Widget (TV series)
|Created by||Peter Keefe|
|Directed by||Tom Burton|
|Presented by||Calico Creations |
|Voices of||Russi Taylor|
|Theme music composer||Dale Schacker|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||65|
|Executive producer(s)||Peter Keefe|
|Running time||30 minutes per episode (approx.)|
|Production company(s)||Calico Creations|
|Original network||Syndication, USA Network|
|First shown in||1990|
|Original release||29 September 1990 – 19 December 1992|
Widget also known as Widget the World Watcher is an animated television series created by Voltron creator Peter Keefe, directed and produced by Tom Burton of Zodiac Entertainment, which debuted in syndication on September 29, 1990. The series ran for 3 seasons; in the first season (1990), it aired once a week (usually on Saturday or Sunday), and in the second season (1991), the series expanded to 5 days a week (Monday-Friday). The show featured environmentalist themes and was recognized by the National Education Association as recommended viewing for children.
The show focused on a 4-foot-tall (1.2 m), purple extraterrestrial from a planet within the Horsehead Nebula named Widget who could shapeshift (usually by spinning like a top into different forms, in early episodes he seems to still be getting used to his power). He and a group of young, human friends; brothers, Kevin, Brian and their teenage sister Kristine, would go through a number of adventures to protect the natural environment from those who wish to plunder or harm it. Later on they were joined by (fellow shapeshifter) Half-Pint, Widget's mischievous, overly-curious, hyperactive cousin. Widget is frequently accompanied by the Mega Brain, an extremely intelligent but somewhat clumsy being who appears as a floating head (with a transparent cranium) and floating hands.
The show was produced by Calico Creations to teach children about the dangers of pollution. Each episode would have Widget contending with a villain from either Earth or outer space wishing to exploit Earth's environment or natural resources, like Dr. Dante, Mega Slank, and his evil twin, Ratchet. In this respect, Widget, the World Watcher is very similar to Captain Planet and the Planeteers and Toxic Crusaders, as all those heroes attempt to save the Earth from ecological disaster. Even occasionally, combatting an entity/being created/mutated from copious pollution. For example, in one episode Widget battled a fellow shapeshifter; a sentient but hostile life form, disguised as a toxic ooze/slick, who was contaminating Earth's beaches and oceans.
The TV series ran for 65 episodes, 13 in the first season, 40 in the second season, and 12 in the third season.
It also aired on TVO in Canada and later on ITV, The Children's Channel and Channel 4 in the UK, RTÉ1 and RTÉ2 in Ireland, Bop TV, SABC1 and M-Net in South Africa, Dubai 33 in the United Arab Emirates, TV1 and TV3 in Malaysia, Channel 5 in Singapore, NBC in Namibia and the ABC in Australia.
- Widget the World Watcher (voiced by Russi Taylor): The courageous and heroic shapeshifting coral alien and title character.
- Mega Brain (played by Jim Cummings): Mega Brain is a floating creature with a pink head and only hands. He is Widget's assistant.
- Half-Pint (played by Cree Summer): Widget's mischievous, overly-curious, hyperactive cousin, fellow shapeshifter and is the sky-blue alien.
- Kevin (voiced by Dana Hill): Brian's older brother and friend of Widget.
- Brian (voiced by Kath Soucie): A boy who is a friend of Widget.
- Kristine (voiced by Kath Soucie): Brian and Kevin's big sister.
- Ratchet (voiced by Tress MacNeille): Widget's evil twin, who lives in an alternate dimension. Whereas Widget tries to save the world, Ratchet attempts to pollute it.
- Dr. Dante (voiced by Jim Cummings): The natural (from earth) villain, a confidence trickster scientist.
- Mega Slank (voiced by Pat Fraley): The other natural (from outer space) villain (who seems to have a grudge against Widget's kind).
- Flim Flam McSham: An two-headed ring master who captures creatures from across the universe.
- Gyp: Works alongside Flim Flam. She's a slave trader whose loyalty to Flim Flam is quite strong.
- Crocorillagator: A crocodile/gorilla/alligator creature, who is one of Ratchet's minions.
- Elewolf: An elephant/wolf creature, who is one of Ratchet's minions.
- Duckster: A duck/rooster creature, who is one of Ratchet's minions.
- Piglion: A pig/lion creature, who is one of Ratchet's minions.
