Rainbow Brite Title screen
|Created by||Hallmark Cards
|Written by||Woody Kling
Howard R Cohen
|Directed by||Bruno Bianchi
|Voices of||See Voices|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of episodes||13 (half-hour animated episodes)
2 (half-hour live-action episodes)
4 (read-along videos)
1 (feature-length movie)
|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|
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Rainbow Brite, also known in Japan as Magical Girl Rainbow Brite (魔法少女レインボーブライト Mahō Shōjo Reinbō Buraito?), is a media franchise by Hallmark Cards, introduced in 1983. The animated television series of the same name first aired in 1984, the same year Hallmark licensed Rainbow Brite to Mattel for a range of dolls and other merchandise. A theatrical feature-length film, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer was released by Warner Bros. in 1985. The franchise was rebooted in 1996, 2003, 2009, 2014 and then again in 2015 through Hallmark's online on-demand streaming video service Feeln. 2015 also saw with it a line of new merchandise sold only by Hallmark online and in its shops.
- 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 both Hallmark's Vice President of Creative/Licensing Garry Glissmeyer, and a team of artists headed by Cheryl Cozad, and writers under the direction of Hallmark's Editorial Director Dan Drake. Hallmark's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Lanny Julian, assembled a team of legal, marketing and public relations associates for this new licensing division.
Glissmeyer and Julian were tasked with breaking Hallmark into the licensing business with the creation of characters targeted at children. Glissmeyer's group's concept of a young girl with powers over nature evolved into her being responsible for all of the colors of the universe. Once the concept was agreed to, Cozad's and Drake's teams developed the backstory and characters needed to support it. Jim McDowell, a key player from Hallmark's marketing unit conceptualized a strategy to get the new brand in the public eye.
Julian chose Mattel as the manufacturer and distributor for the line of dolls and toys to follow. Julian chose DIC Entertainment of France as the studio to provide the brand with episodic animation for television. Glissmeyer placed Cozad in charge of the in-house creative group, to work with Mattel and other licensees. Glissmeyer and Drake continued with creative input, working with DIC on the animation development.
Hallmark artist G.G. Santiago developed the final "look" of Rainbow Brite; Cozad's team finalized style guide models for Rainbow Brite and her friends. Hallmark writer Mary Loberg, and freelance television writer Woody Kling worked with DIC in creating TV storylines for the series, which provided DIC the framework to produce the animation episodes.
Rainbow Brite made her animated debut in the 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 produced, "The Mighty Monstromurk Menace" and "The Beginning of Rainbowland." A theatrical feature-length film, Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer was released by Warner Bros. in 1985. These were followed up with eight more episodes for a total of thirteen, which is one season in American television. The episodes became part of DIC's weekly syndicated Kideo TV block of programming and were rerun in 1987. Most, if not all, were published on VHS videotapes in the United States and the United Kingdom, along with two live-action programs. One of these was a program intended for use at young girls' birthday parties; the other was made on location at the world famous San Diego Zoo. Debbie, the elephant that appeared in this program still resides at the San Diego Zoo as of 2016.
Hallmark also had a Rainbow Brite Style Book for companies that wanted to make Rainbow Brite items under license. It gave detailed drawings of all the players and Hallmark's policies on a number of subjects such as the use of its Rainbow Brite logos on the packaging for each product and copyright notices on all products where feasible, fees for creating artwork and the approvals needed before production of new Rainbow Brite merchandise could start.
In Gen 1 continuity, and most of the franchise's backstory, a young girl named Wisp is brought to a gray, desolate land with the mission to bring color to this fictional world by locating the Sphere of Light. Along the way she befriends a furry creature (called a sprite) named Twink, a magnificent horse named Starlite and finds a mysterious baby who turns out to be the key to her mission. With the help of her new friends, Wisp locates the legendary Color Belt and rescues the seven Color Kids, who had been trapped by the King of Shadows. Using the Color Belt, Rainbow Brite and the Sphere of Light defeat the King of Shadows, liberate the sprites and bring color and beauty to the land, henceforth called Rainbow Land. Wisp is renamed Rainbow Brite in honor of her new role as leader of the Color Kids, who are together in charge of all the colors in the universe.
The Color Kids spread color across the universe from the Color Console inside the Color Castle. Each Color Kid works is in charge of her/his respective color. She/He has a personal sprite and he manages a number of like-colored Sprites that mine Color Crystals from the nearby Color Caves. These crystals are processed into Star Sprinkles which are the essential components to brightening and coloring any object or place. Rainbow Brite and the Color Kids' mission is often complicated by the likes of Murky Dismal, his sidekick Lurky, and other villains. Brian, a boy from Earth, sometimes assisted Rainbow Brite in her adventures.
In the movie Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, the setting expands to include the diamond planet Spectra. All the light in the universe must pass through Spectra before coming to Earth. However, Earth soon falls into a wintry darkness when the diamond-obsessed Dark Princess decides to steal Spectra for her own. Rainbow Brite and her horse Starlite must team with Spectra's boy warrior Krys and his horse shaped rocket On-X to defeat the powers of darkness and save Spectra, Earth and the universe.
