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Salty's Lighthouse opening screen.
|Created by||Nina I. Hahn (show concept)|
|Theme music composer||Chase Rucker Productions|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of episodes||40|
|Executive producer(s)||Carole Weitzman|
|Original run||April 28, 1997 – June 26, 1998|
Salty's Lighthouse is a series for young children, produced by Sunbow Entertainment and TLC in 1997 in association with the Bank Street College of Education in New York. The show centres on a young boy named Salty, as he plays and learns with his friends in a magical lighthouse. As well as the animated adventures of Salty and his friends, the series uses live-action footage for various segments. 40 episodes were produced in the series. It ran from April 28, 1997 to June 26, 1998 on TLC.
Salty is a young boy who loves using his imagination. Every day, he goes to the lighthouse near his home to play with his seaside friends: Ocho, the octopus; Claude, the hermit crab; Sophie and Sadie, the bird twins; a group of tiny clams; Aurora, the light that shines over the ocean; and lighthouse owner Aunt Chovie. Through their adventures in each episode, they learn moral lessons that help them overcome their problems. Tied in to each story are other segments, told through live-action footage:
- Through the eyes of Seymour (a walking pair of binoculars), the characters look out beyond the lighthouse to see what the tugboats in the harbour are doing. Their stories relate to the situations of the main characters. The tugboat footage is composed of live model animation, taken from the British television series Tugs (see below for more information).
- Some episodes include a segment called 'Salty's Song Time' introduced by the lighthouse clock. These consist of original songs, which relate the moral of the episode. The songs are set to an arrangement of footage, mainly from stock libraries and silent films & specially added animation for some scenes in the songs.
- Kathleen Barr - Ocho, Aunt Chovie
- Rhys Huber - Salty
- Janyse Jaud - Sophie, Sadie
- Andrea Libman - Claude
- Lenore Zann- Aurora, Sunshine, Captain Star, Little Ditcher
- Ian James Corlett - Ten Cents, Zeebee, Otis, Zip, Lord Stinker, Frank, Eddie, Stanley/Chooch, Old Rusty
- Paul Dobson - Big Stack, Sea Rogue, Red Fin
- Scott McNeil - Zorran, Zug, Zak, Boomer, The Fultan Ferry
- Long John Baldry - Top Hat
- French Tickner - Captain Zero, Izzy Gomez, Bigg Basil, Municipal Garbage Corrporation
- Michael Donovan - Warrior, Steamer, Scoop, Scuttle Butt Pete, Mighty Mo
- Brad Swaile - Boomer, Billy Shoepack, Grampus, Cappy
- Venus Terzo - Lillie Lightship, Sally Seaplane
- Terry Klassen - Hercules
- Garry Chalk - Bluenose
- Richard Newman - Mr. Boffo and Mr. Socko
- Kirby Morrow - Zorran, Zug
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired (U.S. dates)|
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||15||April 28, 1997||May 16, 1997|
|2||26||May 25, 1998||June 26, 1998|
- Mixed Signals (April 28, 1997)
- Too Young to Be Included (April 29, 1997)
- Taking Off - Ten Cents wishes he could fly like Sally, his seaplane friend. (April 30, 1997)
- Let's Party (May 1, 1997)
- The Blackout (May 2, 1997)
- Eight is Too Much (May 5, 1997)
- One Bad Day (May 6, 1997)
- Hands Off (May 7, 1997)
- Salty Come Lately (May 8, 1997)
- It's Magic - Ten Cents believes that he is magic. (May 9, 1997)
- Count on Me (May 12, 1997)
- Knot So Nice (May 13, 1997)
- Taking My Turn (May 14, 1997)
- Backwards Day (May 15, 1997)
- The Banana Splits (May 16, 1997)
- Clear the Decks (May 18, 1998)
- Claude in Charge (May 25, 1998)
- The Favorite (May 26, 1998)
- Let's Strike Up the Bands - Ten Cents builds a band and starts his own rock concert. (May 27, 1998)
- Blankety Blank (May 28, 1998)
- The Last of the Red Hot C Gulls (May 29, 1998)
- Farley Frog (June 1, 1998)
- The Boss Man (June 2, 1998)
- Sophie, Come Home (June 3, 1998)
- Who Took My Crayons? (June 4, 1998)
- High Spirits (June 5, 1998)
- Some Guys Have All the Luck (June 8, 1998)
- Dream On (June 9, 1998)
- Sounds Off (June 10, 1998)
- The Treasure Hunt (June 11, 1998)
- Who Turned Off the Lights? - Lightning strikes Snugboat Harbor and all the lights go out, scaring Ten Cents. (June 12, 1998)
- If the Clue Fits, Wear It (June 15, 1998)
- Desperately Seeking Sadie (June 16, 1998)
- Colossal Crab (June 17, 1998)
- The Big Birthday Splash (June 18, 1998)
- Stop the Music - Ten Cents tries to sing but can't get quite used to it but he has hay fever. (June 19, 1998)
- Let's Wing It (June 22, 1998)
- No Strings Attached (June 23, 1998)
- Guilty Gull (June 24, 1998)
- Bivalve Blues (June 25, 1998)
- Superheroes - Ten Cents believes he has superpowers when Grampus leads him to discover this. (June 26, 1998)
In 2005, Metrodome Distribution (a distributor owned by Sunbow owners TV-Loonland) included the episodes 'Taking Off' and 'Let's Party' on a UK release called 'Toddler Time'. As of 2012, episodes are available online on Kidobi, a video streaming site for preschool content.
