Benjamin the Elephant
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (April 2015)
Benjamin the Elephant (original German name: Benjamin Blümchen; "Benjamin Blossom") (1988-2002) is an animated children's television show produced by Kiddinx Studios in Berlin. The show is based on audio stories by Elfie Donnelly. The audio series has been running since 1977 and has 135 stories as of 2017. On the show, the eponymous main character resides at the Newtown Zoo, with friends Otto and Stella. The adventures Benjamin gets involved in often require slipping into various roles, learning new jobs, or discovering new and distant places.
- Benjamin - an elephant, is big and strong, cuddly and good-natured. He loves lazing around. But when something is going on around him, he is on his feet in a trice and ready to act. He is known for his unmistakable "Toroo!" call. He is very helpful and reliable. Benjamin's home is Neustadt Zoo, and the Zoo Director Herr Tierlieb, Karl the Keeper and all the animals are his family. His best friend of all is a boy named Otto. Benjamin spends nearly every afternoon with him and every weekend, and together they have many adventures. Voiced by Dave Pettitt (English).
- Otto - Benjamin's best friend. He is nice, polite, friendly and a very sensible boy. Since Otto knows a lot for a boy his age, he is able to explain things to Benjamin at times when he gets stuck. Otto visits Benjamin in the zoo just about every afternoon after school. They also spend nearly every weekend and the holidays together. From time to time, they even go on their travels together. Voiced by M.J. McCann (English).
- Stella Stellini - Otto's classmate and also a friend of Benjamin's. Stella is cheeky, energetic, adventurous and very sporty. Unlike Otto, Stella is very independent and often starts something on her own. When she is dealing with injustice or being headstrong, she often runs at brick walls. If Stella can't make any headway with a problem, or something goes wrong, then Benjamin and Otto are by her side to help out. Stella didn't make her first appearance until very late in the series.
- The Zoo Director, Herr Tierlieb - a good-natured, friendly elderly man. He lives and breathes his job as zoo director. Nothing is more important to him than the well-being of his animals. He is in charge of Neustadt Zoo and looks after all its inhabitants as if they were his children. It often troubles him that the zoo isn't making as much money as it should in order to provide food for all animals. The Zoo Director trusts Benjamin completely. If ever he needs his help, he is always able to count on his talking elephant. Voiced by Dean Galloway (English).
- Karl the Keeper - the zoo director's right hand, is well loved by all zoo animals. He looks after them with great love and care, keeps the enclosures in good repair, mends fences, fixes the heating when it breaks down and also orders the animal's food. Karl the Keeper loves his job. It is from Karl that Benjamin always finds out the latest news about the zoo and the animals. Voiced by Dan Gascon (English).
- Gulliver - the cheeky raven who thinks he knows everything and can do everything better than the others. The odd misfortune here or there does nothing to change his impetuous character. Gulliver only appears in the TV show, where he replaces the narrator. Voiced by David Lawrence Brown (English).
- Karla Kolumna - Benjamin is friends with Karla Kolumna, a somewhat overexcitable reporter. Everyone in Neustadt knows her cheery "Hello there!" and her famous "Sensationell!" ("Sensational!"). She is always on hand to help, especially when it's a matter of publicizing any scandals or injustices hatched by the Mayor of Neustadt. In such cases, Benjamin, Karla and Otto all work together. Voiced by Debbie Munro (English).
- The Mayor - carries weight as Neustadt's premier citizen, as well as on his person. His name is Bruno Presssack (A Presssack is a German type of sausage.), but he is usually referred to as "the Mayor". He is rather vain and high-handed and is therefore often unjust. However, Benjamin, Otto and Karla always manage to make him change his attitude with their clever ideas. In the end, they find a fair solution for everything. Voiced by Doug de Nance (English).
- Secretary Pichler - the Mayor's secretary. Although he always conforms to duty, he is a clever man with a sense of justice. When Benjamin and his friends are able to assert themselves against the Mayor, he is always secretly pleased. On a few occasions, he even secretly undermines the Mayor's plans. Voiced by Dean Galloway (English)
- Baron Blunderbuss - a haughty aristocrat. He lives in a villa with enormous grounds right next to Newtown Zoo. The Baron has close contact to the Mayor and they support each other when it comes to promoting their interests. The Baron doesn't have much good to say about Benjamin the Elephant. His loud "Toroo!", which often reverberates around the zoo walls, disturb his peace and quiet. Voiced by Clark Robertson (English).
- Hinky and Pinky - two crooks from Newtown. Hinky is tall and thin and a bit stupid, Pinky is fat and much cleverer. Wherever the pair appear, they are up to no good. But Benjamin and Otto are always on the spot and are able to get the pair arrested in the end. Voiced by Ben Jeffrey and Kevin Tokarsky (English). Do not appear until very late in the series.
- Mr. Flatterer (?, Herr Schmeichler in the original) is a businessman in different professions (real estate, computer-selling, etc.; apparently he frequently runs down his businesses but always starts a new one). He uses flattery methods to trick people into deals, ranging sometimes to outright fraud (but not force). Usually among the villains of the story (much more so than the Mayor).
Episodes of the television series
- Season 1 (1988)
- 1. Das Zookonzert ("The Zoo Concert")
- 2. Benjamin Blümchen auf hoher See ("Benjamin Blossom on the High Sea")
- 3. Benjamin Blümchen als Detektiv ("Benjamin Blossom as a detective")
- 4. Benjamin Blümchen als Feuerwehrmann ("Benjamin Blossom as a firefighter")
- 5. Benjamin Blümchen und Bibi Blocksberg ("Benjamin Blossom and Bibi Blocksberg")
- 6. Benjamin Blümchen als Ritter ("Benjamin Blossom as a knight")
- 7. Benjamin Blümchen in der Steinzeit ("Benjamin Blossom in the Stone Age")
- 8. Benjamin Blümchen als Koch ("Benjamin Blossom as a chef")
- 9. Benjamin Blümchen als Butler ("Benjamin Blossom as a butler")
- 10. Wo ist Otto? ("Where is Otto?")
- 11. Benjamin Blümchen als Ballonfahrer ("Benjamin Blossom as a balloonist")
- 12. Benjamin Blümchen als Taxifahrer ("Benjamin Blossom as a taxidriver")
- 13. Benjamin Blümchen auf dem Bauernhof ("Benjamin Blossom
- 14. Benjamin Blümchen und der Weihnachtsmann ("Benjamin Blossom and Santa Claus")
- 15. Benjamin Blümchen und die Eisprinzessin ("Benjamin Blossom and the ice princess")
- 16. Die Zirkuslöwen ("
- 17. Das Geheimnis der Tempelkatze ("
- Season 2
- Benjamin the Elephant website (in German)