|Created by||Jim George|
|Directed by||Chris Headrick|
Michael Peraza Jr.
|Voices of||(See article)|
|Theme music composer||Walter Murphy|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John Baskin|
|Running time||30 minutes (with commercials)|
|Production company(s)||Adelaide Productions |
Act III Television
Enchanted George Productions
Columbia TriStar Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original network||The WB (Kids' WB)|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround|
|Original release||October 20, 1997 – February 25, 1998|
Channel Umptee-3 (also known simply as Umptee-3) is a Saturday morning animated television series created by Jim George and produced by Norman Lear that aired on The WB in 1997. Ogden Ostrich, Sheldon S. Cargo (a snail), and Holey Moley (a mole) drive around the world in a van with their own underground television station, while fleeing the wrath of corporate-villain Stickley Rickets (Stickley and his henchmen are often called “The Frumps” by Ogden). This one-season cartoon show was designed to teach kids to appreciate the wonders of everyday things, such as sleep and water. The title is derived from the fictitious number “umpteen.” It was also the last television series that Lear was involved in as an executive producer until the 2017 reboot of One Day at a Time.
Channel Umptee-3, which exists between other channels and is broadcast from a mobile station, tries to focus on a specific topic in each episode, but is usually diverted from it and shifted onto another topic; e.g., one episode started out discussing cats, but quickly segued into the subject of ownership (which was the real topic of that show). Meanwhile, “The Frumps” (i.e., Stickley Rickets and his henchmen) would try to shut the station down or increase their own power, but whatever plan they came up with would fail.
The show made great use of stock footage, as did the earlier WB show Freakazoid! Also, the show sometimes made references to well-known movies and TV shows; e.g., the episode “Yours, Mine, and Ours” included references to Cats, Kamen Rider Kabuto, Harvey, Star Wars, Dragnet, and The People’s Court, and the title was that of a classic movie.
Characters and voices
- Ogden O. Ostrich (Rob Paulsen) is an excitable yellow ostrich who first came up with the idea for a television program to show everyone that “the world is a magical place” after pulling his head out of the ground one day and looking at the world around him. At the start of every episode he comes running up the camera yelling “Hey!” over and over.
- Sheldon S. Cargo (David Paymer) is a large pink snail whose shell is fitted with a unicycle-like wheel to help him get around. Sheldon is the serious, professional member of the team; he tries his best to hold the show together, despite Ogden’s almost hyperactive behavior. His name is derived from “escargot.”
- Holey Moley (no voice actor) is a pantomime character, a large mole who carries a number of portable holes that allow him and his friends to go anywhere.
- Professor Edwin I. Relevant (Greg Burson) is the station’s resident expert on everything; Ogden and the others turn to him for information on the day’s topic in almost every episode.
- Polly (Susan Silo) is one of two newscasters who work for Channel Umptee-3.
- Stickley Rickets (voiced by Jonathan Harris) is the president of a corporation that produces boxes; because the “Umptee-doodies” (as he calls them) encourage people to take things out of boxes and look at them in a new way, he sees them as a threat to his business, so he constantly plots to shut them down and “put them in a box, where they belong.”
- Pandora Rickets (voiced by Alice Ghostley), Stickley’s wife, isn’t nearly as obsessed as her husband where the Umptees are concerned; she even likes to watch some of the shows, although she doesn’t want Stickley to find out. Her name is derived from “Pandora’s box.”
- Ed and Bud are two black-suited henchmen who carry out Stickley’s orders, and are almost never successful. Ed is the taller one, and Bud is the shorter, balding one.
Other voice actors who appeared on the show included:
|Nº||Title||Topic||Original air date|
|1||"The Music Show"||Music||October 25, 1997|
|2||"Umptee Sunrise"||The sun||November 1, 1997|
|3||"The U.F.O. Show"||UFOs and extraterrestrial life||November 8, 1997|
|4||"What’s So Funny"||Laughter and humor||November 15, 1997|
|5||"The Now Voyagers"||Time||November 22, 1997|
|6||"Just Add Water"||Water||December 6, 1997|
|7||"Perchance to Dream"||Sleep and dreams||December 19, 1997|
|8||"Sale of the Century"||Money||January 2, 1998|
|9||"The Fear Show"||Fear||January 9, 1998|
|10||"The Weather Show"||Weather||January 16, 1998|
|11||"Yours, Mine, and Ours"||Ownership||February 6, 1998|
|12||"The Lying Show"||Truth and lies||February 13, 1998|
|13||"Words Are Weird"||Words||February 20, 1998|
Due to the short run and general obscurity of Channel Umptee-3, only four episodes and the intro music have been found. Originally, the second, third, tenth and twelfth episodes were posted to YouTube, but they were blocked worldwide by Sony Pictures, leading them to be posted elsewhere, ultimately on the Internet Archive.
- Unknown author (September 14, 2007). "WB's "Umptee-3" has Norman Lear's signature". Variety. USA. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- James Collins; Jeanne McDowell; William Tynan (November 24, 2007). "TELEVISION: TUBE FOR TOTS". Time Magazine. USA. Retrieved 28 May 2011.