The Wuzzles

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Disney's The Wuzzles
The Wuzzles.PNG
Created by Mark Donald
Starring Stan Freberg
Alan Oppenheimer
Jo Anne Worley
Henry Gibson
Sarah Melton
Bill Scott
Brian Cummings
Opening theme "The Wuzzles" performed by Stephen Geyer
Ending theme "The Wuzzles" (intersamual)
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Marc du Pontavice
Running time approx 22–26 mins
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television Animation
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Broadcast
Original channel CBS (1985–1986)[1]
ABC (1986–1987)
Audio format Stereo
Original run September 14, 1985 (1985-09-14) – December 7, 1985 (1985-12-07)

Disney's The Wuzzles is an animated television series created for Saturday morning television, and was first broadcast on September 14, 1985 on CBS. An idea of Michael Eisner for his new Disney television animation studio, the premise is that the main characters are hybrids of two different animals.[2] The original thirteen episodes ran on CBS for their first run.[3]

With only 13 episodes of The Wuzzles, it was one of the shortest running animated series produced by Disney.[4] One season later, Wuzzles moved to ABC (which was eventually sold to Disney) for reruns, and disappeared from network television after that.

Premise[edit]

The Wuzzles features a variety of short, rounded animal characters (each called a Wuzzle, which means to mix up). Each is a roughly even, and colorful, mix of two different animal species (as the theme song mentions, "livin' with a split personality"), and all the characters sport wings on their backs, although only Bumblelion and Butterbear are seemingly capable of flight. All of the Wuzzles live on the Isle of Wuz. Double species are not limited to the Wuzzles themselves. From the appleberries they eat to the telephonograph in the home, or a luxury home called a castlescraper, nearly everything on Wuz is mixed together in the same way the Wuzzles are. The characters in the show were marketed extensively. The characters were featured in children's books, as poseable figures and plush toys (similar to Care Bears), and in a board game.

Disney premiered two animated series on the same day in the United States, with the other being Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears on NBC, and both series were successful during their first seasons. However, The Wuzzles ended production after its initial run largely due to the sudden death of Bill Scott, the voice of Moosel.

It was a much bigger success in the United Kingdom where the pilot episode aired as a theatrical featurette in 1986 alongside a re-release of Disney's Bambi. In the United Kingdom, The Wuzzles and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears were originally screened on the same channel (ITV) in 1985/1986, therefore both series enjoyed high popularity, and The Wuzzles was also repeated on the Children's BBC (now called CBBC) in 1987. Reruns of the show were aired on both The Disney Channel and Toon Disney. Lead vocal on the theme song for The Wuzzles is performed by songwriter Stephen Geyer.

Characters[edit]

