twink and Starlite were also produced in Brazil by Estrella. As Brazil speaks its own version of Portuguese, they were not exported anywhere.

Up, Up and Away[edit]

The second Rainbow Brite generation (1996-1997) used the Rainbow Brite name but not the same characters and backstory. The master license was held by Up, Up and Away, who is no longer in business. Rainbow Brite no longer had anything do with making colors and was now in charge of Diversity. She had four helpers called the Color Crew. They were Amber (Hispanic), Cerise (Asian), Ebony (black) and Indigo (brown), Rainbow Brite came in both large and small sizes. All the other dolls were small only. The large dolls came with three pots of Color-Glo Paints and a brush. The small ones had only one pot and a brush. There were no other toys or accessories for these dolls. They were sold in the USA, Canada and in Europe and Australia. There was at least one special version and that was for Italy. The dolls looked nothing like the originals and the line was discontinued in 1997.

Toy Play[edit]

The third Rainbow Brite generation (2003-2005) was also the 20th Anniversary Release. The master toy licensee was Toy Play (a defunct part of The Betish Group, which is still in business). Nick Jr. was the TV station that advertised the line and Hot Topic was the lead merchandiser. This generation returned to the ideas of the original and had some success in doing so. The product line was a lot narrower than the first generation, having only Rainbow Brite, Red Butler, Canary Yellow and Patty O'Green. Starlite and Puppy Brite were included and so were some sprites. The dolls and sprites were made in different sizes, from about three to 28 inches tall. Some were soft and some were hard plastic. Murky and Lurky were noted for their absence. There were also some toys made by Toy Play (a Color Castle playset in plastic for example) in this line. There was also a lot of wearing apparel and various small items like costume jewelry and writing supplies available. For all that, the range and amount of licensed merchandise by other than Toy Play was small compared to the original line. Some products were sold with a Region 1 DVD in English that featured a single episode of one of the original cartoons. One of the toys was an 18" Talking Rainbow Brite doll produced by Toy Play that said several phrases. In one phrase she names the colors of the rainbow but somehow omits green. When this was brought to Toy Play's attention they indicated that the doll would be fixed for any future production runs. As the line came to an end in 2005, a corrected version never appeared. Some of the Toy Play items were also sold in Canada with English-French packaging.

Playmates Toys[edit]

The fourth Rainbow Brite generation (2009-2010) was the 25th Anniversary Release. The master toy license belonged to Playmates Toys and they released their first line of Rainbow Brite toys on the 24th of December, 2009. The line was expected to be in stores in the fall of 2009 but that did not happen. This interpretation of Rainbow Brite was very controversial because her age was doubled from about five to about ten. She also became a thin plastic doll with nylon hair and her clothes were different from the originals. The line was very small; Rainbow Brite, Tickled Pink and Moonglow. Each doll had a horse and that was it when the line started. More was promised but never arrived. The same dolls were shared with other Playmates characters (the large on was also Alice in Wonderland among others) and that also undercut the line. Rainbow Brite came out as both large and small dolls while the two others were small only. The line was a failure and the stores that had been carrying it did not place repeat orders. Stock ran out by July 2010, so this line was only on the market for seven months. Oddly enough three sprites, one for each doll, arrived in the Fall of 2010 but they had to be sold in Mexico. This line had a number of licensed products similar to the third generation. some of them were in the original style and some of them were in this new style. They included mostly clothing and writing supplies and there was also a small bicycle. Most were soon gone. The most interesting licensed products were three dolls by Madame Alexander. There were two different Rainbow Brite dolls and a Tickled Pink doll. Like the Toy Play dolls, they were soon gone from the shops as the fourth generation died out.

Reboot[edit]

A rebooted 3-part miniseries was launched on November 6, 2014 by Video On Demand site Feeln. The reboot stars Emily Osment as the voice of Rainbow Brite and Molly Ringwald as the voice of Dark Princess.[3] It concluded on November 20, 2014.

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Order of the Stick #415". Giant In the Playground Games. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  2. ^ "Reprise". Penny Arcade. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
3.^ Rainbow Brite Rides Again! The Iconic '80s Character Gets New Cartoon

External links[edit]