Gen 2 continuity took a radical departure from any other generation's story, focusing as much on ethnic diversity as the colors of the rainbow. Rainbow Brite has an entirely new and smaller group of friends called the Color Crew. Despite distribution and marketing in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia the line never reached the success of its predecessor and ended after little more than a year.
Gen 3 was basically a relaunch of Gen 1 in 2003, with the same story, but a smaller range of characters produced. The dolls from Toy Play were similar to but not exact copies of the Gen 1 versions. There was also a sizable amount of Rainbow Brite merchandise from various other manufacturers as well as in Gen 1.
Gen 4A celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Rainbow Brite in 2009 with continuity returning the setting again to Rainbow Land, which looked nothing like the original version. This time Rainbow Brite and her friends' mission is to bring hope and happiness to the far corners of the universe, making hearts lighter and worlds a little more colorful along the way. The story focuses on Rainbow Brite, Tickled Pink and Moonglow (along with, presumably, Stormy), each representing one of Rainbow Land's four Sky Powers which determine the cycles of the days and seasons. Gen 4 continuity makes Rainbow Brite a girl originally from Earth (Return to Rainbow Land). Rainbow Brite's absence from the world is explained in a story that sees Rainbow return to her home on Earth for a brief visit with her family after many adventures spreading color throughout Rainbow Land and the universe. But when the Dark Princess erases Rainbow Land from Rainbow Brite's memory while on Earth, she never returns to her duties in Rainbow Land. Rainbow Brite eventually returns to Rainbow Land with the help of Starlite and Puppy Brite. Playmates' line of toys was very controversial among fans and consumers largely due to the change in Rainbow Brite's age from about 7 years old, to 10 or 11, with a more mature fashion doll-like design. The three girl dolls were all wearing training bras and panties under their clothes. The line saw scarce distribution as retailers were not impressed wit it and was canceled after just seven months and before the first release was completed.
Feeln's (part of Hallmark) Gen 4B reboot retains most Gen 1 story elements and recognizable but not identical character designs. It introduces a few new story elements, one being the Sentinels of Light which includes Rainbow Brite as a guardian of light and color, and Krys as the protector of light unseen. Stormy also plays a more prominent role. After a falling out with her pal Rainbow Brite, Stormy joins the forces of darkness and becomes a formidable frenemy. As the Dark Princess's manipulations become more transparent, Stormy started questioning where her true loyalties really were and returned to Rainbow Land as Rainbow Brite's friend. Gen 4B consisted solely of web content from Hallmark and did not result in any merchandise.
Gen 5 began in 2015 with dolls and toys very similar to those of Gens 1 and 3. Hallmark worked on the design, storylines, distribution and sales which have so far been limited to Hallmark shops and the Hallmark websites the United States and Canada. The line began with a limited production of Hallmark's Itty Bittys plush miniatures before expanding to larger Twink & Starlight plushes, a 16" Rainbow Brite doll, a series of hard back story books, women's clothing, and an expansion of the Itty Bittys line. More Rainbow Brite merchandise was introduced in 2016 and even more expected in 2017. In the fall of 2016 Hallmark finally gave Rainbow Brite fans what they had been waiting for since the 1980s; a Stormy doll with her own horse. New books were released at the same time but the Gen 5 line is still small when compared to Gen 1. Both the Gen 1 and Gen 5 lines were/are overpriced compared to similar toys and dolls. Since Hallmark tightly controls the distribution of Gen 5 products, discounting does not exist.
- Rainbow Brite (voiced by Bettina Bush) - The main protagonist of the series. Originally known as Wisp, she was sent to a bleak and gloomy fictional world to bring color and beauty to it (Beginning of Rainbow Land Pt. 1). Her mission is to make the world brighter and hearts lighter by replacing darkness with color and light. Rainbow Brite is aided in her adventures in Rainbow Land by her faithful companions Starlite and Twink, her closest friends the Color Kids, and her powerful Color Belt. Her greatest strengths are her compassion and bravery. She is clever, resourceful and never gives up hope when the odds are stacked against her. Rainbow Brite is at times powerless in the Pits of Rainbow Land, or whenever she is under the influence of one of Murky Dismal's gloom clouds. Rainbow has a violet, star-shaped beauty mark on her left cheek (though in Gen 4 continuity it is blue). In Gen 4 continuity she also carries a Star Scepter. In Feeln's 2014 reboot she is referred to as a Sentinel of Light, a guardian of light and color.
- Twink (voiced by Robbie Lee) – Rainbow Brite's friend and personal sprite. He is the only white sprite and is extremely loyal to Rainbow. Twink is in charge of all the sprites in the Color Caves, and is frequently left in charge when Rainbow Brite is away. His management style often appears manic due to his heightened sense of urgency. In one of the books, it is revealed that Twink was originally a red Sprite, until villain Murky Dismal removed his color, leaving him white. In Gen 4 continuity he is called Twinkle, while in the 2014 reboot he is known as Mr. Glitters. Though he doesn't speak in the 2014 reboot, Twink is generally known for his unique ability among Sprites to speak the same language as the books and videos in the countries where Rainbow Brite was popular.
