The Littles (TV series)
|Voices of||Jimmy Keegan, Donavan Freberg, Robert David Hall, Bettina Bush, Alvy Moore, Laurel Page
B.J. Ward, Gregg Berger, Patricia Parris
|Country of origin||United States
Japan (overseas animation)
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||29 episodes, 1 feature film, and 1 television movie|
TMS Entertainment (Animation)
Animation City Editorial Services (post-production)
|Running time||22 minutes approx.|
|Distributor||Saban International (Outside North America)
Disney-ABC Domestic Television (Inside North America)
|Original channel||ABC (U.S.)
TV Tokyo (Japan)
Nine Network (Australia)
|Original run||September 10, 1983 – November 2, 1985|
The Littles is an animated television series based on The Littles characters in a series of children's novels by American author John Peterson, the first of which was published in 1967. This cartoon was produced by a French/American/Canadian animation studio, DIC Entertainment, and as standard practice for TV cartoons of the period, the animation production was outsourced overseas to the Japanese studio TMS Entertainment. It was post-produced by a Canadian Animation studio, Animation City Editorial Services.
In the TV series the family tree is mostly clear. Frank and Helen are the parents of Tom and Lucy, Grandpa is the father of Helen, and Dinky is a cousin (presumed first cousin) of Tom and Lucy. In the books the family tree is never explicitly identified. Occasional references to relationships indicate a family tree, but the references are conflicting. The Littles that often appear are Tom, Lucy, Dinky, and Grandpa.
Differences from the books
Besides the family tree, other notable differences between the TV series and the books included:
- Henry knowing about the Littles was unique to the TV series and the movie, Here Come the Littles. The first season never revealed how Henry met the Littles; during the opening credits Henry simply tells the audience that he has "a very special secret" – that he's the only one who knows about the Littles. During the second season, the opening credits said that Henry first met the Littles when Tom and Lucy fell inside his suitcase as he was moving, and they jumped out when he opened the suitcase. In the movie, however, Tom and Lucy still get trapped inside Henry's suitcase, but Henry doesn't discover the Littles until much later; he first sees Grandpa and Dinky in his uncle's yard, while Tom and Lucy later befriend him when they need his help. Henry took great care to keep the Littles' existence a secret, even from his own parents. Although he betrayed them in one episode ("Dinky's Doomsday Pizza"), the entire incident and its resulting fallout turned out to be only a dream that Dinky was having.
- Characters unique to the TV series. Most notable are the two villains, Dr. Hunter and his assistant, Peterson. Hunter is a scientist who has been trying to capture a Little to prove his theories, but has been unsuccessful, although he came close at times. Peterson, Hunter's assistant, may be a nod to John Peterson, who wrote the books on which the series is based.
The protagonists who appear in every episode
- Grandpa Little - The oldest member of the family. He's Helen's father and the grandfather of Tom and Lucy. He takes part at all the adventures of the Littles' and is the most practical of them all. He has grey hair, wears a brown coat and always cares an acuate cane.
- Dinky Little - probably the cousin of the family (as in the books, where he is always presented an 'cousin Dinky'). He's very tall (for his little height), has blonde hair, wears an orange coat and a cap with googles. He is well known for his big ambition of flying a plane, even if he nearly always ends the flight with a crash landing. He is very clumsy and a little stupid, he often claims to be very well known in everything and acts like a hero but in fact he's a big milquetoast and most of the time wants to run away and hide. Grandpa often argues with him.
- Tom Little - one of the children of the family. He has brunette hair covered with a big red cap and wears dark blue overalls. He participates at all the adventures and is up for challenges, with being very active. It's important for him to help the humans, even if they don't know of the Littles' existance and as being the big brother he often protects and cares for his sister Lucy.
- Lucy Little - one of the children of the family and the only girl in the group who has this many adventures. She has ginger hair worn in two ponytails. She is very funny and kindful. Even if she's a little afraid and can slow the others down she's very important to them, they'd never let her down. Most time she spends with her brother Tom, together they hang around at home, outside or with friends and regularly help the humans who are in trouble.
