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Big Bag (TV series)

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Big Bag (TV series)

Big Bag (TV series)
Genre Puppetry
Educational
Sketch comedy
Created by Nina Elias-Bamberger
Developed by Lou Berger
Allan Neuwirth
Gary Cooper
Directed by Emily Squires
Starring Selena Nelson
Cullen Douglas
Clare Sera
Tessa Ludwick
Muppet Performers:
Rickey Boyd
Alice Dinnean
Joey Mazzarino
Voices of María Conchita Alonso
Fran Brill
Kevin Clash
Allan Enlow
James Spector
Narrated by Andrew Sachs ("William's Wish Wellingtons" segment)
Theme music composer Michael Abbott
Sarah Weeks
Opening theme "Big Bag!"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 30
Production
Executive producer(s) Nina Elias-Bamberger
Khaki Jones (for Cartoon Network)
Producer(s) Nina Shelton
Marie Poe (animation)
Editor(s) Scott P. Doniger
Julie Sanker
Location(s) Disney-MGM Studios (Bay Lake, Florida)
Running time 55 minutes (Season 1)
26 minutes (Season 2)
Production company(s) Children's Television Workshop
Distributor Turner Entertainment (1996)
Warner Bros. Television (1997–1998)
Release
Original channel Cartoon Network
Original release June 2, 1996 – September 7, 1998
External links
Website

Big Bag is a live-action/puppet television program targeted at Pre-school viewers that was produced by Children's Television Workshop, with the puppet characters made by The Jim Henson Company. It aired from 1996 to 1999 on the Cartoon Network. There were also localized versions for Canal J in France and Yorkshire Television in the UK.

Plot

The principal Muppet character was Chelli, a puppet dog who is joined by his best friend Bag. They live with their human friend Molly. Also on the show was Pig, Bird, Duck, and Rabbit. Lyle the Sock and Argyle McSock who often interact with the characters. In 1997, a humanoid puppet character called Sofie joined the cast.

The first season also featured frequent interaction with a large cast of human regulars, including an assortment of child friends (notably Kim), and colorful locals including Martha, Bernard, Trudy, Josie, Doc Furrball, and Waldo.

Characters

  • Chelli (performed by Joey Mazzarino) - A patchwork dog who is the main puppet character of the series. In "Elmo's Visit," it is revealed the Chelli is a pen pal of Elmo. He was designed by Ed Eyth and built by Rollie Krewson.
  • Bag (performed by Rickey Boyd) - A bag who is Chelli's best friend.
  • Molly (played by Selena Nelson) - A female human that Chelli and Bag live with.
  • Argyle and Lyle (performed by Rickey Boyd and Joey Mazzarino) - Two socks that are known for telling knock knock jokes (though Lyle usually refers to as "sock-sock jokes."). When not hanging out in the store's sock bin, they can be found in a laundry hamper or the storeroom.
  • Sofie (performed by Alice Dinnean) - A girl who joins the cast in Season Two.
  • Kim (played by Tess Ludwick) - A human girl who is a friend of Chelli and Bag.
  • Joey (played by Adrian Smith) - A human boy who is a friend of Chelli and Bag.
  • Bernard (played by Cullen Douglas) - A crossing guard who would ask the kids at home if they had their telescope or hat as preludes to the "Troubles the Cat" and "Samuel and Nina" segments.
  • Trudy (played by Clare Sera) - An exercise instructor.
  • Martha (played by Clare Sera) - A shy woman.

Animated segments

The scenes with Chelli and friends served as frames for a variety of individual animated segments, which were also rotated between seasons. As opposed to the shorter clips on Sesame Street, the animated segments ran approximately 3 to 8 minutes each, and were produced by various studios in New York, Australia, and Europe, often with consultation from CTW and Cartoon Network (Big Bag aired back to back with Small World, another preschool series which showcased different international cartoons). The shorts included:

  • Troubles the Cat - This is the first totally original cartoon based on Latino characters to air in the United States. It was developed for television by Nina Elias-Bamberger, Jim Martin, Marie Poe, Luis Santeiro, and Nina Shelton. The group of kids includes Marina, a six-year-old Latina, and her multicultural friends. Marina's cat Troubles (voiced by María Conchita Alonso) uses a "troublescope" to sniff out problems that develop in the group's relationships. Troubles invites home viewers to do the same, using their cardboard tubes as troublescopes "to see what the kids are really thinking and feeling". 24 episodes were made.
  • William's Wish Wellingtons - William's magic boots called Wellingtons make any wish come true. They're a wonderful tool to solve problems with if he can only figure out the right thing to wish for. Each story, whether it's about looking for buried treasure or William wishing himself invisible at his sister's wedding, sparks the imagination of viewers. 13 out of 26 episodes made were aired.
  • Slim Pig - A two-dimensional pig who lives in a three-dimensional world named Slim Pig (voiced by James Spector) is a uniquely proportioned animal who can slide between the barriers that surround his farm. Slim Pig demonstrates that it can be fun to explore and discover new things. Fellow animals admire Slim for his ability and desire to venture beyond their world. 13 episodes were made.
  • Koki - In this claymation segment, a four-year-old chick named Koki has a life similar to that of a preschool child. Koki is learning new responsibilities while adapting to relationships with her family and friends. Koki's younger sibling, an egg, represents a new challenge for her. 13 episodes were made.
  • Tobias Totz and his Lion - Centered around the relationship between two friends: a man named Tobias and a not-so-ferocious lion. Tobias is a retired zookeeper who is frequently asked to return to the zoo and solve problems. These shorts explores alternative solutions to difficult situations. 13 out of 25 episodes made were aired.
  • Samuel and Nina - A dog alter-ego of Charlie Chaplin named Samuel (voiced by Allen Enlow) and a prudent, down-to-earth squirrel named Nina (voiced by Fran Brill) embark on adventures and help humans and creatures in distress by using their imagination. Samuel shapes his hat into a creative piece of apparel, appropriate for his role in each crisis, and prompts viewers to do the same. 13 episodes were made.

In the second season, every segment except Troubles the Cat and Koki were removed. A new segment was added:

  • Ace and Avery - This segment focused on a bespectacled boy Ace (voiced by James Spector) and his raccoon sidekick Avery (voiced by Kevin Clash). This segment was the most likely to incorporate craft elements from the main storyline. 13 episodes were made.

Episodes

Season 1 (1996)

