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Arthurtv logo.png
Format Children's television series
Created by Based on the series of children's books by Marc Brown
Starring Michael Yarmush
Daniel Brochu
Bruce Dinsmore
Jodie Resther
Sonja Ball
Opening theme "Believe in Yourself" by Ziggy Marley
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 13 (a 14th season in production)
No. of episodes 165 (List of episodes)
Running time 30 minutes (approx. 11 minutes per story)
Original channel United StatesPBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV) (Season 12 -)
Audio format Dolby Surround
Original run September 2, 1996 – present

Arthur is an American-Canadian educational television series for children, that airs on PBS in the United States; Radio-Canada, Knowledge and TVOKids in Canada; ABC2 in Australia and BBC One/ CBBC in the UK. It is aired internationally in 82 countries.[1]

Arthur revolves around the lives of Arthur Timothy Read, an anthropomorphic aardvark,[2] his friends and family, and their daily interactions with each other. The series often deals with social and health-related issues that affect young children. There is a strong emphasis on the educational value of books and libraries as well as relationships with friends and family members. The television series is based on the Arthur book series, which are illustrated and written by Marc Brown. In 1994, WGBH Boston along with the Toronto-based Cinar, now Cookie Jar Group, began production of the animated series. Arthur became one of the highest-rated shows on PBS Kids for several years since it started airing in September 1996.[1] On September 2009, Cookie Jar Group confirmed production of a 14th season and 185 episodes by 2010.[3]



Arthur Read, the series' titular character, is an eight-year-old brown aardvark who lives in the fictional town of Elwood City. He is a third-grade student at Lakewood Elementary School. Arthur's family includes two home-working parents, his father David (a chef) and his mother Jane (an accountant), his two younger sisters, Dora Winifred (D.W.), who is in preschool, and Kate, who is still an infant, and his dog Pal. Arthur also has several friends who come from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and he also occasionally meets with members of his extended family as well.

In the TV series, Elwood City is portrayed as a largely suburban area which bears a strong resemblance to the Boston area; the TV series is partially produced by WGBH. Furthermore, Elwood City's professional baseball team, the "Elwood City Grebes", appears to be a fictional representation of the Boston Red Sox. The episode "The Curse of the Grebes" in Season 10 clearly references baseball lore such as Curse of the Bambino. The same episode also refers indirectly to the rivalry between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees, as the Grebes have a fierce rivalry with the Crown City Kings during the World Championship, a reference to the World Series. Crown City, as featured in other episodes, is apparently a fictional representation of New York City. In one episode, it is inferred that an ice hockey team wearing the WGBH logo and the Boston Bruins' team colors on their uniforms are Elwood City's professional (possibly NHL) hockey team.

There are also firm references to Brown's hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. Most notably, the local shopping mall in the TV series is called "Mill Creek Mall", an obvious reference to Millcreek Mall. Brown himself stated that the series is influenced by his upbringing as a child in Erie. There is also an actual Ellwood City, northwest of the Pittsburgh area, although it does not resemble the Elwood City in Arthur.


The TV series' reggae-style theme song was recorded by Ziggy Marley. A remixed techno version of the song, called "Believe in Yourself", has been released on the third album, and a shortened version has been played during the closing credits for the sixth season. Many celebrity guest stars have also appeared on the show, each providing the voice for their anthropomorphic animal counterpart.

Although the program is primarily produced by WGBH of Boston, Massachusetts, the production of the animated portions of the show—which includes the writing and voice acting—is done in Montreal, Quebec, and South Korea. The animation of the show is done at AKOM Production Company. The entire cast of Arthur lives in Montreal or Toronto, where Cookie Jar Entertainment's studios are located. The only segments of the show that are filmed outside Canada are the "A Word from Us Kids" interstitials, filmed at elementary schools or other educational sites in the Boston area. Beginning in Season 11, the "A Word From Us Kids" segment was replaced by a segment called "Postcards from You", where a couple of live-action videos sent in by young viewers were spotlighted per episode. The segments are ommitted from all airings outside the U.S.

Marc Brown's children, Tolon, Eliza and Tucker, are referenced in the show many times, just as they are in the Arthur book series. For example, the town's moving company is called "Tolon Moving", and everyday items such as cups or pencil sharpeners have the word "Eliza" printed on them. References to Cookie Jar Entertainment and WGBH also appear often on the show. In one episode, Francine and Buster are shown playing a table hockey game in which one team's players wear shirts in the Montreal Canadiens' signature colours with Montreal-based Cinar's logo on them(Cinar was the predecessor to today's Cookie Jar Entertainment) and the other team's players wear shirts in the Boston Bruins' colors with Boston-based WGBH's sting logo on them. Subsequent episodes that involve hockey also depict players wearing these sweater designs. Also, in the episode "The Big Blow-Up" in Season 2, a racecar driver wears a jersey with "Cinar" written on it and a car with "WGBH" written on it. In the episode "Prove It" in Season 4, The Brain introduces D.W. to science while watching a non-animated episode of Nova, a science series also produced by WGBH.

When the series premiered, the characters had white tongues, which was a coloration error.[citation needed] "Buster's Dino Dilemma" was the first episode to fix this mistake, but the white tongue mistake continued until the "Scare-Your-Pants-Off Club" episode. After season one it was fixed permanently.


