Babar (TV series)
Babar title card
|Created by||Jean de Brunhoff|
|Theme music composer||Milan Kymlicka|
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||78 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||23 minutes|
CBC (seasons 1–3)|
Global TV (seasons 4–5)
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|Original release||March 28, 1989 – December 3, 1991|
|Followed by||Babar and the Adventures of Badou (2010–2015)|
Babar is a Canadian/French animated television series produced in Quebec, Canada by Nelvana Limited and The Clifford Ross Company. It premiered in 1989 on CBC and HBO, subsequently was rerun on HBO and Qubo. The series is based on Jean de Brunhoff's original Babar books, and was Nelvana's first international co-production. The series' 78 episodes have been broadcast in 30 languages in over 150 countries.
Based on the books by Jean de Brunhoff and Laurent de Brunhoff, the plot focuses on the story of Babar as it is told by him to his children. Babar is a young elephant who undergoes many challenges and adventures. However, Babar always finds the strength to rise above difficulty and search out every cloud's silver lining. Babar is crowned king of the elephants, plans and builds Celesteville, and becomes a father himself. And he learns the greatest lesson of all: "despite life's challenges, great things are possible if one never gets discouraged."
As a young boy, Babar witnesses the slaughter of his mother by a hunter and flees from the Great Forest to the city, where he is cared for by a kind Old Lady. Babar learns the workings of the world and returns to elephant land full of ideas for progress in his land. The elephant elders see that Babar has become wise beyond his years and crown him as the New King of Elephant Land.
- Gordon Pinsent as King Babar
- Dawn Greenhalgh as Queen Celeste
- Lea-Helen Weir as Flora #2 (1990–present)
- Stuart Stone as Young Arthur (1989–1990) / Alexander #2 (1990–present)
- Lisa Yamanaka as Flora #1 (1989) / Isabelle (1990–present)
- Jeff Pustil as Zephir
- Paul Haddad as Uncle Arthur
- Stephen Ouimette as Pompadour
- Elizabeth Hanna as Madame
- Allen Stewart-Coates as Lord Rataxes
- Corrine Koslo as Lady Rataxes
- John Stocker as Basil
- Chris Wiggins as Cornelius
- Noah Godfrey as Victor (1990–present)
- Benjamin Barrett as Pom (1990–present)
- Gavin Magrath as Young Babar (1989–1990)
- Tara Charendoff as Young Celeste (1989–1990)
- Bobby Becken as Pom (1989)
- Amos Crawley as Alexander #1 (1989)
- Dan Hennessey as Truffles
Kids for Character
The series can be seen as a skit in the Citizenship segment of Kids for Character.
- Babar: The King of Celesteville. He brought his love of the city back to the great forest and built the beautiful, happy kingdom of Celesteville. However, he is a dedicated ruler and world traveler. His mother was shot by a poacher when he was young, so he is very protective and caring of his family, as well as the elephants and other animals of the kingdom.
- Celeste: Babar's wife and Queen of Celesteville. She has also travelled the world and has had many great adventures. She has a regal presence, an engaging manner, and a gentle sense of humor.
- Arthur: Babar's mischief-making brother-in-law. He often gets himself (and one or more of the children) involved with practical jokes and stunts. Although the English and French versions of the official characters page lists him as a cousin, this goes against the canon of the show where he is clearly referred to as Celeste's brother, Babar's brother-in-law, and the uncle of Babar and Celeste's children. The Japanese version also refers to him as Celeste's younger brother. In addition, neither Celeste nor Arthur is ever referred to as a cousin of Babar in the show. In the book, "The Story of Babar," Celeste and Arthur are shown to have two different mothers and we are told they are Babar's cousin and little cousin, respectively.
- Pom: The oldest of the triplets and the leader of the children. He is protective of his brother and sisters though he will gladly join in with Alexander in playfully teasing his sisters Flora and Isabelle.
- Flora: Flora is fun-loving and strong-willed.
- Alexander: The smallest of the triplets, is a non-stop ball of entertainment who disarmingly naive about the commotion he causes.
- Isabelle: The youngest of the four children. She began to walk and talk at an early age. Isabelle started as a baby in the series, but as the series progressed, she developed as a toddler.
