Rainbow Brite Title screen
|Created by||Hallmark Cards
|Written by||Woody Kling
Howard R Cohen
|Directed by||Bruno Bianchi
|Voices of||See Rainbow Brite#Voices|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of episodes||
13 half-hour animated episodes
|Executive producer(s)||Jean Chalopin
|Running time||25 minutes per episode|
|Production company(s)||DIC Entertainment
Tokyo Movie Shinsha
|Distributor||LBS Communications Inc. (original)
DHX Media (current)
|Original release||June 27, 1984 – July 24, 1986|
- 1 Production
- 2 Premise
- 3 Characters
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Voices
- 6 Crew
- 7 Non-English Names
- 8 Merchandise
- 9 In popular culture
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Creation and development of Rainbow Brite for Hallmark Cards is credited to the oversight of Gary Glissmeyer, Hallmark's Vice President of Creative/Licensing plus a team of artists headed by Cheryl Cozad and writers under the direction of Dan Drake, Hallmark's Editorial Director. Lanny Julian, Hallmark's Vive President of Sales/Marketing, put together another team to take care of marketing and public relations for this new division.
Glissmeyer and Julian were tasked with getting Hallmark into the licensing business in the form of creating new characters that would be interesting to children. Glissmeyer's concept of a young girl with powers over nature evolved into the idea of having her being responsible for all of the colors of the universe. Once that idea was agreed on, all that was left was for Cozad's and Drake's teams to create the backstory and personages needed to support it. Another key player was Jim McDowell from Hallmark's marketing unit. He had to come up with a strategy to get this new product in the public eye
It was Julian that chose Mattel as the toy supplier for the line of dolls and toys that would follow and he put Cozad in charge of working with Mattel. Julian also chose DIC Animation of France as the animation studio that would provide cartoon episodes that would be shown on television.
A Hallmark artist, G. G. Santiago, gave Rainbow Brite and her friends their final 'look' while Hallmark writer Mary Loberg and outside television writer Woody Kling worked with DIC in creating TV storyline for the series. This gave DIC the framework they needed to produce the animations.
Rainbow Brite made her animated debut in a syndicated prime-time television special, "Peril in the Pits" which was first aired on June 27, 1984. Later a pair of two-part specials were made, "The Mighty Monstromurk Menace" and "The Beginning of Rainbowland". These were followed up with eight more episodes to make a total of 13, which is one season in American television. The episodes became part of DIC's weekly syndicated Kideo TV block of programming. The episodes were rerun in 1987. Most, if not all, of them were published on VHS tapes in the USA and the UK along with two live action programs. One of these was a program that could be used for girls' birthday parties. The other was made on location at the world famous San Diego Zoo. Interestingly enough, one of the elephants in the program was named Debbie and she is still in the San Diego Zoo as of 2015.
In the franchise's backstory, a little girl named Wisp is brought to a colorless land. The only way for Wisp to bring color back to the land was for her to find the Sphere of Light. Along the way she befriends a sprite named Twink, a white horse named Starlite and a mysterious little baby who turns out to be the Sphere of Light. Wisp finds the Color Belt and rescues the 7 Color Kids who were trapped in bubbles. After using the belt to defeat the King of Shadows by crushing him into nothingness, Wisp is renamed Rainbow Brite. She, the Color Kids, Starlite and the Sprites live in Rainbow Land and are in charge of all the colors in the universe.
Each Color Kid is in charge of his/her respective color. Each Color Kid has a number of same colored sprites available to mine Color Crystals from the Color Caves, which are turned into Star Sprinkles. One of these sprites is named and is the personal sprite of that color kid and the foreman for the other sprites of the same color. Twink, the only white sprite, is in charge of all of the other sprites.
In the movie Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, the setting is changed to a diamond planet named Spectra. All the light in the universe must pass through Spectra before coming to Earth. The Dark Princess causes problems when she tries to wrap ropes around Spectra, which blocks out the light and throws Earth into a permanent winter.
- Rainbow Brite (voiced by Bettina Bush) - The main protagonist of the series.