The series has been acknowledged with the George Foster Peabody Award and four Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Children's Animated Program. In 2002, TV Guide ranked Arthur Read No. 26 on its list of the "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time."[4]

Cast and characters


Voice cast

  • Michael Yarmush - Arthur Timothy Read (1996-2000)
  • Justin Bradley - Arthur Timothy Read (2001)
  • Mark Rendall- Arthur Timothy Read (2001-2003)
  • Cameron Ansell - Arthur Timothy Read (2004-2007)
  • Dallas Jokic - Arthur Timothy Read (2008-current)
  • Simon Peacock - Pal (2001-2007)
  • Michael Caloz - Dora Winifred "D.W." Read (1996-1998)
  • Oliver Grainger - Dora Winifred "D.W." Read (1999-2001)
  • Jason Szwimer - Dora Winifred "D.W." Read (2002-2006)
  • Robert Naylor - Dora Winifred "D.W." Read (2007-current)
  • Sonja Ball - Mrs. Read
  • Bruce Dinsmore - Mr. Read/Binky Barnes/Bailey
  • Luke Reid - Alan "The Brain" Powers (1996-1999)
  • Steven Crowder - Alan "The Brain" Powers (2000-2001)
  • Alex Hood - Alan "The Brain" Powers (2002-2005)
  • Paul-Stuart Brown - Alan "The Brain" Powers (2005-2007)
  • Lyle O'Donohoe - Alan "The Brain" Powers (2008-current)
  • Daniel Brochu - Buster Baxter
  • Holly Gauthier-Frankel - Fern Walters
  • Jodie Resther - Francine Alice Frensky
  • Brigid Tierney - Jenna Morgan (1996-2008)
  • Maggie Castle - Molly MacDonald
  • Melissa Altro - Mary Alice "Muffy" Crosswire
  • Tamar Koslov - Prunella Deegan
  • Eramelinda Boquer - Rubella Deegan
  • Patricia Rodriguez- Sue Ellen Armstrong (1996-2004)/Catherine Frensky (1996-2003)
  • Jessie Kardos - Sue Ellen Armstrong (2005-current)
  • Alexina Cowan - Catherine Frensky (2003-current)
  • Mitchell David Rothpan - George Nordgren (1996-2001)
  • Evan Smirnow - George Nordgren (2002-2004)
  • Eleanor Noble - George Nordgren/Lundgren (Season 9-current), Perky Newswoman (2002, 2004)
  • Hayley Reynolds - Nadine
  • Sally Isherwood - Emily (2005)
  • Vanessa Lengies - Emily (1996-2005; 2006-current)
  • Joanna Noyes - Grandma Thora Read
  • Tracy Braunstein - Baby Katelyn "Kate" Read (2001-current), Sally (2001)
  • Ellen David - Bitzi Baxter
  • A.J. Henderson - Edward Crosswire/Grandpa Dave
  • Arthur Holden - Mr. Ratburn/Bionic Bunny/Announcer
  • Walter Massey - Principal Herbert Haney/Mr. Marco (1996-1997)
  • Al Gravelle - Mr. Morris (1996-2002)
  • Brownen Mantel - Mrs. Sarah MacGrady
  • Katie Hutchison - Paige Turner
  • Susan Glover - Miss Woods (1996-1998)
  • Samuel Holden
  • Jane Woods
  • Christopher Lortie - Timmy Tibble (2008-current)
  • Jake Roseman - Tommy Tibble (2008-current)
  • Jonathan Koensgen - Tommy Tibble (1996-2003), the Tibbles (2003-2007)
  • Ricky Mabe - Timmy Tibble (1996-2003)
  • Mark Camacho - Oliver Frensky
  • Jane Wheeler - Mrs. Barnes (Binky's Mom)
  • Nicholas Wheeler-Hughes - James MacDonald (2003-current)
  • Frank Welker - Pal (1996-2000), various animals (uncredited)

Arthur' Missing Pal cast

  • Carr Thompson - Arthur
  • Daniel Brochu - Buster (as "Conway Bruce")
  • Luciano Rauso - D.W.
  • Yvette Kaplan - Pal
  • L. C. Curci - Baby Kate
  • Bruce Dinsmore - Mr. Read, Binky Barnes (as "Bruce Smithee")
  • Catherine Lavin - Mrs. Read
  • Marc Graue - Ice cream Man
  • Bailey Lauren - Francine
  • Nichole Blanchard - Muffy
  • James Buckholder - The Brain
  • Wendee Lee - Prunella, Mary Moo Cow
  • Mona Marshall - Rosie
  • Dave Mallow - TV Announcer
  • Chuck Buell - Waiter

Celebrity guests

  • Jack Prelutsky - As himself on the episode "I'm a Poet".
  • Fred Rogers - Mr. Rogers appears as himself in a surprise visit to Elwood City.
  • Art Garfunkel - Garfunkel appears as "the singing moose."
  • Yo-Yo Ma - Ma appears as Redman's rival.
  • Joshua Redman - Redman appears as himself as Francine's uncle.
  • Alex Trebek - Trebek appears as "Alex Lebek" on the episode when Arthur is on a game show.
  • Michelle Kwan - Kwan appears as herself when Francine learns to skate.
  • The Backstreet Boys - As themselves in the hour-long special, "Arthur: It's Only Rock 'N' Roll".
  • Larry King - Although King does not appear on the show itself, he interviews the Arthur characters during the interstitial on PBS's telecasts.
  • Tom and Ray Magliozzi - Both appear in the episode "Pick a Car, Any Car" as Click and Clack from the 'Car Talk' radio show.
  • Arthur Ganson - Appears as himself in the episode "Muffy's Art Attack".
  • Koko Taylor - As herself.
  • Taj Mahal - As himself who helps George write music.
  • Frank Gehry - Gehry appears as an architect who helps the gang build the new treehouse.
  • Rodney Gilfry - Appears in the episode "Lights, Camera, Opera".
  • Johnny Damon - Damon appears as a player for the Elwood City Grebes.
  • Edgar Rentería - Also appears in "The Curse of the Grebes" as a player.
  • Mike Timlin - Also appears in "The Curse of the Grebes" as a player.
  • Ming Tsai - Tsai is shown as the judge for a cooking contest at the Lakewood Elementary school.
  • Matt Damon - Damon appears as himself in an episode featuring the creation of the Arthur show.
  • Joan Rivers - Rivers was the voice of Francine's Grandmother.
  • Lance Armstrong - Appears to support a campaign for bike lanes. He appears again to help Francine deal with cancer on "The Great MacGrady".
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman - Appears in "No Acting Please" as Will Toffman.