- Starlite (voiced by Andre Stojka) – Rainbow Brite's faithful friend and egotistical talking horse. He often refers to himself as "the most magnificent horse in the universe." Starlite sails through the skies by galloping on rainbows but in some episodes and books he actually flies without wings or any other means of support or propulsion. He is white with a gold star on his forehead and rainbow-colored mane and tail. The direction of the rainbow colors throughout his mane has been depicted either way in media, but the most common in both media and merchandise typically sees Starlite's mane begin with violet, indigo or blue strands at the top of his head, falling into a reverse rainbow down his neck and ending in red. Starlite is strong, fast, courageous and typically quite perceptive, though he can be extremely jealous if he perceives another horse as competition. He frequently uses his hind legs to powerfully kick his way out of a tight situation or free his friends from captivity. Starlite was modeled after a real-life Arabian Gelding named By Jingo.
- Red Butler (voiced by Mona Marshall) - He is in charge of the color red. Red Butler's personality is adventurous and daring. He is always up for new adventures and ever ready to rescue anyone in distress, but it's his dashing and daring personality that can also be his weakness. It's often when Red is showing off that he's captured by Murky Dismal, requiring someone else to do the rescuing. Though Red is usually a charming, smooth talker, his long winded stories of his own heroic pursuits can bore the other Color Kids. He is a skilled trumpet player (Murky's comet). The name and character are derived from "Rhett Butler," one of the main protagonists in Margaret Mitchell's 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. Flirty and feminine, she can often be found primping and preening until she's convinced she looks "just so." A fashion-oriented, type-A personality, Lala can come off as a little pushy and overbearing sometimes, though she usually means well. Lala harbors a secret crush on Red Butler.
- Canary Yellow (voiced by Mona Marshall) - She is in charge of the color yellow. Canary Yellow's personality is cheerful and optimistic. With a sunny disposition, Canary likes to cheer everyone up and make them smile. Her laid back and easy going nature can make her naive at times, making her an easy target for Murky Dismal; Canary is the Color Kid who gets captured the most. Canary Yellow is a skilled flute player (Murky's comet) and quite a dancer. In Gen 4 continuity, Canary is described as the Andy Dwyer to Rainbow's Leslie Knope on RainbowBrite.com.
- Patty O'Green (voiced by Mona Marshall) - She is in charge of the color green. Patty O'Green's personality is mischievous and lively. Patty enjoys playing practical jokes on her friends, though her genuine sweetness usually forgives any upset. She loves life and nature. She can be prideful at times and has been known to brag that life on Earth couldn't thrive without her color. Patty is a skilled clarinet player (Murky's Comet).
- Buddy Blue (voiced by Pat Fraley) - He is in charge of the color blue. Buddy Blue's personality is athletic and valiant. He lives and breathes physical fitness and excels in every sport. He can often be heard trying to sign up the Color Kids for one organized sport or another, when he's not lecturing them on the virtues of a healthy diet. If Buddy's not playing sports or working out, he's likely to be found meditating to the peace and calm of the blue skies and waters of Rainbow Land. He always makes an effort to bring peace and order to any conflict among his friends. Buddy is a skilled tuba player (Murky's comet). In G4 continuity he holds the "Rainbow Land record for most extreme skateboard kick flip...and the most bones broken."
- 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. She is a performer at heart, often making grand entrances in imaginative costumes or reciting lines from famous plays. More than anything, Indigo wants to be an actress and is often seen rehearsing for her big break. Some find her overly dramatic or call her a dreamer, but Indigo thinks of herself as an artist with aspirations. She also plays the drums (Murky's comet). In the Rainbow Brite Coloring Book, her full name was stated as Indigo Doll.
- 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. She can often be found reading, writing, or working on her theories about color. Shy Violet is Rainbow Brite's go-to Color Kid for problem solving. Though Violet is extremely shy, she never hesitates to speak up when offering advice; and when she speaks, the other Color Kids listen. When the alien Wajah crash landed in Rainbow Land, Shy Violet quickly analyzed, deciphered and repaired the alien technology, and piloted the ship herself afterward (Invasion of Rainbow Land). Violet once invented a high powered telescope so the Color Kids could gaze out into the universe to see wherever color is needed (Murky's Comet). In Gen 4 continuity she has a secret crime-fighting alter ego, the Purple Protector.
Color Kids' Personal Sprites
- Romeo Sprite - Red Butler's sprite. He is in charge of the red sprites who mine red Color Crystals which are processed into red Star Sprinkles. Romeo can be extremely affectionate, even toward Rainbow Land's villains.
- O.J. Sprite - Lala Orange's sprite. He is in charge of the orange sprites who mine orange Color Crystals which are processed into orange Star Sprinkles. His name is a reference to orange juice. Lala refers to O.J. as Sassy in 'The Mighty Monstromurk Menace, Part. 2'. In the United Kingdom he was called Saucy.
- Spark Sprite - Canary Yellow's sprite. He is in charge of the yellow sprites who mine yellow Color Crystals which are processed into yellow Star Sprinkles.
- Lucky Sprite - Patty O'Green's sprite. He is in charge of the green sprites who mine green Color Crystals which are processed into green Star Sprinkles.
