Channel Umptee-3

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Channel Umptee-3
Channel Umptee-3.png
Created byJim George
Developed byJim George
Norman Lear
John Baskin
Directed byChris Headrick
Don Jurwich
Michael Peraza Jr.
David Schwartz
Bob Seeley
Voices ofGregg Berger
Greg Burson
Alice Ghostley
Jonathan Harris
Rob Paulsen
David Paymer
Neil Ross
Susan Silo
Theme music composerWalter Murphy
Opening theme"Channel Umptee-3 Theme" by Rob Paulsen, David Paymer, and Jonathan Harris
Ending theme"Channel Umptee-3 Theme" (instrumental)
ComposerWalter Murphy
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (list of episodes)
Executive producersJohn Baskin
Norman Lear
ProducersJim George
Peggy George
Jeff Kline
Robert Seeley
Ping Warner
Running time21 minutes
Production companiesAdelaide Productions
Act III Television
Enchanted George Productions
Columbia TriStar Television
DistributorColumbia TriStar Television Distribution
Original networkThe WB (Kids WB!)
Audio formatDolby Surround
Original releaseOctober 20, 1997 (1997-10-20) –
February 25, 1998 (1998-02-25)

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.[1] It aired on The WB as part of the Kids' WB programming block from 1997 to 1998.[2][3] The one-season cartoon was designed to teach children to appreciate the wonders of everyday things, such as sleep and water. The title is derived from the fictitonal number "umpteen". It was also the last television series that Lear was involved in as an executive producer until the 2017 revival of One Day at a Time.


Ogden Ostrich, Holey Moley (a mole), and Sheldon S. Cargo (a snail) drive around the world in a van with their own underground pirate television station.[4] 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 normally 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 films and TV shows; e.g., the episode "Yours, Mine, and Ours" included references to Cats, Harvey, Star Wars, Dragnet, and The People's Court, and the title was that of a classic film.


The Umptees[edit]

  • Ogden O. Ostrich (Rob Paulsen) – 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, Ogden comes running up the camera yelling "Hey!" over and over.
  • Holey Moley – A pantomime character. He is a large mole who carries a number of portable holes that allow him and his friends to go anywhere.
  • Sheldon S. Cargo (David Paymer) – 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 the French word "escargot".
  • Professor Edwin I. Relevant (Greg Burson) – The station's resident expert on everything. Ogden and the others turn to Professor Relevant for information on the day's topic in almost every episode.
  • Test and Polly (Neil Ross and Susan Silo) – two newscasters who work for Channel Umptee-3.

The Frumps[edit]

  • Stickley Rickets (voiced by Jonathan Harris) – The elderly 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. She isn't nearly as obsessed as her husband where the Umptees are concerned. Pandora even likes to watch some of the shows, although she does not want Stickley to find out. Her name is derived from "Pandora's box".
  • Ed and Bud (voiced by Neil Ross and Gregg Berger) – 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 voices[edit]

Other voice actors who appeared on the show included:



No.TitleTopic(s)Original air date
1"The Music Show"MusicOctober 25, 1997 (1997-10-25)
2"Umptee Sunrise"The sunNovember 1, 1997 (1997-11-01)
3"The U.F.O. Show"UFOs and extraterrestrial lifeNovember 8, 1997 (1997-11-08)
4"What's So Funny"Laughter and humorNovember 15, 1997 (1997-11-15)
5"The Now Voyagers"TimeNovember 22, 1997 (1997-11-22)
6"Just Add Water"WaterDecember 6, 1997 (1997-12-06)
7"Perchance to Dream"Sleep and dreamsDecember 19, 1997 (1997-12-19)
Ogden is determined never to sleep again because of a nightmare he'd had, and his friends try to explain to him that everyone needs to sleep.
8"Sale of the Century"MoneyJanuary 2, 1998 (1998-01-02)
9"The Fear Show"FearJanuary 9, 1998 (1998-01-09)
10"The Weather Show"WeatherJanuary 16, 1998 (1998-01-16)
11"Yours, Mine, and Ours"OwnershipFebruary 6, 1998 (1998-02-06)
The Umptees win an award in the form of a huge chocolate bunny, and Ogden and Sheldon argue over whether to eat it or display it; this leads to some information about ownership from Professor Relevant. Meanwhile, Stickley's men steal Holey Moley's portable hole, because Stickley believes that there's a fortune inside of it.
12"The Lying Show"Truth and liesFebruary 13, 1998 (1998-02-13)
13"Words Are Weird"WordsFebruary 20, 1998 (1998-02-20)

Episode status[edit]

Due to the short run and general obscurity of Channel Umptee-3, only four episodes and the intro music have been found publicly after its initial airing.[5] 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.

Currently, Sony Pictures Television has the full rights to Channel Umptee-3, and has the option to provide the series for streaming content providers. As of 2020, it is not yet available on any streaming platform.


  1. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 121–122. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  2. ^ "WB's 'Umptee-3' has Norman Lear's signature". Variety. September 15, 1997. Archived from the original on April 20, 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  3. ^ Collins, James; McDowell, Jeanne; Tynan, William (November 24, 2007). "Television: Tube for Tots". Time. Archived from the original on 2009-09-18. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 199. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  5. ^;_1997)

External links[edit]