Each episode of Arthur runs for half an hour. Episodes usually consist of two completely self-contained 11-minute stories. The episodes start off with one of the characters (usually Arthur) speaking towards the audience about a situation within the story followed by the title card. The episodes are separated by a one- to two-minute live-action interstitial called "And Now a Word from Us Kids" (or, in some cases, a permutation of that title more specific to its contents). The live-action segments almost always feature children from elementary schools (generally in the Boston area) presenting subjects they are currently learning about or projects they have been working on in their classes (the subjects covered here relate to the first cartoon segment in the half-hour). This segment is seen exclusively on PBS telecasts of the show, filling space otherwise used for commercials, which are generally forbidden on PBS. There is also a relatively new segment that sometimes appears at the end of the second 11-minute episode called "And Now a Word from Marc Brown" where he shows the viewers how to draw various main characters from the show. In 2007, the show began encouraging viewers to send in "video postcards" (similar to those used in the spin-off show Postcards from Buster), which were shown in the interstitials of episodes until the middle of Season 12. Beginning with Episode 151, the show reverted back "And Now a Word from Us Kids".



In addition to the television series, the Arthur franchise has spawned three hour-long movies, which are often run on PBS during pledge drives. The latest, Arthur's Missing Pal, was produced by Mainframe Entertainment and is the first animated Arthur project to make use of three-dimensional computer-generated imagery. [1]. Arthur's success has also lead to the spin-off series, Postcards From Buster. Postcards from Buster premiered on October 11, 2004 with several returning characters.

Music albums

Arthur has released three music albums. The first album, Arthur and Friends: The First Almost Real Not Live CD, contained songs that were played throughout the TV series and original songs for the album. The second album, Arthur's Perfect Christmas, contained songs that were played during the television movie of the same title. The third album, Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix, contained only original songs, including a remix of the theme song which was played on the credits of season 6 as a promotion for the album.


In 1998, both Arthur and D.W. were made into Microsoft ActiMates, sophisticated toy dolls who could interact with children, with each other, with certain computer software and the Arthur website, and also with the Arthur television show and videos.

To get the ActiMates to interact with the TV show or the videos, a hockey-puck-shaped transmitter device called a TV Pack must be purchased separately and connected to the video-out connector of the TV set, while to have the ActiMates to interact with the specialized computer software (developed by Creative Wonders and published by Microsoft) and the website, another hockey-puck-shaped transmitter device called a PC Pack must be purchased separately and be connected to the MIDI/game port connector of the PC.

For the TV show and videos, the TV pack reads coded information from a thin bar-code-like strip along the left edge of the screen and retransmits it to the ActiMates. This strip is typically invisible when viewed on a normal television, but can be seen by other means, such as watching Arthur on a computer screen by using a TV tuner card, or by sending the tuner signal from a VCR to a video monitor that is capable of overscanning, which is possible on many professional-grade video monitors.

Meanwhile, interaction between the specialized software and the website with the ActiMates is a little more complicated. The software makes use of a special programming library called "ToyAPI", which communicated with the ActiMates via the PC Pack. The website, on the other hand, makes use of special script files embedded in each page. These script files are parsed by a special plugin that you'll be prompted to download and install on your first visit to the page. This plugin reads the script and send instructions to the ActiMates, again through the PC Pack.

Due to the difference in functions between the PC Pack and TV Pack, the ActiMates will not interact with the Arthur TV show if the show is being watched on a computer monitor using a tuner card with the PC Pack plugged in. Likewise, it will not interact with a TV that is connected to a computer and has a TV Pack is plugged into the TV.

Microsoft discontinued the ActiMates line shortly before season 5 aired, most possibly due to a lawsuit pertaining to patent infringement[5] and the fact that sales were dropping. It has been noted that post-season 4 episodes of Arthur have not included any ActiMates code. Newer videos and DVD releases of the show does not carry ActiMates code either. The enhancements on the website were removed when the site was redesigned in 2002 and thus the ActiMates would no longer interact with the website. Likewise, re-releases of the ActiMates software by Creative Wonders do not interact with the ActiMates because the library that controls the PC Pack has been replaced with a dummy library file (reports state that the software will resume interaction with the ActiMates if the library file is replaced with the original one).

