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The Get Along Gang
Get-Along Gang cartoon group.jpg
The Get-Along Gang, L to R: Dotty, Zipper, Montgomery, Woolma (kneeling), Bingo, Portia.
Format Animated series
Created by Those Characters from Cleveland
Developed by DIC Entertainment, Pilot episode by Nelvana
Starring Sparky Marcus
Bettina Bush
Sherry Lynn
Robbie Lee
Georgi Irene
Scott Menville
Timothy Gibbs
Nicky Katt
Frank Welker
Don Messick
Chuck McCann
Country of origin  United States
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 14 (Including the pilot)
Production
Executive producer(s) Andy Heyward
Jean Chalopin
Running time 22 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Nickelodeon (Pilot, 1984), CBS (TV series) (1984-85)
Original run April 1984 (Pilot), September 1984 – September 1985 (TV series)
External links
Official website

The Get Along Gang were characters created in 1984 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. But it had Re-runs until 1993.

Each of the characters had obvious faults, which they learned to overcome with the aid of their friends. For instance, the group's leader, Montgomery Moose, was quite clumsy, and tended to get his antlers caught in certain objects, such as tree branches; Woolma Lamb was extremely vain and self-centered; Dotty Dog was very careless, with a tendency to leap before she looked; Bingo Beaver was horribly greedy, with a talent for getting himself and/or others into trouble (although not mean-spirited like Catchum Crocodile).

Contents

Characters

The following six members of the gang were its core members:

  • Montgomery "Good News" Moose (Sparky Marcus) - The leader of the Get Along Gang who was sometimes awkward. Well-rounded, he excelled in athletics while tinkering in electronics and science.
  • Dotty Dog (Bettina Bush) - A cheerleader and sort of "second-in-command."
  • Woolma Lamb (Georgi Irene) - An aspiring ballet dancer who seemed to be defined by her vanity. She was often seen carrying a mirror to primp, or admire herself.
  • Zipper Cat (Robbie Lee) - An athletic feline who was always playing the tough guy, despite being friendly to the rest of the gang.
  • Portia Porcupine (Sherry Lynn) - The youngest member of the Gang who was always inquisitive. She tended to cry or throw tantrums when frustrated.
  • Bingo "Bet-It-All" Beaver (Scott Menville) - A prankster and gambler who sometimes acted as comic relief. He had a fear of water until he saved a dam from giving way. Though being Zipper's good friend, Bingo always feared and respected him.

Six other members of the gang appeared less frequently than the others:

  • Braker Turtle (Frank Welker/Don Messick) - He was ironically the fastest runner in Green Meadow. He enjoyed being hip, despite his nerdy appearance. Braker made occasional appearances with spoken dialogue in the DIC cartoon series...usually as a friend of the 6 gang kids above but not a full-time member of the gang.
  • Rocco Rabbit - A reformed bully who was almost always asleep. He and Braker may have been inspired by the Tortoise and the Hare.
  • Rudyard Lion - A foreign-exchange student who had an obvious crush on Woolma. A possible nod to Rudyard Kipling author of The Jungle Book
  • Flora "Forget-Me-Not" Fox - An avid botanist and photographer who was extroverted despite appearing shy to others.
  • Bernice Bear - A tomboy who liked to keep things neat and tidy. Bernice was also proficient in cooking and sewing.
  • Lolly Squirrel - Her father owned a candy factory. She tended to be a bit of a tattletale at times.

Two new members to the gang were added sometime after the thirteen television episodes were produced:

  • Hocus Hare and Pocus Possum - A pair of magicians.

Interestingly, the two regular villains of the show were the only non-mammals in the series (Braker excepted):

  • Catchum Crocodile (Timothy Gibbs) - A constant troublemaker who was always trying to take whatever he wanted, regardless of whose it was. More than once he tried to steal the Gang's "clubhouse caboose."
  • Leland Lizard (Nicky Katt) - Catchum's dopey sidekick, who was sometimes not as dumb as he looked. In the pilot he was able to change color, but he showed no such ability in the series. He wears a pants, suspenders and shoes.

Other characters included:

TV series

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 members (Montgomery, Dotty, Zipper, Bingo, Woolma, 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).

Other merchandise

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.

Criticism

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.[citation needed] Consequently, many of the series' stories attempted to reinforce the importance of group harmony over individualism.[citation needed]

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 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 gang learned the error of his or her ways. ...

Also, it should be noted that the show Garfield and Friends (which Evanier served as a chief writer for) had The Buddy Bears, a recurring group of characters which seems to poke fun of this principle.

"...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?"[1]

Decline and Attempted Revival

During mid-to-late 1985, toy and greeting card sales began their decline, the first sign of the Gang's popularity waning. A few products (plastic figurines, some greeting cards, and a coloring book) were released or possibly planned, 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 a press release dated June 8, 2004, the Joester Loria Group, a licensing and marketing agency, announced its addition of The Get Along Gang to its stable of classic properties. Plans called for the availability of Get Along Gang merchandise, such as clothing, toys and games; however as Feb. 2008, those plans have yet to be realized.[2]

There were also plans for a DVD release of the series by S'More Entertainment (who released a DVD of The Littles, another DIC series); however, TV Shows on DVD, a website dedicated to news about DVD releases of TV shows, announced that 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 the release.[3]

Episode Guide

Nelvana

Pilot: The Adventures of the Get Along Gang (1984)

DIC

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

References

  1. ^ POV Online, col. 145
  2. ^ Clubhouse Caboose, a Get Along Gang site
  3. ^ News item at tvshowsondvd.com

External links


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