- Twink (voiced by Robbie Lee) – Rainbow Brite's white sprite. In one of the books, it is revealed that Twink used to be red, until villain Murky Dismal removed his colors. In the 2014 reboot, Twink's name was changed to Mr. Glitters, and doesn't speak.
- Starlite (voiced by Andre Stojka) – Rainbow Brite's egotistical talking horse, who calls himself "the most magnificent horse in the universe". He is white with a yellow star on his forehead, and at first could fly only with the help of the rainbow. In later episodes Starlite is seen flying on his own rather than galloping on a rainbow. His mane and tail are rainbow-colored.
- Red Butler (voiced by Mona Marshall) - He is in charge of the color red. Red Butler's personality is adventurous and daring. The name and character derive from "Rhett Butler", the Clark Gable character in the classic Hollywood movie Gone With the Wind.
- Lala Orange (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color orange. Lala Orange's personality is romantic and stylish.
- Canary Yellow (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color yellow. Canary Yellow's personality is cheerful and optimistic.
- Patty O'Green (voiced by Mona Marshall) - She is in charge of the color green. Patty O'Green's personality is mischievous and lively.
- Buddy Blue (voiced by Pat Fraley) - He is in charge of the color blue. Buddy Blue's personality is athletic and valiant.
- Indigo (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color indigo (and cooler shades of purple). Indigo's personality is dramatic and creative.
- Shy Violet (voiced by Robbie Lee) - She is in charge of the color violet (and warmer shades of purple). Shy Violet's personality is intellectual and resourceful.
Color Kids' Personal Sprites
- Romeo Sprite - Red Butler's sprite.
- O.J. Sprite - Lala Orange's sprite. In the UK he was called Saucy (Sassy in the USA) and wouldn't be called O.J. these days.
- Spark Sprite - Canary Yellow's sprite.
- Lucky Sprite - Patty O'Green's sprite.
- Champ Sprite - Buddy Blue's sprite.
- Hammy Sprite - Indigo's sprite. The name came from Indigo frequently 'hamming it up' in her dramatic productions.
- I.Q. Sprite - Shy Violet's sprite.
There were a number of sprites in each of the rainbow colors in addition to those named here. None of them were ever named in any of the books or videos. The ones named here were the personal sprites of the Color Kid responsible for that color
Other Rainbow Land characters
- Puppy Brite & Kitty Brite - Rainbow Brite's pet dog and cat. Puppy Brite makes a cameo appearance at the start of Star Stealer and appears in an episode after the movie. Kitty Brite appears only in episodes produced after the movie.
- Moonglow (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - Along with her navy blue Sprite named Nite Sprite (who has crescent moons at the tips of his antennae instead of stars like the other Sprites), Moonglow is in charge of making the night sky bright with stars and color. She appears in the episodes produced after the movie. The merchandise line has her name spelled as Moonglow, but the TV series has it listed as Moonglo. Both spellings may be considered correct.
- Stormy (voiced by Marissa Mendenhall) - Along with her non-speaking horse Skydancer, Stormy lives in the clouds and is in charge of storms. Her favorite season is winter, as shown by a scene from the 1985 movie "Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer". Stormy does not apparently have a sprite, although in the episode "Invasion of Rainbowland", an unnamed sprite matching the color of her outfit follows her around (perhaps an indigo or violet sprite). She is in charge of winter, rain and lightning. Skydancer is dark purple with light purple hair. Skydancer's gender is never revealed; and unlike Starlite, Skydancer has the ability to fly unaided.
- Skydancer - Stormy's horse
- Tickled Pink (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - She is in charge of pastel colors and girl sprites but like Stormy, she does not have a personal sprite.
- Sunriser - Tickled Pink's horse
- Murky Dismal (voiced by Peter Cullen) - Murky is the main villain from The Pits. In one episode it is revealed that, as a toddler, he colored on the walls with crayons, markers, paints, rollers, and finally an industrial airbrush. His mother made him wash off "every bit of color, if it takes all day, if it takes the rest of your life," leading Murky to his hatred of color as an adult. He loves to invent devices to create gloom clouds which remove color and make people hopeless. He is constantly trying to capture the Color Kids or take Rainbow Brite's Color Belt. His full first name is Murkwell and he is both clever and incompetent as a villain.