Video games

  • Arthur's Thinking Games: Released in 2001 by The Learning Company, this game has six fun activities that encourage critical thinking and logic.
  • Arthur's Absolutely Fun Day Mattel Interactive/The Learning Company/Ed Magnin and Associates (GBC): Released between 1998 and 1999, this game has you piloting the head of Arthur throughout a map of part of Elwood City and partaking in minigames so he could go visit the amusement park.
  • Arthur: Ready to Race Mattel Interactive/The Learning Company (PlayStation): Released between 1999 and 2000, This game has Arthur scouring around for parts to build a cardboard box racer. It consists of mostly minigames which the player partakes to gain parts, although the player is only confined to exploring a small area in Elwood City. The graphics are 3D CGI style with three pre-rendered CGI cutscenes. The voice acting in the game is not done by the original voice actors.
  • Living Books: There were several interactive storybooks in the Living Books series based on Arthur, including Arthur's Teacher Trouble.
  • Arthur's Pet Chase: Arthur's first side-scrolling adventure, similar to Super Mario Bros..

Home media releases

WGBH Home Video has begun releasing Arthur on DVD in Region 1. They released Season 10 on March 25, 2008 and Season 11 has been released on September 2, 2008.[6]

DVD Name Ep # Region Release date
Season 1 30 Region 2 April 7, 2008
Season 2 20 Region 2 November 3, 2008
Season 3 15 Region 2 March 23, 2009
Season 4 10 Region 2 August 4, 2009
Season 5 10 TBA TBA
Season 6 10 TBA TBA
Season 7 10 TBA TBA
Season 8 10 TBA TBA
Season 9 10 TBA TBA
Season 10 10 Region 1 March 25, 2008
Season 11 10 Region 1 September 2, 2008
Season 12 10 TBA TBA
Season 13 TBA TBA TBA

Popularity with older fans

Although Arthur is directed primarily toward a child and preteen audience, over the years it has gained a substantial cult following among older viewers[citation needed]. The show regularly incorporates satirical parodies of adult-oriented topics and references to pop culture, including, but not limited to, parodies of South Park, Jeopardy!, The Sopranos, Beavis and Butt-head, the Indiana Jones adventures, the James Bond series of films, The Adventures of Tintin, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, The Jerry Springer Show, Oprah, Law & Order, Charlie Rose, Antiques Roadshow, Mystery!,The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcocks' The Birds, Macbeth, and That '70s Show. Many of the references and topics covered are ones with which the target audience most likely would not be familiar. In the episode Desert Island Dish, Francine holds up a cage containing a swallow and then shows a coconut, saying the bird was carrying the coconut. This is a subtle reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail and could likely only be picked up by older audiences.

The series is also noted for its self-referential humor. In one episode, Arthur's class is unnerved by an impending appearance in the regular mid-episode interstitial of a popular educational program, "The Magic Tool Box", a play off of the popular children's program The Magic School Bus, which, coincidentally, also aired on PBS. The interstitial is called Let's Talk to Some Kids, a reference to Arthur's own interstitial, And Now a Word from Us Kids, and is presented the same way the "And Now A Word From Us Kids" is presented—with hand-held "camera work" and children who speak in stilted sentences. Also, there was an episode where the gang wanted to enter a contest sponsored by a cartoon they watched (Andy & co.) that was very similar to Arthur, itself.

The series also features a discernible, complex continuity, which is uncommon in children's cartoons. Although the episodes themselves are not in chronological order (a single episode may have one story that takes place in the winter and another that takes place in the summer), many episodes are rife with references to past events within the series' continuity, in particular D.W.'s missing snowball for which she blames Arthur, and Buster's cat saving incident. These are often intended to amuse long-time viewers.



External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Arthur is the name of an animated series that airs on PBS in the United States. A young third grader, Arthur Read, deals with the real (and imaginary) troubles of childhood. The episodes could focus on anything from jobs to getting a pet, from love to getting a library card. And in the middle of each ten minute segment, there is "A Word From Us Kids..." which is a live action piece where real children explain their thoughts about a certain subject, which ususally pertains to the subject of the previous segment.


Arthur Read

  • I told you... NOT TO TOUCH IT!!!

Binky Barnes

  • They're not my parents...they just look like them.
  • People think I can't write a poem,
    but they are so wrong,
    I can write a poem.
    I wrote this one,
    I wrote this poem,
    and I gave it the title Binky's poem.
    So shut up!
    The end!
  • You're going to be on a game show! Why do they want you?
  • Teacher's Pet! Teacher's Pet!
  • E, G, B, D.
  • The name's Binky Barnes. Uh, B-I-N-K...-Y......Barnes.

The Brain

  • This has something to do with my mom.
  • I hope I never see my brains!
  • I'm home!
  • Self-destruct!

Buster Baxter

  • Allright!?*
  • Toys! Much better!
  • (Singing.) Funky rabbit, funky rabbit, funky rabbit, yeah! I'm a funky rabbit!
  • He stole my joke! Binky stole my joke!
  • AHH! (HE Is screaming in while he is having bad dreams.)
  • Hello, D. W!
  • I never thought about it before, but being an only child is nice.

