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This article is about the television series. For other uses, see CRO (disambiguation).
Based on The Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Developed by Mark Zaslove
Starring Max Casella as Cro
Voices of Charlie Adler
Ruth Buzzi
Jim Cummings
Tress MacNeille
Candi Milo
Laurie O'Brien
April Ortiz
Jane Singer
Jussie Smollett
Frank Welker
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Phil Roman
Jeffrey Nelson
Running time Approx. 23 mins.
Production company(s) Children's Television Workshop (CTW)
Film Roman
Original network ABC
Original release September 18, 1993 – October 22, 1994

Cro is an American animated television series produced by the Children's Television Workshop (now known as Sesame Workshop) and Film Roman. It debuted on September 18, 1993 as part of the Saturday morning line-up for fall 1993 on ABC. Cro lasted 1½ seasons and ran in reruns through summer 1995. The show had an educational theme (this was before federal educational/informational mandates took effect in 1996), introducing basic concepts of physics, mechanical engineering, and technology. The premise of using woolly mammoths as a teaching tool for the principles of technology was inspired by David Macaulay's The Way Things Work; Macaulay is credited as writer on the show.[1] The last new episode aired on October 22, 1994. The show was released on video (VHS) in a total of nine volumes.


Dr. C and Mike travel to the Arctic to study artifacts, and find a frozen woolly mammoth named Phil. They thaw it out, and are surprised to find that it can speak. Whenever a situation involves physics principles, Phil remembers when a similar situation occurred long ago in Woollyville with his fellow mammoths and his Cro-Magnon friend Cro who lives with a family of Neanderthals. Each episode runs through how the situation was resolved through simple engineering.

The show's (and lead character's) name is an Occitan word for "cave"; it alludes to Cro-Magnon, the location in France where the earliest anatomically modern humans were first discovered.


"Pakka" redirects here. For the upcoming film, see Pakka (film). For other uses, see Paka (disambiguation).


  • Cro (voiced by Max Casella) - Cro was a fully evolved 11-year-old Cro-Magnon boy. Cro lives with the Neanderthals that took him in and is the smartest one, which was the reason most of the characters hated him.
  • Ogg (voiced by Jim Cummings) - The big show-off of the Neanderthals, Ogg was the leader and bossed everyone around. He gets into arguments with Nandy and once forced Bobb out of the tribe, causing everyone to leave Ogg all alone (with the exception of Gogg,[2] the others came back to him because they thought he felt lonely). Ogg's phrases include: "In cases like this, only one thing to say: <something>" and "We gonna die," which is often used by other Neanderthals; Gogg said it once and Nandy said it too, but Ogg told her that it was his line. According to "Play It Again, Cro...Not!" Ogg claims to have a brilliant singing voice[3]
  • Gogg (voiced by Frank Welker) - Gogg is the sensitive one in the Neanderthal tribe. He sticks up for Bobb and mostly translates for him, even though Nandy and Ogg do occasionally. It was disclosed in "Play It Again, Cro...Not!" that Gogg could play his armpit[4] which Phil decided to use for his band's wind section.[5]
  • Bobb (voiced by Frank Welker) - Bobb is the Neanderthal on the lowest rank in the evolutionary scale, meaning he is still an ape-like creature. He does not speak like the rest of the Neanderthals, but makes monkey-like noises which Gogg and Nandy then translate. When Bobb was younger, he was in a different tribe made up of apes that looked like him. The tribe took a nap and Bobb woke up to find the whole tribe had vanished without a trace, creating a fear of loneliness. In "Play It Again, Cro...Not!" Bobb is revealed to be a master nose flute player, which impresses everyone.
  • Nandy (voiced by Ruth Buzzi) - Nandy is the matriarch of the Neanderthal tribe who is noted for her urban legends. Some of her legends include the legend of "Big Thing" and a monster called "Big Skinny Thing with Many, Many Legs." She gets into arguments with Ogg and usually wins; in fact, Nandy thinks Ogg is a big weenie. She is very overprotective of Cro and motherly around everyone else. As revealed in "Play It Again, Cro...Not!" she is a master percussionist.[6]


