Dragon Tales

Dragon Tales
Created by Ron Rodecker
Jim Coane
Developed by Jim Coane
Wesley Eure
Jeffrey Scott
Cliff Ruby
Elana Lesser
Directed by Tim Eldred
Curt Walstead
Phil Weinstein
Michael Hack
Gloria Jenkins
Voices of Andrea Libman
Danny McKinnon
Aida Ortega (Season 3)
Ty Olsson
Chantal Strand
Jason Michas
Kathleen Barr
Eli Gabay
Scott McNeil
Garry Chalk
Theme music composer Mary Wood, Jesse Harris, and Joey Levine
Composer(s) Joey Levine & Co.
Jim Latham
Brian Garland
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 93
157 (segments)[1] (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Jim Coane (1999–2001)
Nina Elias-Bamberger (1999–2003)
Jeff Kline (2001–05)
Producer(s) Richard Raynis (1999–2001)
Jeff Kline (1999–2001)
Ron Rodecker
Cliff Ruby (1999–2001)
Elana Lesser (1999–2001)
Running time 30 minutes per episode
Production company(s) Children's Television Workshop (1999–2000) (season 1)
Sesame Workshop (2001–05) (seasons 2-3)
Columbia TriStar Television (1999–2002) (seasons 1-2)
Sony Pictures Television (2003–05) (season 3)
Adelaide Productions
Original network PBS Kids
Original release September 6, 1999 (1999-09-06) – November 25, 2005 (2005-11-25)

Dragon Tales is an American[2][3] animated pre-school children's television series created by Jim Coane and Ron Rodecker and developed by Coane, Wesley Eure, Jeffrey Scott, Cliff Ruby and Elana Lesser. The story focuses on the adventures of two siblings, Max and Emmy, and their dragon friends Ord, Cassie, Zak, Wheezie, and Quetzal. The series began broadcasting on the PBS on their PBS Kids block on September 6, 1999, with its final episode aired on November 25, 2005; re-runs ceased on August 31, 2010. On September 1, 2010, Dragon Tales was removed from PBS Kids Sprout and all PBS stations and its programming and website have removed. However, episodes of the show are still sold on DVD. The program's full library of episodes was made available to subscribers of the streaming service Netflix.[4] Though never released in a full season or series format on DVD, numerous individual releases were made available from all seasons on both DVD and VHS formats, a total of at least 17 DVD releases, each typically featuring at least 5 stories from the show, including "Adventures in Dragon Land," "Playing Fair Makes Playing Fun" and the animated / live-action special "Let's Start a Band."[5]

Kellogg's cereal company and their associated products Rice Krispies, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes and card maker, American Greetings were major sponsors throughout the program's run.[6]


Dragon Tales is based on the characters created in 1978[7] by Laguna Beach, California artist and retired educator Ron Rodecker, who was recovering from a coronary artery bypass graft when he began sketching dragons as a means of symbolizing forces in life that were too big to control.[7][8] In 1997, Jim Coane, then a producer at Columbia TriStar Television, found the artwork and developed it into a television series with several writers. Coane then brought the project to the Children's Television Workshop, where Marjorie Kalins helped him and Columbia TriStar Television obtain a grant from the Department of Education and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The grant proposal was written by Wesley Eure. As Columbia TriStar was the TV division of two major Hollywood film studios, which in turn were owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, this made Dragon Tales the one of the few PBS Kids programs to be co-produced by a major Hollywood studio's TV subsidiary. The other PBS shows made by a major Hollywood studio were Bill Nye the Science Guy (made by Walt Disney Television) and Curious George (produced by Universal Television) In 2002, C-T was renamed to Sony Pictures Television, a company that would co-produce the third season of the program. Coane was the executive producer for the first two seasons.