D. W. (Dora Winifred) Read

  • I will not be silent. I'll be is loud as I want and . . . . . and you can't stop me. No one can stop me. Who made you the boss of the world?
  • Crazy Bus, Crazy Bus riding on my Crazy Bus!
  • Hey, MOM!
  • It's not real, it's just an Irving legend.
  • Arthur, you know I'd do anything for you. For money.
  • Yo mama says he's coming! (Season 4, "My Music Rules")
  • You built it all wrong.
  • Her lips aren't even moving! This is nothing like a TV show! What a rip off!
  • I'm hungry too!
  • I'm sorry, Mary can't see everybody...
  • Mary couldn't come.
  • Mommy! Daddy! The town is exploding and it's very pretty!(She said this from "The Blizzard")
  • He wouldn't be this nice if we weren't on TV.
  • Give that back or I'll bit you!
  • (D. W. is surprised that Mr. David Read and Mrs. Jane Read will be divorced. They are leaving the children and the pet dog with no parents with no 2 adult pet owners.) WE DON'T WANNA BE ORCHIDS LIKE IN OLIVER TWITS!?*


  • Mr. Ratburn: Do you have enough clothpins for everyone, George?
George: Uh, no.
  • (He was through his ventriloquist's dummy, Wally) Ugh, is that pineapple? I hate pineapple!
  • Yuck! Custard pie!
  • Oh, we stink!
  • Ah. Ah. That last part dosn't rhyme you know!


  • Alright, alright, don't have kittens.
  • Step into that pool, and you're entering a world of pain!
  • Now's your chance!

Mr. Ratburn

  • Did someone say cake?
  • Yuuccckkkk! I give this cake and it's owner a D. A D for disgusting! (He was in Arthur's dream that he was very, angry at Arthur.)
  • Are you having cake?
  • Quiet!
  • Class, you may now file out in an orderly fashion. Quietly, no talking.
  • On second thought, we'll start off with a big math test.
  • Okay class, follow me and don't run!?
  • Brain: OK, we're finally on the internet, now...
  • OOH! Chatrooms!

Muffy Crosswire

  • How rude!
  • Vomitrocious! (That is her catch phrase.)
  • Help, police!
  • How are we supposed to get fossils out of the cliffs, when all we have are these little buckets?
  • Kit-ten number ONE, kit-ten number TWO...

Nadine Read

  • Goodbye, D. W.
  • Ah, you're back.
  • I don't know anything that you don't know. I'm imaginary. (Season 8, "Bleep!")

Fern Walters

  • She was more interested in that phone than me!
  • I can't believe I have my own Ferb card!
  • Can you do it, or are you all just a bunch of chickens?
  • QUIET!?* (Season 1, I'm a Poet.)


  • D. W: If it could break the sound barrier, falling out of a window shouldn't be able to break it.

Arthur: I told you, not to touch it!

D. W: You built it all wrong. Did you even read the directions? It didn't fly through 1 second. It's not my fault if you made a plane that can't fly . . . . .

Arthur: I TOLD YOU, NOT TO TOUCH IT!?* (Arthur Timothy Read begins to use his right fist and begins to try to make a great, big powerful and makes a great, big strong punch to D. W. Read right in the left humorous bone.)

D. W: (She walks away while she is still crying with her screaming cry all louder and louder it will be.)

Mrs. Jane Read: Arthur Timothy Read, come here!

Arthur: Uh, oh! Middle name!

  • Brain: [He is acting during the gang's "James Hound" movie.] According to my calculations, the last digit of the code should be a one or a two. But which is it? A one or a two?
    [Brain presses 1; The library lights go off.]
    Arthur: I guess it was a two.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Format Children's television series
Created by WGBH, based on the series of books by Marc Brown
Starring Michael Yarmush
Justin Bradley
Mark Rendall
Cameron Ansell
Country of origin
No. of episodes 165 (List of episodes)
Running time 30 minutes (approx. 11 minutes per episode)
Original channel PBS
Original run September 2, 1996 – present

Arthur is a Canadian/American children's television series, based on a series of books written by Marc Brown. The series has had 165 episodes made between September 1996 and October 2010 in fourteen seasons so far. The show is about a human-like aardvark named Arthur Read. The show is focused on his life, and deals with normal childhood problems.