No.
overall 
No. in
season 
Title  Written by  Original air date 
1 1 "Pilot (a.k.a. Let's Work Together)" June 2, 1996 (1996-06-02)
Molly, Chelli, and Bag unpack and get the store ready for opening day. Chelli cannot wait to make new friends, but Bag misses the choo-choo train that was near their old home.Throughout the day the neighborhood adults and children stop by to meet their new neighbors. Chelli makes friends, but the neighborhood kids get into an argument about what to make out of some cardboard boxes. The kids leave in a huff. But the kids soon return and apologize. Chelli and the kids then decide to cooperate and make something that really makes Bag happy--a cardboard choo-choo train!
2 2 "One Little Lie" June 9, 1996 (1996-06-09)
Molly obtains an old music box that has a dancing clown on it. Before she leaves the store, she tells Chelli to wait until she returns before playing it again. Chelli cannot wait and plays with it. But he breaks the music box. He then hides it. Josie comes by the store and mentions that Molly told her about her new music box. Josie asks Chelli to see it and Chelli lies and says Kim has it. Josie and Kim come back to the store to say that Kim does not have it. Then Chelli claims that the music box is with "Him" meaning Doc Furball. Chelli's lie gets bigger and bigger as the whole cast is trying to figure out who has the music box. This lasts until Molly returns upon Chelli claims that Waldo took it for a swim. In the end, Chelli tells the truth and apologizes. Waldo ends up fixing the music box.
3 3 "Bag O' Tricks" June 16, 1996 (1996-06-16)
Chelli is having fun dressing up in disguises. Bag decides that he would like to have a disguise as well to see if he can fool people into thinking she's something she's really not. Chelli and the neighborhood kids work together to come up with a disguise for Bag. However, the disguise does not work--no one is fooled. Later that day, Molly and Kim work with Chelli to make a new disguise for Bag. This time, Bag dresses up as a chicken. Bag (a.k.a. The Chicken) tries to fool Doc, but it does not work. However, Doc just happened to bring some baby chicks with him to the store and they cluster around Bag, convinced that he is their mother. Bag is happy that his disguise finally fooled someone.
4 4 "Good-Bye to Feeling Shy" June 23, 1996 (1996-06-23)
Chelli needs to bring something for show-and-tell day at school. He decides he wants to take Bag. However, Bag is too shy to stand in front of Chelli's class. Molly and Chelli try different methods to cure Bag out of his shyness. They finally succeed with a big finale that the townspeople watch.
5 5 "Birthday Bash" June 30, 1996 (1996-06-30)
It's Kim's birthday and Chelli has painted her a special painting. Kim comes by the store to show everyone her new birthday overalls. She also tries to take a peek at Chelli's painting. Chelli tries to prevent her from seeing the painting and Kim accidentally gets paint on her overalls. She blames Chelli, and Chelli says it was her fault. Kim uninvites Chelli to the birthday party that she is going to have that day. They both realize that it was an accident and decide to apologize to each other. The day ends with a big birthday party at the store.
6 6 "Key, Key, Where Can You Be?" July 7, 1996 (1996-07-07)
Molly discovers a locked wooden chest in her store, but she does not have the key. Josie comes by and tells her that the chest is filled with old toys from the previous store owner. She also mentions that the previous owner would hide keys under objects that remind her of the things she's locking up. Molly, Chelli, and the neighborhood kids set out to search for the key. They decide that the key must be hidden under a toy. They find the key with the help of Bag and the audience at home.
7 7 "The Apple Corps" July 14, 1996 (1996-07-14)
Chelli wants to spend the day telling jokes to Kim. Kim has made other plans. She is going to spend the day with the Apple Corps, a Girl/Boy Scout-type group. Feeling a bit jealous when Molly goes with the Apple Corps, Chelli decides the Apple Corps are not cool and he creates his own group called the "Supercool Incredibly Groovy Joke Squad" where they accidentally cause a mess. The Apple Corps returns to invite Chelli to help them pass out cookies to sick kids. They also help Chelli clean up the mess he and Bag had caused before he can go. Chelli decides that the Apple Corps are cool because they help people. The Apple Corps invite Chelli to join their group.
8 8 "Win, Lose, or Draw" July 21, 1996 (1996-07-21)
After cleaning the store, Chelli complains that it's hard to find things, so Molly decides to decorate the store by having her friends each draw a picture of something that is special to them. Chelli decides to draw a picture of Bag. However, as he shows his picture to everyone, each person thinks it's a wonderful picture of something it is not. Chelli is embarrassed by his drawing. Molly teaches Chelli how to draw a better picture. After much practice, he does. At the end of the day, everyone compliments Chelli on his second picture. Molly points out that his first picture was a wonderful work of art, because it allowed everyone to see what they want to see.
9 9 "The Imaginary Treasure" July 28, 1996 (1996-07-28)
Molly reads a book to Chelli, Bag, Kim, and Jamie about pirates who find a buried treasure. As Molly finishes, she discovers the last pages are missing. Everyone is disappointed because they want to find out what happens to the pirates. So Molly suggests that the kids pretend that they are the pirates. The cast spends the rest of the day looking for make-believe buried treasure and discovers that using their imagination can be very rewarding.
10 10 "My Crayons, My Crayons" August 4, 1996 (1996-08-04)
Chelli receives a new box of crayons and decides the only way to keep them new and pointy is not to share them. However, that day everyone needs to use one of Chelli's crayons. He reluctantly shares with each person but is not happy about it. At the end of the day, Chelli's new crayons are no longer fresh and pointy. Chelli, however, discovers how wonderful it is to be share with his friends....before Bag has a new box of crayons.
11 11 "Practice, Practice" August 11, 1996 (1996-08-11)
Chelli and Kim are scheduled to learn a song on the recorder for a homework assignment. Molly shows them how to play the recorder and reminds them that they need to practice in order to learn how to play the song. Kim practices with the recorder, but Chelli decides he does not need to practice with the actual recorder. He thinks he can learn to play by other methods. After the his way of learning fails, he discovers that practicing is the only way to master a skill.
12 12 "Piano Roll Blues" August 18, 1996 (1996-08-18)
Molly receives music rolls for her player piano. Chelli and Kim are supposed to take turns playing their favorite roll. However, when Kim puts her roll in, she forgets to take turns. She plays her song over and over again and never gives Chelli a chance to play. Chelli is very upset, but is afraid to confront Kim. Instead, he tries various methods to prevent Kim from playing her song. After accidentally breaking the player piano and being talked to by Molly, Chelli finally decides to confront Kim and she apologizes. Waldo is called in to repair the player piano.
13 13 "Bringin' Up Puppy" August 25, 1996 (1996-08-25)
Doc needs a dogsitter for the afternoon and Chelli volunteers for the job. After the puppy falls asleep, Chelli decides that dogsitting can be really boring. Kim and Joey come by to ask Chelli if he would like to rollerblade. Chelli knows he should not because he is supposed to be watching the puppy, but he and Bag leave anyway. When they return they discover the puppy made a mess of the store. Soon after, Doc and Molly return and express their disappointment in Chelli. Chelli apologizes and agrees to clean up the mess the puppy made.