- Champ Sprite - Buddy Blue's sprite. He is in charge of the blue sprites who mine blue Color Crystals which are processed into blue Star Sprinkles.
- Hammy Sprite - Indigo's sprite. He is in charge of the indigo sprites who mine indigo Color Crystals which are processed into indigo Star Sprinkles. The name comes from Indigo frequently 'hamming it up' in her dramatic productions. In the United Kingdom he was called Encore.
- I.Q. Sprite - Shy Violet's sprite. He is in charge of the violet sprites who mine violet Color Crystals which are processed into violet Star Sprinkles. I.Q. is the sprite most often omitted from Gen 1 merchandise.
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 and supervised the others.
Other Rainbow Land characters
- Baby Brite - Alternate guise of the Sphere of Light. When Rainbow Brite was sent to locate the Sphere of Light in her very first mission to make the world a brighter and happier place, she encountered Baby Brite. After rescuing her, Rainbow Brite discovered the infant was in fact the powerful Sphere of Light she was sent to find. As the Sphere of Light, Baby Brite helped Rainbow Brite eliminate the King of Shadows, thus creating Rainbow Land.
- Puppy Brite & Kitty Brite - Rainbow Brite's pet dog and cat. Neither speak like Starlite or other talking animals in Rainbow Land. 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 because she entered production after the movie was released.
- Moonglow (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - Moonglow is in charge of making the night sky beautiful. Her powers facilitate the placement, brightness and colors of starlight, auroras, meteors, spiral galaxies, nebulae and the moon itself (Rainbow Night). When everyone else in Rainbow Land is waking up, Moonglow is getting ready for a nice long nap. As one of the last to be introduced into the Rainbow Brite line, she appears only in the episodes produced after the movie. Initially she appears only at night, but in later episodes she occasionally appears during the day as well (Chasing Rainbows). Even at her most wide-eyed and alert, Moonglow has been known to speak in a sleepy monotone. Moonglow's Gen 1 doll was sold only in West Germany. She was originally conceptualized with white hair by Mattel before it was changed to pink, then blue for Gen 4A. In Gen 4 continuity, she carries a Moon Scepter. Though her name occasionally appears as "Moonglo" in some media, the correct spelling according to Hallmark is "Moonglow." She, along with Tickled Pink and Stormy, was designed by Mattel rather than Hallmark.
- Nite Sprite - Moonglow's personal Sprite assists her in making the night sky beautiful. Nite Sprite is unique among Sprites for his crescent moon antennae, rather than the standard star antennae of other Sprites.
- Shimmer - In Gen 4 continuity, Shimmer is Moonglow's horse. She is blue with a violet mane and tail, and violet crescent moon on her forehead. She has no Gen 1 counterpart.
- Stormy (voiced by Marissa Mendenhall) - Stormy lives in the clouds and is in charge of storms and all other forms of bad weather. Her powers facilitate thunder, lightning, rain, winds, ice and snow. Unlike the Color Kids, Stormy can be cynical at times. Her favorite season is winter (Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer). Stormy does not have a personal Sprite, although in the episode "Invasion of Rainbowland," an unnamed Sprite matching the color of her outfit is often seen at her side. In the 2014 Feeln reboot, Stormy initially aligns herself with Lurky, Murky Dismal and the Dark Princess against Rainbow Brite. Though a Gen 1 Stormy doll was prototyped by Mattel, it was never produced. Her powers were represented in Gen 4 packaging along with the other sky powers, forecasting plans for an eventual doll release, though this never materialized as the line was canceled before the first release was completed. A 16" Stormy doll and her horse were finally produced by Hallmark in 2016. Stormy, along with Moonglow and Tickled Pink, were designed by Mattel rather than Hallmark.
- Skydancer - Skydancer flies and gallops through the clouds as Stormy casts her storms throughout Rainbow Land. Skydancer is deep purple with lavender mane and tail, and a white thunderbolt between the eyes. Unlike Starlite, Skydancer does not speak. Skydancer was originally to be called Thunder, but the name was changed for trademark reasons. Her gender was officially first referenced by Hallmark online in 2016.
- Tickled Pink (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - Tickled Pink is in charge of mixing Color Crystals and creating pastels and other new colors like aqua, magenta, etc. She's also in charge of the female Sprites, but like Stormy does not have a personal Sprite in Gen 1 continuity. Tickled Pink is a talented baton twirler (Murky's Comet). In Gen 4 continuity, she is in charge of painting the morning sky with her Sun Scepter each sunrise. Tickled Pink, along with Moonglow and Stormy, was designed by Mattel rather than Hallmark.
- Twilite Sprite - In Gen 4 continuity, Twilite is Tickled Pink's personal Sprite. She does not have a Gen 1 counterpart.
- Female Sprites - In Gen 1 continuity they are: Dee-Lite, Merrily, Flutter, Spritzie, Posie & Glee. The female Sprites help Tickled Pink mix Color Crystals to make other colors like aqua, magenta, etc. These blended colors are reflected in the female Sprites' appearance. In merchandise they are notable for all having red (rather than the yellow of the boy sprites) star antennae and red, pursed lips. Each had a 12" plush doll by Mattel.
