The Littles (TV series)
|Created by||John Peterson|
|Based on||The Littles|
by John Peterson
|Developed by||Woody Kling|
|Directed by||Bernard Deyries|
|Country of origin||United States |
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||29|
|Running time||22 minutes approx.|
|Original network||United States|
Canal+ (Season 1)
TF1 (Seasons 2-3)
|Original release||September 10, 1983 –|
November 2, 1985
The Littles (French: Les Minipouss) is an animated television series originally produced between 1983 and 1985. It is based on the characters from The Littles, a series of children's novels by American author John Peterson, the first of which was published in 1967. The series was produced for the American broadcast network ABC by the French/American studio DIC Audiovisuel. It was post-produced by a Canadian animation studio, Animation City Editorial Services.
Along with Inspector Gadget and Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, The Littles was one of the first cartoons produced by DIC Entertainment for American television, and was the only one of the three to air on a network, rather than in syndication.
The first two seasons of shows feature The Littles around the Bigg household, but to improve the show's popularity the final season features the Littles traveling around the world.
During the production run of the show, the Littles were also popular enough to warrant two movie tie-ins:
- On May 25, 1985, the Littles starred in their first animated feature, Here Come the Littles, which serves as a prequel to the television series. It was directed by Bernard Deyriès and written by Woody Kling. This is available on DVD.
- The following year (1986), a made-for-TV movie was created starring the Littles: Liberty and the Littles. This film was also directed by Bernard Deyriès and written by Heywood Kling. This movie aired in three parts during the tenth season of ABC Weekend Specials. It was subsequently edited into a three-part episode and included in the third season of the series. The episode is available on DVD.
Episode themes and structure
During the first two seasons, many of the episodes contained moral lessons or addressed specific issues, such as running away from home ("The Little Fairy Tale"), drug abuse ("Prescription for Disaster") and jealousy ("Lights, Camera, Littles" and "Twins"). For the third season, each episode saw Henry and the Littles traveling to a different location around the world.
The first two seasons also featured simple arts and crafts at the end of each episode ("Little Ideas for Big People"), with the second season using suggestions sent in by viewers. During the third season, a segment called "A Little Known Fact" highlighted historical or geographic trivia that was related to the episode.
The Little family
- Tom Little – The older of the two Little children.
- Lucy Little – The younger of the two Little children.
- Grandpa Little – The oldest member of the family.
- Dinky Little – A cousin of the family (as in the books, where he is always presented as 'cousin Dinky').
- Frank Little – the father in the family.
- Helen Little – the mother in the family and the daughter of Grandpa Little.
- Ashley Little – A second, younger cousin of the family.
In the television series, the family tree is mostly clear. Frank and Helen are the parents of Tom and Lucy, Grandpa is the father of Helen, and Dinky is a cousin (on Helen's side, as said by Grandpa in the episode "Ben Dinky") of Tom and Lucy. In the books, the family tree is never explicitly identified. The Littles that often appear are Tom, Lucy, Dinky and Grandpa.
- Henry Bigg – A 13-year-old boy and one of the few humans who knows about the existence of the Littles. They live in his house and are his best friends
- Slick – A little turtle and Henry's pet.
- Dr. Erick Hunter – He has never seen a Little with his own eyes, but is very sure they really exist. His job is to find some evidence and build machines that can detect these tiny humans to prove to the others and himself that the Littles really exist.
- James Peterson – the other bad guy and Dr. Hunter's assistant.
- Mr. and Mrs. Bigg – Henry's parents. Both archeologists, they often go on journeys.
- Marie – Henry's classmate and close friend.