- Lurky (voiced by Pat Fraley) - Murky's sidekick, who looks like a giant brown Sprite with a large nose. Lurky actually delights in "all the pretty colors!" It is possible that Lurky was once a sprite who is under Murky's spell due to a cloud that has been placed over his head. Lurky is generally goodhearted and often foils Murky's plans by his clumsy nature. Murky Dismal often calls him 'Banana Brain' and similar whenever Lurky manages to unintentionally thwart Murky's plans.
- The Dark Princess (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - She is only officially called "The Princess." She lives in a palace in space and, as the movie's eponymous Star Stealer, tries to steal the diamond planet, Spectra. She is very spoiled and greedy, even going so far as to steal Rainbow's Color Belt after witnessing its power (although she never uses it herself). She has a magic jewel that is the source of her power.
- Count Blogg (voiced by Jonathan Harris) - A green monster who is the Dark Princess' right-hand man. When he appears in the television series, he pretends to have the power to change people into frogs. The Dark Princess also had a number of other 'helpers'.
- Brian (voiced by Scott Menville) - Brian is a 10-year-old boy who's almost 11. He befriends Rainbow Brite.
|"Peril in the Pits"||June 27, 1984||01|
|"The Mighty Monstromurk Menace" (part 1)||December 4, 1984||02|
|"The Mighty Monstromurk Menace" (part 2)||December 5, 1984||03|
|"The Beginning of Rainbowland" (part 1)||April 22, 1985||04|
|"The Beginning of Rainbowland" (part 2)||April 23, 1985||05|
|"Invasion of Rainbowland"||June 5, 1986||06|
|"Mom"||June 12, 1986||07|
|"Rainbow Night"||June 19, 1986||08|
|"Star Sprinkled"||June 26, 1986||09|
|"Chasing Rainbows"||July 3, 1986||10|
|"Murky's Comet"||July 10, 1986||11|
|"A Horse of a Different Color"||July 17, 1986||12|
|"The Queen of the Sprites"||July 24, 1986||13|
- Rhonda Aldrich - Dark Princess, Tickled Pink, Moonglow
- George Ball - Plock
- Bettina Bush - Rainbow Brite
- Peter Cullen - Murky Dismal, Monstromurk
- Pat Fraley - Lurky, On-X, Buddy Blue, Dog, Evil Force
- Jonathan Harris - Count Blogg
- Robbie Lee - Twink, Shy Violet, Indigo, Lala Orange, Sprites
- Mona Marshall - Red Butler, Patty O'Green, Canary Yellow
- David Mendenhall - Krys
- Marissa Mendenhall - Stormy
- Scott Menville - Brian
- Andre Stojka - Starlite, Sorrel
Rainbow Brite had a number of names in other languages even if the Rainbow Brite name was on all of the packaging for all markets. In Canadian French she was called Azurine, from the azure color of her dress. In European French she was called Blondine au Pays de l'Arc-en-Ciel (the blonde girl from the land of the rainbow) or just Blondine for short. In German speaking countries, she was called Regina Regenbogen (Regina Rainbow). In Italy she was Iridella from her iridescent dress. In both Spanish and Portuguese speaking places she was called Arco Iris (also Rainbow). Of course all of the other personages in the Rainbow Brite universe also had language-specific names but that list is too long to include here. And the French names for everyone in Rainbow Land in Canadian French were different than the names used in European French.