- Sunriser - A wild pink horse with magenta mane and tail, and a golden sun (or white heart, depending on the media) on her forehead. Sunriser lives in the mountains of Rainbow Land and is only seen at sunrise. Unlike Starlite, Sunriser does not speak. She helped Rainbow Brite rescue Starlite and On-X when the two horses were kidnapped by Murky Dismal and Lurky (A Horse of a Different Color). Sunriser admires and is very affectionate toward Starlite. Though Sunriser's original Mattel toy listed her as "Tickled Pink's horse" on the packaging, the animated series depicted her as a lone character. In Gen 4 continuity Sunriser is again Tickled Pink's horse. Like Moonglow, Tickled Pink and Stormy, Sunriser was designed by Mattel rather than Hallmark. Her original concept name was Flurry.
- Krys (voiced by David Mendenhall) - The wearer of the Prism. The boy warrior from planet Spectra was a bit misogynistic when he first encountered Rainbow Brite, though she soon proved him wrong about her courage and capability (Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer). Krys became a trusted friend and ally to Rainbow Brite, and with her help defeated the Dark Princess. He flies through the skies on his robotic horse On-X and wears the Prism into battle on his wrist gauntlet. Krys's Prism appears to only work with the aid of Rainbow Brite's power. He remains on Spectra but visits Rainbow Land frequently. In early concept pitches Krys was originally called Krys-Tal and was to be Rainbow Brite's cousin from Planet Spectra, rather than a male equivalent with whom she would develop a sibling-like rivalry. In Feeln's 2014 reboot, Krys was an ancestor of Brian who once wielded a powerful magic ring that empowered him as a Sentinel of Light, the protector of Light Unseen.
- On-X - (voiced by Pat Fraley) Krys's robotic horse. Formerly Orin's steed, On-X helped Krys and Rainbow Brite foil the Dark Princess's evil plans to pluck the diamond planet Spectra from the stars in her caper to steal the greatest diamond in the Universe (Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer). On-X speaks with a robotic voice, hovers in place and has the ability to fly using rockets in his legs. He appears black or navy blue with crimson eyes and praetorian style mane.
- Orin (voiced by Les Tremayne) - An elder Sprite from the diamond planet Spectra. Orin played a pivotal role in uniting Rainbow Brite and Krys against the Dark Princess (Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer). He gifted Krys with both On-X and the Prism. Orin is a light gray Sprite with a white handlebar mustache. He wears a blue cape and carries a wooden walking stick. Like all Spectran Sprites, Orin's antennae have spheres on the ends, rather than stars like most Rainbow Land Sprites (though in the comic adaptation of Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer he is shown with crescent moon antennae like Nite Sprite).
- Spectran Sprites - Bombo, Popo and other Spectran Sprites are native to the diamond planet Spectra (Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer). Unlike Rainbow Land Sprites, they have spherical antennae. Their furry feet are useful in polishing the surface of Spectra. Many wear goggles and are of lighter, cool colors like ice blue, lavender and gray. The Spectran Sprites (with the exception of Popo) were enslaved by Glitterbots when the Dark Princess attempted to steal Spectra for her own.
- Murky Dismal (voiced by Peter Cullen) - The primary antagonist throughout most of the series, he is at various times under the employ of the Dark Princess and the King of Shadows. He resides in the last, lone dark area of Rainbow Land called the Pits with his clumsy sidekick, Lurky. In one episode it is revealed that, as a toddler, Murky Dismal once colored the walls of his childhood home with crayons, markers, paints, rollers, and finally an industrial airbrush. Furious, his mother demanded he remove "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 (Mom). He often invents devices to create gloom clouds, which remove color and make people feel hopeless. He is constantly trying to foil Rainbow Brite's mission by capturing Color Crystals, the Sprites, the Color Kids or Rainbow Brite's Color Belt. His full name is Murkwell Dismal, and he is both clever and incompetent as a villain. Murky is over 700 years old (Mighty Monstromurk Menace Pt. 1).
- Monstromurk (voiced by Peter Cullen) - Murky Dismal's genie-like creation. Monstromurk was sealed inside a bottle seven hundred years ago after Murky lost control of his own creation. When he escaped, Monstromurk enslaved his creator and nearly destroyed all of Rainbow Land by draining everything he touched of color with his mighty energy blasts (Mighty Monstromurk Menace Pt. 1 & 2).
- Robot Brite (voiced by Bettina Bush) - Murky Dismal's robotic Rainbow Brite double was Robot Brite, who was created to impersonate Rainbow Brite in a ruse to rob the Color Caves of all their Color Crystals (Chasing Rainbows). The robot's frequent systems crashes ultimately revealed it as an imposter. Though it was utilized as a tool of ill intent, the robot is inherently neutral.
