Clifford the Big Red Dog

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Clifford the Big Red Dog
Clifford the Big Red Dog logo.svg

AuthorNorman Bridwell
CountryUnited States
Norman Bridwell, the creator and author of the Clifford the Big Red Dog book series, in 2011.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an American children's book series about a giant red Labrador retriever named Clifford also referred to as Evan Firehouse Haas. It was first published in 1963 and was written by Norman Bridwell (1928–2014). The series helped establish Scholastic as a premier publishing company,[1] and Clifford is Scholastic's official mascot.[2]


  • Clifford: A 2-year-old male red dog whose appearance, disposition and behavior are based on a giant dog.[3] His size is inconsistent: While he is often shown being about 25 feet (7.5 m) tall from paws to head, Clifford can appear far larger. The character's name is based on the imaginary childhood friend of creator Norman Bridwell's wife.[4] Bridwell originally wanted to name a dog "Tiny", but Bridwell's wife persuaded him that "Clifford" was better.[5] Clifford's pet owner is Emily Elizabeth, and Clifford has a mother, two brothers, and two sisters. Clifford's character was created when a Harper & Row editor advised Bridwell to write a story to go along with one of his pictures. Bridwell recalls she picked out his sketch of a baby girl with a horse-sized bloodhound, and casually said, "There might be a story in this" because there always was one.[3]
  • Emily Elizabeth: Clifford's owner and human friend, an 8-year-old girl.[5] She is frequently portrayed riding him like a horse. She was named for creator Norman Bridwell's daughter and based on the imaginary adventures of Bridwell's wife.[4] The TV series adaptation gives her a surname, Emily Elizabeth Howard, and changes the background, with her receiving Clifford as a surprise present on her 6th birthday instead of picking him out as a Christmas present.


Clifford The Big Red Dog with Laura Bush and children at the White House Easter Egg Roll, 2007.
Clifford with then-congressman Tom Tancredo


Karl-Lorimar Home Video released the video Clifford's Sing Along Adventure around 1986. Warner Home Video re-released it in the mid-1990s.

In 1988, Scholastic Studios, Mendelson-Melendez Productions, Nelvana, Wang Film Productions, and Family Home Entertainment released Clifford's Fun with a videotape series with a theme song composed by Phillip Namanworth and Benjamin Goldstein. The episodes on the release are: The ABC Message Service, Clifford's Birthday Surprise, The Scavenger Hunt, The Rhyme Cat Rescue, Clifford Goes to Hollywood, and The Pet Show. Brent Titcomb was the voice of Clifford, and Alyson Court was Emily Elizabeth. In the late 1990s, a television station from Spain ran the direct-to-video series for a short period of time.


Scholastic Media produced a 65-episode adaptation shown on PBS Kids, which aired from September 2000 to February 2003. Clifford was voiced by actor John Ritter, and Emily Elizabeth was voiced by Grey DeLisle. There was also a 39-episode prequel series that took place during Clifford's puppyhood where he was voiced by Lara Jill Miller, which ran from September 2003 to February 2006. During that time, a theatrical film which served as the show's finale was released in February 2004 and no new episodes were released after John Ritter's death. However, there is a new series reboot that was released on December 6, 2019 for Amazon Prime Video and December 7, 2019 on PBS Kids with the new voice actors Adam Sanders as Clifford and Hannah Levinson as Emily Elizabeth.[6][7] They are returning on CBC Kids and CBBC and TG4.