  • Phil (voiced by Jim Cummings) - A woolly mammoth. This is the character that tells the stories in every episode. During the end of the Ice Age, Phil fell into a glacier while saving Cro from Selene and got thawed out by Mike and Dr. C 45,000 years later. Even though Phil is smart, he is a little goofy. Phil has red fur and orange flesh. He is friends with Cro and loyal to the mammoths, too.
  • Ivanna (voiced by Laurie O'Brien) - Ivanna, a southern belle mammoth with yellow fur and brown skin with a mole, is Phil's love life. She is the second oldest female mammoth in the herd next to Esmeralda. She usually uses Phil for her experiments.
  • Pakka (voiced by Candi Milo) - Pakka is a mammoth that has light orange fur with yellow skin. She is also Cro's friend. She and Cro met when Cro came down from the waterfall after defeating Selene with his lever. When Ogg kicked Cro out of the tribe due to the lever, Cro disguised himself as a mammoth in order to blend in, but he came back to the Neanderthals. She is the third oldest female mammoth next to Ivanna and Esmeralda. She sometimes tells Cro interesting facts about mammoths.
  • Steamer (voiced by Charlie Adler) - Steamer is the youngest mammoth in the herd. He has maroon fur and light purple skin. He is always getting into mischief. He is the most hyperactive mammoth in the herd, which gets him into trouble.
  • Esmeralda (voiced by Tress MacNeille) - Esmeralda has light yellow fur, skin colored an odd gray, and is the matriarch of the herd. She is the oldest female in the herd. She makes sure that everything goes to order and that those who have wronged the mammoth society be punished. She doesn't mind the Neanderthals...much.
  • Earle (voiced by Frank Welker) - Earle has gray fur with dark gray-blue skin with a bald spot. Both Earle and Mojo hate humans and are quite conservative.
  • Mojo (Charlie Adler) - Mojo is Earle's younger brother; he has gray fur with light gray skin. Both Earle and Mojo hate humans and are quite conservative.


  • Big Red (voiced by Charlie Adler) - Big Red is the leader of the menacing pack of the bumbling dire wolves. He uses threats to scare his minions into doing a good job, like in Things That Eat Mung in the Night where he said he would gnaw on one of them should they fail.[7] The wolves are one of two antagonists on the show.
  • Murray (voiced by Jim Cummings) - The minions of Big Red. Because he threatens them, the wolves fear him. Murray thinks stupid things, which Big Red doesn't like, as shown in Things That Eat Mung in the Night.[8]
  • Selene (voiced by Jane Singer) - Selene is a purple, yellow-eyed Smilodon and has sort of a seductive personality. In "Lever in a Million Years," Cro and the Neanderthals first encountered Selene outside of Woollyville where Cro managed to defeat Selene with her lever. While chasing Paka when helping Cro save Ogg, Gogg, and Bobb, it is revealed that Selene ate her mother. While Ogg and Gogg helped Paka, Cro was able to use a lever to trap Selene in a landslide. During her fight with Phil on a cliff during the theme song, she and Phil fell when part of the cliff gave away and landed on a lower part of a cliff while Phil fell into a glacier.

Other characters[edit]

  • Dr. Cecilia (voiced by April Ortiz) - A female scientist in modern times. She and Mike thawed out Phil, so he tells them his stories. She speaks with a distinct Hispanic accent and speaks a few Spanish words in some episodes. She bears a resemblance to Cro and may in fact be his descendant.
  • Mike (voiced by Jussie Smollett) - A friend of Dr. C. who wears big glasses. He likes to play basketball and lives with Dr. C for reasons not specified. He and Dr. C were the two people that thawed out Phil and therefore, he tells them his stories.
  • Teddie (voiced by Bill Daber) - Teddy is a friend of Cro's. He is only featured in one episode (with the Talent Show), but is important nonetheless. He invented the first ever Rap music!
  • Sooli (voiced by Cree Summer) - Sooli is another Cro-Magnon who got separated from her tribe and Cro and Pakka help her find her favorite horse. Sooli only appeared in one episode.