- Lurky (voiced by Pat Fraley) - Murky Dismal's imposing but dimwitted sidekick. He somewhat resembles a giant brown Sprite with a large, furry nose. Unlike Murky, Lurky frequently delights in "all the pretty colors!" Lurky is generally good natured and usually, if unintentionally, foils Murky's plans through his clumsy nature. His clumsiness is likely attributed in part to his oft-untied shoelaces. Despite his size, clumsiness and association with Murky, Lurky is rather gentle. He is regularly seen driving the pair's Grunge Buggy across Rainbow Land with Murky riding in the sidecar. Murky often refers to Lurky as Banana Brain, Cabbage Brain, Pancake Brain, or some variation thereof. Lurky's size, speech, intellect and personality are similar to that of the character Lennie Small in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."
- The King of Shadows - This dark and mysterious being ruled Rainbow Land before Rainbow Brite's arrival, when the world was still a dark and desolate wasteland filled with monstrous beasts. He imprisoned the seven Color Kids in different locations across the land. His tyrannical rule ended when he was destroyed by the Sphere of Light (Beginning of Rainbow Land part 1 & 2). As of 2015, he is the only major Rainbow Brite villain to never return in any other story.
- The Dark Princess (voiced by Rhonda Aldrich) - Initially she was referred to only as "The Princess." As of 2016 her name has never been revealed. She lives in a palace in space and, as the movie's eponymous Star Stealer, tries to steal the diamond planet, Spectra. She is 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, though it is destroyed due to the combined power of Krys and Rainbow Brite. She is next seen descending upon the Color Caves announcing herself as Queen of the Sprites in a bid to force the Sprites to mine for diamonds (Queen of the Sprites). She dresses in black with a bejeweled golden headdress adorning her auburn hair. She often carries a pomeranian-sized diamond on a leash like a pet and employs many underlings to do her bidding. In Gen 4 continuity the Dark Princess is responsible for wiping Rainbow Brite's memory of Rainbow Land, stranding her on Earth. The character returns in Feeln's 2014 reboot voiced by Molly Ringwald.
- Count Blogg (voiced by Jonathan Harris) - The Dark Princess's right-hand man. He is green skinned with pupil-less red eyes, a long gray beard and fangs. When he appears in the television series, he pretends to have the power to change Sprites into frogs (Queen of the Sprites).
- Sgt. Zombo (voiced by David Workman)- Warden of the Prison Planet and minion of the Dark Princess (Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer). He has purple skin and wears partial plate armor with what appears to be a military uniform. His eyes are deep purple with yellow pupils.
- Glitterbots - Large, sentinel-like golden robots charged with keeping the Sprites of Spectra under control by order of Sgt. Zombo. Glitterbots enslave prisoners through ocular hypno-beams, powered by large crimson jewels embedded in their skulls. They are not immune to the effects of their own hypno-beams. Glitterbots expel netting through an aperture in their lower faceplate.
- Brian (voiced by Scott Menville) - Brian is an 11-year-old Earth boy. He is often accompanied by his dog, Sam, and is the only person on Earth who can see Rainbow Brite. After befriending Rainbow Brite, Brian was given a key to access Rainbow Land from any lock (Mighty Monstromurk Menace, Part. 1). Despite initial feelings of competitiveness and inadequacy toward Red Butler and the other Color Kids, Brian has proven himself a trusted and valiant ally time and again. In Feeln's 2014 reboot Rainbow Brite discovers Brian is a descendent of Krys. When he jumps in front of one of the Dark Princess's blasts meant for Rainbow Brite, his powers activate, transforming him into a Sentinel of Light in a suit very similar to that of his ancestor Krys.
|"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 and regions, she was called Regina Regenbogen (Regina Rainbow). In Italy she was called Iridella which came from her iridescent dress. In both Spanish and Portuguese speaking markets she was called Arco Iris (also Rainbow). The other characters in the Rainbow Brite universe also had language-specific names. The French names for everyone in Rainbow Land in Canadian French were different than the names used in European French. In Dutch-speaking areas, the English names were used.
For the first Rainbow Brite generation (1984-1987), Mattel produced the dolls and many of the toys along with a large line of school supplies only sold in Italy. Other Rainbow Brite licensed merchandise was produced by various companies. This included many story and activity books by Western Publishing (Little Golden Books), 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 sold in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The rest of Europe saw a smaller variety of merchandise, though this varied from country to country.
For example, the entire Mattel line was not sold in all countries. Italy and Spain did not receive the second release of dolls (Lala Orange, Buddy Blue & Shy Violet), the Dress Up line or Kitty Brite. 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, and the Color Buggy for all of Europe 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 (six dolls, five sprites, Starlite, Lurky and the Color Cottage) was produced in Spain from 1984 until the line ended there in 1986 or 1987. Similarly, this occurred in Mexico with the entire doll line minus the Dress Up dolls. This was the result of high import duties in a number of countries at the time, caused by protectionist policies.
Books, comic books, sticker albums and audio tapes were the best selling licensed items outside the United Kingdom, but other items did exist in different countries. In Germany alone there were no less than thirty-one story cassettes and forty-six 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 into the dolls' boxes in Germany. A line of five 3D erasers in the form of various Rainbow Brite characters was sold in Europe with Mattel branding, while the same line was also sold in Australia under the name of Harveston Super Action figures with the addition of an additional character (Lurky) 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. These were not exported anywhere and came in their own unique white packaging with all writing less the Rainbow Brite name in the Brazilian version of Portuguese. Because of Rainbow Brite's extreme popularity soon after she was launched, a number of other companies not related to Mattel produced many unlicensed lookalike (fake or bootleg) items that were sold in North America and Europe.
