The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin is an American/Canadian animated television series based on Teddy Ruxpin, an animatronic teddy bear created by Ken Forsse and distributed by toy manufacturer Worlds of Wonder. It was produced for television syndication by DiC with Atkinson Film-Arts using many of the same voice actors used in the book-and-tape series that was made for the eponymous animatronic toy. While some of the stories used in the TV series were adapted from the books, many were original and greatly expanded upon the world established there. The series differed from traditional children's animation in that most of its 65 episodes were serialized rather than in traditional episodic form.
In the United States, the series was originally syndicated by LBS Communications. Today, all international distribution rights to the series are held by Don Taffner's DLT Entertainment.
The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin follows young Teddy Ruxpin as he leaves his home on the island of Rillonia with his best friend Grubby to follow an ancient map which leads him to find a collection of crystals on the mainland of Grundo. With the help of his new friend Dr. Newton Gimmick, Teddy and Grubby discover the magical powers of what turns out to be an ancestral treasure as well as an organization with ambitions to use it for evil known as M.A.V.O. (short for Monsters and Villains Organization). Along the way, Teddy learns the long-lost history of his species and clues to the location of his missing father.
In mid-1986, Atkinson Film-Arts of Ontario, Canada was commissioned to co-produce (with Worlds of Wonder, AlchemyII, and DiC) a 65 episode animated television series based on the World of Teddy Ruxpin characters. The series followed a prior attempt to produce a live-action series which had proved too difficult and expensive. Atkinson was in charge of the principal animation and casting. Of the previous voice actors associated with the Teddy Ruxpin property, only Phil Baron (Teddy) and Will Ryan (Grubby) traveled to Canada to remain part of the cast; most other characters were re-cast with local Canadian voice talent. The series was originally intended to continue after the first series of episodes, but because of economic problems at Worlds of Wonder (the series' primary financial partner), a second set of episodes was not produced while Worlds of Wonder still had rights to the property. Interest remains among the owners of the Teddy Ruxpin property and the fanbase to continue the story originated in the animated series, which ended its 65 episode run in somewhat of a cliffhanger.
The three main protagonists, often referred to collectively in fandom as The Trio:Teddy Ruxpin (voiced by Phil Baron): The protagonist of the series. He is a young Illiop (roughly 15) whose father disappeared when he was a child. He comes to Grundo to follow a treasure map. Like other Illiops, he is kind and friendly. He loves adventure, meeting new faces, and having new experiences.
Grubby (voiced by Will Ryan): Teddy's best friend who is an Octopede about Teddy's age. They are best friends. Noted for his large appetite, he is fond of cooking and eating root stew and other foods made from roots (which usually do not taste good to most people). Though not the bravest or smartest of Teddy's friends, he always sticks by Teddy.
Newton Gimmick (voiced by John Stocker): A bald inventor with a severe stuttering problem and a broad and otherwise questionable definition of "science". Most of his "inventions" either do not work or don't serve any real purpose. He is also somewhat absent-minded. He is usually referred to simply as Gimmick.
Prince Arin (voiced by Robert Bockstael): The brave Illiper son of the king and queen of Grundo. He lives at Grundo Castle and speaks with a British-sounding accent. He first met the heroic trio while searching for his kidnapped sister.
Princess Aruzia (voiced by Abby Hagyard): Prince Arin's younger sister who has a sweet demeanor. Though a princess, she does not mind doing work. Wooly apparently has a crush on her.
The Wooly Whatsit (voiced by Pier Kohl): A large furry purple creature who is not very bright, but very helpful and good-hearted. Later revealed to be a Snowzo. He is usually referred to simply as Wooly.
Leota (voiced by Holly Larocque): A strict but kind Woodsprite and schoolteacher. Most of her students are elves and woodsprites, but Wooly joined the class as well.
Burl Ruxpin (voiced by Phil Baron): Teddy's long-lost father. An Illiop who lost his memory a long time ago, but regained his identity toward the end of the series.
There are three main antagonists:Jack W. Tweeg (voiced by John Koensgen): A Troll/Grunge hybrid and an evil wizard-wannabe who thinks he has a recipe to turn buttermilk into gold. He is very suspicious and often spies on Gimmick from his tower. He is usually referred to as simply Tweeg. Jack W. Tweeg has desperately wanted to join M.A.V.O.
L.B. (voiced by Robert Bockstael): Short for Lead Bounder, L.B. is a sarcastic Bounder who usually acts as Tweeg's henchman. L.B. does not show a particularly high degree of loyalty or intelligence, but has enough sense to know that Tweeg's schemes never work. L.B. constantly calls Tweeg by variations of his name, such as "Twix" or "Twizzle", much to Tweeg's annoyance.
Quellor (voiced by Les Lye, of You Can't Do That On Television): The Supreme Oppressor of M.A.V.O. He is the main villain of the series who sees Illiops as an enemy to his master plan of regaining all six crystals to the one he has in The Black Box. With them, his darkness will reign supremely over the land of Grundo.
The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin features a large menagerie of sentient species for its character base:Illiops: Brown and bear-like, with kind dispositions.
Octopedes: Orange and caterpillar-like with eight legs, each with fully formed hands.
Perlunes: Humans who usually are professional in nature (e.g. scientist, doctor, wizard).
