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|The Get Along Gang|
|Created by||Those Characters from Cleveland|
|Developed by||DIC Entertainment, Pilot episode by Nelvana|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||14 (Including the pilot)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
Nickelodeon (Pilot, 1984)|
CBS (TV series) (1984-85)
|Original run||April 1984 (Pilot), September 1984 – September 1985 (TV series)|
The Get Along Gang were characters created in 1983 by American Greetings' toy design and licensing division, "Those Characters from Cleveland" (now American Greetings Properties), for a series of greeting cards. The Get Along Gang was a group of twelve (and later, fourteen) pre-adolescent anthropomorphic animal characters in the fictional town of Green Meadow, who had formed a club that met in an abandoned caboose and who had various adventures whose upbeat stories tended to stress the importance of subsumption of one's own desires and compliance. The success of the greeting card line led to a Saturday morning television series, which aired on CBS for one season, from 1984 until 1985. The time slot was replaced by Disney's The Wuzzles.
Each of the characters had obvious faults, which they learned to overcome with the aid of their friends. For instance, Montgomery Moose, the group's leader, was quite clumsy. Woolma Lamb was extremely vain and self-centered, and Dotty Dog could be careless. Bingo Beaver could be greedy, and tended to get himself and/or others into trouble though he was not mean-spirited like the Gang's enemy, Catchum Crocodile.
Six other members of the gang appeared less frequently than the others:
Two new members to the gang were added sometime after the thirteen television episodes were produced:
Other characters included:
Nelvana produced a pilot episode of The Get Along Gang, which was broadcast on the Nickelodeon cable network in April 1984. The plot revolved around the twelve members of the gang as they try to win a scavenger hunt despite Catchum's cheating and their own competition-fueled infighting. Although all twelve characters were involved, only the six core gang members (Montgomery, Dotty, Zipper, Bingo, Woolma, and Portia) had speaking roles. Among the voice talents in the pilot were Charles Haid (then of Hill Street Blues) as Montgomery and Dave Thomas (fresh from his days on SCTV) as Leland. The pilot also aired in syndication nationwide in June. John Sebastian, famous for working for Nelvana at the time, would write and sing for the pilot, as well as being the Narrator for the episode.
For reasons unknown, in between the pilot episode and the series premiere on CBS, production of the series was handed over to DIC Entertainment. Thirteen half-hour episodes were produced, each containing two eleven-minute segments. As with the pilot, the focus was on the six core members of the gang, with the other six members making very sporadic appearances. Out of those six, only Braker Turtle had a regular speaking role. The series' second year on CBS consisted solely of reruns. In 1987, all thirteen DIC-produced episodes were rerun as part of a short-lived syndicated cartoon package called Kideo TV.
Voice talent on the DIC-produced series included Timothy Gibbs (Catchum), Scott Menville (Bingo), Don Messick (Officer Growler, Mr. Hoofnagel, others), Frank Welker (Braker, others), and a young Nicky Katt (Leland).
The brief series spawned a large range of merchandise and spin-off projects including stuffed toys and action figures made by Tomy and a series of storybooks published by Scholastic Press. The Tomy action figure line and Scholastic Press books actually lasted longer than the DiC cartoon series itself.
The characters were also adapted into comic books. In America, their series, which ran for six bi-monthly issues in 1985 and 1986, was published by Marvel Comics' Star Comics imprint. In the United Kingdom, Marvel UK published a weekly Get Along Gang comic, which ran for 93 issues from April 1985 until January 1987.
In 1986, Ralph Novak of People Weekly observed that Nelvana's pilot special "is enlivened by the music of John Sebastian and some relatively sophisticated (for television) animation. Cartoon violence is only the most innocuous sort."
The series was the product of an era in the 1980s when television watchgroups held great influence over children's programming, demanding that shows intended for young viewers emphasise positive values rather than violence or conflict. Consequently, many of the series' stories attempted to reinforce the importance of group harmony over individualism.
In an August 8, 1997 article written by television/cartoon writer Mark Evanier for his website, POVonline, in which he recalled writing for the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series, which premiered one year before The Get Along Gang, Evanier noted:
[Television watchgroups] all seek to make kidvid more enriching and redeeming, at least by their definitions, and at the time, they had enough clout to cause the networks to yield. Consultants were brought in and we, the folks who were writing cartoons, were ordered to include certain "pro-social" morals in our shows. At the time, the dominant "pro-social" moral was as follows: The group is always right...the complainer is always wrong.
This was the message of way too many eighties' cartoon shows. If all your friends want to go get pizza and you want a burger, you should bow to the will of the majority and go get pizza with them. There was even a show for one season on CBS called The Get-Along Gang, which was dedicated unabashedly to this principle. Each week, whichever member of the gang didn't get along with the others learned the error of his or her ways....
...I don't believe you should always go along with the group. What about thinking for yourself? What about developing your own personality and viewpoint? What about doing things because you decide they're the right thing to do, not because the majority ruled and you got outvoted?
The show Garfield and Friends (which Evanier served as a chief writer for) had The Buddy Bears, a recurring group of characters which seemed to poke fun of this principle.
In mid-to-late 1985 the toy and greeting card sales began to decline, the first sign of the Gang's popularity waning. A few products (plastic figurines, some greeting cards, and a coloring book) were released, with Hocus Hare and Pocus Possum joining at the tail-end of the Gang's run. The greeting card and toy line ended in 1987.
In mid-2004, the Joester Loria Group, a licensing and marketing agency, announced the addition of The Get Along Gang to its stable of classic properties. Plans called for the availability of merchandise, such as clothing, toys, games and home decor; this relaunch never materialized. There were also plans for a DVD release of the series by S'More Entertainment (who released The Littles, another DIC series, to DVD); however, the planned release had been cancelled because American Greetings, who owns the property (and thus had the final say on the matter), would not approve it.
Pilot: The Adventures of the Get Along Gang (1984)
|Ep.||Airdate||Cartoon 1||Cartoon 2|
|1||15 September 1984||Zipper's Millions||Half a Map is Better Than None|
|2||22 September 1984||Caboose on the Loose||Montgomery's Mechanical Marvel|
|3||29 September 1984||Head in the Clouds||Hunt for the Beast|
|4||6 October 1984||Woolma's Birthday||The Get Along Detectives|
|5||13 October 1984||The Get Along Gang Go Hollywood||Them's the Brakes|
|6||20 October 1984||A Pinch of This, A Dash of That||Bingo's Tale|
|7||27 October 1984||Engineer Roary||Pick of the Litter|
|8||3 November 1984||Nose for News||The Lighthouse Pirates|
|9||10 November 1984||The Wrong Stuff||Uneasy Rider|
|10||17 November 1984||The Get Along Gang Minus One||Camp Get Along|
|11||24 November 1984||Bingo's Pen Pal||Follow the Leader|
|12||1 December 1984||School's Out||The Bullies|
|13||8 December 1984||That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles||Snowbound Showdown|