Show premise and overview

Dragon Tales has three primary educational goals. They are:

  • To encourage children to take on new or difficult challenges in their lives
  • To help children recognize that there is more than one way to approach a challenge
  • To help children understand that to try and not succeed fully is a valuable and natural part of learning

Dragon Tales official website Parents FAQ[9]

The series focused on the exploits of two siblings, Emmy and Max, in possession of an enchanted dragon scale capable of transporting them to a whimsical fantasy land inhabited by colorful anthropomorphic dragons upon their recitation of a rhyme. Befriended by four friendly talking dragons with distinctive personalities, Ord, Cassie, Zak, and Wheezie, they frequently travel to Dragon Land and help their friends in fulfilling particular quests, assisting them in their daily problems, and learning important morals through their experiences with the educational whimsy of Dragon Land.

Designed to educate preschoolers mildly in Hispanic culture (because of the Spanish origins of a portion of the central characters), during the program's final seasons a new character named Enrique debuted, providing the series with a third protagonist. Surrounded by a variety of unique characters and faced with numerous differing situations, Emmy and Max commonly embark on adventures with their anthropomorphic friends, conquering fears or achieving goals in spite of any obstacles preventing them from doing so.

As a series broadcast on PBS Kids, the program had an educational focus, combining lessons of a pro-social nature with those of more general educational value. Educational topics covered included identifying shapes, learning words and letters in both English and Spanish, counting and basic math. Social topics were also covered, such as good sportsmanship, the importance of being a good friend, overcoming obstacles such as jealousy or fears and getting along with siblings. Many of the show's interstitial song segments, known as "Dragon Tunes," also covered such topics, such as the "Making It Fun" song which encouraged viewers to not complain about having to do seemingly mundane chores such as washing dishes or helping parents with cooking meals, but instead find ways to make them fun. Another, "Hum," encouraged those who had a fear of the dark or trying new things to hum a gentle tune to comfort them. Stated goals of the program's educational philosophy included the encouragement of pursuing new experiences, finding ways to approach and learn from challenges and that learning can come through trying and not succeeding.[10] Despite two of the show's human leads, Emmy and Enrique, being six years old, the show's described target audience was children closer to the age of four.[11]

Another key theme of the program was the encouragement of honest and candid expressions of emotion. In "Cassie, the Green-Eyed Dragon," Cassie felt jealous of her little brother, Finn, when he gets everyone's attention when she takes him to school for "circle time." Discussing the matter with her best friend, Emmy, and Quetzal, the teacher at the School in the Sky, helps her to understand that jealousy is a natural feeling that everyone experiences sometimes, but that there are ways that she can appreciate her brother, while still feeling appreciated herself.[12] In "Feliz Cumpleaños, Enrique," Enrique feels sad and homesick for his birthplace of Colombia when his birthday celebrations in Dragon Land aren't like the traditions of his old home. He talks with Quetzal, who encourages him to cry, even though he had been told that crying was something a boy at his age wasn't supposed to do. After doing so, he feels better and is able to enjoy his party celebrations.[13]

As with Sesame Street, which was also produced by Children's Television Workshop, the program's creators encouraged "co-viewing," the practice of parents or other caregivers watching the program along with their children and engaging in activities such as discussion, singing and dancing, and pretend play.[9] The program's official website offered a number of activities and lesson plans to aid in these efforts.[14][15]


Protagonists Emmy and Max (top image) in a season 2 episode of Dragon Tales. Ord, Enrique, Max, Emmy, Zak and Wheezie, and Cassie in a season 3 episode (bottom image) of Dragon Tales.


Emmy, voiced by Andrea Libman, is 6 years old. She commonly appears as the leader of the group until she gave her position to Enrique while helping him get used to Dragon Land. She is Max's older sister. Her best friend is Cassie, and she is perhaps known for saying, "Definitely!" whenever a good idea arises. Though Emmy is not ashamed to do "girly" things with her best friend, Cassie, she is also heavily into sports and games and generally is up for any activity regardless of traditional gender roles. Though she experiences occasional jealousy of her brother, the two are otherwise usually together within Dragon Land and share many adventures. Though a brave, smart natural leader, she is also impulsive and doesn't always think before she acts. She is typically seen wearing a blue jumper over a red shirt.[16]