Season 1 (1993–1994)[edit]

Title Airdate Synopsis
1 "Just a Stone's Throw Away" (Pilot) September 25, 1993 After Bobb and Steamer trap themselves on the opposite side of a canyon, a few of Woolyville’s residents band together to find an ingenious way to reach the other side to rescue them. Meanwhile, in the present, Phil helps Mike with his basketball skills with aid of a catapult.
2 "No Time for Steamer" October 2, 1993 Steamer is left behind as the other mammoths leave on vacation. Cro and the Neanderthals come up with a way to balance out everyone's time spent babysitting him.
3 "Destroy all Buckies" October 9, 1993 Og discovers a discarded invention and has to defend it as the rest of Woolyville demands it's destruction.
4 "It's Snow Problem" October 16, 1993 Cro invents a way to get everyone up the mountain to enjoy his new sport.
5 "Let Me Help" October 23, 1993 Phil goes a little overboard in his attempts to help the humans create a window in the cave.
6 "The Legend of Big Thing" November 6, 1993
7 "A Bridge Too Short" November 13, 1993 Earl and Mojo have the humans build a bridge for the Grand Medallion of Merit.
8 "Pakka's Cool Invention" November 20, 1993 Pakka helps find a way to keep Esmeralda cool in the summer heat.
9 "Here's Looking at You, Cro" January 29, 1994 Cro discovers a 'seemyselfer' and uses it to watch Og and Gog compete.
10 "No Way Up" February 5, 1994 Nandy has a final request, to fly.
11 "Adventures in Miscommunications" February 12, 1994 Earl and Mojo's insult war gets mixed up with an important message about the volcano.
12 "Escape from Mung Island" February 19, 1994
13 "Pulley for You" February 1, 1994
14 "Things That Eat Mung in the Night" February 26, 1994

Season 2 (1994–1995)[edit]

Title Airdate Synopsis
15 "Meal Like a Pig" September 17, 1994
16 "What's That Smell" September 24, 1994 All of Woolyville is out to bathe Og, or else!
17 "Play It Again, Cro...Not!" October 1, 1994 Cro practices his violin for the Woolyville marching band.
18 "Lever in a Million Years" October 8, 1994
19 "Turn Up the Heat" October 15, 1994 Cro needs to ride a mammoth for his coming of age ceremony. He hopes that making a new shower for Phil will get Phil to agree to help him.
20 "They Move Mammoths, Don't They?"
October 22, 1994


The videos that were released by Republic Home Video in the United States are:

  • Have Mammoths, Will Travel
Episodes: "No Way Up" and "Escape from Mung Island"
  • Adventures in Woollyville
Episodes: "Pulley to You" and "A Bridge Too Short"
  • It's a Woolly, Woolly World
Episodes: "Lever in a Million Years" and "Play It Again, Cro...NOT!"


  1. ^ ""Cro" (1993)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Gogg: Hey, I no come like everyone else because I think Ogg lonely. [takes a handful of mung from the pile] Me just want more mung!" - In Things That Eat Mung in the Night
  3. ^ Ogg: "Ogg got golden voice!" - In Play It Again, Cro...Not!
  4. ^ Gogg: "Gogg play one mean armpit!" - In Play It Again, Cro...Not!
  5. ^ Phil: "Not bad. Sort of a primitive bagpipe. It will fill my wind section perfectly!" - In Play It Again, Cro...Not!
  6. ^ Nandy: "Nandy great at percussion!" - In Play It Again, Cro...Not!
  7. ^ Big Red: "I have decided to accompany you flea biters this time in order to prevent further failure. If we do not succeed on our mission tonight, I will be forced to gnaw on one of youse." - In Things That Eat Mung in the Night
  8. ^ Murray: "But it is very, very chilly out there in the cold, cold snow, boss. Perhaps we'd better wait 'til the mornin'?" Big Red: [growls] "Are you thinking again, Murray?" Murray: "Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, boss. See, I just thought that- Whoop!" [yelps as he is kicked out of the cave] "We was just leavin', Big Red." - In Things That Eat Mung in the Night

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