The Mattel line of toys and dolls was quite large. There were three large dolls, five medium dolls (Emotions) 12 small dolls, nine animals, 50 sprites (including those that came with the small dolls), four large boxed toys, ten boxed wallhangings and doll carriers, and 27 small carded toys for a total of 111 different items and this does not include generational (some dolls were sold in two different boxes over time in some markets) and international packaging variations. 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. The Emotions line included five dolls including a 15" Buddy Blue doll, that was sold only in Canada. The extra sprite in the line happened to be Champ. Also included were five Sprites, 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. As such the Emotions dolls were neither in scale with the Emotions horse or the regular Mattel version. And of course the Emotions dolls were too big to sit on the Emotions horse or the normal one. Not all toys were sold in all markets, and the Emotions line was never sold outside the United States and Canada.
Mattel's Dress Up line of dolls and horses is the most sought after part of the entire Mattel line, particularly Moonglow who was only sold in Germany. Although Stormy's doll was shown in the Mattel catalog and on the backs of the Dress Up doll boxes, she was never produced for retail even though the character did appear in some cartoon episodes and several German comic books. There was also a line of cataloged clothing for the Dress Up dolls, but like Stormy, it was never produced. The two horses, Starlight and Sunriser, were made from hard plastic rather than being stuffed. They were in fact from Mattel's line of 'Barbie' merchandise. The Dress Up line was only made for about one year. That makes the two horses and Moonglow very difficult to find today, especially MIB. The Tickled Pink and Rainbow Brite Dress Up dolls are somewhat difficult to find these days compared to the rest of the Gen 1 line.
Televised commercials for Mattel's Rainbow Brite dolls frequently featured the song, "Over the Rainbow," from The Wizard of Oz, often with altered lyrics or arrangements. Child actors Tracey Gold, Kellie Martin and Heather O'Rourke, famous for their roles in 1980s television and film, also appeared.
Up, Up and Away
The second Rainbow Brite generation (1996-1997) greatly differed from any generation before or since. It used the Rainbow Brite name but not the same characters or backstory. The master license was held by Up, Up and Away, a company which 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, the characters resembled real-world children more than their previous animated and doll counterparts. In the second generation's story, Rainbow Brite had four friends, called the Color Crew, which included Amber (Latina), Cerise (Asian), Ebony (African) and Indigo (Central Asian, the only character name borrowed from the original Color Kids).
Rainbow Brite was produced as large and small dolls while the Color Crew was represented only in the small doll range. The large Rainbow Brite dolls came with three pots of Color-Glo Paint and a brush, while the small dolls included a single pot of Color-Glo Paint and a brush. The large doll was released in two different boxes, the first lacking a window so buyers could not see the doll inside. As the doll was sold with three different wardrobes, buying one was a gamble regarding which look she would have (unless one read the small code box on the bottom of the package indicating the doll's shoe color). The large doll later came in a window box with a simplified single wardrobe. The small dolls came boxed at first and then blister carded on two different types of cards. They are noted for being the only Rainbow Brite dolls ever produced with Dutch text on the packaging.
The Canadian importer was Irvine, a company which is currently still in business, and their product packaging was printed in both French and English texts. Ideal Toy Company was the importer for most of Western Europe, though Euro Play imported the line for Germany. The large doll was also distributed in Italy by GiG with only Italian text on the box. There were no other toys or accessories for the second generation dolls other than additional pots of Color-Glo Paint, which were sold in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Another 15" Rainbow Brite doll a with Color Glo Bear and paint set was prototyped, as was a black version. But only the black version was ever produced and then in very limited numbers. There was a Gen 2B which had simplified packaging and outfits as an effort to keep the line going by cutting costs. The second generation had nowhere near the success the first generation had at retail and was discontinued after less than two years 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 subsidiary of The Betesh Group. The parent company is still in business. Nick Jr. was the television network that advertised the line. Hot Topic was the lead merchandiser with a unique Rainbow Brite doll not manufactured by Toy Play and many items of women's clothing, accessories and stationary.
Without being an exact copy of the originals, this generation returned to the look and feel of the Mattel line even if the product line was much narrower than the first generation. Toy Play followed the first generation's character roll out, producing Rainbow Brite, Red Butler, Canary Yellow and Patty O'Green characters but no more Color Kids followed. Starlite, Puppy Brite and the Sprites were also represented in various merchandise.
Characters were produced in different sizes, from three to twenty-eight inches tall across the line which went from PVC plastic figurines to plush dolls. Toy Play produced both retro-style plush dolls with wiring in their limbs to make them poseable along with plastic dolls wearing soft clothing and having articulated arms and legs. Some dolls were sold with a Region 1 DVD in English featuring a single episode of the original cartoon. Some Toy Play products were sold in Canada with English-French packaging. Toy Play's 18 inch talking Rainbow Brite doll notoriously omitted the color green when 'speaking' all of the colors of the rainbow. Toy Play indicated that the missing color would be added for future production runs, but this never happened because the line died out before a corrected version appeared.