For the first Rainbow Brite generation (1984-1987), Mattel produced all of the dolls and some of the toys plus a large line of school supplies that were only sold in Italy. Other Rainbow Brite licensed merchandise was produced by various companies. Among them were many story and activity books by Western Publishing (Little Golden Books) plus a number of puzzles, a line of costume jewelry, banks and suitcases by Kat's Meow, clothes, toys, games, doll and child furniture, radios, child cosmetics, linen, towels, personal care items, lamps, figurines, VHS videocassettes, audio cassettes, records, bicycles, bedding, curtains and much more were sold in the USA, Canada and the UK. In the rest of Europe there was a lesser variety of things sold but this varied from one country to the next. The full Mattel line wasn't sold in all countries. For example, Italy and Spain did not get the second release of dolls (Lala Orange, Buddy Blue, Shy Violet, the Dress Up line and Kitty Brite to name a few. Many Mattel items were made in Europe by local suppliers for the local markets. A French toymaker produced Rainbow Brite, Murky Dismal and Lurky in Mattel packaging in France during 1984 and 1985. An Italian toy company made the European versions of Starlite, the Color Cottage, Color Buggy, Sprite Cycle and the Sail Mobile during 1984 and 1985. In both cases, production was switched to Mattel's contract manufacturers in Asia for 1986 and 1987. The entire line of Rainbow Brite for Spain (6 dolls,five sprites, Starlite and at at least the Color Cottage) was made in Spain from 1984 to 1986 or 1987. The same thing again in Mexico with the entire doll line less the Dress Up dolls. This came about because high protectionist import duties in a number of countries at the time. In all cases, this merchandise was sold in the same packaging (except for the language differences) as the Mattel dolls and toys. Books, comic books and audio tapes were the best selling licensed items outside the UK but other items did exist in different countries. In Germany alone there were no less than 31 story cassettes and 46 comic books. Germany also had an exclusive version of the Dress Up Rainbow Brite doll that included a story cassette. This cassette was not sold separately but was produced by Europa, producer of the other 30 story cassettes. It is unknown if the cassettes were sent to the Asian factory that made the dolls or were put in the dolls' boxes in Germany. A line of five 3D erasers in the form of various Rainbow Brite personages was sold in Europe with Mattel branding while the same line was also sold in Australia under the name of Harveston Super Action and with the addition of one more personage not sold in Europe. A number of Gen 1B (the second release of the first generation) dolls made for the American and Mexican markets ended up being sold in Germany because of strong demand there. These dolls had their English or Spanish names covered by a sticker with the German name or sometimes nothing at all. Two Rainbow Brite dolls plus Twink and Starlite were also produced in Brazil by Estrella. As Brazil speaks its own version of Portuguese, they were not exported anywhere and they came in their own unique white packaging. Because of Rainbow Brite's extreme popularity soon after she was launched, a number of companies produced lookalike unlicensed items. These did not have the Rainbow Brite name but did have the Rainbow Brite look which was of course modified to various degrees from the originals. A few of them were very close to the Mattel dolls but most were obviously different.
The Mattel line of toys and dolls was quite large. There were three large dolls, 12 small dolls, 8 animals, 28 sprites (not counting those that came with the small dolls), four large boxed toys, 10 boxed wallhangings and doll carriers plus a good number of carded small toys. These toys were expensive for their time and Mattel responded by producing a lower priced line of toys sold loose with tags called the 'Emotions' line. This included four dolls, five sprites (a 15 inch Buddy Blue doll, the same size as the Emotions dolls) was sold on Ebay Canada and the extra sprite in the line happened to be Champ), Starlite the horse and Lurky. Oddly enough, the Emotions dolls were larger than the small dolls in the regular line but the Emotions horse was smaller than the normal version so the Emotions dolls could not sit on the Emotions horse or the regular version. Not all toys were sold in all markets and the Emotions line was never sold in Europe or anywhere else outside the USA and Canada.
Although Mattel put her in the catalog and showed her on the backs of the Dress Up doll boxes, they never made a Stormy doll or her horse. There are Stormy dolls out there today but they are custom made, usually from Tickled Pink dolls. These sometimes come in replica boxes but it's normally easy to tell them from original boxes. Stormy showed up in some of the cartoon episodes and in several of the German comic books. There was also a line of cataloged clothing for the Dress Up dolls but like Stormy, it was never produced.