  • Arthur Timothy Read is the title character of the series. He is a third grade student at Lakewood Elementary in Elwood City. He has two younger sisters, Dora Winifred (D.W.) and Kate. He likes reading, watching television, playing sports, playing piano, and spending time with his friends.
  • Alan "The Brain" Powers is one of Arthur's friends and classmates. He is an only child. He excels in academics and athletics. He spends his free time working at his parents' ice cream parlor, while also managing a career as an amateur soccer player. Also, "Brain" and his family celebrate Kwanzaa as revealed in Arthur's Perfect Christmas.
  • Alberto Molina, 13, is one of Arthur's newer neighbors. He became a character in the season during season six, following the departure of Mr. Sipple. Alberto and his family hail from Ecuador. He practices kendo in his spare time, and enjoys reading "El Conejo Bionico", the Spanish version of Bionic Bunny.
  • Binky Barnes is one of Arthur's friends and classmates. Binky is a stereotypical bully, who secretly harbors sensitive and caring feelings. He enjoys studying the fine arts, including playing the clarinet and performing ballet. He is the leader of a "bully clique", known as the Tough Customers who, in later seasons, become less bully-like. Recently, his family adopted a baby sister, named Meilin, from China.
  • Buster Baxter is Arthur's best friend. Buster enjoys watching television, reading works of science fiction, and playing video games. Buster lives with his mother, Bitzi, and occasionally travels with his father. Buster also had his own spin-off series, entitled Postcards from Buster.
  • Francine Alice Frensky is a tomboy who loves sports, drumming and singing. She is often blunt and outspoken. She is Jewish and of Polish descent. Francine is best friends with Muffy Crosswire.
  • Dora Winifred "D.W." Read is Arthur's little sister. She goes to preschool, and enjoys watching children's television shows such as "Mary Moo Cow". Many of the series' plots revolve around tensions between D.W. and her brother.
  • Emily is one of D.W.'s classmates and friends. She first meets D.W. in a gymnastics class, and later became a regular character in the series. She is very rich.
  • Fern Walters is one of Arthur's classmates. She is often shy and quiet. She enjoys reading poetry and mystery novels. Fern's mother, Doria, tries to get Fern to become more outgoing.
  • George Nordgren is one of Arthur's classmates. He is well-known in his class as a ventriloquist, performing with his dummy, Wally. He has dyslexia.
  • Katherine Frensky is Francine's older sister, around 16 years old. She reads teen magazines and often talks on the telephone.
  • Jenna Morgan is a minor character in Arthur's grade. She plays badminton, helps coach soccer, received an Athlete of the Year award from Michelle Kwan, and is allergic to milk (making her lactose intolerant). Jenna has nocturnal enuresis, otherwise known as bedwetting.
  • Kaitlyn "Baby Kate" Read is Arthur and D.W.'s baby sister. She's been shown to be able to communicate with Pal and other animals in some of the episodes.
  • Marina Datillo is Prunella's best friend. She is blind and is obsessed with Henry Screever, the show's parody of Harry Potter. She and Prunella met when Prunella unwillingly received a Braille edition of the latest Henry Screever novel and let Marina borrow it, and since then they have become best friends. Marina is notably good at yoga and joined Prunella and her mother, Wanda, in their early-morning yoga routine. In one episode, she is seen in a Mighty Mountain soccer uniform. In another, she is in a Lakewood uniform.
  • Meilin is Binky's little sister who was adopted from China. In her debut (at the Chinese restaurant), she was talking to Baby Kate. She and her brother are very close to each other.
  • Mary Alice "Muffy" Crosswire is Francine's best friend, though they are opposites in many ways. She is the wealthiest girl in school, the stereotypical rich/spoiled girl. She tends to be extremely self-centered, and like Francine, her behavior occasionally leads her into trouble with her friends.
  • Molly MacDonald is close friends with Binky. She is known to be good at giving advice. Molly has short brown hair that completely covers her eyes. She has a little brother named James who is in D.W.'s preschool class.
  • Prunella Deegan is a grade above Arthur and his friends, and as a result is somewhat snobbish and condescending towards the younger kids. She is interested in yoga, fortune telling, and paranormal phenomena.
  • Rattles is another member of the Tough Customers, in fourth grade at Lakewood. Rattles has been a Tough Customer member since the first season of the program. In one episode, he almost did a stunt of rollerblading over trash cans but was thwarted when Binky told Principal Haney.
  • Rubella Deegan is Prunella's older teen sister. She is very spiritual and obsessed with psychic and paranormal phenomena. She is typically depicted as a mystical, and she often talks in a very dramatic tone. She often chides in on Prunella.
  • Sue Ellen Armstrong is a recent transfer to Arthur's school. Her father is a diplomat, and so her family has lived in various spots around the world. She is interested in world culture, and has a black-belt in the martial arts.
  • Timmy Tibble is one brother in a set of twins who routinely exasperate Arthur, D.W., and most everyone with their mischievous antics. Timmy wears a blue scarf and is the more mischievous of the twins.
  • Tommy Tibble is the other brother in a set of twins. Tommy wears a red scarf, and D.W. once taught him to be good.
  • Vicita Molina is Arthur's new neighbor who moved in after Mr. Sipple moved out, introduced in season 6. She's three and seven-eighths, in her own proud words, and often plays with D.W. and the Tibbles. Her family is from Ecuador.

