Little Einsteins (sometimes marketed as Disney's Little Einsteins) is a children's television series that premiered in prime time on Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney daily block intended for preschoolers on October 9, 2005, preceded by a direct-to-video film titled Our Huge Adventure (which was released on August 23, 2005). After the final regular episode aired on December 22, 2009, reruns aired until February 13, 2011 on Playhouse Disney, then from February 14, 2011, to March 18, 2019 on Disney Junior. A stand-alone special was released on June 19, 2010, marking the official end of the series.
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The Little Einsteins, a group of musically gifted and ethnically diverse children consisting of Leo, Annie, Quincy, and June along with their artificially intelligent rocket named Rocket, solve different missions (usually given from various creatures, animals, and objects) by using their passion, talents, and teamwork to do so and travel around the world discovering new things every trip. Little Einsteins is full of adventures that introduce kids to nature, world cultures and the arts. Each episode has unique journeys that encourage discovery and incorporate a celebrated piece of classical music as well as a renowned work of art or world culture.
The main theme seamlessly transitions into the episode's title card, where the Little Einsteins reveal the name of the episode, the artwork that appears throughout the episode, and the main song that would be showcased throughout the events of the episode, all (besides most artwork) using homemade signage.
The curtains rise to reveal the first scene, where an Einstein would greet the viewers to show what he/she or his/her group are currently doing. The Einsteins can interact with the viewer by asking questions, playing a game, or provide dance and music tutorials. Suddenly, a problem occurs from either a member of the group, an object, an animal, or a unique creature. These issues are taken by the Einsteins as a "mission" that requires them to head over to the Rocket Room to use Rocket in order travel to a certain location to complete them. The group can either enter this room by opening the garage gates or, most likely, heading over to the Magic Tree to press buttons in the correct order of the solfège. Leo says "do" and "re," Quincy says "mi" and "fa," June says "so" and "la," and Annie says "ti" and "do," with afterwards the group shouting "Little Einsteins!" If done properly, a secret door opens and the group enters the Rocket Room via different entrances. Quincy enters by climbing down a rope, June enters using a slide, Annie enters using an elevator lift, and Leo enters by sliding down a pole. A song would usually accompany this. Sometimes, an entry to the Rocket Room isn't necessary to start the mission, as Rocket can easily be nearby when needed. After entry into Rocket and buckling seatbelts, Leo, piloting Rocket, instructs viewers to pat their laps as fast as they can to power up Rocket's jet engines and prepare for blastoff. Raising their arms as high as they can and yelling "Blast off!" loudly, Rocket begins to fly to the main destination. At times, the episode can also begin in the Rocket Room or in the middle of a mission, cutting off the blastoff sequence.
The episode's main plot would then play usually after the group reach their destination. Each mission sees the Einsteins working out a solution into the issue described. Every episode would incorporate the artwork and music that have been seen in the title card as background pieces and soundtrack respectively. These missions would sometimes be interrupted by an antagonist, usually Big Jet, who wants to ruin the group's fun that the Einsteins have to defeat under a certain action. The group can also ride the "Musical Roller Coaster" (with tracks resembling sheet music) that holds music which interacts with different tempo speeds (noted by signs that explain the music's current speed) to create a high-speed roller coaster-like ride. In season 2, the group can also help Rocket fly really fast if he can't keep up by using "super fast," where the Einsteins have to pat to music in the correct speed, which starts at "adagio" then slowly gets faster in tempo until reaching "presto," which is enough speed to use super fast. Once the mission has been complete at the end of the episode, the Einsteins happily enjoy their or the person that had the problem's current activity while Leo states "Mission completion!" to end the episode.
As the curtains close, Leo begins the curtain call, rising the curtains again. In season 1, the group happily clap for each member as well as the viewers for their assistance, while in season 2, the song of the same name commences. The curtain call showcases the artist of the artwork and the composer of the music, as well as their pieces that were used throughout the episode. After some applause from the Einsteins and the audience, Leo states "See you on the next mission!" as the curtains close one final time. A closing skit would then play featuring a certain action (such as Leo conducting a music box, Quincy playing a tuba, or Rocket pulling a ring of a string) that usually causes something silly happen.
Leo is the leader, conductor, oldest of the Little Einsteins, and the one who pilots Rocket. He has a younger sister named Annie. His main talent is conducting and his most precious object is his conductor's baton. Leo has red hair and green eyes and eyeglasses. He is voiced by Jesse Schwartz and singing voice by Harrison Chad.
June is a young ballerina who loves to dance. She is not only a very skilled dancer but a dedicated teacher as well. She has brown hair and brown eyes and her standard outfit is a purple sleeveless shirt with a fluffy tutu. She is voiced by Erica Huang.
Quincy is a boy musician who plays a variety of musical instruments, including the violin, drums, and trumpet. When surprised or amazed, his usual response is "I cannot believe it!". He has brown hair and brown eyes. He is voiced by Aiden Pompey.
Annie is a young girl who loves to sing. She is Leo's little sister and the only character who has piloted Rocket alone. She loves animals including dolphins and horses but is afraid of spiders. She owns a silver microphone with orange music notes that she won in a song contest. When she wishes to urgently point something out to the team, her usual phrase is "Look, look, look!" She has blonde pigtails and blue eyes. She is voiced by Natalia Wojcik.
Rocket is the Little Einsteins' main mode of transportation, as well as their friend. Rocket has an array of tools and accessories that help the team complete their missions. Rocket also has the ability to transform into any other form of transportation, like a submarine or a train. Rocket communicates with marimba notes.