Max, voiced by Danny McKinnon, is 4 years old.[17] He is Emmy's younger brother. For the most part, he and Emmy get along fine, but occasionally have arguments. He is prone to anger. His best friend is Ord. Though Max loves his older sister, Emmy, he sometimes struggles with being the younger brother, upset about being too little to do certain things, or frustrated when Emmy acts in certain ways. He is an adventurous sort and sometimes helps to give courage to Ord when he's afraid of things like visiting a dark forest. He is kind to others and encourages Emmy when she is at first reluctant about allowing Enrique to share the secret of Dragon Land. He often enjoys acting silly or goofy. He sometimes acts in a stubborn manner, determined to prove that a child his age can do things on his own, even when he really needs help. He usually wears a green short-sleeved shirt with yellow on the collar & edges of the shirt-sleeves and brown slacks.[16]


Enrique, voiced by Aida Ortega, is 6 years old. He is Emmy and Max's new friend who moved from Colombia to the United States and also once lived in Puerto Rico. He is raised by his dad and his grandmother ("abuelita") [18] He first appears in the beginning of Season 3 and travels to Dragon Land with the children. His recent experiences in South America provide more opportunities for the characters to demonstrate the meanings of new Spanish words, much like Dora the Explorer, Rosita from Sesame Street, and Handy Manny as he is bilingual.[18]

He rides with Zak and Wheezie, the 2-headed dragon who rarely flew with any human friends prior to Enrique's debut.

His personality is somewhat bashful, missing his homeland of Colombia and sometimes shy to join in on new experiences and saddened by reminders of times from his former home that he no longer has. However, he finds that he enjoys himself when he allows himself to let go, express his feelings and then move forward to have fun. He is raised by his grandparents and described as an intensely smart and logical character. A series of moves throughout his young life has left him jaded and wary of both making new friends and trying new things. He normally wears a bright yellow short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans.[18]


Ord, voiced by Ty Olsson, is the blue male dragon who can turn invisible when he's scared. He is best friends with Max, who rides on his back. Ord is extremely fond of food and always carries some 'just in case'; A running gag in the show features Ord making "Dragon Corn" by throwing purple popcorn kernels in the air and frying them with his fire breath. Ord is afraid of many things, particularly the dark. He wants to learn to control these fears so that he can have fun with his friends.[19]


Cassie, voiced by Chantal Strand, is a shy, demure, and sweet pink female dragon and Emmy's best friend. She possesses a magical tendency to shrink when unhappy, and may occasionally come across as slightly insecure and uncertain, and is prone to worrying. However, Cassie is distinguished by her maternal sweetness as a result of her responsibilities as an older sister and babysitter to a humongous myriad of younger siblings, and has been shown to be gifted with great singing and dancing abilities, as revealed in one episode. Cassie also is characterized by her color combination consisting of pink and yellow, albeit her body is spotted with blue speckles in some areas. Cassie knows just about everything there is to know about Dragon Land and has a deep love of fairy-tales, both stemming from her love of reading. Her dragon badge glows when she feels confident, but she often worries about making a mistake.[20]

Zak and Wheezie

Zak and Wheezie, voiced by Jason Michas and Kathleen Barr, are conjoined twin dragons and are siblings; Zak (green) is the male, and Wheezie (purple) is the female. Zak prefers to pursue things in a logical manner. He is neat and clean, but also worries a lot and is pessimistic about many things. His catch phrase is "Take it easy, Wheezieee!", which he often screams when Wheezie takes off running, dragging him with her. Wheezie is very bold, enthusiastic and hyper but can also be quite messy and loud, much to her brother's annoyance, and is perhaps known for saying, "Loooove it!", when she loves something. She is a quick, wild, and free spirited. She loves to run and do cart-wheels and back- flips, which make Zak nauseous and dizzy. They have a shared love of music and performing and they often perform in talent shows and recitals together.[19]

Zak and Wheezie always fly with Enrique, although prior to his debut, Zak and Wheezie rarely flew with any of their human friends. Their dragon badges glow when they work together and get along, though will sometimes glow independently when one of them accomplishes something on their own of significance. Although they fight a lot, they are very close and care about each other a lot.