Season 2 (1997–98)

No.
overall 
No. in
season 
Title  Written by  Original air date 
14 1 "Join the Club!" March 9, 1997 (1997-03-09)
Chelli and Sofie disagree about club rules.
15 2 "The Sock Hop" Christine Ferraro March 16, 1997 (1997-03-16)
The gang throws a sock hop to cheer homesick Argyle.
16 3 "Birthday Blahs" Sholly Fisch March 23, 1997 (1997-03-23)
Chelli needs help with Sofie's last-minute birthday party when he realizes he can't do it on his own.
17 4 "Zoom to the Zoo" March 30, 1997 (1997-03-30)
The pals use pets and imagination to create a zoo when they cannot go to a real zoo due to Molly injuring herself.
18 5 "The Showdown" April 7, 1997 (1997-04-07)
Buckaroos Sofie and Chelli have a drawing contest, after Sofie gets something in the mail from her cowboy cousin.
19 6 "Elmo's Visit" Christine Ferraro April 14, 1997 (1997-04-14)
Elmo (from Sesame Street) visits Chelli, realizing they are pen-pals.
20 7 "Afraid of the Dark" April 21, 1997 (1997-04-21)
Chelli and Sofie overcome their fear of the dark after Bag accidentally causes a blackout in the store.
21 8 "Presto Change-O" April 28, 1997 (1997-04-28)
Sofie and Chelli disobey Argyle and play with his magic kit making Bag invisible by mistake.
22 9 "To See or Not to See" May 5, 1998 (1998-05-05)
Sofie dislikes her glasses.
23 10 "Giggle Cookies" May 12, 1998 (1998-05-12)
Chelli tries to get some cookies without asking, but thanks to a mishap from Bag, the "choco-lock cookies" cause whoever eats them to laugh uncontrollably.
24 11 "Royal Bag" May 19, 1998 (1998-05-19)
Sharing is discussed in this episode.
25 12 "It's Showtime" May 26, 1998 (1998-05-26)
Chelli and Sofie want to produce a play of "The Three Little Pigs", but Bag would rather pretend he is a robot. They compromise and put on a play of "The Three Evil Space Pigs", starring Sofie and the socks as the pigs, and Bag as "Robo-Wolf".
26 13 "Case of the Missing Sock" June 2, 1998 (1998-06-02)
Chelli (pretending to be Sherlock Holmes) and Bag (playing Dr. Watson) search for missing socks.
27 14 "Chelli's in Charge" June 9, 1998 (1998-06-09)
Chelli creates a new song and dance.
28 15 "Fair Play at the Country Fair" June 16, 1998 (1998-06-16)
Chelli does not like Sofie's new game.
29 16 "Bathtub Blues" June 23, 1998 (1998-06-23)
Lyle does not want to take a bath.
30 17 "Parrot Patrol" June 30, 1998 (1998-06-30)
Sofie and Chelli lose Molly's bird.

VHS tapes

  1. Explore with Us! (Key, Key, Where Can You Be?) - 1998
  2. Share With Us! (My Crayons, My Crayons) - 1998
  3. Imagine With Us! (The Imaginary Treasure) - 1998
  4. Dance with Us! (Sock Hop and The Birthday Blah) - 2000
  5. Sing with Us! - 2000

Cast

  • Selena Nelson - Molly
  • Cullen Douglas - Bernard the Crossing Guard, Doc Hairrball, Waldo Muckle
  • Clare Sera - Josie the Mail Lady, Martha, Trudy the Exercise Instructor
  • Tessa Ludwick - Kim
  • Jack Mountford - Joey (Season 1)
  • Adrian Smith - Joey
  • Ashley Jones - Neighborhood Kid
  • Jamie Ryan - Neighborhood Kid

Muppet performers

Additional Muppets performed by Jeff Conover, James Andrew Stone, and Matt Vogel.

Voice cast

External links

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