Toy Play was the first (and so far only) merchandiser to produce a Color Castle playset, the Light Up Musical Castle, which included small articulated figurines of Rainbow Brite, Red Butler, Twink and Puppy Brite. The playset's box showed pictures of forthcoming product (a Rainbow Brite and Friends Sprites' village playset, an in-scale Starbrite with brushable mane, as well as figurine 2-packs to include Rainbow Brite and Twink, Red Butler and Romeo, Patty O'Green and Lucky, Canary Yellow and Spark, and Murky Dismal and Lurky) though these were never produced. There was also a wide range of other merchandise, mostly clothing, that was available during Gen 3. For some unknown reason, the orange-colored tags and logos that started with Gen 3 have been revived for Gen 5.
The fourth Rainbow Brite generation (2009-2010) was the 25th anniversary release and was accompanied by a series of web-episodes produced by Animax Entertainment that were available to stream on www.RainbowBrite.com., which no longer exists. The master toy license belonged to Playmates Toys and their line of Rainbow Brite toys was expected to be in stores in the fall of 2009. Production delays saw the line actually debut in stores on December 24 of that year, which of course missed the 2009 holiday shopping season.
This interpretation of Rainbow Brite was controversial among fans of the original Rainbow Brite as the characters, though still youthful in appearance, appeared significantly older and were styled more like traditional 11" fashion dolls. The line's initial product release only included three plastic fashion dolls (Rainbow Brite, Tickled Pink and Moonglow) and three plastic horses with rooted manes (Starlite, Sunriser, and Shimmer). A larger 15" Rainbow Brite doll was also produced. The line initially omitted the Color Kids altogether in favor of a more sky-power oriented storyline. The packaging art hinted at a possible Stormy doll to come, though yet again she never arrived.
The Playmates' line never caught on with its target audience. After missing its holiday season window and facing controversy within the fandom, the Playmates' Rainbow Brite line withered on the vine and died. Most retailers refused to carry the line and those that did saw stock run out by July 2010. If any reorders were placed, they were not in quantities that justified continued production. The line was only on the market for about seven months and was not available in all of the Contiguous United States.
In the Fall of 2010 three Sprite dolls appeared at retail in Mexico. These included Twinkle (a renamed Twink) for Rainbow Brite, Nite Sprite for Moonglow and Twilite for Tickled Pink. These were already in production when US retailers dropped the line. The fourth generation saw a number of licensed products similar to the third generation, some in the original Gen 1 style and some in the new Gen 4 style. This included mostly clothing and stationary, plus a small bicycle. The final products during the fourth generation came from Madame Alexander, and included a traditional Madame Alexander-style Gen 1 Rainbow Brite doll with Twink, as well as Gen 4-style plush dolls of Rainbow Brite and Tickled Pink.
A three-part animated miniseries was launched on November 6, 2014 by Video On Demand site Feeln. The reboot showcased updated character designs for the cast, and starred 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. Feeln's miniseries was well received by many in the Rainbow Brite fandom but it did not produce any merchandise. As such, it has not been given a generation number but is sometimes called Gen 4A because it arrived before the Gen 4 dolls and horses arrived in the shops near the end of the following month and is sometimes called Gen 4B. Although a Starlite Pillow Pal was produced by Pillow Pets during this time, it was actually not part of the Playmates line of toys.
Hallmark introduced the fifth generation of Rainbow Brite toys, along with clothing and other merchandise in July 2015. A limited edition line of Rainbow Brite Itty Bittys featuring Rainbow Brite, Twink, Champ, O.J., Lucky and I.Q. arrived first, each produced in limited quantities of 500 units. These sold out in five days on hallmark.com, and the demand led to Hallmark reissuing the Itty Bittys with slightly revised designs in much greater numbers along with the first Rainbow Brite Itty Bittys boxed set featuring Red Butler, Romeo, Indigo and Hammy. These items were followed by an 8" Twink plush and 11" Starlite plush in September 2015, as well as an 16" Rainbow Brite doll that November.
In 2016 Hallmark released another Itty Bitty boxed set featuring Patty O'Green, Buddy Blue, Lucky & Champ. A 24" Rainbow Brite Jumbo Itty Bitty arrived in December. A limited edition Shy Violet Itty Bitty was released as a Hallmark online exclusive that Summer. In Fall of 2016 many new Rainbow Brite items were available at Hallmark stores and online, including several new story and activity books, a new range of greeting cards, and a 1,000 piece Rainbow Land puzzle. A Starlite Itty Bitty was released in November, as well as 11" Sunriser and Skydancer plushes, and for the first time ever a 16" Stormy doll. Packaging for the single items consists only of attached tags with the product name, Hallmark logo, copyright notice and barcode, while the boxed sets feature Rainbow Land displayable backgrounds. These toys are currently sold only in the United States and Canada. Additionally, Hallmark Keepsake Rainbow Brite holiday ornaments were sold in 2015 (a reissue of Hallmark's 2013 ornament) and 2016.
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
- 5.^ Mattel Rainbow Brite Style Guide, 1984
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