BunnyTown is a children's puppet television series that airs on Playhouse Disney's block in the United States and Canada, as well as more than seventy other countries. It is Disney's first large-scale international production.
The program, created by David Rudman, his brother Adam and Todd Hannert, under their Spiffy Pictures banner, began airing in Canada on November 3, 2007, and in the USA a week later. It is produced by Bill Barretta, who currently worked for Jim Henson Productions. UK viewers got a premiere of this program on January 13, 2008 on the Playhouse Disney channel sublet of pay-broadcaster Family. In France, the series began on January 27, 2008, and kept its original title Bunnytown. The show is produced at the Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, England, with many of the outdoor segments done at Clarence Park and Verulamium Park in nearby St Albans. The final episode was scheduled to air sometime in 2009. It is slated to return in February 2012 on the new 24-hour Disney Junior channel.
Characters and locations
The animated bunny characters are mostly archetypes found in pop culture and storybooks. Among others are the King and his court, pirates, Superbunny (performed by David Rudman) and his archnemesis Little Bad Bunny, Spacebunny Suzi who rides a rocket-powered scooter, two "cave bunnies" and their dinosaur, Inventor Bunny (an Einstein-like bunny), and Farmer Gramps. Other original bunnies include Underwear Bunny and Norbert.
Most of the action takes place in Bunnytown itself, but other locations include the King's castle, the high seas, outer space, and a jungle landscape complete with Great Wall of China.
Bunnytown is neighbored by Peopletown, inhabited by humans. A bunny journeys through underground tunnels to view the entertainment from the safety of the burrow. Regularly appearing Peopletown humans include Red and Fred, a silent slapstick or pratfall duo in the vein of Laurel and Hardy. Red is the tall, fat man (Andrew Buckley), and Fred is the shorter, thin one (Ed Gaughan). Pinky Pinkerton (Polly Frame) is the host of the "Super Silly Sports" segment who has a penchant for pink clothes. Her signature exclamation is "Oh me, oh my!".
On the English soundtrack, the characters are voiced in various English-language accents, most notably North American.
Each episode features between ten and twelve segments as follows:
- A problem, played out in four parts.
- One example has bunnies getting ready to race, but instead disco dancing in the first part, sleeping in the second part, followed by flying in the third part, and finally racing in the last part; with the payoff that instead of a finishing tape, the bunnies run into a rubber band, and they rebound to the starting point.
- A song.
- A journey to Peopletown to watch Red and Fred.
- Another skit or song.
- The Bunnytown Hop, done by a rock-and-roll band inspired by mega-groups such as Earth, Wind and Fire and Sly and the Family Stone.
- Another journey to Peopletown to watch Super Silly Sports, hosted by Pinky Pinkerton.
- This is a spoof of sports contests and their telecasters. One example is a staring contest between an 11-year-old boy and an Idaho potato.
- Another skit, followed by a song.
- Following the payoff of the running gag, all the bunnies gather to sing the closing song, It's a Bunnytown Life.
Puppets and sets
The bunny puppets are rod puppets similar to Jim Henson's Muppets. Many leading crew members have experience with Henson's characters. They are made from foam rubber and covered in fake fur, with wire supports in their ears. They can take up to eight puppeteers to operate. Their mouths are moved by a trigger at the bottom, and invisible marionette strings work from above on other parts, such as hands and feet.
The visual design of the bunnies is a simple "bunny with an overbite". They have one tooth, or two in some cases, and a large, round, blue nose.
The puppets do not interact with humans directly, so the scale can be smaller than other puppet shows which do, such as The Muppet Show. This smaller scale allows the sets to become quite elaborate, on a par with stop-frame animation sets.
- Producers: David Rudman, Brian Henson, Bill Barretta
- Writers: Emily Rudman, Alice Dinnean Vernon
- Puppeteers: Bill Barretta, Pam Arciero, Terry Angus, Lee Armstrong, Anthony Asbury, Larry Basgall, Julianne Buescher, Tyler Bunch, Kevin Carlson, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Frankie Cordero, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Alice Dinnean Vernon, Myra Fried, James Godwin, Tim Gosley, Brian Henson, Eric Jacobson, Mark Jefferis, John Kennedy, Rollie Krewson, Jim Kroupa, Tim Lagasse, Bruce Lanoil, Trish Leeper, Peter Linz, Drew Massey, Frank Meschkuleit, Kathryn Mullen, John Pattison, Mike Peterson, Nigel Plaskett, Gord Robertson, Adam Rudman, David Rudman, Mike Schwabe, Joe Selph, Sandra Shamas, Michalan Sisti, Polly Smith, Bob Stutt, Nikki Tilroe, Allen Trautmen, Karen Valleau, Tom Vandenberg, Matt Vogel, Cheryl Wagner, Victora Willing, Mak Wilson, Victor Yerrid
- Music & Lyrics: Todd Hannert
- Music Composition & Arranging: Terry Fryer
- Puppet Shop: Gene Barretta, Larry Basgall, Jane Gootnick, Scott Johnson, Marian Keating, Rollie Krewson, Mike Schwabe, Polly Smith, Jean-Guy White, Julie Zobel
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia page BunnyTown. The list of authors can be seen in the . Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.|