Other main characters
- Henry Bigg - a blonde boy and one of the very few humans who knows about the existence of the Littles. They live in his house and are his best friends, when there is some bigger work to be done he's always there for the others. Together with his small turtle Slick he protects his friends of becoming discovered or caught by the evil, doctor Hunter.
- Slick - a little turtle and Henry's pet. He often visits the Littles in their small home and takes part on the adventures.
- Doctor Hunter - the bad guy in the series. He has never seen a Little with his own eyes, but is very sure they really exist. His job is to find some evidence and build machines that can detect this tiny humans to proof the others and himself that the Littles really exist. However all of this hard works he mades always end with a failure.
- Peterson - the other bad guy and Dr. Hunter's assistant. He is very well-known with computers and uses them wisely.
- Frank Little - the father in the family. He has black hair and a moustache.
- Helen Little - the mother of Tom and Lucy and the daughter of Grandpa Little. She has blonde hair, dark blue eyes and wears a long skirt. As the role of the mother she cares a lot for her children.
- Ashley Little - the cousin of the family. He has a very small appearance, he could be only seen in a view episodes from the 2nd and 3rd season. He's at the age of Tom, has dark blonde hair and very big, wide chops. He is up for action and adventures but unfortunately very naive in trading what usually ends with much trouble.
- Marie - a classmate of Henry and his good friend. Even if she only appeared in two episodes ("A little Fairytale" and "A little gold, lots of trouble") it can be seen they are very close to each other.
Episode themes and structure
During the first two seasons, many of the episodes contained moral lessons or addressed specific issues, such as running away from home ("The Little Fairy Tale"), drug abuse ("Prescription for Disaster") and jealousy ("Lights, Camera, Littles" and "Twins").
The first two seasons also featured simple arts and crafts at the end of each episode ("Little Ideas for Big People"), with the second season using suggestions sent in by viewers. During the third season, a segment called "A Little Known Fact" highlighted historical or geographic trivia that was related to the episode.
- Jimmy Keegan as Henry Bigg
- Alvy Moore as Grandpa Little
- Gregg Berger as Frank Little
- Patricia Parris as Helen Little
- Donavan Freberg as Tom Little (Seasons 1–2)
- David Wagner as Tom Little (Season 3)
- Bettina Bush as Lucy Little
- B.J. Ward as Ashley Little (Seasons 2–3)'
- Frank Welker as Slick (Season 1)
- Pat Fraley as Slick (Seasons 2–3)
- Robert David Hall as Mr. Bigg and Dinky Little
- Laurel Page as Mrs. Bigg
- Ken Sansom as Dr. Hunter and Peterson
- Rachelle Cano Opening and Closing Theme Vocals
Along with Inspector Gadget and Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, The Littles was one of the first cartoons produced by DIC Entertainment for American television, and was the only one of the three to air on a network, rather than in syndication.
The first two seasons of shows feature The Littles around the Bigg household, but to improve the show's popularity the final season features the Littles traveling around the world.
During the production run of the show, the Littles were also popular enough to warrant two movie tie-ins:
- On May 24, 1985, the Littles starred in their first animated feature, Here Come the Littles, which serves a prequel to the TV series. It was directed by Bernard Deyriès and written by Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Jack Olesker, and Jeffrey Scott. This is available on DVD.
- The following year (1986), a made-for-TV movie was created starring the Littles, Liberty and the Littles. This film was also directed by Bernard Deyriès and written by Heywood Kling. This second movie was subsequently edited into a three-part episode and included in the third season of the series. Liberty and the Littles, which also aired in three parts during the ninth season of the ABC Weekend Special, was released on VHS but is now out of print. However, the episode is available on DVD.