Up, Up and Away
The second Rainbow Brite generation (1996-1997) used the Rainbow Brite name but not the same characters and backstory. The master license was held by Up, Up and Away, who is no longer in business. Rainbow Brite no longer had anything do with making colors and was now in charge of Diversity although this version did have rainbow-colored hair. She had four helpers called the Color Crew. They were Amber (Hispanic), Cerise (Asian), Ebony (black) and Indigo (brown), Rainbow Brite came in both large and small sizes while all the other dolls were small only. The large dolls came with three pots of Color-Glo Paint and a brush but the small ones had only one pot and a brush. Two different boxes for the large doll were made. The first lacked a window so children could not see the doll inside the box. As she was sold with three different wardrobes, buying one was a gamble on which look she would have unless you noticed the little code boxes on the bottom of the package which gave the doll's shoe color. This doll later came in a window box and a simplified single wardrobe. The small dolls came on two different types of cards and one type of box. They are noted for being the only Rainbow Brite dolls ever produced with Dutch text on the boxes or cards. The Canadian packaging was printed in both French and English texts. The importer for Canada was Irvine and they are still in the toy business today. The importer for western Europe less West Germany was Ideal and in West Germany is was Euro Play. There were no other toys or accessories for these dolls other than additional pots of Color-Glo Paint. They were sold in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia. There was at least one special version of the large doll and that was for Italy with only Italian text on the box. The dolls looked nothing like the original first generation dolls and the line was discontinued in 1997 after about a year on the market.
The third Rainbow Brite generation (2003-2005) was also the 20th Anniversary Release. The master toy licensee was Toy Play (a defunct part of The Betish Group, which is still in business). Nick Jr. was the TV network that advertised the line and Hot Topic was the lead merchandiser with a unique Rainbow Brite doll that wasn't made by Toy Play and many items of womens' clothing. This generation returned to the ideas of the original and had some success in doing so. The product line was a lot narrower than the first generation, having only Rainbow Brite, Red Butler, Canary Yellow and Patty O'Green personages. Starlite and Puppy Brite were included and so were some sprites. The dolls and sprites were made in different sizes, from about three to 28 inches tall. Some were soft and some were hard plastic. Murky and Lurky were noted for their absence. There were also some toys made by Toy Play (a Color Castle playset in plastic for example) in this line. There was also a lot of wearing apparel and various small items like costume jewelry and writing supplies available. For all that, the range and amount of licensed merchandise by other than Toy Play was small compared to the original line. Some products were sold with a Region 1 DVD in English that featured a single episode of one of the original cartoons. One of the toys was an 18" Talking Rainbow Brite doll produced by Toy Play that said several phrases. In one phrase she names the colors of the rainbow but somehow omits green. When this was brought to Toy Play's attention they indicated that the doll would be fixed for any future production runs. As the line came to an end in 2005, a corrected version never appeared. A few of the Toy Play items were also sold in Canada with English-French packaging.
The fourth Rainbow Brite generation (2009-2010) was the 25th Anniversary Release. The master toy license belonged to Playmates Toys and they released their first line of Rainbow Brite toys on the 24th of December, 2009 which missed that year's holiday shopping season. The line was expected to be in stores in the fall of 2009 but that did not happen. This interpretation of Rainbow Brite was very controversial because her age was doubled from about five to about ten. She also became a thin plastic doll (some fans compared her to a tall Polly Pocket) with nylon hair and her clothes were different from the originals even if they followed the general style of the original dolls. The line was very small; just Rainbow Brite, Tickled Pink and Moonglow. Each doll had a horse and that was it when the line started. More was promised but never arrived. The same dolls were shared with other Playmates characters (the large one was also Alice in Wonderland among others) and that was another negative factor that undercut the line. Rainbow Brite came out as both large and small dolls while the two others were small only. The line was a failure and most of the stores that had been carrying it did not place repeat orders. Stock ran out by July 2010, so this line was only on the market for seven months and was not available in all of the Lower 48 states. Oddly enough three sprites, one for each doll, arrived in the Fall of 2010 but they had to be sold in Mexico as American retailers didn't want them. This line had a number of licensed products similar to the third generation. some of them were in the original style and some of them were in this new style. They included mostly clothing and writing supplies and there was also a small bicycle. Most were soon gone. The most interesting licensed products were the three dolls by Madame Alexander. There were two different Rainbow Brite dolls and a Tickled Pink doll. Like the Toy Play dolls, they were soon gone from the shops as the fourth generation quickly died out.