Comparisons with Tugs
The segments featuring the tugboats in the harbour used footage from the British television series Tugs, a series produced in 1988 by Robert D. Cardona and David Mitton, who (along with Britt Allcroft) produced the popular series Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends. Whilst Allcroft drove the Thomas series to popularity among American audiences (through the PBS series Shining Time Station), Tugs did not spread far beyond its country of origin, lasting one season of 13 episodes (although it was aired and merchandised in the Japanese and Australian markets).
As a result of this, Sunbow saw fit to use the series' animation as a part of Salty's Lighthouse, licensing the use of the footage from Cardona: however, they repurposed the footage drastically to suit the needs of Salty's Lighthouse - a programme intended for the preschool American market. (Cardona was not involved in the show's production; however, he was credited as creator of the model footage.)
The original episodes of Tugs centered on two rival fleets of tugboats, working in 'Bigg City Port' during the 1920s, with its plotlines involving action and drama intended for an older audience of children. Due to the difference in intended demographic, the original plotlines (as well as the premise of rival tug fleets) were not used. Instead, the producers of Salty's Lighthouse wrote entirely new stories of the boats in 'Snugboat Harbour', relating to the theme of the main animated segment, with footage from the series edited and redubbed to tell these stories.
(This creates an interesting comparison to the Thomas segments of Shining Time Station; as Britt Allcroft intended to introduce Thomas to America through that series, its stories were redubbed and slightly rewritten, but still faithful to their source. In the case of Salty's Lighthouse, the show was completely repurposed for a new market, instead of attempting to create a faithful 'equivalent' of Tugs.)
Along with the newly created stories, various changes were made to the characters featured in them. The characters of Sunshine, Captain Star (the narrator), and Little Ditcher were made female, presumably to appeal to a wider audience of children. (Sunshine was referred to in some episodes as fellow switcher Ten Cents' sister.)
The American accents of the new voiceover replaced a range of British accents from the original characters (for example, the Glaswegian Scottish of Big Mac, or the Cockney accents of Ten Cents and Zorran).
Some character names were also changed, usually to avoid confusion with others of the same name: Of the main characters, Big Mac became 'Big Stack' (possibly to avoid legal trouble from McDonalds over the name of their famous sandwich).; O.J. became 'Otis' (possibly to avoid confusion with O.J. Simpson or the fact that O.J. can stand for Orange Juice).; while Zebedee became 'Zeebee' (his original nameplate is left uncensored which indicates his name may have been consistently mispronounced).
Izzy Gomez had an American accent instead of a Mexican one, despite having the sombrero.
Many supporting and incidental characters were also repurposed, to fit particular Salty's Lighthouse stories:
- Johnny Cuba, a smuggler, was written as 'Steamer', a friendly but shy character.
- Sea Rogue was used as a villain, stealing cargo.
- Two different characters, Coast Guard and the Coast Guard's Messenger, were merged into a single character named 'Cappy'.
- Puffa had different names in different stories: 'Stanley', and later 'Chooch'.
- Big Mickey became 'Bigg Basil'.
- Jack the Grappler became 'Scoop'.
- The Fire Tug was known as 'Red Fin'.
- The scrap dealers Burke and Blair became movie producers named 'Mr. Boffo' and 'Mr. Socko'.
- The tramper Nantucket also went under different names, sometimes in speaking parts, sometime only communicating through a foghorn.
- Tugs - The British series made into a segment of the show.
- Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends, and its American counterpart Shining Time Station.
- Theodore Tugboat - A Canadian children's series, also starring tugboat characters.
- Bailey, Jeff Lenburg ; foreword by Chris (2009). The encyclopedia of animated cartoons (3rd ed. ed.). New York, NY: Facts on File/Checkmark Books. p. 614. ISBN 978-0-8160-6599-8.