Broadcast history in the USA
- ABC (September 10, 1983 to September 6, 1986)
- The Family Channel (September 4, 1989 to December 31, 1993)
- Toon Disney (April 18, 1998 to September 2, 2002)
- Syndication (September 2003 to present)
International broadcast history
The Littles also aired in a number of oversea countries including:
- Algeria (ألأقزام الصغار)
- Brazil (Os Pequeninos)
- China (小不点)
- France (Les Minipouss)
- Germany (Die Littles)
- Hong Kong
- India (द लित्त्लेस)
- Italy (I Piccoli)
- Japan (リトル一家の冒険)
- Latin America (La familia Meñique)
- New Zealand
- Poland (Malusińscy)
- South Korea
- Spain (Los diminutos)
- United Kingdom
(An asterisk (*) denotes an episode that was not rerun in syndication.)
Season 1 (1983–84)
|No.||Title||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Beware of Hunter!"||Jeffrey Scott||September 10, 1983|
|Henry's friendship with Tom and Lucy causes problems with the Littles' Council when Dr. Hunter searches Henry's house to find evidence of the Littles' existence.|
|2||"Lost City of the Littles (*)"||Jeffrey Scott||September 17, 1983|
|Henry's parents discover a statue with a tail (portraying an ancient Little ruler), which also piques Dr. Hunter's interest. When Henry learns that the statue will hypnotize all Littles and call them to it, he decides to steal the statue to save his friends.|
|3||"The Big Scare"||Jeffrey Scott||September 24, 1983|
|Henry spends the night in a haunted house as part of an initiation to join a bicycle club. The other members, though, have malevolent plans for Henry, and the Littles must help him turn the tables.|
|4||"Lights, Camera, Littles"||Jeffrey Scott||October 1, 1983|
|When The Littles make "The Little Wizard of Oz," Tom becomes jealous of Lucy and decides to dispose of the film. In the process, however, it gets into Dr. Hunter's hands.|
|5||"The Spirits of the Night"||Jeffrey Scott||October 8, 1983|
|The Littles visit a blind elderly woman and help her save her house from her scheming landlord.|
|6||"The Little Winner"||Jeffrey Scott||October 15, 1983|
|After Dinky wins a contest for a gasoline-powered model airplane, Henry helps him pick up his prize.|
|7||"A Big Cure for a Little Illness"||Jeffrey Scott||October 22, 1983|
|After Helen is poisoned by one of Dr. Hunter's chemicals, Henry fakes an illness to obtain the antidote.|
|8||"The Rats Are Coming! The Rats Are Coming!"||Jeffrey Scott||October 29, 1983|
|During a heavy rainstorm, rats invade Henry's neighborhood and cause problems for the Littles.|
|9||"The Little Fairy Tale"||Jeffrey Scott||November 5, 1983|
|Marie, Henry's friend, runs away when she doesn't get all A's on her report card. It's up to Tom, Lucy and the other Littles to convince Marie to return.|
|10||"Prescription for Disaster (*)"||Jeffrey Scott||November 12, 1983|
|The Littles visit a cousin in the house of a Bigg parent who is addicted to prescription drugs.|
|11||"The Little Scouts"||Jeffrey Scott||November 19, 1983|
|While camping in the woods, Grandpa, Dinky, Tom, Lucy and the Little Scouts help a stranded pilot.|
|12||"A Little Gold, A Lot of Trouble"||Jeffrey Scott||November 26, 1983|
|Henry and Marie get stuck in a mine shaft, and it's up to the Littles to rescue them.|
|13||"Dinky's Doomsday Pizza"||Jeffrey Scott||December 3, 1983|
|When Dinky crashes his glider delivering pizzas, he dreams that Henry betrays the Littles to Dr. Hunter.|
Season 2 (1984–85)
|No.||Title||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"A Little Rock and Roll"||September 15, 1984|
|When Henry's (and the Littles') favorite band, the Copacetics, holds a concert in Grand Valley, Tom, Lucy, and Cousin Ashley decide to attend despite Mr., Mrs., and Grandpa Little forbidding the kids to go.|
|2||"The Little Babysitters"||Jeffery Scott||September 22, 1984|
|Henry promises to babysit for his parents but when he gets an invitation to play football from his friends, he has the Littles take over for him instead.|
|3||"The Forest Littles"||September 29, 1984|
|The Littles discover a race of Littles in the forest and help them evade a ferret that Dr. Hunter has set loose after them.|
