Stanley is an animated television series that was aired on Disney Junior (previously known as Playhouse Disney), based on the series of children's books written by Andrew Griffin. It was produced by Cartoon Pizza, and was developed for television by Jim Jinkins (the creator of Doug and Pinky Dinky Doo) and David Campbell.
Stanley teaches a wide variety of issues preschool children face, including change, growth, rules, and dealing with others. Each episode centers around an animal that deals with or helps explain the issue Stanley is grappling with.
The show is popular with viewers and fans alike, mainly due to things usually unused in a preschool show (mostly the slang and sentences from Harry, how Dennis is annoyed by the song for the Great Big Book of Everything, the extremely rare fourth wall breakages, the word "dude" and the design for Lionel, the many diverse shapes, the music and how it is popular with teenagers).
Junkanoo and reggae fusion group Baha Men, known for "Who Let the Dogs Out", sang the theme song for the series, "My Man Stanley".
Each episode shows Stanley (voiced by Jessica D. Stone) in a situation he does not fully understand. He discusses it with his pet goldfish Dennis (Charles Shaughnessy) before consulting the Great Big Book of Everything, a remarkably complete zoology book aimed at young children. By observing how an animal copes with the same situation Stanley faces, or how it can overcome a similar difficulty, Stanley learns to deal with the situation himself.
Throughout the show Stanley and all his preschool aged friends are able to talk to his pet cat, Elsie (Hynden Walch) and dog, Harry (Rene Mujica) as well as Dennis. Other animals also seem to occasionally respond, but never talk or give a definite indication they truly understood what was said (unless imagined that they did). Stanley and his friends actively try to keep the adults, and by extension Stanley's older brother, Lionel, from realizing this (though Lionel learns about the pets' ability to speak in addition to the Great Big Book of Everything's magic powers in the movie). The one exception is Stanley's grandmother, as revealed in the Halloween special "Grandma Griff's Mystery Guest". In fact, it was she that gave Stanley the book and taught its theme song to Harry and Elsie. It is also implied she is a witch.
The Great Big Book of Everything appears to be magical in nature, able to either let the animals out of the pages or allow the children to enter, sometimes changing them into animals in the process. This does not appear to be imaginary since occasionally adults do notice the noise, and Stanley works hard to hide the animals. There is also an episode where Stanley's brother sees a T-Rex in the yard, but dismisses the memory when it disappears back into the book.
When someone says, or even hints out, or even has, the "Great Big Book Of Everything", the cat and dog (named Elsie and Harry, respectively) will wake up or find their way into the scene and start singing. This usually annoys Dennis, who after the introductory verse, says something like "Oh, not again!".
In the US, the series aired on Disney Channel's daytime preschool block Playhouse Disney since its debut, September 15, 2001, and had its final regular episode on November 26, 2004. When Playhouse Disney rebranded its on-air presentation in 2007, Stanley was put on a new timeslot at 9.30AM on the weekends. As of May 2008, Stanley no longer airs on Playhouse Disney, but DVD's and books are still available. In February 2011, the show was completely removed when Playhouse Disney rebranded as Disney Junior. The show was briefly seen online on DisneyJunior.com as part of "fan favorites" week on the week of June 20, 2011, and it couldn't be seen on the internet at the time. The series will air reruns on the Disney Junior channel on March 22, 2012, due to popular fan demand for classic Playhouse Disney airing reruns again along with Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Timon & Pumbaa, and 101 Dalmatians: The Series.
In Canada, it was running on The Family Channel from 2002 to 2007, and then was moved to the Disney Junior/Playhouse Disney channel, which has been running since 2007.
- Disney Channel (September 15, 2001-May 2008)
- Disney Junior (March 22, 2012-present)
- Playhouse Disney Canada (November 2007-Spring 2011)
- Disney Junior Canada (2011-present)
- Charles Shaughnessy: Dennis
- Jessica D. Stone: Stanley Griff
- David Landsberg: Mark Griff
- Ari Meyers: Joyce Griff
- Rene Mujica: Harry
- Shawn Pyfrom: Lionel Griff
- Hynden Walch: Elsie
- Philece Sampler: Lester Goldberg
- Khylan Jones: Mimi & Marci
- Candi Milo: Ms. Diaz
- Wallace Shawn: Mr. Goldberg
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