Widget (TV series)

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Widget
Widgetlogo.jpg
Widget
Genre Animated comedy
Created by Peter Keefe[1]
Directed by Tom Burton
Presented by Calico Creations
Zodiac Entertainment
Voices of Russi Taylor
Jim Cummings
Kath Soucie
Dana Hill
Theme music composer Dale Schacker
Country of origin United States, South Korea
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 per episode (approx.)
Production company(s) Calico Creations
Zodiac Entertainment
Distributor Zodiac Entertainment
Release
Original network Syndication, USA Network
Picture format Color
First shown in 1990
Original release 29th September 1990 – 19th December 1992

Widget also known as Widget the World Watcher is an animated television series 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.[2]

Overview[edit]

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, ITV and later Channel 4 in the UK and the ABC in Australia (6 July 1992 - 1 December 1995).

Characters[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.

Episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1990)[edit]

# Title Air Date
1 "Widget's Great Whale Adventure" 29 September 1990 (1990-09-29)
Widget reluctantly travels to Earth and he saves a whale caught by some poachers.
2 "Gorilla My Dreams" 6 October 1990 (1990-10-06)
On a school trip, Kevin and Brian adopt a gorilla named Johnny Africa.
3 "Kona, the Captive Whale" 13 October 1990 (1990-10-13)
TBA
4 "Widget of the Jungle" 20 October 1990 (1990-10-20)
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 (1990-10-27)
Widget travels to Australia to ensure its red kangaroos enjoy their new habitat.
6 "Amazon Adventure" 3 November 1990 (1990-11-03)
TBA
7 "Mediterranean Adventure" 10 November 1990 (1990-11-10)
TBA
8 "Slime Sleuths" 17 November 1990 (1990-11-17)
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 (1990-11-24)
TBA
10 "Teacher's Pets" 1 December 1990 (1990-12-01)
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 (1990-12-08)
TBA
12 "Mega-Slank from Titanium" 15 December 1990 (1990-12-15)
The evil Mega Slank steals animals to bring back to his planet.
13 "That's the Spirit" 22 December 1990 (1990-12-22)
TBA

Season 2 (1991)[edit]

# Title Air Date
14 "Two Times Widget Equals Trouble" 30 September 1991 (1991-09-30)
A careless mistake by Mega Brain sends Ratchet, Widget's alter ego, out to trash.
15 "You Talkin' to Me?" 1 October 1991 (1991-10-01)
16 "Sort It Out" 2 October 1991 (1991-10-02)
17 "Watcher's Warning" 3 October 1991 (1991-10-03)
Widget, Megabrain, Kevin and Brian travel to Planet Scraboolie 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" 4 October 1991 (1991-10-04)
Widget's evil twin brother Ratchet captures MegaBrain and turns him into an evil brain.
19 "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" 7 October 1991 (1991-10-07)
20 "Bonkrz" 8 October 1991 (1991-10-08)
21 "Glacier Grabber" 9 October 1991 (1991-10-09)
22 "Where's the Beef?" 10 October 1991 (1991-10-10)
Mega Slank goes to Australia and hypnotizes animals to run his fast food company.
23 "Micronauts" 11 October 1991 (1991-10-11)
24 "Watcher from Wayback" 28 October 1991 (1991-10-28)
Widget travels to Tibet and unexpectedly meets an old World Watcher.
25 "Betty and the Beasts" 29 October 1991 (1991-10-29)
26 "Maller Crawlers" 30 October 1991 (1991-10-30)
27 "Never Cry Wolf" 31 October 1991 (1991-10-31)
28 "All Day Suckers" 1 November 1991 (1991-11-01)
29 "Fifty Foot Ants" 4 November 1991 (1991-11-04)
30 "Half-Pint" 5 November 1991 (1991-11-05)
31 "Air For Sale" 6 November 1991 (1991-11-06)
32 "Intergalactic Garage Sale" 7 November 1991 (1991-11-07)
Evil Mega Slank steals many of Earth's most magnificent landmarks for his Intergalactic Garage Sale.
33 "The Great Brain Drain" 8 November 1991 (1991-11-08)
34 "Dr. Mega-Slank's Pet Palace" 11 November 1991 (1991-11-11)
35 "Murtle & Zurtle" 12 November 1991 (1991-11-12)
36 "Ratchet Hood" 13 November 1991 (1991-11-13)
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 (1991-11-14)
38 "Half-Pint's Ransom" 15 November 1991 (1991-11-15)
39 "Whatsit to You?" 2 December 1991 (1991-12-02)
40 "Widget and the Sqizzlebonk" 3 December 1991 (1991-12-03)
Film Flam McSham tries to enslave the Squizzlebonk, a gluttonous monster.
41 "Chaos in Kali-Ko" 4 December 1991 (1991-12-04)
42 "Head Games" 5 December 1991 (1991-12-05)
43 "Mac Bluff" 6 December 1991 (1991-12-06)
44 "Great Barrier Thief" 9 December 1991 (1991-12-09)
Poachers Bob and Betty are capturing sea life in the Great Barrier Reef.
45 "The Brain Who Would Be King" 10 December 1991 (1991-12-10)
46 "The Uncontrollable Urg" 11 December 1991 (1991-12-11)
47 "Intergalactic Grudge Match" 12 December 1991 (1991-12-12)
Ratchet has started an intergalactic grudge match and has pitted Widget against a giant alien wrestler.
48 "Teeny, Weeny, Widget" 13 December 1991 (1991-12-13)
49 "Scraboolee Jubilee" 16 December 1991 (1991-12-16)
50 "Culture Crooks" 17 December 1991 (1991-12-17)
Ratchet and his troops have stolen an ancient artifact from the museum and it's up to Widget, Megabrain and Half Pint to get it back.
51 "The Library Card" 18 December 1991 (1991-12-18)
Widget, Mega Brain, Kevin, and Brian go to the library and reimagine the stories they read.
52 "Bonkula" 19 December 1991 (1991-12-19)
53 "Ratchetland" 20 December 1991 (1991-12-20)
Ratchet has stolen everybody's garbage bins and waste to make his own amusement park in the waste dump.

Season 3 (1992)[edit]

# Title Air Date
54 "Rose Colored Glasses" 3 October 1992 (1992-10-03)
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 (1992-10-10)
56 "Robo-Zonk" 17 October 1992 (1992-10-17)
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 (1992-10-24)
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 (1992-10-31)
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 (1992-11-07)
60 "Time Trippers" 14 November 1992 (1992-11-14)
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 (1992-11-21)
62 "Visit to a Machine Planet" 28 November 1992 (1992-11-28)
63 "Awesome African Adventure" 5 November 1992 (1992-11-05)
64 "Beast Side Story" 12 December 1992 (1992-12-12)
65 "Mother Slank's Intergalactic Vacation Paradise" 19 December 1992 (1992-12-19)

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.

Accompanying Soundtrack[edit]

Peter, Paul and Mary - Puff The Magic Dragon

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]