|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Also known as||Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock
Fraggle Rock with Jim Henson's Muppets
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Written by||Jerry Juhl (head writer)
|Directed by||Nick Abson
|Starring||Gerry Parkes as Doc
|Opening theme||"Down At Fraggle Rock"|
|Ending theme||"Down At Fraggle Rock"|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||96 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jim Henson|
|Location(s)||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Running time||25 Minutes|
|Production company(s)||Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Home Box Office
Jim Henson Television
|Original channel||CBC (Canada)
|Picture format||4:3 (480i NTSC) (U.S.)
4:3 (576i PAL) (International)
|Audio format||Stereo (1983-1986)
Dolby Surround (1986-1987)
|Original release||January 10, 1983– March 30, 1987|
|Followed by||Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series|
|Related shows||The Muppet Show|
Fraggle Rock (also known as Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock or Fraggle Rock with Jim Henson's Muppets) is a British/American/Canadian children's live action puppet television series created by Jim Henson, about a society of Muppet creatures called Fraggles.
Fraggle Rock was co-produced by British television company Television South (TVS), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, U.S. pay television service Home Box Office and Henson Associates. Unlike Sesame Street, which had been created for a single market and later adapted for international markets, Fraggle Rock was intended from the start to be an international production and the whole show was constructed with this in mind.
- 1 History
- 2 International co-productions
- 3 Setting
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Broadcast history
- 6 Home video
- 7 Spin-offs
- 8 Music
- 9 In other media
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Fraggle Rock debuted in 1983 as one of the first shows involving the collaboration of Henson International Television (HiT Entertainment from 1989), the international arm of Jim Henson Productions and of Deluxe Digital Studios. The co-production brought together British regional ITV franchise-holder Television South (TVS), CBC Television, United States pay-television service Home Box Office and Henson Associates (later Jim Henson Productions). Filming took place on a Toronto sound-stage (and later at Elstree Studios, London). The avant-garde poet bpNichol worked as one of the show's writers. In the early days of development, the script called the Fraggles "Woozles" pending the devising of a more suitable name.
Henson described the Fraggle Rock series as "a high-energy, raucous musical romp. It's a lot of silliness. It's wonderful." While the program proved accessible to audiences of all ages, it used the fantasy creatures as an allegory to deal with serious issues such as prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, the environment, and social conflict.
In 2009, as part of the Jim Henson Foundation's donation of puppets to the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Atlanta museum displayed many of the original puppet characters from Fraggle Rock in their exhibition Jim Henson: Wonders from his Workshop.
The producers made the series with the intention of it airing in various forms internationally. That concept grew out of Duncan Kenworthy's experience adapting Sesame Street to the requirements of foreign markets. The human "wraparound" segments were produced separately in several countries, so the viewer could always relate to the world of the program. The series has appeared now in over ten countries and languages. The head producer was Wesley James Tomlinson.
- The main version, filmed in Toronto, features an inventor named Doc (played by Gerry Parkes) and his dog Sprocket. This wraparound was also used in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ireland, Scandinavia, Spain and Eastern Europe. Dutch, Scandinavian, Spanish and Eastern European shows were dubbed in their respective languages.
- The British inserts were filmed at the TVS Television Theatre in Gillingham, Kent (since closed) and presents Fraggle Rock as a rocky sea-island with a lighthouse. It used as an actual shown location St. Anthony's Lighthouse located near Falmouth in Cornwall. The lighthouse keeper is The Captain (played by Fulton Mackay), a retired sailor who lives with his faithful dog Sprocket. In the third season following the death of Fulton Mackay, the role was filled by John Gordon Sinclair as P.K. (the Captain's nephew) and in the fourth Simon O'Brien as B.J. (the Captain's son). Up to 35 of these British wraparounds are now missing, believed wiped. Only 57 are known to remain. Nickelodeon repeated it in the UK from 1993, as did Boomerang and Cartoonito in 2007. The episodes shown were the Canadian versions.
- In the German version, the action takes place beneath the workshop of the inventor Doc (played by Hans-Helmut Dickow). The series was named Die Fraggles with 85 of the 96 produced episodes being presented in German.
- In France, the wraparound segments take place in a bakery with its version of Doc (played by Michel Robin) who worked as a baker and a French alter-ego for Sprocket called Croquette. Doc inherited the home from his eccentric Uncle Georges (who was a noted inventor). Thus, when the frame story required the use of a mechanical device, Doc would find yet another of Uncle Georges's machines. Plot-lines also frequently involved the elegant but unseen Madame Pontaven (who Doc repeatedly attempted to impress and invite to dinner with no success). Not all of the 96 episodes were produced in French.