A short-lived 3-part animated miniseries was launched on November 6, 2014 by Video On Demand site Feeln. The reboot stared Emily Osment as the voice of Rainbow Brite and Molly Ringwald as the voice of Dark Princess. The second episode was shown on November 13, 2014 and the series concluded on November 20, 2014. The character designs were all redone, some more than others, but there was no question of who they were supposed to be. It was well received by most Rainbow Brite fans who had expressed their opinions on it on the Rainbow Brite Forum. This edition of Rainbow Brite did not produce any merchandise so it has not been given a generation number.
Hallmark introduced the fifth Rainbow Brite generation of toys and other items such as clothing in July of 2015.. A line of Rainbow Brite Itty Bitty toys was the first to arrive followed by Twink and Starlite plush animals the following month. More new items have been promised for the rest of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. The Itty Bitties have been well received by collectors but opinions on Starlite and Twink are quite the opposite of each other. Twink is generally regarded as being cute while Starlite had been compared to a donkey and a goose by users on the main Rainbow Brite Forum website. His design got changed to a certain extent and now collectors are happy with him. The new design of the soon to arrive Rainbow Brite doll has also taken a beating for her severe expression, quite the opposite of the original 1980's dolls. Hallmark was able to modify this by removing her painted-on lipstick. This helped a bit but it really didn't solve the problem. Packaging for these items consists only of attached tags with the product name, Hallmark logo, copyright notice and barcode on them. So far these toys are only being sold in the USA and Canada.
In popular culture
- In Digging to China, a Puppy Brite plush is seen in scenes where Evan Rachel Wood's character is in school for Show and Tell, even though the movie is set in the mid-1960s and not the 1980s.
- Rainbow Brite was mentioned in the Skye Sweetnam song "Hypocrite".
- A Rainbow Brite doll appeared in the music video "What U Do 2 Me" by Boomkat.
- In the episode "Prick Up Your Ears" on the cartoon series Family Guy, Peter attempts to give a sex ed demonstration with a bust of William Shakespeare and a Rainbow Brite doll.
- Rainbow Brite was recently parodied in five episodes of Robot Chicken:
- In "Metal Militia", in a skit called "Game Over", Kelly Hu voiced Rainbow Brite while Breckin Meyer and Seth Green voiced Murky Dismal and Lurky.
- In "Rabbits on a Roller Coaster", in a skit called "Follow the Light, Rainbow", Candace Bailey voiced Wisp while Seth Green voiced the Sphere of Light.
- In "Moesha Poppins", in a skit called "Girl Toys", Adrianne Palicki voiced Rainbow Brite.
- In "No Country For Old Dogs", in a skit called "Rainbow Dim", Mila Kunis voiced Rainbow Brite.
- In "Rebel Appliance", in a skit called "Gay Rainbow".
- Unlicensed, revealing Rainbow Brite and Patty O'Green costumes have become popular items in adult novelty catalogs.
- Season 3 finale of Reba called "Core Focus" where Barbra Jean believes Brock is still in love with Reba, Barbra Jean pounds on two dolls, pretending they are Brock and Reba. One of the dolls is a 2003 Red Butler doll.
- A reference to Rainbow Brite was made in The Order of the Stick.
- A talk show called The Soup did a skit in which the host (Joel McHale) is dressed as Rainbow Brite for a fake trailer for Rainbow Brite: The Movie.
- On an edition of WWE Raw, William Regal stated that WWE Diva Maria liked Rainbow Brite.
- Penny Arcade published a web comic parodying the sequel to American McGee's Alice. The comic features a racy version of Rainbow Brite and a menacing version of Twink.
- 3.^ Rainbow Brite Rides Again! The Iconic '80s Character Gets New Cartoon
- 4.^ Mattel Catalogs for 1984, 1985 and 1986
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- Hallmark's Official Rainbow Brite Website
- Rainbow Brite.Net
- Rainbow Brite.Co.Uk
- Rainbow Brite at the Internet Movie Database
- Rainbow Brite at TV.com