The Wild Thornberrys: Wikis


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The Wild Thornberrys
Format Animation
Created by Arlene Klasky
Gabor Csupo
Steve Peppon
David Silverman
Stephen Sustaric
Directed by Mark Risley
Starring Lacey Chabert
Tom Kane
Danielle Harris
Jodi Carlisle
Tim Curry
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 91 (List of episodes)
Running time 22 minutes
Original channel Nickelodeon
Original run September 1, 1998 – June 11, 2004

The Wild Thornberrys is an American animated television series that aired on Nickelodeon from September 1, 1998 to June 11, 2004. It was rerun in the USA on Nickelodeon and occasionally Nicktoons Network until 2007.



The Wild Thornberrys, left to right, Nigel (the guy at the bottom left), Marianne (with camera), Eliza (with glasses), Darwin (the monkey), Donnie (with Nickelodeon Hair), and Debbie (sitting down, bored)

The series follows the Thornberrys, as they travel the world in their Communications Vehicle, referred to throughout the show as their "Commvee," looking for rare animals to film. Their youngest child, Eliza, is the main character and has the power to speak to animals because of an encounter with an African shaman. She can speak to the family's pet chimpanzee, who is also her best friend. She travels the world with her family and usually helps animals solve their problems. The show was aired on Nicktoonsters in the UK.

At the beginning of every episode, Eliza recites a monologue, which is then followed by the theme music. It states the basic premise of the show, and provides a brief back story.


The Wild Thornberrys was produced by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon. It premiered in September 1998, and was the first Nicktoon to exclusively use 22-minute stories (episodes of other Nicktoons usually featured two 10 - 11-minute stories, using 22-minute stories only on occasion).

Broadcast history

Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.


Elizabeth "Eliza" Thornberry
Voiced by Lacey Chabert, Eliza is the main character, who (unknown to most) gained the ability to speak with animals after an encounter with an African shaman (as shown in the episode "Gift of Gab"). Eliza is portrayed as a geek by her extensive zoological knowledge and her glasses and braces. She has long red hair that is usually worn in braids like Pippi Longstocking, and occasionally a ponytail. She also has a companion-monkey (chimpanzee) like Pippi Longstocking; but instead of superhuman strength, Eliza has the "super-power" of being able to talk to animals; meanwhile the name "Eliza" invariably derives from the name "Eliza Doolittle," due her ability to talk to animals like Dr. Doolittle. She almost always wears a yellow dress, though later in the series she sports other clothes. Eliza suffered a serious attack of appendicitis while rock climbing in the Australian outback. Eliza is 12 in the series.
Deborah "Debbie" Thornberry
Voiced by Danielle Harris, Debbie is a typical 16-year-old girl who is Eliza's older sister, interested in music and fashion, and who longs for a normal suburban life though her parents' job deprives her of this. Even though she ridicules Eliza, she truly does care for her. She commonly wears an orange camisole, a green jacket, blue jeans (with holes deliberately torn in the knees as a fashion statement) and brown shoes. In "The Wild Thornberrys Movie," she learns Eliza's secret after Eliza reveals it to the poachers that were threatening to kill her if Eliza didn't tell them how she knew about their plan to kill a herd of elephants. Debbie is amazed that Eliza gave up her gift to save her life and promises to keep her secret -- but only under the belief that if she doesn't, she'll be turned into a baboon. It is shown in the episode "Chew If by Sea" that Debbie suffers from chronic seasickness.
Sir Nigel Archibald Thornberry
Voiced by Tim Curry, Nigel is the only child of Radcliffe and Cordelia (since none of his family members said he had any siblings) travels around the world with his family making wildlife documentaries for his own show. He resembles Steve Irwin and David Attenborough, and speaks with an English accent. He somewhat resembles Lt. Col. Algernon Hawthorne in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, played by Terry-Thomas. He is easily excited and is usually calm, even in the face of danger, and his catchphrase is "Smashing!" Nigel was knighted by the Queen of the United Kingdom, and offered a professorship at Oxford University. Much to his mother's disapproval, Nigel turned down the professorship. Although he is an expert at the natural world, Nigel is pretty slow when faced with other things; but he is always fascinated by nature, even in the face of his own demise as a result of it.
Lady Marianne Hunter Thornberry
Voiced by Jodi Carlisle, Marianne is Nigel's wife and operates the film camera. Marianne is a strong woman, often the voice of reason, and sometimes loses patience with Nigel. She is usually the one to take on disciplinary duties, forcing Eliza to stay in the confines of the comvee, or forcing Debbie to complete her schoolwork.
Darwin Thornberry
Voiced by Tom Kane, Darwin is a chimpanzee who travels with the family, and a loyal companion to Eliza. He usually wears a regular sleeveless shirt with blue stripes and blue shorts. He speaks with a distinct upper-class British accent. He tries to be the voice of reason to Eliza, however she rarely takes his advice, since he is almost always hesitant to follow her plans; in response, she accuses him of cowardice, once calling him a "crybaby in a tank-top" for his hesitancy. He was found by Eliza, and was the first animal she ever talked to.
Donnie Thornberry
Voiced by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and occasionally Justin "Bucket" Hanks, Donnie is a feral boy who (as revealed in the 2001 4-part TV movie, "The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin of Donnie") was raised by orangutans (similar to Tarzan) after his real parents were killed by poachers, before the Thornberrys adopted him. He commonly wears a pair of leopard-spotted shorts (also similar to Tarzan's leopardskin loincloth) and he loves to eat bees. He talks very wildly and unintelligibly in animal-sounds (but nothing Eliza can understand), but is able to adapt to most environments. Donnie is 4, but turns 5 in "The Origin of Donnie".


The Commvee (an abbreviation of "communications vehicle") is a two-story mobile home; the main door leads up a flight of stairs to a main floor with the driver and passenger seat in the front, followed by a table for eating at on the west side of the car, a kitchen type counter at the eastern side, and a bathroom in the back which also serves as a dark-room for editing film. There is a "basement/1st floor" that contains one room with a big bed for Nigel and Marianne, a room with a small bed (for Debbie) and two hammocks for Eliza and Darwin, and then in the hall a hammock for Donnie. There is also a small box near the floor of the "main story" that contains various switches which can inflate a raft for crossing rivers and the ocean to a "lock-down" mode in which iron plates cover the windows (as seen in Thornberry Island) for typhoons; there are other switches that can put the car into a submarine mode, or inflate a bag on top of the car for falling objects or rising to the surface of the ocean. Near the 'switch box' there is a hatch (as seen in Rugrats go wild) that gives access to a mini-sub. There is also a roof with a satellite that barely ever gets reception, but is used to upload footage to the foundation. On the outside there are many compartments, supposedly for carrying equipment and other smaller vehicles such as the 'mini-comm' for short-range transport or picking up passengers and returning them to camp or the submarine for deep sea expedition (the bat-o-sphere).

They also have a variety of cameras with which they film.


Season Ep # First Airdate Last Airdate
Season 1 20 September 1, 1998 April 1, 1999
Season 2 37 August 16, 1999 November , 1999
Season 3 36 September 12, 2000 May 14, 2001
Season 4 14 August 18, 2001 June 11, 2004


Three movies have been released:

  • "The Wild Thornberrys: The Origin Of Donnie" (2001): This prequel was released as a TV film and explores Donnie's life before he was found by the Thornberrys.
  • The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002): This theatrical film made $60 million and earned an Academy Award nomination.
  • Rugrats Go Wild (2003): This theatrical film was the final Rugrats film and a cross-over between Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.


External links

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