Differences from the books
Besides the clarified family tree, Henry knowing about the Littles was unique to the television series and the movie, Here Come the Littles. The first season never revealed how Henry met the Littles; during the opening credits Henry simply tells the audience that he has "a very special secret" – that he is the only one who knows about the Littles. During the second season, the opening credits said that Henry first met the Littles when Tom and Lucy fell inside his suitcase as he was moving, and they jumped out when he opened the suitcase. In the movie, however, Tom and Lucy still get trapped inside Henry's suitcase, but Henry does not discover the Littles until much later; he first sees Grandpa and Dinky in his uncle's yard, while Tom and Lucy later befriend him when they need his help. Henry took great care to keep the Littles' existence a secret, even from his own parents. Although he betrayed them in one episode ("Dinky's Doomsday Pizza"), the entire incident and its resulting fallout turned out to be only a dream that Dinky was having.
Some characters are unique to the television series. Most notable are the two villains, Dr. Hunter and his assistant, Peterson. Hunter is a scientist who has been trying to capture a Little to prove his theories, but has been unsuccessful, although he came close at times.
- Jimmy E. Keegan as Henry Bigg
- Alvy Moore as Grandpa Little
- Gregg Berger as Frank Little
- Patricia Parris as Helen Little
- Donavan Freberg as Tom Little (Seasons 1–2)
- David Wagner as Tom Little (Season 3)
- Bettina Bush as Lucy Little
- B.J. Ward as Ashley Little (Seasons 2–3)
- Frank Welker as Slick (Season 1)
- Pat Fraley as Slick (Seasons 2–3)
- Robert David Hall as Mr. Bigg and Dinky Little
- Laurel Page as Mrs. Bigg
- Ken Sansom as Dr. Hunter and Peterson
Rachelle Cano provides the opening and closing theme vocals
- Candace Craig
- Paul Eiding
- Jonathan Goldsmith
- David Hollander
- Erv Immerman
- Tress MacNeille
- Mona Marshall
- Julie McWhirter
- Hal Smith - Mr. Finnegan (in "When Irish Eyes are Smiling")
- Marilyn Schreffler
- John Stephenson
- Russi Taylor
- Marsha Goodman - Voice Director (Season Three), Talent Coordinator
- Ginny McSwain - Voice Director (Season Two)
A dagger (†) denotes an episode that was not rerun in syndication.
Season 1 (1983)
|Title||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Beware of Hunter!"||Jeffrey Scott||September 10, 1983|
|Henry's friendship with Tom and Lucy causes problems with the Littles' Council when Dr. Hunter searches Henry's house to find evidence of the Littles' existence.|
|2||2||"Lost City of the Littles"†||Jeffrey Scott||September 17, 1983|
|Henry's parents discover a statue with a tail (portraying an ancient Little ruler), which also piques Dr. Hunter's interest. When Henry learns that the statue will hypnotize all Littles and call them to it, he decides to steal the statue to save his friends.|
|3||3||"The Big Scare"||Jeffrey Scott||September 24, 1983|
|Henry spends the night in a haunted house as part of an initiation to join a bicycle club. The other members, though, have malevolent plans for Henry, and the Littles must help him turn the tables.|
|4||4||"Lights, Camera, Littles"||Jeffrey Scott||October 1, 1983|
|When The Littles make "The Little Wizard of Oz," Tom becomes jealous of Lucy and decides to dispose of the film. In the process, however, it gets into Dr. Hunter's hands.|
|5||5||"The Spirits of the Night"||Jeffrey Scott||October 8, 1983|
|The Littles visit a blind elderly woman and help her out. They come across the journal of her late husband, which tells that he hid $50,000 cash in order to help out his wife. Unfortunately, the old lady's landlord gets hold of the journal, and seeks to claim the money for himself. The Littles must work to thwart the landlord and get the blind woman her rightful inheritance.|
|6||6||"The Little Winner"||Jeffrey Scott||October 15, 1983|
|Dinky wins a contest for a gasoline-powered model airplane, and is required to come to the model company's office in a huge city to pick up the contest prize. Since Dinky is a Little and risks exposing himself, Henry offers to help claim the prize, since he is in the city visiting relatives at the moment.|