There are three main intelligent anthropomorphic species in the Fraggle Rock environment: Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs. The Fraggles and Doozers live in a system of natural caves called Fraggle Rock that are filled with all manner of creatures and features, and which connect to at least two different areas (the one of the Gorgs and the one of the "silly creatures", or humans). One of the main themes of the series is that, although the three species depend on the other for their survival, they usually fail to communicate due to vast differences in their biology and culture. The series mainly follows the adventures of five Fraggles: Gobo, Mokey, Red, Wembley, and Boober, each with distinct personalities.
Fraggles are small anthropomorphic creatures, typically 18 inches (1.5 ft) tall, that come in a variety of colors and have fur tuft tipped tails. Fraggles live a generally carefree life, spending most of their time (they have a thirty-minute work week) playing, exploring, and generally enjoying themselves. They live on mainly radishes and Doozer sticks, made of ground-up radishes and the material with which the Doozers build their constructions.
Within Fraggle Rock lives a second species of small humanoid creatures, the pudgy green ant-like Doozers. Standing about 4 inches (0.33 ft) tall ("knee-high to a Fraggle"). Doozers are in a sense anti-Fraggles; their lives are dedicated to work and industry. Doozers spend much of their time busily constructing all manner of scaffolding throughout Fraggle Rock, using miniature construction equipment and wearing hardhats and work boots. To ensure they always have a steady stream of work, Doozers build their constructions out of an edible candy-like substance (manufactured from radishes) which is greatly enjoyed by Fraggles. This is essentially the only interaction between Doozers and Fraggles; Doozers spend most of their time building, and Fraggles spend much of their time eating tasty Doozer buildings. This pleases the Doozers, because not only is their work being enjoyed by someone, but if the Fraggles stop eating them, the Doozers will eventually run out of building space. Creativity is one of the few traits Fraggles and Doozers have in common.
Outside another exit from Fraggle Rock live a small family of Gorgs, fat furry humanoids standing about 180 inches (15 ft). The husband and wife of the family consider themselves the King and Queen of the Universe, with their son Junior Gorg as its prince and heir, but to all appearances they are simple farmers with a rustic house and garden patch.
Fraggles are considered pests by the Gorgs, as they often steal radishes from the garden. The Fraggles don't consider it stealing.
The Silly Creatures of Outer Space
In the North American, Spanish, French and German versions of Fraggle Rock, the connection between Fraggle Rock and Outer Space is a small hole in the wall of the workshop of an eccentric inventor named Doc and his dog Sprocket.
Gobo must go out into Doc's workshop to retrieve the postcards from his uncle Matt from the wastebasket where Doc throws them, assuming they are misdelivered. Traveling Matt (a pun on travelling matte, the technique used in his segments) is exploring the wider world, observing humans and reporting humorously false conclusions about their everyday behaviour.
Sprocket often sees and chases Gobo, but can't convince Doc anything lives beyond the wall. Sprocket and Doc have many similar miscommunications throughout the series, given the language barrier, but overall, they understand each other quite well.
After the show ended on HBO in 1987, the channel started to rerun the series. In the late 1980s, it ran on TNT. The show aired on Disney Channel from October 1, 1992 to 1996. From 1999 until 2001 the show moved to Odyssey Network, which had recently been purchased by Henson & Hallmark. After Hallmark took full control, it discontinued the reruns.
In 2007, Fraggle Rock reruns aired on television in several countries. On July 23, 2007, Boomerang started repeating episodes of the North American co-production of Fraggle Rock in the UK. In January 2013, ITV broadcast 2 episodes of this version as part of their 'Old Skool' Weekend feature on the CITV channel. On October 24, 2007, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation begins repeating episodes on the digital-only ABC2 channel. On September 20, 2007, TVNZ 6 in New Zealand began airing episodes daily. The series has aired on Teletoon Retro in Canada daily since 2008. On October 10, 2010, Fraggle Rock reruns returned to U.S. airwaves on The Hub, the newly launched cable-network jointly owned by Hasbro and by Discovery Communications, but the series was discontinued on June 1, 2012. A three-hour marathon of the show aired on April 21, 2013, to honour Fraggle Rock's 30th anniversary. After the marathon, the reruns returned to Hub Network's schedule for one month on June 2013 and aired reruns on the network again on July 7, 2014 until October 6, 2014, one week before it became Discovery Family. Fraggle Rock is available for streaming through Amazon Instant Video and Hulu.