This section needs attention from an expert in the Widget television series. The specific problem is: Improper use of the ‘TBA’ placeholder..(April 2017)
Season 1 (1990)
|1||"Widget's Great Whale Adventure"||29 September 1990|
|Widget reluctantly travels to Earth and he saves a whale caught by some poachers.|
|2||"Gorilla My Dreams"||6 October 1990|
|On a school trip, Kevin and Brian adopt a gorilla named Johnny Africa.|
|3||"Kona, the Captive Whale"||13 October 1990|
|On a trip with Kevin, Brian, and Kristine, Widget assumes the zookeeper of a baby whale named Kona is hurting her; while really the zookeeper is just doing his job.|
|4||"Widget of the Jungle"||20 October 1990|
|Widget travels to the jungles of Africa where evil poachers, Bob and Betty try to capture an elephant for his tusks.|
|5||"Widget's Walkabout"||27 October 1990|
|Widget travels to Australia to ensure its red kangaroos enjoy their new habitat.|
|6||"Amazon Adventure"||3 November 1990|
|Construction men are building a giant highway through the rainforest, cutting down special trees used by the natives as medicine.|
|7||"Mediterranean Adventure"||10 November 1990|
|A trip to the Mediterranean Sea gets Kevin, Brian, Kristine, and Mega Brain captured by fishermen, while Widget has to help out a cattle farmer.|
|8||"Slime Sleuths"||17 November 1990|
|Dr. Dante presumably has invented a machine to solve the issue of toxic waste disposal. Widget wonders about that when problems arise when the barrels containing the waste are reused.|
|9||"Rock 'n' Roll Widget"||24 November 1990|
|10||"Teacher's Pets"||1 December 1990|
|Widget gets to be the children's substitute teacher of biology and zoology after their regular teacher keeps having car trouble.|
|11||"The Carnival Kids"||8 December 1990|
|12||"Mega-Slank from Titanium"||15 December 1990|
|The evil Mega Slank steals animals to bring back to his planet.|
|13||"That's the Spirit"||22 December 1990|
Season 2 (1991)
|14||"Two Times Widget Equals Trouble"||30 September 1991|
|A careless mistake by Mega Brain sends Ratchet, Widget's alter ego, out to trash.|
|15||"You Talkin' to Me?"||1 October 1991|
|16||"Sort It Out"||2 October 1991|
|Widget teaches the city people how to recycle.|
|17||"Watcher's Warning"||3 October 1991|
|Widget, Mega Brain, Kevin and Brian travel to Planet Scraboolie which is completely polluted and used to be beautiful. Widget wants to ensure the same thing does not happen to Earth.|
|18||"The Great Brain Robbery"||4 October 1991|
|Widget's evil twin brother Ratchet captures Mega Brain and turns him into an evil brain.|
|19||"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy"||7 October 1991|
|After a video recording of Widget is sent into space, ringmaster brothers Film Flam McSham capture Widget to be in their intergalactic circus.|
|20||"Bonkrz"||8 October 1991|
|21||"Glacier Grabber"||9 October 1991|
|Widget, Mega Brain, Kevin, and Brian find that Dr. Dante is in the arctic with a supposedly harmless machine. Widget finds out that the machine is melting all the glaciers.|
|22||"Where's the Beef?"||10 October 1991|
|Mega Slank goes to Australia and hypnotizes animals to run his fast food company.|
|23||"Micronauts"||11 October 1991|
|Widget and friends try to stop mysterious rain that mutates anything into giant monsters.|
|24||"Watcher from Wayback"||28 October 1991|
|Widget travels to Tibet and unexpectedly meets an old World Watcher.|
|25||"Betty and the Beasts"||29 October 1991|
|Bob and Betty are capturing animals to make a movie.|
|26||"Maller Crawlers"||30 October 1991|
|27||"Never Cry Wolf"||31 October 1991|
|Brian is accidentally turned into a wolf by Mega Brain.|
|28||"All Day Suckers"||1 November 1991|
|A race of lollipop people seek water and goes to a greedy businessman who is draining out Earth's water.|
|29||"Fifty Foot Ants"||1 November 1991|
|30||"Half-Pint"||5 November 1991|
|31||"Air For Sale"||6 November 1991|
|32||"Intergalactic Garage Sale"||7 November 1991|
|Evil Mega Slank steals many of Earth's most magnificent landmarks for his Intergalactic Garage Sale.|
|33||"The Great Brain Drain"||8 November 1991|
|The Watcher Elders inform Widget that Bizarre Brain is causing mayhem and Mega Brain is afraid to help.|
|34||"Dr. Mega-Slank's Pet Palace"||11 November 1991|
|Mega Slank is capturing animals from the vet to run his machine.|
|35||"Murtle & Zurtle"||12 November 1991|
|Widget tries to reunite a Galapagos turtle couple from a group of pirates.|
|36||"Ratchet Hood"||13 November 1991|
|Ratchet and his minions steal money intended for the Help the Earth foundation and Ratchet keeps the money to himself.|
|37||"Crazy 8"||14 November 1991|
|Mega Brain suggests that Half Pint could have fun at an intergalactic carnival. However when they get there, it's full of strange people and things.|
|38||"Half-Pint's Ransom"||15 November 1991|
|When Half Pint goes to stay with Widget, he gets into lots of mischief with his Teleportation Device.|