Quetzal, portrayed by Eli Gabay, is an elderly dragon who is the teacher at The School in the Sky where young dragons attend. He has an identical twin brother named Fernando who works in his garden. Quetzal typically speaks with a Mexican accent, and is likely named for the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl. He tries to encourage his young charges to find solutions to their problems on their own, but is a sounding board who offers stability and comfort, as well as sound advice.[19] In the episode 'Snow Dragon,' Quetzal mentions it has been hundreds of years since he visited the dragon snow sculpture as a child, implying he is centuries old.

Other characters

Each of the following have appeared more than once:

Places in Dragon Land

Dragon Land is the fantasy world where the majority of the show takes place. It is home to numerous colorful, anthropomorphic dragons and many other fantastical creatures. Max and Emmy travel to Dragon Land by holding an enchanted dragon scale while reciting the rhyme: "I wish, I wish, with all my heart, to fly with dragons in a land apart." The scale then teleports them to Dragon Land. It appears that it does not matter who does or doesn't say the rhyme, as long as at least one person says it; whever is holding the dragon scale while they say the rhyme will be teleported with them. Returning home from Dragon Land is done in the same fashion, although no dragon scale is needed. The rhyme is: "I wish, I wish, to use this rhyme, to go back home until next time." The person reciting the rhyme, as well as all those holding their hand, will be transported back to where the reciter said the rhyme that took them to Dragon Land.

Release history

Dragon Tales premiered on PBS Kids on September 6, 1999 with the episode "To Fly with Dragons / The Forest of Darkness." The installment introduced the characters of Max and Emmy to Dragon Land after discovering a magical dragon scale in their new home and to their new dragon friends. In the first half, they discovered Ord's missing tooth, while the adventures continued in the second story with Ord facing his fear of the dark. A total of forty episodes were aired in the first season, with the finale airing on April 28, 2000. The show's second season premiered on June 4, 2001 and had 25 episodes. 20 of these episodes were broadcast from June 4, 2001 to September 20, 2001. The final installment of this set, "Just the Two of Us / Cowboy Max," was broadcast only in non-U.S. markets such as Guam and Canada and did not premiere to U.S. audiences until the program's third season, though "Cowboy Max" was released on DVD prior to this. The special "Let's Start a Band!," featuring the dragon characters blended with live humans in a musical show based on the program's "Dragon Tunes" segments, was released on March 2, 2003. Following this, no new episodes were aired until February 21, 2005, leading many long-time viewers to believe the program had been quietly canceled. The new season introduced the new character Enrique, an immigrant from Colombia, as well as an updated focus on folk songs and teaching of Spanish. The premiere installment, in two parts, showed Enrique being introduced to the sights and sounds of Dragon Lands, learning to fly on Zak & Wheezie, and having his first adventure. The second half appeared as "The Mystery of the Missing Knuckerholes" in some listings, but on the program was simply titled as Part 2 of the episode. Though 29 episodes were broadcast, including "Just the Two of Us / Cowboy Max," with few exceptions only one story from each was original, while the others were a repeat of a story from the second season, easily identifiable by the absence of Enrique.

The program's first musical album, Dragon Tunes, was released on March 20, 2001 and featured the character themes of Cassie and Ord, as well as tunes such as "Betcha Can," the "Wiggle Song" and "Shake Your Dragon Tail."[26] A second album, More Dragon Tunes, was issued on February 15, 2005. This album introduced the character theme of Zak & Wheezie, as well as a number of new tunes introduced in the program's second and third seasons, including "Hola," "Make a New Friend" and remixes of two previous themes, "Shake Your Dragon Tail" and "Dance."[27]

Throughout its history, a number of tie-in book releases were printed, some based on installments of the television program, others not. These included Cassie Loves a Parade,[28] Ord Makes a Wish[29] and Taking Care of Quetzal.[30]