Magna Pacific published the American version of Fraggle Rock on Region 4 DVD in 2007. The DVD set Fraggle Rock: The Complete Fourth Season actually includes seasons four and five. The DVD's have no special features.
A set of plush dolls of Gobo, Wembley, Boober, and Red were released by Sababa Toys, each accompanied by a DVD featuring two episodes of the show, and one episode of the animated series.
Twelve UK episodes were released on VHS and DVD by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment in April 2004. TVS, the original ITV broadcaster, has passed through several owners since 1992 and it was believed only these twelve episodes had survived. Research found more episodes, but many of the original 95 remain lost. HiT Entertainment has tried unsuccessfully to locate the missing episodes, including extensive enquiries with The Jim Henson Company both in the UK and the US. When UK television channels wish to broadcast the show, they must use US versions; such was the case with Boomerang in 2007.
In 2010, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK began releasing complete season box sets. These releases are the same as the American box sets, except without bonus features.
- Virgin Video (1984)
- Palace Video (1987–1988)
- Buena Vista Home Video (1995)
- Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment (2004)
- HiT Entertainment (2004–2007)
- Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2010–present)
HBO video released a collection of single-episode VHS tapes during the 1980's.
In 1993, Jim Henson Video released five Fraggle Rock VHS tapes with two episodes each.
HIT Entertainment released a number of single-disc DVDs with three episodes each (two in the VHS counterparts) plus bonus episodes which could be unlocked by completing a trivia game before releasing the first three seasons of Fraggle Rock on DVD in Region 1 between September 2005 and September 2007. It released a complete series box set on November 4, 2008 but did not release the final season in a separate release. Season 4 had originally been scheduled to be released on the same day as the complete series set but at the last minute it was scrapped and was never released. The season box sets have been re-released by Vivendi Visual Entertainment, but the 5 DVDs with 3 episodes are still sold in stores.
On August 10, 2009, Lionsgate Home Entertainment announced it had reached a deal with The Jim Henson Company to acquire the rights to release Fraggle Rock on DVD. It subsequently released the final season on DVD for the very first time on November 3, 2009. It re-released the "Complete Series" collection with new packaging (due to numerous complaints about the previous release) on the same day.
On February 18, 2013, Vivendi Visual Entertainment announced it had acquired the rights to the series. Season 1 was be re-released on Mar. 12, 2013, followed by Season 2 on April 16, 2013 and Season 3 on May 14, 2013. A complete series set was released on May 14 as Fraggle Rock - The 30th Anniversary Collection. This 21-disc set features all 96 episodes of the series as well as bonus features. A six-episode DVD with the same title Meet The Fraggles as a previously released 1993 VHS cassette, but it contains different episodes.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep #||Additional Information|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete First Season||September 6, 2005||24||Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock notepad, Behind the Scenes Documentary narrated by Jim Henson, Interviews with the cast and creators, Deluxe collectors box.|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete Second Season||September 5, 2006||24||Jim Henson's Creatures and places of Fraggle Rock notepad, Steve Whitmire's Home Videos, Deluxe Collectors Box and tribute to Jerry Juhl.|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete Third Season||September 11, 2007||22||All-new featurettes and interviews with Fraggle Rock cast and creators, Deluxe embossed collector's packaging.|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete Series Collection||November 4, 2008||96||All 96 Episodes in one collectible Package Art, Original Fraggle Rock Illustrated Poster, All New Featurettes and Interviews with Fraggle Rock cast and creators.|
|Fraggle Rock: The Complete Final Seasons||November 3, 2009||26||All-new featurettes and interviews with Fraggle Rock cast and creators.|
An animated Fraggle Rock series aired for one season on NBC's Saturday morning lineup in 1987. The cartoon series introduced some Fraggles, Doozers, and other cave creatures exclusive to the series.
In 2012, The Jim Henson Company and DHX Media announced a computer animated spin-off to Fraggle Rock, titled The Doozers, targeted at children between ages 4 and 7. It focuses on four young Doozers named Spike, Mollybolt, Flex and Daisy Wheel, who live at Doozer Creek.
In September 2005, The Jim Henson Company announced it was working on a film adaptation of Fraggle Rock, known as Fraggle Rock: The Movie, with the aim of a release in 2009. The story allegedly involves the original Fraggle characters.