Babar's close friends and royal court
- Madame (The Old Lady): From their first meeting in the city, the Old Lady and Babar shared a special friendship. She gave him a home and taught him about life in the city. Though she missed him greatly, she understood his decision to return to the forest. Babar built her a home in Celesteville, where she made the decision to stay and live with her friends, the elephants.
- Zephir: A monkey who is one of Babar's oldest friends, and is considered one of the family. He is the first to take off with Arthur and the kids on some crazy adventure, but Babar knows that Zephir can always be trusted to look after the children and bring them home safely.
- Cornelius: The oldest and wisest elephant in Celesteville, and the Prime Minister, who takes his job as Babar's chief adviser very seriously, whether accompanying Babar on state visits or organizing numerous Celesteville parades. His catchphrase is "My tusks!"
- Pompadour: Another adviser to Babar, and minister of royal protocol. He often opposes radical ideas, is easily alarmed, and is very adherent to protocol. He is very high-strung. He also serves as the Finance Minister.
- Troubadour: Pompadour's assistant, a smaller elephant who does not speak but is very dedicated to helping Babar and his family.
- Truffles: The palace cook, often easily upset by various situations in the palace.
- Lord Rataxes: The king of Rhinoland, Rataxes is typically depicted as a bumbling and occasionally incompetent oaf.
- Lady Rataxes: Rataxes' wife. She is very demanding of her husband, and is also on friendly terms with Babar, Celeste, and the elephants. Her real name is Louise, but she is normally called Lady Rataxes.
- Victor: Rataxes' son. He is friends with Flora, Alexander, and Pom.
- Basil: Rataxes' adviser; he is highly capable, competent, and organized. He does most of the paperwork, is the Head of Security for the rhino palace, and has also served as Rataxes' travel agent and spy. He is also a self-proclaimed fitness nut, an advocate of clean living in general, and a wonderful theatre director. He is extremely loyal to Rataxes and very humble, however he is not above poking fun at his boss in a very subtle manner from time to time.
In 1989, New Line Cinema, Nelvana, and Astral Films announced that a film adaption of Babar would be released. This would be followed by a sequel released in 1998, titled Babar: King of the Elephants, and was released by Alliance Films theatrically and New Line Cinema as a direct-to-video film.
The TV film Babar Comes to America was released on September 7, 1971 and produced in the U.S. The film starred Peter Ustinov as the voice actor for all of the characters.
Babar and Father Christmas
The 1986 television film Babar and Father Christmas won the 1987 Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Merilyn Read, and Alison Clayton). It was released in the U.S. on December 5, 1986, and in Canada on December 15, 1986. The film's DVD title is also known as Babar et le Père Noël in France. The film was made in Canada. The song "Christmas in Celesteville" was featured in the TV film. Gary Morton wrote the music and Merilyn Read wrote the lyrics. John Brough, Geri Childs, Teresa Dunn, and Craig Kennedy are credited as singers.
David Knox at TV Tonight commented on the subject of death and the way it is depicted in Children's Television, citing the pilot of Babar as an example, "This week ABC replayed the pilot episode of the animated series in which the baby elephant loses his mother to a hunter after being shot by a rifle. Produced by a Canadian company in 1989 it doesn't shy away from the separation of mother and child, as written in the original Babar the Elephant stories." An ABC spokesperson told TV Tonight that ABC had carefully considered the content which aired at 3:30 p.m. EST on ABC2 for a G-rated audience, ABC in Australia (2 July 1990 - 3 June 2012) "At no point in the sequence was there any depiction of blood or wounds, and the depiction of the rifle being used was very careful and discreet. The simple animation style reduced the level of detail of the rifle and the action. While there was a sense of threat and menace associated with the hunter and his use of violence, having regard to the animation style, the level of visual detail, and the stylized manner in which the action was depicted, Audience and Consumer Affairs considers that this sense of threat and menace was very low. The violence in the sequence was very discreetly implied, and was not gratuitous as it was a pivotal, dramatic moment of great significance to the story."
