Jay Jay the Jet Plane

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Jay Jay the Jet Plane
Also known asJay Jay
GenreChildren's television series Musical
Created by
  • David Michel
  • Deborah Michel
Written by
Starring
Voices of
Narrated by
  • John William Galt (pilot series)
  • Chuck Morgan (US; TLC era)
  • Michael Donovan (US; PBS Kids era)
  • Brian Cant (UK)
Theme music composerStephen Michael Schwartz
Parachute Express
Opening theme"Gee, How I Love to Fly" (1994–1996); "Jay Jay the Jet Plane Theme Song" (1998–2005)
Ending theme"Gee, How I Love to Fly" (Reprise) (1994–2004); "Jay Jay the Jet Plane Theme Song" (1998–2005)
Composers
  • Craig Dobbin
  • Brian Mann
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes62 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • David Michel
  • Bruce D. Johnson
  • William T. Baumann
  • Chris Walker
ProducerDavid Michel
Running time25 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkDirect-to-video
ReleaseDecember 13, 1994 (1994-12-13) –
October 29, 1996 (1996-10-29)
NetworkTLC
ReleaseNovember 2, 1998 (1998-11-02) –
March 14, 2000 (2000-03-14)
NetworkPBS
ReleaseJune 11, 2001 (2001-06-11) –
November 25, 2005 (2005-11-25)

Jay Jay the Jet Plane is an American live-action/CGI-animated musical children's television series created by David and Deborah Michel and first aired on The Learning Channel and later moved to PBS Kids, with reruns on Qubo and TBN's Smile.[1] The series aired for a total of 4 seasons and has 62 episodes.

Premise[edit]

The series is centered on a group of anthropomorphic aircraft that live in the city of Tarrytown and takes place at the Tarrytown Airport. The episodes were commonly distributed in 25-minute-long (without commercials) pairs, with one header sequence and one end credit for each pair. Each episode contains one or more songs.

The series was intended to be educational to teach moral and life lessons to young-aged children.

Music[edit]

The theme song and all of the other songs were written by the famous children's singer/songwriter Stephen Michael Schwartz and sung by his popular musical group, Parachute Express.

Production[edit]

Original Series[edit]

Early episodes using physical models (as "Pilot Series")[edit]

In late 1994, a short live-action series was produced at AMS Production Company in Dallas, Texas, with real model plane characters, and handcrafted human characters; they had the same personalities as in the later series. This original series was narrated similarly to the first twelve seasons of Thomas & Friends, or Theodore Tugboat.[2] Three videos were released: Jay Jay's First Flight in December 1994, Old Oscar Leads the Parade in February 1995, and Tracy's Handy Hideout in October 1996. This original series was narrated by and features the voices of John William Galt. These three were known as the "pilot series".

CGI and live-action-based episodes[edit]

On November 2, 1998, the CGI-animated/live-action series premiered on The Learning Channel as part of the Ready Set Learn block. Voice actress Mary Kay Bergman provided the original voice of Jay Jay, Savannah, and Revvin' Evan. After her death, Debi Derryberry and Donna Cherry replaced her.

In 2005, new episodes were produced featuring additional characters, including the red Latina monoplane Lina. Each episode begins with a Jay Jay's Mysteries segment in which Jay Jay and Lina explore things that might be mysteries to the intended age group, such as how planes fly, and how the five senses are used. The "Mysteries" segment is followed by a story that comes from the third season episodes of the series, so in effect, the new season's repackages previously broadcast content on two subchannel networks Qubo and Smile.

Revival[edit]

Promotional announcement image, depicting the new design of Jay Jay.

A new revival of the series, titled The New Adventures of Jay Jay the Jet Plane[3] (originally titled The New World of Jay Jay the Jet Plane) has been confirmed through Trilogy Animation Group's website. The first trailer for the show was released in July 2022. Until the day of launching, it is still currently in development and in production.[4] The characters' were fully redesigned, and made to look more cartoony, newer, and like the original series, it will be CGI-animated.[5] However, it has yet to be released as of 2024.

Characters[edit]

The planes and ground vehicles are CGI characters, while the humans are live-action actors.

Relationship words for the airplane characters refer to being in loco parentis for purposes of upbringing, and education, not to biological parenthood. The story says that (some of) the airplane characters were made in factories.

Some of the stories describe characters as doing actions off-screen that would need foldaway arms (e.g. Big Jake digging holes), but those arms are never seen on-screen.

