Widget (TV series)

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Widget the World Watcher
Widgetlogo.jpg
Widget the World Watcher logo
Genre Animated comedy
Created by Peter Keefe[1]
Presented by Calico Creations
Zodiac Entertainment
Voices of Russi Taylor
Jim Cummings
Kath Soucie
Dana Hill
Theme music composer Dale Schacker
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 65
Production
Executive producer(s) Peter Keefe
Producer(s) Tom Burton
Running time 30 minutes
Release
Original channel Syndication, USA Network
Picture format Color
First shown in 1990
Original release 29 September 1990 – 26 December 1992

Widget, the World Watcher is an animated television series which debuted in syndication on September 29, 1990. The series ran for three 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.[2]

Overview[edit]

The show focused on a 4-foot-tall (1.2 m), purple alien from 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, 37 in the second season, and 15 in the third season.

Characters[edit]

  • Widget (voiced by Russi Taylor): The courageous and heroic shapeshifting coral alien and main 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: 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, he's exit by the little clock.
  • 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).

Episodes[edit]

Season 1[edit]

# Title Air Date
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
3 "Kona, the Captive Whale" 13 October 1990
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
7 "Mediterranean Adventure" 10 November 1990
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
13 "That's the Spirit" 22 December 1990

Season 2[edit]

# Title Air Date
14 "Two Times Widget Equals Trouble" 26 September 1991
15 "You Talkin' to Me?" 27 September 1991
16 "Sort It Out" 30 September 1991
17 "Watcher's Warning" 1 October 1991
Widget, Megabrain, Kevin and Brian travel to a planet inhabited by shark-like beings which is completely polluted and used to be beautiful and Widget wants to ensure the same thing does not happen to Earth.
18 "The Great Brain Robbery" 2 October 1991
Widget's evil twin brother Ratchet captures MegaBrain and turns him into an evil brain.
19 "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" 3 October 1991
20 "Bonkrz" 4 October 1991
21 "Glacier Grabber" 14 October 1991
22 "Where's the Beef?" 15 October 1991
23 "Micronauts" 16 October 1991
24 "Watcher from Wayback" 17 October 1991
Widget travels to Tibet and unexpectedly meets an old World Watcher.
25 "Betty and the Beasts" 18 October 1991
26 "Maller Crawlers" 21 October 1991
27 "Never Cry Wolf" 22 October 1991
28 "All Day Suckers" 23 October 1991
29 "Fifty Foot Ants" 24 October 1991
30 "Half-Pint" 25 October 1991
31 "Air For Sale" 11 November 1991
32 "Intergalactic Garage Sale" 12 November 1991
Evil Mega Slank steals many of Earth's most magnificent landmarks for his Intergalactic Garage Sale.
33 "The Great Brain Drain" 13 November 1991
34 "Dr. Mega-Slank's Pet Palace" 14 November 1991
35 "Murtle & Zurtle, the Galapagos Turtles" 15 November 1991
36 "Ratchet Hood" 18 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" 19 November 1991
38 "Half-Pint's Ransom" 20 November 1991
39 "Whatsit to You?" 21 November 1991
40 "Widget and the Sqizzlebonk" 22 November 1991
41 "Chaos in Kali-Ko" 9 December 1991
42 "Head Games" 10 December 1991
43 "Mac Bluff" 11 December 1991
44 "Great Barrier Thief" 12 December 1991
45 "The Brain Who Would Be King" 13 December 1991
46 "The Uncontrollable Urg" 16 December 1991
47 "Intergalactic Grudge Match" 17 December 1991
48 "Teeny, Weeny, Widget" 18 December 1991
49 "Scraboolee Jubilee" 19 December 1991
50 "Culture Crooks" 20 December 1991

Season 3[edit]

# Title Air Date
51 "The Library Card" 19 September 1992
52 "Bonkula" 26 September 1992
53 "Ratchetland" 3 October 1992
54 "Rose Colored Glasses" 10 October 1992
55 "Crashing Planets" 17 October 1992
56 "Robo-Zonk" 24 October 1992
57 "Ghost of a Chance" 31 October 1992
58 "Rock Around the Cosmos" 7 November 1992
59 "The Wishing Stone" 14 November 1992
60 "Time Trippers" 21 November 1992
Widget and Megabrain travel through time to see some ancient objects that looked young back then.
61 "Bungle of the Jungle" 28 November 1992
62 "Visit to a Machine Planet" 5 December 1992
63 "Awesome African Adventure" 12 December 1992
64 "Beast Side Story" 19 December 1992
65 "Mother Slank's Intergalactic Vacation Paradise" 26 December 1992

Principal cast[edit]

Additional voices[edit]

Production and distribution[edit]

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.[2]

Video games[edit]

The series spawned two video games. Widget was released by Atlus on the NES in 1992 and Super Widget also by Atlus on the SNES in 1993.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barnes, Mike. "'Voltron' producer Peter Keefe dies", The Hollywood Reporter, May 28, 2010. Accessed August 26, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Heller, Matthew. "Animation Company No Longer in 'Toons It will continue as a distributor". Los Angeles Times. 

External links[edit]