  • Narrator (voiced by Stan Freberg): The never-seen narrator welcomes the viewer to "the Land of Wuz," and is heard throughout each episode.
  • Bumblelion (voiced by Brian Cummings): Half bumblebee and half lion, Bumblelion is mostly lion in appearance. He is a short, squat orange furred creature with a pink mane, fuzzy antennae, a lion's tail, small insect wings, and horizontal brown stripes up his tummy. He lives in a beehive, likes sports, is courageous, and has a crush on Butterbear. He is said to be the sort who "rush[es] in where angels fear to tread". He and Eleroo are best friends.
  • Butterbear (voiced by Kathleen Helppie): Half bear and half butterfly, Butterbear is mostly bear in appearance. She has yellow fur with a white tummy, larger wings than the other Wuzzles, and short antennae with flowers on their ends. She is a keen gardener who is gentle and patient despite the crazy adventures of her friends.
  • Eleroo (voiced by Henry Gibson): Half elephant and half kangaroo. One of the larger Wuzzles, Eleroo is purple, with the body shape and tail of a kangaroo and an elephant's trunk and ears. He has a horizontally striped pouch (despite the fact that pouches are found only on female kangaroos). Eleroo has trouble remembering what he stores in his pouch. He is sweet, but accident/disaster prone. He and Bumblelion are best friends.
  • Moosel (voiced by Bill Scott): Half moose and half seal. Moosel is a small Wuzzle. He has antlers and flippers. Moosel has a vivid imagination, which makes him believe in monsters. He and Rhinokey are best friends.
  • Hoppopotamus (voiced by Jo Anne Worley): Half rabbit, half hippopotamus. She is called Hoppo by her friends. Hoppo is a Wuzzle who is a hippopotamus with a rabbit's ears, buck teeth and a fluffy tail. She has blue fur with a purple tummy, and she loves to sing and act. Hoppo is a pushy demanding diva, but she can be sweet. However, when toughness is called for (particularly in dealing with the regular villain, Crocosaur), she is the toughest Wuzzle of all. Hoppo has a crush on Bumblelion, but Bumblelion has his heart set on Butterbear.
  • Rhinokey (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer): Half rhinoceros and half monkey. Rhinokey is a Wuzzle who has a rhino-like snout with a horizontal-stripped horn, pink fur, and rhino-like legs. He is in a posture that is very much like that of a monkey's. Rhinokey is a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky prankster. He loves to play practical jokes. He can be obnoxious, but he loves his friends. Rhinokey is Moosel's best friend.
  • Tycoon (voiced by Gregg Berger): Half tiger and half raccoon. Tycoon is the rich kid of Wuz. He owns a money tree. He shows the other Wuzzles that he got his wealth from smart investing and saving his money, and teaches the Wuzzles about fiscal responsibility.
  • Crocosaur (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer): Half crocodile, half dinosaur, and the main villain of the show. Crocosaur (normally referred to as just Croc in the series) is bad-tempered, lazy, vile, ignorant, a bully, and does anything to get what he wants. He always wants the best of what the Wuzzles have, but does not want to apply the effort to acquire it himself.
    • Brat (voiced by Bill Scott): Half wild boar, half dragon, and Crocosaur's chief sidekick. Brat sputters, raspberries, cries, laughs, yells, growls, and grunts in his speech, but Crocosaur understands what he is saying. Like Crocosaur, he is very lazy and has a strong dislike towards the Wuzzles coupled with a desire to have the best of what they have without applying any effort towards acquiring it. As his name implies, Brat is very bad tempered and is often shown throwing tantrums when he does not get his own way. He is also greatly lacking in intelligence, and his incompetence often sees himself and Crocosaur falling victim to their own devices, which in turn occasionally sees the two of them falling out.
    • Frizard (voiced by Brian Cummings): Half frog, half lizard, and Crocosaur's other sidekick. Frizard is not particularly intelligent, but he means well and is more amiable in his manner than either Crocosaur or Brat, and relatively more tolerant of the Wuzzles, but nevertheless very loyal to Crocosaur; on occasions where Crocosaur and Brat fall out, it is often left to Frizard to try and patch things up between them. His character essentially emphasizes tolerance of others who one is not particularly close to, while staying loyal to one's friends regardless of whether their plans are morally right or not. Frizard does not appear in every episode, only making sporadic appearances throughout the series.

Minor or one-shot characters[edit]

  • Officer Eaglbeagle (voiced by Bill Scott): Half Beagle, half bald eagle. He is a no-nonsense cop who appears in the episodes "In the Money" and "Klutz on the Clutch", both times dealing with illegal behavior from Rhinokey (allegedly robbing a bank and dangerous driving, respectively). His name may be a joke on the phrase "legal eagle".
  • Mr. Packcat (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer): Half packrat, half cat
  • Mrs Pedigree (voiced by Tress MacNeille): Half swan, half ostrich. She is a rich, sophisticated Wuzzle who is highly respected in the gang's hometown. She made very brief appearances in the episodes "In the Money" and "Klutz on the Clutch" before having a major role in "Class Dismissed" when she hosted a swanky party at her estate.
  • Transylvia (voiced by Tress MacNeille): Half vulture, half ape. She is the vampire-witch of the Terrified Forest. Her name is a joke on Transylvania. She looks a bit like the winged monkeys from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or the Tengu of Japanese mythology, travels on a flying "boomerangstick" and is proud of the fact that people are scared of her, but seems to have self-confidence issues (until the end of the episode, anyway) and turned out to not be so scary once the gang got to know her (although she dissuaded them from telling anyone).
    • The Dingbats: Transylvia's henchmen, described as "part dingo, part bat, and ugly all over" by the Narrator. They don't speak (apart from a few sniggers) and seem to be rather incompetent, bringing their mistress Butterbear when she told them to find butterberries.
    • The Gorantula: Half gorilla and half tarantula. Transylvia's pet, which was enlarged into an aggressive monster by a miscast spell and drove Transylvia out of her castle. The gang helped her to magically shrink it back to a more manageable size.
  • Peter Parafox: Half parrot, half fox and the owner of Parafox Studios in Hollywuz. He spent most of "Hooray for Hollywuz" ordering his Dogrilla (dog-gorilla) security to throw the persistent but unwanted Hoppo out of the studio. He doesn't seem to be able to say anything without squawking loudly at some point during the sentence.
    • Steven Sealbird: Half seal, half seabird and another Hollywuz movie director whose film making was interrupted by Hoppo. His name is a parody of movie producer Steven Spielberg.
  • Mockingbirddog (voiced by Frank Welker): Half mockingbird, half dog. A nuisance animal