Illipers: The near-relatives to humans but broad-faced with flat noses, who live in a medieval type society.
Grunges: Relatives of the Illipers but jungle-dwellers with antennae in lieu of ears, who tend to be passionate about their hobbies.
Fobs: Small, furry, multicolored and penguin-like, sometimes kept as pets.
Elves: Tiny humanoids with pointy ears and shoes.
Woodsprites: Tiny humanoids with butterfly-like wings.
Snowzos: A race of large, white and yeti-like creatures who look more dangerous than they are.
Bounders: A race of red, round, two-legged and rhinoceros-like, usually sarcastic. They are said by some viewers to resemble Ripto from the Spyro the Dragon series.
Mudblups: A race of large and lumpy animated blobs of mud, dull witted and slow moving but very strong. Sensitive to bright light, since all of their lives are spent underground.
Trolls: Green, thin, and with pointed noses, for them being good means being bad.
Gutangs: Green and monkey-like who wear brown tribal owl-like armor, usually belligerent.
Anythings: Small shy creatures able to change into other objects, i.e., carrots, potatoes, other produce. They use their ability to hide. They were previously called Nothings.
The First Crystal (Imagination) – Shrink and Grow
The Second Crystal (Honesty) – Duplication
The Third Crystal (Trust) – Invisibility
The Fourth Crystal (Bravery) – Oxygen Generator
The Fifth Crystal (Friendship) – Speed Altering
The Sixth Crystal (Freedom) – Flight Ability
The Seventh Crystal (The Black Box) – Restore and Erase Memory
Although the series is mostly serialized, it is further broken down into weekly story arcs which involve visiting a different part of Grundo or exploring a major plot thread. Some story lines were taken directly from the toy's book & tape story sets, with secondary plots added to increase the running time.
Due to the partnership between Worlds of Wonder and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, when the series was originally syndicated, each episode included a short segment called "Protect Yourself" which ran after a teaser for the next episode and prior to the credits. It featured an animated Teddy Ruxpin on a live-action set, who would introduce contemporary child stars such as Jason Bateman, Brice Beckham, Tiffany Brissette, Shannen Doherty, Corey Feldman and Shalane McCall. The guest would then give young viewers advice on topics such as avoiding strangers, what to do in an emergency, how to respond to inappropriate touching, or running away. A common theme was to talk to a trusted grown up for help.Phil Baron – Teddy Ruxpin, Burl Ruxpin
Will Ryan – Grubby
John Stocker – Newton Gimmick
John Koensgen – Jack W. Tweeg
Robert Bockstael – L.B., Prince Arin
Abby Hagyard – Princess Aruzia
Pier Kohl – The Wooly Whatsit, Additional Voices
Holly Larocque – Leota the Woodsprite
Les Lye – Quellor, Additional Voices
Heather Edson – Additional Voices
Donna Farron – Additional Voices
Rick Jones – Additional Voices
Anna MacCormack – Additional Voices
Doug Stratton – Additional Voices
Terrence Scammell – Additional Voices
Katie Leigh – Additional Voices
Tony Pope – Additional Voices
Russi Taylor – Additional Voices
B.J. Ward – Additional Voices
NOTE: In the tape & book series and the animatronic pilot episode, Tony Pope voiced Gimmick, Will Ryan also voiced Tweeg and Wooly, Katie Leigh voiced Princess Aruzia, and Russi Taylor voiced Leota.
Between 1987 and 1988, Hi-Tops Video released twelve volumes of the series (17 episodes) on VHS. They featured between 1 and 3 episodes per tape, and often had a live-action Teddy Ruxpin as host.
In February 2006 First National Pictures released two volumes of the series (11 episodes) on DVD. Two additional volumes were to be released to complete the series but for unknown reasons they were never released.
In January 2008, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series; they subsequently released all 65 episodes in three volume sets. On January 27, 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment released a 6-disc complete series box set featuring all 65 episodes on DVD for the very first time. As of 2010, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print.
As of 2012, Image Entertainment have acquired the rights to the series. On July 10, 2012, they released a 10-disc set featuring all 65 episodes of the series entitled The Complete Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin on DVD in Region 1.
Originally, AlchemyII Inc. had hoped to create a live-action series using animatronic characters, as Ken Forsse had helped Disney do with Welcome to Pooh Corner and Dumbo's Circus. However, due to production costs and difficulties in this format, Forsse, AlchemyII and Worlds of Wonder decided animation would be a better route and the 65 episode animated series was created. The pilot episode of what would have been the animatronic series was instead released as a stand-alone ABC Movie of the Week in 1986 and also aired in syndication as a 2-part episode. The show can be found on videocassette. The "animatronic movie", as it's called by Teddy Ruxpin fans, used primarily the same voice talent as the Teddy Ruxpin toy software had, most of which (with the exception of Phil Baron and Will Ryan) were replaced in the later animated TV series by Canadian voice talent.
The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin (Мечето Ръкспин), was one of the very first western cartoon shows to be seen by the population of Bulgaria in the late 1980s. The influence of this show can be seen in the text of the then modern post-punk band REVIEW (РЕВЮ) and their song "Teddy Ruxpin" ; also, the very first underground music shop to open in the nation's capital of Sofia, was and is to this date called MAVO (ОЧЗ), in reference to the antagonistic organization in the cartoon show.