Charles Solomon of The Los Angeles Times gave a review of Babar's first few episodes, "The designs for the characters and the simple animation capture the essence of Jean de Brunhoff's understated watercolor illustrations. The artists occasionally seem to lose their sense of the characters' size and weight: The young Babar jumps and climbs in ways that seem very unelephantlike (but very few elephants wear uniforms and crowns, as the adult Babar does). As the voice of Babar, Gordon Pinsent gives the elephant king a reassuring presence and keeps the mildly didactic stories from bogging down in moralizing. Child actors provide the voices for the young Babar and his friends, which makes the show sound a lot like a "Peanuts" special at times. Created by the Canadian Nelvana studio—the producers of the entertaining "My Pet Monster"--"Babar" manages to be endearing without sliding into the saccharine cutesiness of Hello Kitty. Parents with children in the 4-to-10-year-old range should plan on setting their VCRs: The kids will probably want to watch Babar more than once."
Common Sense Media finds the series suitable for viewers aged 4 and up, and has given the series 4 stars of 5 adding, "Babar is a good role model who promotes sharing and getting along with others." They continued to say that Parents Need to Know that "Although the show is an ideal pick for preschoolers, most kids will probably outgrow it by the time they're 7". The review ended by saying, "Many shows adapted from books tend to move at a slow pace. But Babar provides enough adventure and silliness to keep even the most active preschooler engaged. As an extra plus, the music is beautifully orchestrated. Babar exemplifies the lesson that all of us are the same on the inside. These elephants hold their trunks high, but they also know that money doesn't conquer all. Many kids' shows depict well-off characters as villainous and/or gluttonous; Babar shows kids that wealth doesn't necessarily equate to greed."
In 1990, the TV series won a 7 d'Or award for Best Youth Program (Meilleure émission pour la jeunesse). In 1989, the TV series won a Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Patrick Loubert, Lenora Hume, Clive A. Smith, and Michael Hirsh). In 1990, the show won a Gemini for Best Animated Program or Series (Patrick Loubert, Michael Hirsh, and Clive A. Smith). It was also nominated for a Gemini award for Best Original Music Score for a Series (Milan Kymlicka). In 1992, the TV series won a Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Clive A. Smith, Patrick Loubert, and Michael Hirsh).
In Region 2, Fremantle Home Entertainment released 3 single disc collections on DVD in the UK on May 4, 2009.
On June 5, 2012, Entertainment One released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Babar - The Classic Series: The Complete First Season||13||June 5, 2012|
|Created by||see creator|
|Country of origin||
|No. of episodes||13|
Clive A. Smith
|Running time||33 minutes|
|Original release||September 23, 2000 – May 5, 2001|
There was a revival of the animated series in 2000 for the company Nelvana Limited, and the Kodansha company in Japan. Most of the episodes for the revival series have Babar and his family traveling in a hot-air balloon to different Lands of Adventure, such as the Land of Toys.
Voices of the characters
- Dan Lett as King Babar
- Janet-Laine Green as Queen Celeste
- Kyle Fairlie as Alexander
- Kristen Bone as Flora
- Noah Reid as Pom
- Philip Williams as Zephir
- Chris Wiggins as Cornelius
- Jesse Vinet as Isabelle
- Kristin Fairlie as Young Babar
- Payless ShoeSource
- Chuck E. Cheese's
- The Children's Place
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- U.S. Department of Education
- Viewers Like You
- "Babar Episodes". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
- Solomon, Charles (April 1, 1989). "'Babar' Debut on HBO Holds a Trunkful of Charm". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- "Babar at IMDb". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Lady Retaxes' real name, Louise, is revealed in the episode "No Place Like Home"
- "Babar Comes to America at IMDb". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Babar and Father Christmas". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "History of Animation 1981 - 1990". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Knox, David (2010-11-12). "Babar's first steps to tragedy". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Solomon, Charles (1989-04-01). "'Babar' Debut on HBO Holds a Trunkful of Charm". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Babar at commonsensemedia". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Awards for "Babar" at IMDb". Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Babar - The Missing Crown Affair
- Babar - School Days
- King Tuttle's Vote
- Lambert, David. "Babar - Front Cover Box Art for 'The Classic Series: Season 1' on DVD". TVShowsonDVD.com. Retrieved April 5, 2012.