Characters that appeared in books and as plush toys, but not on TV[edit]

Baby Wuzzles[edit]

These characters appeared only as plush toys.

Episode list[edit]

Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
1 "Bulls of a Feather" Carole Beers Mark Evanier September 14, 1985
Eleroo adopts a baby bullfinch and is reluctant to part with it, especially when the other Wuzzles wish to return it to its original mother. Meanwhile, Crocosaur plans to get wealthy with the baby bullfinch.
2 "Hooray for Hollywuz" Carole Beers Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
September 21, 1985
Hoppo attempts to reach her dream of becoming a star in Hollywuz.
3 "In the Money" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
Bob Rosenfarb,
David Weimers
September 28, 1985
Bumblelion finds money on the ground, which was stolen money from the bank, and becomes rich, which puts a crimp in his friendship with the other Wuzzles.
4 "Crock Around the Clock" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
October 5, 1985
The stormy weather gets bad in Wuz, and with Crocosaur's house destroyed, he takes up residence with Butterbear, conning her of her food supply.
5 "Moosel's Monster" Fred Wolf Ted Perry October 12, 1985
Moosel's imagination goes out of control when he accuses everything of being a monster or an omen, and believes a real and friendly monster is all in his head.
6 "Klutz on the Clutch" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
October 19, 1985
Due to Rhinokey's crazy driving, he is banned from driving and therefore banned from the upcoming race.
7 "Bumblelion and the Terrified Forest" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
October 26, 1985
Bumblelion and Hoppo go deep into the Terrified Forest to rescue Butterbear from an evil witch.
8 "Eleroo's Wishday" Fred Wolf Mark Evanier November 2, 1985
Eleroo wishes to fly using the wishing well.
9 "Ghostrustlers" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
November 9, 1985
With a plague in Wuz Town, the Wuzzles move to a ghost town that really is inhabited by ghosts.
10 "A Pest for a Pet" Fred Wolf Mark Evanier November 16, 1985
The Wuzzles get revenge on Rhinokey by playing a joke on him that makes him depart from Wuz.
11 "The Main Course" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
November 23, 1985
After being attacked by Pirats (part parrot, part rat), the Wuzzles sail to an island where Hoppo is mistaken for a god by a tribe of Pig-Mice (part pig, part mouse) who intend to throw her into a volcano.
12 "Class Dismissed" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
November 30, 1985
When Butterbear is hired to make invitations to a ball, the other Wuzzles decide to get invited by bettering their class. Also, Crocosaur makes a bet with Butterbear about turning Brat into a sensible and polite Wuzzle.
13 "What's Up, Stox?" Fred Wolf Ken Koonce,
David Weimers
December 7, 1985
After visiting the new neighbor, zillionaire Tycoon (part tiger, part raccoon), the Wuzzles are given a money tree which they obsess over. Crocosaur plans to obtain it for himself.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Team Disney-flying High In Burbank - Page 4 - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. September 22, 1996. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "'Whats' Wuzn'T 'Wuzzles,' Federal Judge Determines - New York Times". New York Times. September 19, 1987. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Wuzzles Episode Guide (1985)". BCDB. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Disney Enters Saturday's Cartoon Fray". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 

External links[edit]