The adults

  • Mr. Armstrong: Sue Ellen's father, a diplomat.
  • Mrs. Armstrong: Sue Ellen's mother, is a homemaker with a penchant for exotic clothes.
  • Bailey: Muffy's chauffeur and sometimes the Crosswire Family's butler. He also has a notable talent in creating kinetic art, and follows Muffy's orders without question, even when told to drive the Crosswire limo in quite dangerous fashion. Although in one episode he was called James.
  • Mr. Barnes: Binky's father.
  • Mrs. Barnes: Binky's mother, a nurse.
  • Bitzi Baxter: Buster's mom, the editor-in-chief of the Elwood City Times. She's overprotective of Buster and a frantic character.
  • Bo Baxter: Buster's father, who is divorced. He is a pilot. Buster flies with him around the United States in the spin-off Postcards from Buster series. In Postcards from Buster, he is shown with short brown hair and glasses. However, during his few appearances in earlier seasons of Arthur, his face is noticeably hidden from view, for instance behind a newspaper. He looks almost exactly like Harry, Bitzi Baxter's former boyfriend. His physical appearance has changed several times.
  • Coach Biltwell: The Lakewood Elementary School Gym teacher.
  • Ms. Brian: The Lakewood Elementary School Art teacher.
  • David L. Read: Arthur and D.W.'s father. Mr. Read runs a catering business from home and is frequently shown garnishing trays of hors d'oeuvres in the family kitchen. In some older episodes, his first name is said to be "Nigel", creating strange inconsistencies. In the episode "D.W. Aims High," Arthur's dad hinted that he was born in the early 1960's.
  • Doria Walters: Fern's mother. She works for a real estate company and is very confident and encouraging in her daughter.
  • Edward Crosswire: Muffy's father, the owner of a car dealership called "Crosswire Motors". It was revealed that he never attended college; rather he received an honorary degree after his donation of a library. He is also the coach of the soccer team.
  • Mrs. Fink: The final third grade teacher at Lakewood Elementary School. Like Mrs. Sweetwater, she always did fun things with her class. She was seen in Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn, but has rarely been seen since.
  • Dr. Frederick Fugue: Once taught Arthur piano lessons and later filled in for Ms. Krasny to take Mr. Ratburn's class to Crown City for a singing chorus field trip. He seems to have perfect pitch because he was able to tell that a car horn was needed to be tuned when it played a C#.
  • Fritz Langley: Caretaker of the Elwood City Community Garden who sometimes suffers from arthritis in his hands while working. Most likely a reference to the 1920s German film director Fritz Lang
  • "Grandma" Thora Read: Grandma Thora is Arthur and D.W.'s paternal grandmother, who is quite caring, but tends towards being a bad cook. Grandma Thora is based on Brown's own grandmother Thora, who encouraged him by saving his childhood drawings in a bottom drawer.
  • "Grandpa" Dave: an aardvark. Grandpa Dave is Arthur and D.W.'s maternal grandfather. He lives on the family farm which has been in the family for 150 years.
  • Harry Mills: Works at Bitzi's newspaper as a sports writer. Bitzi started dating him for a couple of seasons, but then broke off because she wanted more time to pursue other interests.
  • Herbert Haney: Mr. Haney is the lovable yet absentminded principal of Arthur's school. He, like George, suffers from dyslexia. He also seems to have bad luck: something goes wrong almost everywhere he goes.
  • Mr. Higgins: The Elwood City mail carrier who once told Buster during Buster's week long job as school mail delivery boy the G.L.A.D. mail procedure.
  • Dr. Iris: She was the eye doctor who suggested that Arthur needed glasses in the first episode "Arthur's Eyes". (In the original Arthur book "Arthur's Eyes", Dr. Iris is a fox.)
  • Jane Read: Arthur and D.W.'s mother. Mrs. Read is a work-at-home tax accountant.
  • Jessica: Jane's sister. She is married to Richard and has a daughter, Cora. She appears in the episode "D.W. Thinks Big" for her sister Lucy's wedding.
  • Ms. Krasny: The Lakewood Elementary School Music teacher.
  • Laverne Frensky: Francine's mother.
  • Loretta: Arthur's aunt on his dad's side. She is somewhat overbearing and uses the word "dear" a lot when speaking to Arthur's mother at the family reunion.
  • Lucy: Jane's younger sister. She appears in the episode "D.W. Thinks Big", where D.W. rescues the ring at Lucy's wedding.
  • Mr. Marco: an aardvark. Arthur's second grade teacher. He appears in some episodes in season 1.
  • Marie-Helene: Emily's French nanny.
  • Millicent Crosswire: Muffy's mother who likes opera.
  • Ramon Molina: Arthur's new neighbor. Moved into Mr. Sipple's house when he moved out in Season 6.
  • Mrs. Molina: Arthur's new neighbor; Ramon's wife. Moved into Mr. Sipple's house when he moved out in Season 6.
  • Mrs. Morgan: Jenna's mother.
  • Ms. Morgan: D.W.'s preschool teacher.
  • John Morris: John Morris, a Lakewood Elementary School Janitor for 6 years, had recently moved to Roswell, New Mexico to live with his daughter after breaking his leg during the Lakewood Fire, and is seen in the Postcards from Buster episode "Alien Adventure" when Buster visited New Mexico.
  • Nigel Emil Ratburn III: Mr. Ratburn is Arthur and his friends' teacher. His passions are homework and puppetry; he also enjoys magic tricks and spent a summer working at Jack's Joke Shop. He is also knowledgeable about Japanese lutes, such as the Biwa, but is noticeably incompetent with computers. Even Prunella made a joke about Mr. Ratburn one time that he eats nails in a cereal bowl for breakfast. He is a fanatic of the show "Spooky Roo," the show's parody of Scooby Doo.
  • Oliver Frensky: Francine's dad, who works as an sanitation engineer for the local city dump. He states he was formerly a volunteer firefighter. He is somewhat childish but optimistic in nature. He coaches the baseball team.
  • Paige Turner: Ms. Turner is the friendly but strict librarian at the Elwood City Library. Originally she had brown/brunette hair until Season 11 when she sported blonde hair.
  • Mrs. Pariso: Francine's next door neighbor, who is very good at horseback riding and also won prizes at Wimbledon. She banged on Francine's wall when she first moved in to their apartment building, which made Francine think she was mean, but the two became good friends in the end.
  • Patty Jones: The woman who played Mary Moo Cow, who later appeared as a newscaster for the TV show "Stock Market Today".
  • Mr. Powers: Brain's father.
  • Mrs. Powers: Brain's mother, who owns and runs the ice cream shop. Mrs. Powers originally had brown hair for the first season, but later seasons show Mrs. Powers with yellow hair (despite evidence that Brain's family is African-American).
  • Rodentia Ratburn: Mr. Ratburn's sister, who once filled in for Mr. Ratburn for a day when he was sick. Her teaching methods are notably similar to those of Mrs. Sweetwater.
  • Mrs. Robertson: The Lakewood Elementary School Kindergarten teacher who is now retired. Brain was a student twice in her class.
  • Mr. Sanders: The tyrant landlord who works for the apartment building where the Frensky family live. Mr. Sanders once accused Francine about the water usage and reading of water meters.
  • Sarah MacGrady: Mrs. MacGrady is the lunch lady at Lakewood Elementary school, where Arthur and his friends study. She is full of unconventional wisdom, and is Grandma Thora's bingo buddy. She commonly wears a pink shirt and white pants.
  • Susy Sipple: Arthur's odd next-door neighbor from Season 1 to 6, who enjoys barbecuing fish late at night and comes from a place where making faces on a bike means bring the biker a cabbage. He moves out in Season 6, and the Molinas move in to his home.
  • Miss Sweetwater: She is also a third grade teacher in another Lakewood Elementary School class, she mostly does fun things to her students like singing songs (such as "I Like Fudge") on her guitar. One time Miss Sweetwater had an argument in the teacher's lounge with Mr. Haney telling him "I didn't move your cheese!" (A parody of the book Who Moved My Cheese?)
  • Mrs. Tibble: The grandmother of Tommy and Timmy Tibble. (In early Arthur books, Mrs. Tibble is a human, however many newer books and the show have her as a moose.)
  • Miss Tingley: Principal Haney's secretary. One time she was afraid of Miss Sweetwater's singing and Mr. Haney's sawing-in-half magic trick.
  • Mr. Walters, a dog, Fern's father who was finally first seen in Season 11 in the episode Phony Fern.
  • Wanda Deegan: a rat. Prunella and Rubella's mother. She enjoys yoga and granola.
  • Wilbur Rabbit: The actor who plays Bionic Bunny. Wears glasses exactly like Arthur's.
  • Mrs. Woods: Perky's owner. Her grouchy dog, Perky (aka Jaws), is Pal's mother.