|7||7||"A Big Cure for a Little Illness"||Jeffrey Scott||October 22, 1983|
|After Helen is poisoned by one of Dr. Hunter's chemicals, Henry fakes an illness to obtain the antidote.|
|8||8||"The Rats Are Coming! The Rats Are Coming!"||Jeffrey Scott||October 29, 1983|
|During a heavy rainstorm, swarms of rats invade Henry's neighborhood and cause problems for both the Littles and the people in the area.|
|9||9||"The Little Fairy Tale"||Jeffrey Scott||November 5, 1983|
|Marie, Henry's friend, runs away when she doesn't get all A's on her report card. It's up to Tom, Lucy and the other Littles to convince Marie to return.|
|10||10||"Prescription for Disaster"†||Jeffrey Scott||November 12, 1983|
|The Littles go visit some relatives. They discover a secret, that a human woman living in the same apartment is abusing prescription medication. To make matters worse, one of the pills accidentally gets loose and ends up in some food Dinky is eating.|
|11||11||"The Little Scouts"||Jeffrey Scott||November 19, 1983|
|Grandpa, Dinky, Tom, Lucy and the Little Scouts are out camping in the forest. Their trip becomes urgent when an Air Force pilot had been forced to eject and is found unconscious in the woods. Grandpa warns the man could die if left untreated for too long, and the Littles must figure out a way to alert men of the downed pilot's situation without revealing themselves.|
|12||12||"A Little Gold, A Lot of Trouble"||Jeffrey Scott||November 26, 1983|
|Henry and Marie get stuck in a mine shaft, and it's up to the Littles to rescue them.|
|13||13||"Dinky's Doomsday Pizza"†||Jeffrey Scott||December 3, 1983|
|When Dinky crashes his glider delivering pizzas, he gets knocked unconscious and dreams that Henry betrays the Littles to Dr. Hunter.|
Season 2 (1984)
|Title||Written by||Original air date|
|14||1||"A Little Rock and Roll"||Dave Brain||September 8, 1984|
|When Henry's (and the Littles') favorite band, the Copacetics, holds a concert in Grand Valley, Tom, Lucy, and Cousin Ashley decide to attend despite Mr., Mrs., and Grandpa Little forbidding the kids to go.|
|15||2||"The Little Babysitters"||Jeffrey Scott||September 15, 1984|
|Henry promises to babysit for his parents but when he gets an invitation to play football from his friends, he has the Littles take over for him instead. However, a fire breaks out, though Henry manages to put it out with help from the Littles. In the end, Henry's father grounds him, and he must pay for the damages out of his allowance.|
|16||3||"The Forest Littles"||Anthony Peckham||September 22, 1984|
|The Littles discover a race of Littles in the forest and help them evade a ferret that Dr. Hunter has set loose after them.|
|17||4||"For The Birds"||Olivier Jean-Marie||September 29, 1984|
|When The Littles' Council decides to start a zoo, Tom and Lucy find an injured bird but keep it a secret from Ashley and the others for fear it will become an exhibit.|
|18||5||"Twins"||Jack Olesker||October 6, 1984|
|Dinky becomes jealous when Littles twins are born, taking all the attention away from him and his latest invention – a gas-powered car. He stages a stunt show during which he is nearly killed, but when the twins still get all the attention, Dinky steals a brass bed that Henry got for them.|
|19||6||"Looking for Grandma Little"†||Jeffery Scott||October 13, 1984|
|Grandpa leaves home feeling neglected when Tom and Lucy try to find him a female companion to keep him from being lonely.|
|20||7||"Every Little Vote Counts"||Kay Hanley||October 20, 1984|
As a result of Dr. Hunter redoubling his efforts, the mayor of the Littles prohibits the Littles from going to the surface. This does not sit well with Little society, and the mayor's approval rating takes a hit. Meanwhile, a Little named Smilin' Al visits the community, traveling the world with his pet dog. Smiling Al takes advantage of the mayor's unpopularity to unseat him in the upcoming election, promising no restrictions on Little travel.Note: This episode marks the last appearances of Dr. Hunter and Peterson.