Dragon Tales aired a total of 93 episodes, 40 in its first season, 24 in its second season and 29 in its third season. Each episode featured two original stories, aired back-to-back, split by the interstitial song segment "Dragon Tunes," all of which were eventually released on the show's music albums. Almost all episodes from the third season, however, generally contained at least one repeat of a story from the program's second season and some were even repeats of material from that season and earlier material from the third season. In all, there were a total of 155 original stories. The show also had two specials: Let's Start a Band and Big, Big Friend Day. Let's Start a Band was a musical feature in which the characters of the show were seen alongside real human children. Big, Big Friend Day, however, was merely a special featuring episodes of Dragon Tales and Clifford the Big Red Dog, with interstitial segments introducing characters from the new series It's a Big Big World. As such, it did not contain any original Dragon Tales material.[1]

Music and songs

Dragon Tales featured an original score composed by Jim Latham and Brian Garland.[31] Each episode also included an interstitial segment between story airings known as "Dragon Tunes," featuring a song either based on one of the characters of the show, or designed to teach a lesson, such as "Stretch!", which encouraged viewers to reach forward for their goals and "When You Make a New Friend," which espoused the joys of forming a new friendship. The songs were released on the albums Dragon Tunes[26] and More Dragon Tunes.[27]

Video games

Cover of Dragon Tales: Dragon Adventures

On December 16, 2000,[32] a tie-in video game: Dragon Tales: Dragon Wings, was issued for Game Boy Color. Issued by NewKidCo, the game allowed players to take on the role of a novice dragon that was learning the secrets of flight at Quetzal's School in the Sky. Players moved through 15 levels of obstacles available in three difficulty levels. Reviews were mixed at Amazon.com, with an overall rating of 3/5 stars from ten reviewers. Many praised the graphics and fun of the game, but also felt that the game was too challenging for most younger players and did not offer much educational value.[33]

On July 28, 2004, a second video game titled Dragon Tales: Dragon Adventures was released for Game Boy Color. Also issued by NewKidCo, the game included journeys to familiar locations from the show including the Stickleback Mountains, the Singing Springs and Crystal Caverns. The game included multiple skill settings and the option to play as Cassie, Ord, Emmy or Max, the title having been issued before the addition of Enrique to the series.[34]

The show's official website also includes a number of tie-in games, such as "Finn's Word Game" and "Dragonberry Surprise."[35]


In addition to the various books, music albums and video game releases, numerous merchandise items featuring the characters of Dragon Tales were made available for purchase throughout the program's run. A total of six different designs featuring scenes from the program were featured on Welch's jam jars.[36] An official board game for the series titled Dragon Tales: A Dragon Land Adventure, featured obstacles and memory games, with the goal of completing a puzzle. It was released by University Games and overall reviews were generally positive, though also expressed that the game was not very challenging.[37] Other merchandise released for the series included plush toys for most of the major characters, such as Cassie[38] and Quetzal,[39] though Enrique, seen only in the program's third season, was never released in plush form and was largely absent from merchandise releases.

Dragon Tales Live!

Ord, Max, Emmy, Cassie, Zak & Wheezie in Dragon Tales Live!

Dragon Tales Live! was a musical stage show featuring the characters and concepts of the show. It toured nationally in the United States. It featured performers playing the dragons in full body costumes and two real children in each production playing the roles of Max and Emmy. Shows included the "Missing Music Mystery"[40] and "The Riddle of Rainbow River."[41] Dragon Tales Live! toured from January 2002[42] till at least March 2006.[43] The program was never modified to include the character of Enrique, who was not added until the program's final season, one year before productions of the stage show ended.


The series was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children's Animated Program in 2001, 2002 and 2003, but did not win any. Kathleen Barr and Jason Michas also received Annie Award nominations in 2000 for their performances of Zak and Wheezie.


