Arthur, as he appears in the television series
|First appearance||Arthur's Nose (1976, book debut)
"Arthur's Eyes" (1996, television debut)
|Created by||Marc Brown|
Arthur Timothy Read is the main character and titular protagonist of both the book series and the PBS children's television show Arthur which was created by Marc Brown. On the show, he is eight years old, in Mr. Ratburn's third grade class, and lives in Elwood City. Arthur was ranked #26 on TV Guide's 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time.
Arthur is an eight-year-old anthropomorphic aardvark, and the star of the self-titled TV series and books. Though he is proclaimed to be an aardvark, many of his current features sit in stark contrast with this; for example his small, rounded ears, large, bulbous snout and his lack of the large, conspicuous tail which aardvarks typically possess. His trademarks include his bright yellow sweater, blue jeans, big round glasses, and red-and-white sneakers that he wears in most appearances. According to creator Marc Brown, he is supposed to be a representation of the average American third-grader and is based on the author's own experiences growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania, as a child.
In the first Arthur book, Arthur's Nose (1976), Arthur had a long nose; he therefore resembled an actual aardvark. However, his design changed over the first half dozen books; he now has a much shorter nose, and many more human features. In the second book of the series, 1979's Arthur's Eyes (in which Arthur still very strongly resembled a real aardvark), he acquired his trademark glasses.
A recurring theme in the Arthur series is the tensions between Arthur and his 4-year-old sister Dora Winifred Read (nicknamed D.W.) Arthur is constantly pestered by his younger sister and even though she celebrated her fifth birthday during the TV series' third season, Arthur still referred to her as a "four-year-old" in the episode Return of the Snowball, which aired in the seventh season. D.W. usually tries to get Arthur into trouble, although there are times when Arthur can also be mean to his sister or retaliate. Despite that, Arthur tries his best to ignore D.W.'s annoying antics most of the time, and often does her favors—sometimes at his parents' request, against his will.
Arthur's parents include his mother Jane Read, who is a work-at-home accountant, and his father David L. Read, who runs a catering business. His mother is from the Pittsburgh area, and knew Fred Rogers as a child, while most of his father's relatives are from Ohio. He also has a baby sister named Kate and a pet dog named Pal.
Appearances from Arthur's extended family include Grandma Thora, Grandpa Dave, Uncle Fred, Uncle Richard, Uncle Bud, Uncle Sean, Aunt Jessica, Aunt Loretta, Aunt Lucy, Aunt Bonnie Great-Grandma (Thora's mother) and his cousins Cora, Monique, Ricky, Unnamed cousin (Loretta's daughter),Cousin George and other unnamed relatives. However, the only two members of Arthur's extended family who have appeared more than once as of today are Grandma Thora and Grandpa Dave.
Grandma Thora lives in a house not too far from Arthur's in Elwood City and is known to be a bad cook, but a loving grandmother and a world-class marbles player. She loves to play bingo every Friday night, and in some episodes has to watch over Arthur and D.W. Grandpa Dave lives on a farm that he claims has been in the family for 150 years.
Buster, Muffy, Francine, Sue Ellen, Binky, and the Brain, are some of Arthur's friends who appear most frequently. Buster is regarded as Arthur's best friend who has the habit of eating junk foods, sometimes past their shelf life, and enjoys telling jokes. Muffy is popular and rich, due to her dad's successful used automobile business. Binky acts as the main school bully, but he can't intimidate some of the students, especially Sue Ellen. The Brain's true name is Alan, but his friends call him by his nickname due to his intelligence and habit of correcting others' mistakes in many subjects.
- Michael Yarmush (Seasons 1–5)
- Justin Bradley (Season 6)
- Mark Rendall (Season 6 U.S. reruns, Seasons 7–8)
- Cameron Ansell (Seasons 9–11)
- Dallas Jokic (Season 12–15)
- Drew Adkins (Season 16–17)
- William Healy (Season 18–present)