On October 20, 2006, Darkhorizons.com reported "Henson's company has hired executive producer Ahmet Zappa (The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless) to write a treatment for the film which will be a full-length live-action musical fantasy starring the underground dwellers who venture out into the human world. Henson Co. co-topper Lisa Henson is producing, whilst Brian Henson will exec produce."
In May 2008, The Weinstein Company announced it would distribute the Fraggle Rock movie. The film was written as a live-action musical by Cory Edwards, who would also direct. The film was to be produced by The Jim Henson Company; Ahmet Zappa was executive producing along with Brian Inerfeld. The film would involve all of the core characters from the series. The story would take the characters "outside of their home in Fraggle Rock, where they interact with humans, which they think are aliens." Karen Prell and Dave Goelz were slated to return for the film as Red Fraggle, Boober Fraggle, and Uncle Traveling Matt, respectively.
In 2011, Weinstein's deal with Henson expired, leaving production of the film in doubt. The Scissor Sisters were announced to write music for the film. In October 2011, New Regency acquired the rights to the movie to be produced by The Jim Henson Company and The Montecito Picture Company. New Regency (the company behind Alvin and the Chipmunks movies) and the producers are currently in discussion whether to use puppets or CGI as well as a mix of live action. Once this has been decided, it will look to a writer for the movie.
Due to the death of puppeteer Jerry Nelson after The Muppets (2011), Gobo Fraggle will likely be recast. In recent appearances, Gobo has been performed by John Tartaglia. In 2012, James Byrkit and Alex Manugian were announced as screenwriters.
Music played a central part in Fraggle Rock. Every episode featured two or three original songs co-written by Canadian poet Dennis Lee and Philip Balsam, as well as incidental music. Several episodes (usually involving Cantus and the Minstrels) focused primarily on music—such as Red Fraggle's attempt to find "her song" for the Fraggle Medley, or the effect of music on the breaking of winter or the presence of light in Fraggle Rock.
The "Fraggle Rock Theme" reached number 33 on the British music charts during the phenomenon. Writers included Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, and Jocelyn Stevenson, with songs by Philip Balsam and Dennis Lee.
KOCH Records released Fraggle Rockin': A Collection, a three-disc box set of Fraggle Rock music, on October 30, 2007. The collection featured "restored and remastered" versions of three original Fraggle Rock LPs. The collection also included "special liner notes featuring rarely seen photos, contributions from the original composers and even sheet music for select songs." The main portion of these liner notes, called "Getting Down at Fraggle Rock," features an interview with Philip Balsam and Lawrence S. Mirkin and is written by Mike Petersen and Saul Pincus.
- Don Gillis — Musical Director
- Bernie LaBarge — Guitar
- Michael Francis — Guitar
- Bob McLaren — Drums
- Ray Parker — Keyboards
- Tom Szczesniak — Bass Guitar
- Dick Smith — Percussion
In other media
- Fraggle Rock: The Great Fraggle Travel Race
Magic Pen and Invisible Inks books for Lee Publications
- Fraggle Rock (No title - cover scene of Fraggles playing tag - artwork by Nate Butler) (1989)
- Fraggle Rock (No title - cover scene of Fraggles looking into musical treasure chest - artwork by Nate Butler) (1989)
The Star Comics imprint of Marvel Comics published two separate Fraggle Rock comic-book series in 1985 and 1988 respectively. The first series was drawn by Marie Severin and lasted eight issues, the second series lasted six issues.
In early 2010, Archaia Studios Press published their first three-issue series of Fraggle Rock. A second three-issue series was followed in January 2011. Both series were collected into hardcover editions shortly after their respective publications. No further announcements were made regarding any future volumes.
- Starting in 2008, Karen Prell began making live appearances with a rebuilt Red Fraggle puppet at various events like San Diego Comic-Con International.
- Wembley Fraggle, Red Fraggle, and Uncle Traveling Matt appeared in the "Fraggle Rock" portion of the Jim Henson's Musical World show at Carnegie Hall in 2012.
- On April 24, 2013, Red Fraggle and Gobo Fraggle appeared at "The Spare Room" to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Fraggle Rock. Karen Prell performed Red as usual while John Tartaglia performed Gobo.
- On May 2013, John Tartaglia performed Gobo Fraggle at an event to grant the Museum of the Moving Image a permanent gallery devoted to Jim Henson.
