Little Clowns of Happytown

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Little Clowns of Happytown
GenreChildren
Based onA concept by Anthony Paul Productions
Developed byChuck Lorre
Written byBruce Faulk
Cliff Roberts
Directed by
  • Supervising Director:
  • Vincent Davis
  • John Kafka
  • Brian Ray
  • George Singer
Voices ofSue Blu
Charlie Adler
Danny Cooksey
Frank Welker
Ron Palillo
Pat Fraley
Josh Rodine
Ellen Gerstell
Howard Morris
Theme music composerD.C. Brown
Chuck Lorre
Anthony Paul Productions
Composer(s)Robert J. Walsh
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes18
Production
Executive producer(s)Fred Wolf[1]
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Murakami Wolf Swenson
Marvel Productions
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 26, 1987 (1987-09-26) –
July 16, 1988 (1988-07-16)

Little Clowns of Happytown is an American animated television series that aired as part of ABC's Saturday morning lineup from September 26, 1987 to July 16, 1988.[2][3]

Plot[edit]

The series is set around young clowns from Happytown, whose goal is to spread happiness and imbue positive mental attitudes to the city next door.[4] The young clowns are Big Top (the leader), Badum-Bump (Big Top's little brother), Hiccup (Big Top's helper), Tickles (Hiccup's best friend), Pranky (Big Top's best friend), and Blooper (Hiccup's big brother), along with their pet elephant, Rover, and their mentor, Mr. Pickleherring. They also accompanied by the clownimals, clown-like animals that only Badum-Bump can understand. The only thing that stands in their way is Awful Bebad and his minions, Geek and Whiner.[4]

Characters[edit]

Big Top- The main protagonist and leader of the Little Clowns. He loves to tell jokes. He wears a top hat in the style of a Ringmaster.

Blooper- He's a clumsy clown that does physical comedy. He is also involved in many acts by accident.

Hiccup- She is Blooper's younger sister. She loves to sing songs but often hiccups when she talks.

Tickles- She loves to giggle and can fix anything.

Pranky- He loves to prank people by throwing custard pies at them only sometimes he gets them in his face by accident.

Badum-Bump- Big Top's younger brother and he only speaks by making sounds.

Rover- Badum-Bump's pet elephant and partner.

Clownimals- The colorful clown-like animals that accompanies the little clowns. Badum-Bump is the only one who understands them. There is 9 of them. Lion, Tiger, Bears, Seal, Penguin, Giraffe, Hippo, and a Zebra.

Mr. Pickleherring- The kids' enthusiastic teacher, he often teaches them how to be funny and helps with the morals.

Awful Bebad- He's the main antagonist. He is also a man who wants the world to be gloomy just like him.

Geek- Bebad's redheaded assistant who is the stereotypical geek.

Whiner- Bebad's other assistant. A teenager who whines and often informs Bebad on what's going on.

Voice cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Marvel Productions[3] and ABC had brought in consulting company Q5 Corporation to help develop the show along with other series for the 1987-1988 season. Q5's consultants consist of psychology PhDs and advertising, marketing and research professionals. Marvel had already used Q5 to develop their Defenders of the Earth series, so ABC brought them in for the 1987-88 season to improve its kid appeal on its Saturday morning offerings to get out of third place in the ratings.[5]

A Little Clowns former story editor indicated in September 1987 to the Los Angeles Times regarding Q5 consulting on the series:[5]

They aren't merely researching trends; they're trying to engage in social engineering. There's absolutely no passion with these people. There is no sense of honor, of anger, of deep emotion, of love. They're bland-izers; they try to hammer out all of the high and low points of being a human being. I can see we're not doing Dostoevsky on Saturday morning, but there has to be some leeway to create characters who are free to express themselves.

Fred Wolf and his Murakami Wolf Swenson were also brought in to produce the series.[1]

The show was promoted as a part of the third annual ABC Family Fun Fair, which brought the voice talent of the characters to perform highlights of their show. The show stopped in Oklahoma City from Friday August 28 through Sunday August 30, 1987.[6]

Reception[edit]

The Los Angeles Times were critical of the show, with writer Charles Solomon saying that younger kids should have skipped it by staying in bed. They also claimed that the show was predictable and copied the Smurfs heavily, including using "clown" as a general word substitute.[3]

Joking Around With the Little Clowns[edit]

During the show's run, ABC aired a series of short segments called Joking Around With the Little Clowns, which ran during the commercial breaks of their other Saturday morning programming and featured one of the clowns telling another a joke. Although Little Clowns of Happytown was cancelled after a single season, the Joking Around With the Little Clowns segments continued to run on ABC for another two years.

Episodes[edit]

Title Air date
1"Baby Blues"September 12, 1987 (1987-09-12)
2"Big Heart, Sweetheart"September 19, 1987 (1987-09-19)
3"Carnival Crashers"September 26, 1987 (1987-09-26)
4"Clowny Exchange"October 3, 1987 (1987-10-03)
5"Won't You Please Come Home, Blooper... Geek?"October 10, 1987 (1987-10-10)
6"BeBad's Pet Peeve"October 17, 1987 (1987-10-17)
7"City Clowns, Country Clowns"October 24, 1987 (1987-10-24)
8"Don't Tell Mom"October 31, 1987 (1987-10-31)
9"Goodbye Grandma"May 7, 1988 (1988-05-07)
10"I'm Just Like You"May 14, 1988 (1988-05-14)
11"Lost and Not Found"May 21, 1988 (1988-05-21)
12"New Dad, No Dad"May 28, 1988 (1988-05-28)
13"Nobody's Useless"June 4, 1988 (1988-06-04)
14"Only When I Laugh"June 11, 1988 (1988-06-11)
15"The Chosen Clown"June 18, 1988 (1988-06-18)
16"To Be or Not to Be... Me"July 2, 1988 (1988-07-02)
17"To Mr. Pickleherring with Love"July 9, 1988 (1988-07-09)
18"Too Scared Too Laugh"July 16, 1988 (1988-07-16)

Home video releases[edit]

In the United Kingdom, several volumes of Little Clowns of Happytown were released on VHS by Tempo Video in 1988, each containing three episodes. A compilation video of the Joking Around With the Little Clowns segments was later released in the United States by Strand-VCI Entertainment in 1991.

Years later, in 2014, several episodes of the series were released on DVD in Region 1 as part of the Mill Creek Entertainment compilation TV Guide Spotlight: Totally '80s Toons.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lenburg, Jeff (2006). Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television's Award-winning and Legendary Animators. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 359. ISBN 9781557836717. Retrieved February 15, 2018 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes & Noble. 2004. p. 371. ISBN 0-7607-5634-1.
  3. ^ a b c CHARLES SOLOMON (1987-10-09). "Kidvid Reviews : Cartoon Debuts Are All Drawn Out - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  4. ^ a b Yoshihara, Nancy (November 2, 1987). "'Little Clowns' Find Happytown Outside Japan : Korea, Brazil Among Countries Drawing Animation Work as Yen Grows Stronger". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Haithman, Diane (September 3, 1987). "How Image Makers Shape Kids' TV : Q5 Firm Advises ABC on the Look and Style of Cartoon Shows; Some Writers Call It Intrusion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  6. ^ "ABC Family Fun Fair planned at city mall". The Oklahoman. August 23, 1987. Retrieved February 16, 2018.

External links[edit]