Animation Talk Stuff

Animation Monday: Fraggle Rock’s 30th Anniversary

Geek Alabama Animation

I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since the Jim Henson Show Fraggle Rock premiered.  Sure, some people wonders why a puppet show aimed for kids has adult fans.  But, believe me, there are fans of Fraggle Rock that have grown up and are showing this show to their kids.  If Fraggle Rock was not popular, the YouTube channel Nerdist would not have done a song with Ben Folds Five featuring the Fraggle Rock muppets.

Fraggle Rock premiered on January 10, 1983 and ran for five seasons and 96 episodes.  Jim Henson served as executive producer of Fraggle Rock.  The show was produced by multiple international agencies like Home Box OfficeCanadian Broadcasting Company, Television South out of the United Kingdom, and Henson Associates.  Fraggle Rock was always attended to be an international production.  The filming of Fraggle Rock took place in Toronto Canada then in England.

fraggle-rock-serie-tv-1983-tou-01-gDid you know that there was several different wraparound versions of Fraggle Rock?  Many people in North America and other parts of the world have known this version of an inventor named Doc (played by Gerry Parkes) and his dog Sprocket.

In England, Fraggle Rock was set at a rocky sea-island with a lighthouse.  Several people played the role of the lighthouse keeper in this version.  Here’s some clips.

In France, the wraparound segments takes place in a bakery with its version of Doc who worked as a baker and a French alter-ego for Sprocket called Croquette.

And in Germany, the action takes place beneath the workshop of the inventor Doc.

Fraggle Rock was that show where you were wanting to sing-along with the songs!  Who doesn’t love the intro.  I can sing it in my head right now!  Dance your cares away,
Worry’s for another day.  Let the music play, Down at Fraggle Rock.

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Just in case you have never seen Fraggle Rock, let me describe the characters.  The Fraggles are humanoid creatures with fur in a wide variety of colors and a tail like a lion’s, with a tuft of fur on the end.  They live in a network of caves called Fraggle Rock, populated by a variety of creatures, and seeming to connect to at least two different worlds in separate dimensions of time and space.  Fraggles spend much of their carefree lives in play, exploring their worlds, and generally enjoying themselves.  One interesting fact is If individuals touch their heads together before falling asleep they can share dreams.

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Within Fraggle Rock lives a second species of small humanoid creatures, the pudgy, green, ant-like Doozers.  Doozers in a sense represent anti-Fraggles; their lives are dedicated to work and industry.  Doozers spend much of their time busily constructing all manner of scaffolding throughout Fraggle Rock using miniature construction equipment and wearing hard-hats and work boots.  No one but the Doozers themselves seem to understand the actual purpose of their intricate and beautiful constructions.  These objects are made out of an edible candy-like substance (manufactured from radishes) which is greatly enjoyed by Fraggles.  The Fraggles eat so the Doozers can keep building!

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On the outside of another exit from Fraggle Rock through a well lives a family of Gorgs, who are giant furry humanoids.  The Gorgs consider themselves to be the King and Queen of the Universe, but to all appearances, seem to be working as simple farmers, with a hut and garden patch.  The second episode of the first season reveals that the Gorgs have never actually met anyone besides themselves in years, suggesting that King and Queen of the Universe are self-bestowed titles.  The Gorgs considers the Fraggles as pests.

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And who can forget Marjory the Trash Heap who is a wise being that serves as the garbage dump of the Gorgs.  She and her heckling heralds Philo and Gunge live near the Gorg’s garden, and she gives the Fraggles guidance and advice, which the Fraggles regard with reverence, although they do not worship her.  You always heard the heralds say “The Trash Heap has spoken!” after the advice was given.  It was always interesting seeing trash giving advice.

Throughout the series, one interesting moment was Gobo’s uncle Matt, known as Traveling Matt.  Matt went out to explore the human world which the Fraggles call Outer Space.  He regularly sent postcards back to Gobo.  The Fraggles called the humans as “silly creatures.”  And in many episodes, you saw Matt interacting with the silly creatures!

The Hub aired a marathon last weekend of the top Fraggle Rock episodes.  It’s unlikely we will ever see another series with the main characters as puppets.  Mostly because computer animation has gotten so good.  Fraggle Rock is one of those series that will be shared with generations of kids to come.  Yes, I do consider Fraggle Rock as a geeky series!  The characters never worried about life and always had a good time with music and dancing!  This is a series that will live on in the hearts of people forever!

The Jim Henson Company created a website devoted to the 30th anniversary of Fraggle Rock, to reach it go to: http://fragglerock30.com/

The Hub had Gobo and Red Fraggle answer some viewer questions, see it below!

Follow Fraggle Rock on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fragglerock and on Twitter @FraggleRock

All images copyright from the Jim Henson Company