Young planes[edit]

  • Jay Jay (voiced by Mary Kay Bergman in the TLC era and Debi Derryberry in the PBS Kids era) is a small blue (originally brown in the pilot series) jet airliner. He is the titular character and main protagonist of the series.
  • Tracy (voiced by Gina Ribisi in the TLC era and Sandy Fox in the PBS Kids era) is a small pink jet airliner who is Jay Jay's best friend forever. She has normal hearing, but understands American Sign Language.
  • Snuffy (voiced by Gina Ribisi in the TLC era and Sandy Fox in the PBS Kids era) is a small green propeller-driven monoplane who is a good friend of Jay Jay and Tracy. He is equipped for skywriting. In episode consistency (which depends on the order), one episode says that he has not flown further away from Tarrytown than Lightning Bug Lake, but other episodes show him flying much further; in "Grumpy O'Malley", Snuffy still has not got rid of his original shyness, but in many other episodes he shows no sign of shyness.
  • Herky (voiced by Mary Kay Bergman in the TLC era and Julie Renick in the PBS Kids era) is a small yellow helicopter. In the pilot series, he spoke with a stutter (like famous Looney Tunes character Porky Pig), provided by John William Galt, who voiced all the other characters. In the CGI series, he rolls his "R"s whenever he speaks, and often pronounces stressed "er" as long vocalic "r" ([ɹ̩]), e.g. "I'm Herky" as [aɪm hɹ̩ːˈkǐ], with a strong high-rising pitch accent on the last "-y". He has skids instead of wheels, and cannot taxi on the ground.

Adult planes[edit]

Ground vehicles[edit]

  • Revvin' Evan (voiced by Mary Kay Bergman in the TLC era and Debi Derryberry in the PBS Kids era) is a red fire engine and the cousin of Tuffy.
  • Tuffy (voiced by Sandy Fox) is a confidential tow truck and the cousin of Revvin' Evan. She has a speech impediment.

Humans[edit]

  • Brenda Blue (played by Eve Whittle in the US version and Vanessa Stacey in the UK version) is a woman in blue clothing and usually wears a red cap or a blue cap. She is in charge of the airport, and is the ace mechanic. She does not use the airport's control tower but communicates with the planes by a portable two-way radio from the ground.
  • Mrs. Blue is Brenda Blue's mother, who sometimes visits Tarrytown Airport.
  • Miss Lee is a deaf and silent librarian at Tarrytown Library who knows American Sign Language.
  • E.Z. O'Malley (played by Brian Nahas) is the founder of E.Z. Airlines, and his cousins are Grumpy O'Malley (lives at Dewdrop Farm), Pierre O'Malley (lives in France), and Tex O'Malley (lives in Texas). (Note: here the letter 'Z' is pronounced 'zee', not 'zed'.

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired (United States dates) Original network
First aired Last aired
Pilot series 12 December 13, 1994 (1994-12-13) October 29, 1996 (1996-10-29) Direct-to-video
1 12 November 2, 1998 (1998-11-02) December 21, 1998 (1998-12-21) TLC
2 14 January 4, 1999 (1999-01-04) March 14, 2000 (2000-03-14)
3 14 June 11, 2001 (2001-06-11) July 20, 2001 (2001-07-20) PBS Kids
4 10 September 5, 2005 (2005-09-05) November 25, 2005 (2005-11-25)


Broadcast and home media[edit]

Jay Jay the Jet Plane premiered on The Learning Channel as part of the Ready Set Learn block. Later, it aired on PBS Kids in 2001, with reruns until 2009. In 2012 until 2014, it aired in Spanish on Telemundo as part of "MiTelemundo". In 2021, it also aired on Qubo for a short time until Scripps' closure and is currently airing on Smile. Outside of the series' home country, It aired on Channel 5, Tiny Pop and S4C's Cyw block in the UK, Canal+ and Piwi in France, Discovery Kids in Latin America, TV Cultura in Brazil and Nickelodeon in the Middle East.

In the early-mid 2000s, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the series on both VHS and DVD. Later, it released two of Jay Jay's Mysteries episodes by Paramount in 2007 as part of PBS Kids' DVDs.

Religious-based Tommy Nelson also released the series with a new dub on both VHS and DVD.

In 2019, Yippee TV became the exclusive streaming service of Jay Jay the Jet Plane.[6]

Reception[edit]

Common Sense Media gave the series a four out of five stars, saying, "Parents need to know that this series offers young fans life lessons such as valuing friends, overcoming shyness, and learning to like yourself. Kids will enjoy the often funny antics of 6-year-old Jay Jay and his friends. Don't be surprised if you catch your preschooler singing along with the show's simple songs."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 442–443. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  2. ^ Amazon.com Jay Jay's First Flight VHS. ASIN 6303398499.
  3. ^ "Trilogy Animation Group Reveals New Animation Slate".
  4. ^ "Animation Studio | Trilogy Animation| Orange County | United States". Trilogy Animation.
  5. ^ "resume". Denis Morella Animation Portfolio.
  6. ^ "Jay Jay the Jet Plane". Yippee TV.
  7. ^ "Jay Jay the Jet Plane - TV Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. October 19, 2009.

External links[edit]