The World of David the Gnome
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The World of David the Gnome, originally titled David, el Gnomo (also known as David, the Gnome), is a Spanish animated television series based on the children's book The Secret Book of Gnomes, by the Dutch author Wil Huygen and illustrator Rien Poortvliet. The program was originally created in Spain by BRB Internacional (who were also responsible for the Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds franchise and other cartoons such as Bobobobs and Around the World with Willy Fog) titled David el Gnomo, and retains a sense of the lush illustrations of the original books. Twenty-six episodes were produced. There was also a spin-off series entitled Wisdom of the Gnomes.
The English language dub The World of David the Gnome was produced by Canadian studio CINAR (now Cookie Jar Entertainment, and now part of DHX Media), in association with Miramax Films. Christopher Plummer narrated, with the voice of David the Gnome being provided by Tom Bosley.
David the Gnome came to US television in 1987, airing Sundays on the Nickelodeon cable channel, and was part of the fledgling Nick Jr. lineup when that was created shortly thereafter until 1996. It also aired on TLC on its Ready Set Learn block from October 7, 1996 until March 27, 1998. It also aired on Discovery Kids on its Ready Set Learn block from September 30, 1998 until October 9, 2010. The series is still frequently airing weekday mornings on Irish channel RTÉ Two as of 2006. In Australia, it has aired on ABC, as well as the Australian branch of Nickelodeon, again as part of the Nick Jr. lineup.
The series presents the gnomes as a kind species, of 15 centimeters (6 inches) of height, and between 250 and 300 grams (8 and 10 ounces) of weight depending on gnome body mass. According to their habitat, different types of gnomes are distinguished: the ones of the forest, the ones of the garden, the ones of the farm, the ones of the house, the ones of the dunes, those of Siberia, and nomadic "gypsy" gnomes (commonly looked down upon by other gnomes). A gnome's lifespan is usually 400 years, though there is one example of a couple in the Balkans living 550 years.
Gnomes such as the main characters live in pairs in comfortable caves or holes under trees (in their case in the company of a pair of mice and a cricket). Their diet is mostly vegetarian. They are helped by the animals of the forest when traveling long distances or when they need to arrive quickly at a specific location. Gnomes work in various ways to repair the damage inevitably caused by humans. They also have the power of telepathy and mind control.
Their main enemies are the trolls, malevolent and clumsy creatures who always make trouble for the other inhabitants of the forest, as well as gnome poachers.
- David – A gnome of the forest. David is 399 years old, making him the oldest gnome around (since most gnomes live no more than 400 years exactly), although he possesses exceptional constitution. David is a doctor, and he uses his knowledge of many fields, such as hypnosis and acupuncture, to heal his patients, usually animals, such as his faithful friend Swift the fox, or other gnomes. David also befriends a bird that, when he whistles, immediately arrives to quickly transport him to wherever necessary. For longer trips, he sometimes travels in a basket attached to the neck of the bird. Voiced by Tom Bosley.
- Lisa – David's wife and companion and is the same age as him. Together they have two children, Lily and Harold. David's wife is in charge of the household, although she occasionally accompanies him and helps him in his diverse adventures. Voiced by Jane Woods.
- Swift the Fox – David's best friend who lives in the forest and is always available to transport David to wherever he is required. Huygen's son, Josh, came up with this character. This is Josh's favorite character. He is characterized by his speed and loyalty to David. Voiced by Vlasta Vrána.
- The Trolls – In the series, there are four trolls who constantly try to bother the gnomes. Their names are Pit, Pat and Pot, and Holler. Holler has a receding hairline and is the only one of the four able to think. They have some supernatural powers, and are capable of using magical spells too powerful for Gnome magic to break. However, in addition to their extreme lack of wit, they also have another severe weakness: direct exposure to sunlight turns them into stone. Holler was voiced by A.J. Henderson, Pit was voiced by Marc Denis, Pat was voiced by Rob Roy, and Pot was voiced by Adrian Knight.
- Susan – David and Lisa's granddaughter. Voiced by Barbara Pogenmiller.
- King – Voiced by Richard Dumont
- Paul – David's twin brother. Not only does Paul have a normal moustache in contrast to David's handlebar moustache but his jumper is a darker shade of blue, he has a bigger nose, his gnome hat is dark blue whereas David's is red, and his trousers and boots are an inverse of David's: David's trousers are brown and his boots are beige, while Paul wears beige trousers and dark boots.
David the Gnome ran for twenty-six episodes, each approximately 24 minutes in length.
The series was well received and is fondly remembered today..
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After the success of the initial series, the same producers created a spin-off called Wisdom of the Gnomes (1987). In this series, the protagonist is a gnome called Klaus, a judge who travels with his assistant Dani to solve disputes.
Other sequels, both in serial and movie form, were The Gnomes' Great Adventure (1987), The Great Adventure of the Gnomes (1995), The Gnomes in the Snow (1999) and The Fantastic Adventures of the Gnomes (2000).
The series was also preceded by the popular television movie, Gnomes in 1980, which was based on the same series of books as The World of David the Gnome.
In 1997 there was a series called The New World of the Gnomes which was a retelling of the original series as David and his nephew Sprout now travel the world to save animals and preserve nature as it is endangered by problems of modern day pollution and environmental dangers. Lisa, David's wife from the original series, does appear in the show. Other than the humans who cause either unintentional or intentional destruction to nature and harm to animals, the show's other antagonists are three trolls who run into David and the gnomes now and then, their names are Stinky, Brute, and Drool. The show was also made in collaboration with the WWF (World Wildlife Foundation).
In the 1980s, Family Home Entertainment released four VHS tapes of the series in the U.S. each containing 2 episodes. In the U.K. on 14 May 1990, Video Collection International Ltd released one VHS tape of The World of David the Gnome (Cat. No. VC1178) with the first two episodes that are Good Medicine and Witch Way Out. A complete series DVD set was released in the U.K. in 2006 by Revelation Films. The complete series was also released on DVD in 2011 in Spain and Italy. Most episodes are available on DVD in Germany and the Netherlands. The Italian and Spanish versions can currently be found on the respective country's Amazon website. The complete series was released on DVD in the U.S. in 2012 by Oasis DVDs.
- Lewin, Tamar (October 21, 1990). "TELEVISION; Hey There, Dudes, the Kids Have Grabbed a Network". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
- David the Gnome at the Internet Movie Database
- The World of David the Gnome at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- David the Gnome at TV.com
- David the Gnome fansite