|4||"For The Birds"||October 6, 1984|
|When The Littles' Council decides to start a zoo, Tom and Lucy find an injured bird but keep it a secret from Ashley and the others for fear it will become an exhibit.|
|5||"Twins"||Jack Olesker||October 13, 1984|
|Dinky becomes jealous when Littles twins are born, taking all the attention away from him and his latest invention – a gas-powered car. He stages a stunt show during which he is nearly killed, but when the twins still get all the attention, Dinky steals a brass bed that Henry got for them.|
|6||"Looking for Grandma Little (*)"||Jeffery Scott||October 20, 1984|
|Grandpa leaves home feeling neglected when Tom and Lucy try to find him a female companion to keep him from being lonely.|
|7||"Every Little Vote Counts"||October 27, 1984|
|Dr. Hunter sets traps for the Littles, causing their mayor to restrict them from going outside. Meanwhile, another Little named Smilin' Al runs for mayor, promising no such restrictions.|
|8||"The Littles' Halloween"||November 3, 1984|
|On Halloween, Henry explores an old house rumored to be inhabited by an evil magician who turns kids into cats and Littles into mice.|
Season 3 (1985–86)
|No.||Title||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"The Little Amazon Queen (*)"||September 14, 1985|
|The Biggs visit the Amazon jungle to find a missing girl and a rare diamond, while the Littles find an ancient race of Littles in the jungle.|
|2||"Tut the Second (*)"||Jack Olesker||September 21, 1985|
|While visiting Egypt, Henry and the Littles are kidnapped and taken to a pyramid, where Henry is thought to be the reincarnation of King Tut. Henry enjoys the attention until he learns he'll be spending the rest of his life inside the pyramid.|
|3||"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"||September 28, 1985|
|When the Biggs visit Ireland, Dinky is caught by Mr. Finnegan, who thinks he is a leprechaun.|
|4||"The Wrong Stuff (*)"||October 5, 1985|
|The Littles find themselves accidentally sent into orbit on the space shuttle and Dinky is forced to return a computer chip he took as a souvenir to keep the shuttle from burning up on re-entry.|
|5||"Deadly Jewels (*)"||Jack Olesker||October 12, 1985|
|While visiting India, Henry gets his camera case mixed up with that of a princess, who discovers the Littles but promises to keep their secret. The Littles, in turn, learn of a plot to steal the crown jewels.|
|6||"A Little Drunk"||Marc Scott Zicree||October 19, 1985|
|Henry discovers that his favorite Hollywood movie star is an alcoholic who doesn't even do his own stunts. Meanwhile, Dinky, who thinks drinking is cool, gets drunk himself and nearly causes an accident.|
|7||"Ben Dinky (*)"||October 26, 1985|
|While visiting Rome, the Littles find ancient Roman Littles ruled by a dictator. Meanwhile Dinky is mistaken for a great gladiator.|
|8||"The Little Girl Who Could"||November 2, 1985|
|The Littles visit their cousins in the country, who have a wheelchair-bound girl. When she mentions buried treasure, Tom and Ashley go off in search of it.|
On November 13, 2007, S'more Entertainment released The Littles – The Complete Unedited Series on DVD in Region 1.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|The Littles: The Complete Unedited series||29||November 13, 2007||
On July 19, 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released the entire series on DVD in a 3-disc set entitled The Littles: The Complete Series. It contains the two Animated movies Here Comes the Littles and Liberty and the Littles.
Some of the merchandise that was released during the series run included: tie-in story books, a Milton-Bradley board game, stickers and greeting cards. Foreign merchandise included many more items such as Halloween Masks, a set of figures, card game, VHS, records, and more.
- Here Come the Littles animated feature film
- The Intelligencer – September 4, 1989
- The Intelligencer – December 31, 1993
- The Littles episode guide
- The Littles at the Internet Movie Database
- The Littles at TV.com
- Here Come the Littles (1985 film) at the Internet Movie Database