|39||"Whatsit to You?"||2 December 1991|
|Mega Slank builds a bunch of Widget robots to pollute Earth.|
|40||"Widget and the Sqizzlebonk"||3 December 1991|
|Film Flam McSham tries to enslave the Squizzlebonk, a gluttonous monster.|
|41||"Chaos in Kali-Ko"||4 December 1991|
|Dr. Dante is building a giant park and hypnotizes Widget to think he works for him.|
|42||"Head Games"||5 December 1991|
|Ratchet challenges Mega Brain to a set of games against a giant brain in which isn't too bright.|
|43||"Mac Bluff"||6 December 1991|
|44||"Great Barrier Thief"||9 December 1991|
|Poachers Bob and Betty are capturing sea life in the Great Barrier Reef.|
|45||"The Brain Who Would Be King"||10 December 1991|
|46||"The Uncontrollable Urg"||11 December 1991|
|On a Watcher Scout trip; Widget, Half Pint, and Brian hear the story of the Urg, an always angry monster that lives on Widget's home planet.|
|47||"Intergalactic Grudge Match"||12 December 1991|
|Ratchet has started an intergalactic grudge match and has pitted Widget against a giant alien wrestler.|
|48||"Teeny, Weeny, Widget"||13 December 1991|
|Widget suggests that Kevin and Brian visit the agricultural fair, held by Flim Flam McSham. Widget is separated from the others when he's shrunken to the size of a mouse.|
|49||"Scraboolee Jubilee"||16 December 1991|
|50||"Culture Crooks"||17 December 1991|
|Ratchet and his mutant minions have stolen an ancient artifact from the museum and it's up to Widget, Mega Brain, and Half Pint to get it back.|
|51||"The Library Card"||18 December 1991|
|Widget, Mega Brain, Kevin, and Brian go to the library and reimagine the stories they read.|
|52||"Bonkula"||19 December 1991|
|A no-good prankster vampire named Bonkula befriends Kevin and becomes a bad influence to him.|
|53||"Ratchetland"||20 December 1991|
|Ratchet has stolen everybody's garbage bins and waste to make his own amusement park in the waste dump.|
Season 3 (1992)
|54||"Rose Colored Glasses"||3 October 1992|
|Widget, Megabrain and Half Pint travel to a faraway planet to discover a pair of rose-pink goggles that make the wearer see bad things.|
|55||"Crashing Planets"||10 October 1992|
|56||"Robo-Zonk"||17 October 1992|
|Mega Brain creates a robot named Robo-Zonk, who instantly befriends Half Pint. When Half Pint creates more robots, they go against him and it's up to Widget to stop them.|
|57||"Ghost of a Chance"||24 October 1992|
|In an environmental takeoff of A Christmas Carol, Widget is visited by three ghosts, a Viking who engaged in deforestation, an American pioneer who participated in the buffalo slaughter, and a British big game hunter who contributed to extinction of some animals. The ghosts tell Widget that they are punished until they teach a living person of their wrong acts, and Widget sees their chance for atonement when the city's mayor is making a secret deal for a polluting factory to be built.|
|58||"Rock Around the Cosmos"||31 October 1992|
|A parody of Star Wars, Widget goes after Flim Flam after an evil plan by Bizarre Brain spirals out of control. They are helped by Princess Erin,(Widget has a crush on her) who is used against her will by Bizarre Brain to destroy Earth.|
|59||"The Wishing Stone"||7 November 1992|
|60||"Time Trippers"||14 November 1992|
|Widget and Megabrain travel through time after seeing a news report on how Ratchet made his mutants.|
|61||"Bungle of the Jungle"||21 November 1992|
|62||"Visit to a Machine Planet"||28 November 1992|
|63||"Awesome African Adventure"||5 November 1992|
|Widget and Mega Brain go to the African rain forest to aide a sick hippo from a poacher.|
|64||"Beast Side Story"||12 December 1992|
|A fox that lives on the streets is captured by a gang and Widget must stop them.|
|65||"Mother Slank's Intergalactic Vacation Paradise"||19 December 1992|
|Mega Slank's mother takes an underwater vacation, and the submarine is ruining the ocean.|
- Jim Cummings - Mega Brain, Dr. Dante, Elder #1
- Dana Hill - Kevin
- Kath Soucie - Brian, Kristine
- Russi Taylor - Widget
- Cam Clarke
- Townsend Coleman
- Peter Cullen - Bob the Poacher, Rooney Kangaroo, Gdunu
- Brian Cummings
- Pat Fraley - Mega Slank
- Tress MacNeille - Ratchet, Elder #2
- Cree Summer - Half Pint
Production and distribution
Widget was produced by Zodiac Entertainment, a Studio City, California-based firm backed by British media company Central Independent Television. Zodiac President Kevin Morrison stated that in 1990, Widget was being broadcast on 80% of independent U. S. television stations and that in 1991, the show started being shown five times a week.
The episode "Sort it Out" won an Environmental Media Award .
- Barnes, Mike. "'Voltron' producer Peter Keefe dies", The Hollywood Reporter, May 28, 2010. Accessed August 26, 2010.
- Heller, Matthew. "Animation Company No Longer in 'Toons It will continue as a distributor". Los Angeles Times.