Big Jet is the main antagonist for the Little Einsteins. He often interrupts the group's missions, loves to steal everything to keep for himself, cheats at every game he participates in, and loathes losing. However, in "Show and Tell," after stealing all of the group's possessions for their school's show and tell, Big Jet befriends the team and never attempted to rival them again after this episode (mainly because that episode was his final appearance).
Melody is a pet made from music owned by Leo. She loves to jump, sing, and eat music notes. Leo helped her find a ticket to ride the pet train in "Melody the Music Pet" and now lives with him after boarding. Melody also appeared in "Melody and Me" where she rides a hot air balloon that is about to crash into Cataract Canyon, but escapes before it does so.
The Firebird is a magical bird that spreads music in Russia. However, Katschai the ogre captured her in "Rocket's Firebird Rescue" and almost prevented her music from coming back to the country before the Little Einsteins helped free her.
- Main article: Little Einsteins episode list
The series ran for 2 seasons consisting of 67 total episodes. 2 stand-alone specials, Our Huge Adventure and Rocket's Firebird Rescue (the series finale), were also released over the course of the series.
In the UK, some of the dialogue has been changed to fit the British culture, like "Yeah!" being changed to "Yes!" There's also a separate Australian version. The show has been dubbed into other languages as well:
- Little Einsteins in America, UK, Australia, Bahasa Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Philippines, and Portugal.
- Små Einsteins in Danish, Norway, and Sweden
- Kleine Einsteins in the Netherlands and Germany
- Mini Einsteins in Brazilian and Latin Spanish
- Les Petits Einstein in French
- 리틀 아인슈타인 (Liteul Ainsyutain) in Korea
- חבורת איינשטיין in Hebrew
- リトル・アインシュタイン (Ritoru Ainshutain) in Japan
- Mali Einsteini in Polish
- Micile genii in Romanian
- Pikku Einsteinit in Finnish
UK Version Cast
- Piers Stubbs - Leo
- Poppy Lee Friar - June
- Kirsty Hickey - Annie
- Mitchell Zhangazha - Quincy
When the series debuted with a prime time special, it became the highest preschool rating of any premiere in Playhouse Disney history (a 5.6 rating and 737,000 viewers 2-5)
Multiple types of merchandise were made in the series of successful years including toys, clothes, DVDs, CDs, books, video games, bed material, cereal, and more. Most of the merchandise have been discontinued shortly after the series ended.
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Production on the series started around early 2001. It was initially titled Little Einstein, but it was was changed for an unknown reason. In addition, concept art reveals a character named "Wolfgang" who was scrapped in favor of Quincy during development. The concept art also shows a dramatically different art style from the final series. An early preview was released on Baby Einstein DVDs, showing different character designs, the original title, and an unused theme song, while another preview was released on various Playhouse Disney DVDs that closer resembles the final series. Animation of season 1 was produced between mid 2004 and late 2005. Season 2 was announced the following month after the premiere and was produced from 2006-2007. The series then aired season 2 until 2009.
It takes a dozen animators three weeks to animate a 22-minute episode and 9 weeks to complete the episode. At several points in that process, each one gets test-screened for schoolkids, who are monitored for attention level and their reactions – smiles, comments and humming along are duly noted – and queried about their comprehension, and whether they found anything scary or intimidating.
Changes to Season 2
- The theme song now has the characters clap before saying "Little Einsteins." Quincy also now uses a drum in the final scene of the song.
- Annie's outfit has a new color scheme.
- After announcing the mission of the day, Leo proclaims, "Let. the mission. begin!"
- The pat-pat-pat sequence is frequently shortened.
- Annie now uses a microphone when singing the episode's jingle.
- There is a new segment where the Little Einsteins help Rocket fly really fast by patting to the music as the tempo slowly speeds up, called super fast. Super fast is also showcased in the episode of the same name.
- The curtain call sequence is updated with its own song.
- The ending gag before the credits roll changed, showing new segments not seen in season 1.
- The direct-to-video movie Our Huge Adventure released before the series premiered.
- This series was the first (and only) Baby Einstein production created for Playhouse Disney.
- The series was named similarly to what was Disney's Baby Einstein.
- The series was originally planned to be released in late 2002.
- The series reran on Disney Junior until 2019, 10 years since the series ended.
- Disney+ labels the series as Disney's Little Einsteins. The show is also described as "new" in its description for an unknown reason. The series is also listed as 2005-2006 (the airing length of season 1), although the series ended in 2009.
- In addition, the series was upscaled in higher quality on said streaming service.
- DisneyNOW had both seasons of the show but was removed once in April 2019, then twice in November 2019 to move the series over to Disney+.
- Although it was created and produced by Baby Einstein, Disney kept the Little Einsteins property when they sold Baby Einstein to Kids II.
- Certain season 2 episodes and special episodes in Season 1 (such as "The Christmas Wish") have better-quality animation when compared to season 1.
- It is the first Playhouse Disney series to feature animated characters in live-action locations.
- Little Einsteins on Indonesian Wikipedia
- Little Einsteins on Italian Wikipedia
- Little Einsteins on Portuguese Wikipedia
- Små Einsteins on Danish Wikipedia
- Små Einsteins on Swedish Wikipedia
- Kleine Einsteins on Dutch Wikpedia
- Kleine Einsteins on German Wikipedia
- Little Einsteins on Spanish Wikipedia
- Les Petits Einstein on French Wikipedia
- 리틀 아인슈타인 on Korean Wikipedia
- חבורת איינשטיין (סדרת אנימציה) on Hebrew Wikipedia
- リトル・アインシュタイン on Japanese Wikipedia
- Mali Einsteini on Polish Wikipedia
- Micile genii on Romanian Wikipedia
- Pikku einsteinit on Finnish Wikipedia
- Little Einsteins on Common Sense Media
- Concept art by Bob Staake
- Early 2004 promo
- 2004 teaser