- Kathryn Mullen and Karen Prell performed Mokey Fraggle and Red Fraggle at Dragon Con 2013 as part of Fraggle Rock's 30th Anniversary during the "Fraggle Rock Meet and Greet" event. Michael K. Frith also attended with puppeteers Paul McGinnis and Victor Yerrid.
- Gobo Fraggle, Wembley Fraggle, Boober Fraggle, Mokey Fraggle, Red Fraggle, and Uncle Traveling Matt appear in the music video for the Ben Folds Five song "Do It Anyway," for which Chris Hardwick and Lisa Henson served as executive producers. Only Red, Boober, and Uncle Traveling Matt have dialogue. The beginning of the music video had Uncle Traveling Matt reporting about his experience at a recording studio (portrayed by the Jim Henson Company Lot) where the recording of the song is overseen by a sound engineer (played by Rob Corddry). During the song, Ben Fold Five's performance had them rocking all of Fraggle Rock even opening a ceiling where the five Fraggles end up pulled out of upon grabbing the microphone cable and joining in on the song with Uncle Traveling Matt coming in near the end. Also during the music video, there was a gate guard (played by Chris Hardwick) who had a tattoo of Junior Gorg on his left arm and a female receptionist (played by Anna Kendrick) wearing a "Boy Gorg" T-shirt (featuring an image of Junior Gorg dressed as singer Boy George). The end of the music video also includes Ben Folds, the characters played by Chris Hardwick, Rob Corddry, and Anna Kendrick, and Red Fraggle singing the Fraggle Rock theme song with Boober quoting "Down at Fraggle Rock" at the end as usual. There was also a video depicting the making of the music video with interviews with Ben Folds, Chris Hardwick, and Red Fraggle.
- Random House, 1993. Jim Henson The Works: The Art, The Magic, The Imagination
- Down at Fraggle Rock documentary; 1987, HBO and Jim Henson Productions
- "Center for Puppetry Arts—Jim Henson: Wonders From His Workshop"
- "Fraggle Rock UK - Missing Episodes". Nightshade.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- "The Story of Fraggle Rock", from Henson.com
- "About Fraggle Rock", from Henson.com
- Shulgold, Marc (May 10, 1987). "Hbo Bids Farewell To 'Fraggle Rock'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 10, no. 5, October/November 1992: pp. 31, 32, 34, 42-43.
- The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 3, June/July 1996: p. 26.
- The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 4, August/September 1996: p. 28.
- "CITV begins an "Old Skool" weekend to celebrate its 30th birthday". ITV. 5 January 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- "Fraggle Rock—Henson Company/Lionsgate Deal Bring Final Season and Merry Fraggle". tvshowsondvd.com. 10 August 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Fraggle Rock—Lionsgate/Henson Agreement Also Brings a Repackaged Complete Series Set". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- '30th Anniversary Collection' Joined By 'Meet the Fraggles' and Season Re-Releases
- "Fraggle Rock DVD news: Announcement for Fraggle Rock - The Complete 3rd Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- "Fraggle Rock: The Complete Animated Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- 07/05/2012 12:18 pm Updated: 07/05/2012 12:18 pm (2012-07-05). "'Fraggle Rock' Spin-Off 'The Doozers' In The Works". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Levin, Gary. "'Fraggle Rock' Doozers land on Hulu". USA Today. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
- James, Greg (September 20, 2005). "Fraggle Rock film in development". Muppet Central News. Retrieved 2006-03-26.
- Weinsteins roll with 'Fraggle Rock'
- Fleming, Mike. "New Regency Lands 'Fraggle Rock' Feature Rights Auction". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Taylor, Drew. "'Rango' Collaborators Jim Byrkit & Alex Manugian Hired To Write Long-Developing 'Fraggle Rock' Movie". IndieWire. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- McNary, Drew (March 18, 2015). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt Starring in 'Fraggie Rock' Movie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
- "A Latter-day Disney Jim Henson Brings 'Muppet Babies' And 'Fraggle Rock' Magic To Vinyl". Morning Call. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
- The Jim Henson Company (May 12, 2008). "Weinstein rolls with Fraggle Rock movie". Muppet Central News. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
- James, Greg. Fraggle Rockin' CD Details. The Muppet Newsflash. September 6, 2007
- Fraggle Rock on Muppet Wiki, an external wiki
- Fraggle Rock at the Internet Movie Database
- Fraggle Rock at TV.com
- Fraggle Rock on Hulu.com