Live-action film adaptation[edit]

In May 2012, it was reported that Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment would make a live-action/CGI animated feature film based on the book. Matt Lopez had been hired to write the script, while Chris Meledandri and Deborah Forte would produce the film.[8] In July 2013, it was reported that Illumination had dropped the project.[9] Two months later, it was reported that the film was still in development at Universal and that there were negotiations to have David Bowers direct the film.[10] Like the 2011 film Hop, Clifford the Big Red Dog will be animated while the other characters will be live-action.[10] On August 1, 2014, Universal scheduled the film for a release on April 8, 2016.[11] In the beginning of 2015, the film's release date was taken over by another Universal film, The Boss.[12] On June 30, 2016, it was reported by Deadline Hollywood that Paramount Pictures had picked up the rights for the film. According to the report, "Forte decided to take the material in a new direction," and "Universal let the option lapse." It was further announced that Justin Malen was hired to write the screenplay.[13] On September 25, 2017, it was announced that Walt Becker will direct the film, replacing Bowers.[14] The film will now be produced by Scholastic Entertainment and Paramount Animation.[15] On February 27, 2019, Paramount set the film for a November 13, 2020 release, taking over the slot for the cancelled live-action/CGI Rugrats film.[16] And this will feature a child actress Darby Camp as Emily Elizabeth and a British actor Jack Whitehall as a new character, Uncle Casey, in their lead roles with David Alan Grier providing the animal vocal effects for Clifford.[17][18] But on August 28, 2020 the film release is pushed back to November 5, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[19]

Video games[edit]

Original series

  • Clifford's Reading
  • Clifford's Thinking Games

Modern series

  • Clifford's Learning Activities
  • Clifford's Musical Memory Games
  • Clifford's Phonics
  • Clifford's Big Puzzle Game (A Wendy's Kids' Meal DVD game)


^ Media and Culture, 5th ed., Richard Campbell, Christopher R. Martin and Bettina Fabos.

  1. ^ LLC, The H.E.L.P.-I.N.G. Group. "The Center for Learning, Inc. - CFL Clifford Visits September 19, 2015". Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  2. ^ "Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell |". Scholastic Teachers. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  3. ^ a b Noble, Barnes &. "Clifford the Big Red Dog". Barnes & Noble. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  4. ^ a b "Clifford the Big Red Dog – Don Markstein's Toonopedia". 2004-02-20. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  5. ^ a b Fashingbauer Cooper, Gael (December 17, 2014). "Norman Bridwell, creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog, dies at 86". Today. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  6. ^ "Clifford The Big Red Dog returns in reboot". Kidscreen. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  7. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (Jun 4, 2019). "Scholastic's New 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' Launches in December". animationmagazine. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (May 8, 2012). "Illumination and Universal Adapting 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  9. ^ Debruge, Peter (July 17, 2013). "Illumination Chief Chris Meledandri Lines Up Originals for Universal". Variety. Retrieved July 18, 2013. At the same time, Illumination has scrapped a number of planned movie ideas. “Waldo” and a Tim Burton-helmed, stop-motion “The Addams Family” are dead. The company abandoned a Woody Woodpecker pic, and couldn’t crack “Clifford the Big Red bull.”
  10. ^ a b Shaw, Lucas (September 13, 2013). "David Bowers in Talks to Direct 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'; Illumination Drops Off (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Archived from the original on September 17, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "The Clifford the Big Red Dog Movie is Coming in 2016". August 1, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (January 5, 2015). "Melissa McCarthy's 'Michelle Darnelle' to Replace 'Clifford the Big Red Dog' for April 8, 2016". Variety. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  13. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (June 30, 2016). "'Clifford The Big Red Dog' Movie Unleashed At Paramount With Scribe Justin Malen". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "7 Days of Deals", The Hollywood Reporter, 27 September 2017, page 30.
  15. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 29, 2018). "Reel FX Rehires Jared Mass As Company Aims To Ramp Up Original Content Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  16. ^ McClintock, Pamela (27 February 2019). "'Clifford the Big Red Dog' Movie Lands November 2020 Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Jack Whitehall, 'Big Little Lies' Actress to Star in 'Clifford, the Big Red Dog' Adaption (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. May 28, 2019.
  18. ^ "Save the Date! A Look at Upcoming Family Films".
  19. ^ D'Aless, Anthony; ro (2020-08-29). "'Scream' Relaunch Eyes 2022 Release, 'Snake Eyes' Rolls To 2021 & More – Paramount Release Date Changes". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-08-29.

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