|21||8||"The Littles' Halloween"||Aaron Springer||October 27, 1984|
|On Halloween, Henry explores an old house rumored to be inhabited by an evil magician who turns kids into cats and Littles into mice.|
Season 3 (1985)
|Title||Written by||Original air date|
|22||1||"The Little Amazon Queen"†||Jim Schumann||September 14, 1985|
|The Biggs visit the Amazon jungle to find a missing girl and a rare diamond, while the Littles find an ancient race of Littles in the jungle.|
|23||2||"Tut the Second"†||Jack Olesker||September 21, 1985|
|While visiting Egypt, Henry and the Littles are kidnapped and taken to a pyramid, where Henry is thought to be the reincarnation of King Tut. Henry enjoys the attention until he learns he'll be spending the rest of his life inside the pyramid.|
|24||3||"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"||Brian Sheesley||September 28, 1985|
|When the Biggs visit Ireland, Dinky is caught by Mr. Finnegan, who thinks he is a leprechaun.|
|25||4||"The Wrong Stuff"†||Tom Wheeler||October 5, 1985|
|The Littles find themselves accidentally sent into orbit on the space shuttle and Dinky is forced to return a computer chip he took as a souvenir to keep the shuttle from burning up on re-entry.|
|26||5||"Deadly Jewels"†||Jack Olesker||October 12, 1985|
|While visiting India, Henry gets his camera case mixed up with that of a princess, who discovers the Littles but promises to keep their secret. The Littles, in turn, learn of a plot to steal the crown jewels.|
|27||6||"A Little Drunk"||Marc Scott Zicree||October 19, 1985|
|Henry discovers that his favorite Hollywood movie star is an alcoholic who doesn't even do his own stunts. Meanwhile, Dinky, who thinks drinking is cool, gets drunk himself and nearly causes an accident.|
|28||7||"Ben Dinky"†||Jim Schumann||October 26, 1985|
|While visiting Rome, the Littles find the Italian Littles are under the oppression of a still existing Roman Empire. Dinky is mistaken for a great gladiator, and uses it to challenge a Little Emperor.|
|29||8||"The Little Girl Who Could"||Jim Schumann||November 2, 1985|
|The Littles visit their cousins in the country, who have a wheelchair-bound girl. When she mentions buried treasure, Tom and Ashley go off in search of it and at the end they regret it when they get in trouble.|
Home Media releases
|VHS/DVD Name||Ep #||Distributor||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Liberty and the Littles||Liberty and The Littles||Strand VCI Entertainment (ABC Kidtime)||1991|
|The Littles Christmas Special||Looking for Grandma Little
Spirits of the Night
The Little Girl who Could
The Little Scouts (DVD only)
|Sterling Entertainment (2003)
NCircle Entertainment (2007)
|November 13, 2003
October 23, 2007
|Despite the name, the episodes on this release have nothing to do with the Christmas holiday.|
|The Littles: The Complete Unedited Series||All 29 episodes on 5 Discs||S'More Entertainment
(In association with Shout! Factory)
|November 13, 2007||Bonus Features:
|The Best of The Littles||First 10 episodes||Mill Creek Entertainment||July 19, 2011|
|The Littles: The Complete Series||All 29 episodes on 3 Discs||Mill Creek Entertainment||July 19, 2011||Bonus Content:|
Some of the merchandise that was released during the series run included: tie-in story books, a Milton Bradley board game, stickers and greeting cards. Foreign merchandise included many more items such as Halloween Masks, a set of figures, card game, VHS videos, records, and more.
- Here Come the Littles 1985 animated feature film
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 512–513. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Woolery, George W. (1989). Animated TV Specials: The Complete Directory to the First Twenty-Five Years, 1962-1987. Scarecrow Press. pp. 245–247. ISBN 0-8108-2198-2. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-1476665993.