Characters That Are Based on Real People

  • Bill Clinton (called The President) Although never specifically identified as Bill Clinton, the animation and voice is very close to Bill Clinton's look and voice. He appears when the Read family goes to D.C. and D.W. gets lost in the White House. At the end, he confesses to a love of pizza.
  • George W. Bush: Any time after 2001, "The President" is now a rabbit that looks and sounds much like George W. Bush.
  • Alex Trebek (called Alex Lebek in the episode to make it not so obvious): Alex Trebek appears in the episode Arthur and the Big Riddle as the host of the Riddle Quest game show.
  • Art Garfunkel: Art Garfunkel appears in two Arthur episodes. He first appears in the episode The Ballad of Buster Baxter, and then later appears in Elwood City Turns 100! as one of the guests that Muffy invites to the play.
  • Arthur Ganson: Arthur Ganson appears in the episode Muffy's Art Attack.
  • The Backstreet Boys (Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean, and Kevin Richardson): The Backstreet Boys appear in the episode Arthur, It's Only Rock n' Roll.
  • Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi): The Car Talk hosts appear in the episode Pick a Car, Any Car, where Arthur calls them about their car when it is about to go to the junkyard.
  • Matt Damon: Matt Damon appears in the episode The Making of Arthur as the host of a show "Postcards from You" (inspired by the "Postcards from You" segment that has been the mid-show feature on Arthur since Season 11 and the feature on the second season of "Postcards from Buster").
  • Edgar Rentería: Edgar Rentería also appears in The Curse of the Grebes also playing a Grebe.
  • Frank Gehry: Frank Gehry appears in the episode Castles in the Sky, and helps the gang create a new tree house, although they do not know he is Frank Gehry until he gives them a signed photo of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
  • Fred Rogers: Mister Rogers appears on the episode Arthur Meets Mister Rogers. He visits Arthur's house and Arthur is embarrassed because he thinks that Mister Rogers Neighborhood is a baby show. Other people think that too. But, when Mr. Rogers comes for a visit to Arthur's class, they all change their minds when Binky says "Wow, can I have your autograph too?" to Arthur.
  • Jack Prelutsky: Jack Prelutsky appears on the episode I'm a Poet, as the judge of a poetry contest. At the end of the contest, he can not decide who's the winner, so he says "I hate contests. You all win".
  • Johnny Damon: Johnny Damon also appears in The Curse of the Grebes, also playing a member of the Elwood City Grebes.
  • Joshua Redman: Joshua Redman also appears in the episode My Music Rules as Francine's second-cousin-twice-removed, who they call "Uncle Josh". He gets invited by Arthur and Francine.
  • J. P. Morgan: J. P. Morgan appears in Elwood City Turns 100!, during a flashback to the city's dedication by President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Koko Taylor: Koko Taylor appears in the episode Big Horns George, and is Alan "The Brain"'s favorite blues musician.
  • Larry King: Larry King appears in the "And Now a Word From Us Kids" section of the episode Elwood City Turns 100! and interviews the gang.
  • Marc Summers: He will appear in "Francine's Sloppy Decision" during Season 12.
  • Michelle Kwan: Michelle Kwan appears in the episode The Good Sport, as the host of the Athlete of the Year Award at Lakewood Elementary. It is also said that she graduated from Lakewood Elementary in that series.
  • Mike Timlin: Mike Timlin appears in the episode The Curse of the Grebes, playing a member of the Elwood City Grebes.
  • Ming Tsai: Ming Tsai appears in the episode What's Cooking?.
  • Rodney Gilfry: Rodney Gilfry appears in the episode Lights, Camera, Opera as he has a role in the Carmen opera that Muffy and Ed Crosswire see.
  • Taj Mahal: Taj Mahal also appears in the episode Big Horns George with Koko Taylor.
  • Theodore Roosevelt: President Theodore Roosevelt dedicates Elmwood City during a flashback in Elwood City Turns 100!
  • Yo-Yo Ma: Yo-Yo Ma appears in the episode My Music Rules with Joshua Redman. He is the musician that D.W. invites (D.W. tended to call him "Yo Mama").

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