  1. 1 2 "TV.com - Dragon Tales episode listing". Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  2. Dragon Tales - "A Magical World of Rainbow Rivers and Talking Trees", archive, on Sesame Workshop's official website
  3. Sony Pictures Television official Dragon Tales site, available on Internet Archive
  4. "Dragon Tales on Netflix". Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  5. "Sony Wonder - DVD - Preschool - Dragon Tales". Sony Wonder. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  6. "CTW - Dragon Tales - Fun & Games! (see bottom-of-page information)". Archived from the original on June 20, 2000. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  7. 1 2 "Dragon Tales - A Magical World of Rainbow Rivers and Talking Trees". Sesame Workshop. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  8. Millennium Web Catalog. 0-infoweb.newsbank.com.dbpcosdcsgt.co.san-diego.ca.us. Retrieved on 2011-10-13.
  9. 1 2 "Parents & Teachers - Dragon Tales - Frequently Asked Questions for Parents". Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  10. "Parents & Teachers - Dragon Tales - Educational Philosophy". Archived from the original on March 8, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  11. Scott, Jeffrey. (2002). How to Write for Animation. New York: Overlook Hardcover. ISBN 1-5856-7240-8. p. 126
  12. Dragon Tales story - Season 2 - "Cassie, the Green-Eyed Dragon"
  13. Dragon Tales story - Season 3 - "Feliz Cumpleaños, Enrique"
  14. "Dragon Tales - Parents & Teachers - Activities".
  15. "Dragon Tales - Parents & Teachers - Lesson Plans".
  16. 1 2 "Parents & Teachers - Dragon Tales - Character Descriptions". Archived from the original on March 8, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  17. http://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/tv-shows/Dragon-Tales/side-by-side/
  18. 1 2 3 "Parents & Teachers - Dragon Tales - Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  19. 1 2 3 "Sprout Online - Dragon Tales - Parents - "Who are the main characters in the series?"". Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  20. "Dragontales - characters - "Meet Cassie!"". Archived from the original on June 20, 2000. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  21. "IPTV - Dragon Tales - Finn's Blankie/Let's Dance (#309)". Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  22. "Arizona Public Media - Episode of Dragon Tales - "The Balancing Act/A Small Victory"". Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  23. "TV.com - Dragon Tales - "Rope Trick / Baby Troubles"". Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  24. "Dragon Tales: Season 1 on UNZ". Retrieved December 15, 2014. - See "Emmy's Dreamhouse / Dragon Sales" [sic] regarding use as a treehouse
  25. Chantal Strand (2013-08-26). "I remember their Mom was played by Kathleen Barr, pretty sure Eli Gabbay played their Dad.". Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  26. 1 2 "Amazon - Dragon Tunes". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  27. 1 2 "Amazon - More Dragon Tunes". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  28. "Amazon - Cassie Loves a Parade". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  29. "Amazon - Ord Makes a Wish". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  30. "Amazon - Taking Care of Quetzal". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  31. "Traverse Area District Library - Catalog - "Dragon Tales. Easy as 1, 2, 3"". Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  32. Dragon Tales: Dragon Wings on GameSpot
  33. "Dragon Tales: Dragon Wings". amazon.com.
  34. "Dragon Tales: Dragon Adventures". amazon.com.
  35. "Finn's Word Game on the Sprout Online official site".
  36. "Dragon Tales #4 Welch's Glass - Emmy and Cassie at Rainbow River". amazon.com.
  37. "Dragon Tales: A Dragon Land Adventure". amazon.com.
  38. "Playskool Cassie plush". amazon.com.
  39. "Playskool Quetzal plush". amazon.com.
  40. "Dragon Tales Live!". Archived from the original on April 5, 2003. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  41. "Dragon Tales Live!". Archived from the original on June 11, 2004. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  42. "Dragon Tales Live!". Archived from the original on January 20, 2002. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  43. "Dragon Tales Live!". Archived from the original on February 13, 2006. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  44. "Dragon Tales". Parents' Choice. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  45. "Dragon Tales: Dragon Tunes". Parents' Choice. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  46. "Dragon Tales "Let's Start a Band"". Parents' Choice. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  47. "Dragon Tales: More Dragon Tunes". Parents' Choice. Retrieved November 11, 2011.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/4/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.