The Littles is an animated television series, originally produced between 1983 and 1985. It is based on the characters from The Littles, a series of children's novels by American author John Peterson, the first of which was published in 1967. The series was produced for the American broadcast network ABC by a French/American/Canadian animation studio, DIC Entertainment, and as standard practice for TV cartoons of the period, the animation production was outsourced overseas to the Japanese studio TMS Entertainment. It was post-produced by a Canadian Animation studio, Animation City Editorial Services.
Tom Little - The older of the two Little children.
Lucy Little - The younger of the two Little children.
Grandpa Little - The oldest member of the family.
Dinky Little - A cousin of the family (as in the books, where he is always presented as 'cousin Dinky')..
Frank Little - the father in the family.
Helen Little - the mother in the family and the daughter of Grandpa Little.
Ashley Little - A second, younger cousin of the family.
In the television series, the family tree is mostly clear. Frank and Helen are the parents of Tom and Lucy, Grandpa is the father of Helen, and Dinky is a cousin (on Helen's side, as said by Grandpa in the episode "Ben Dinky") of Tom and Lucy. In the books, the family tree is never explicitly identified. The Littles that often appear are Tom, Lucy, Dinky and Grandpa.Henry Bigg - a boy and one of the few humans who knows about the existence of the Littles. They live in his house and are his best friends
Slick - a little turtle and Henry's pet.
Dr. Hunter - He has never seen a Little with his own eyes, but is very sure they really exist. His job is to find some evidence and build machines that can detect these tiny humans to prove to the others and himself that the Littles really exist.
Peterson - the other bad guy and Dr. Hunter's assistant.
Mr. and Mrs. Bigg - Henry's parents. Both archeologists, they often go on journeys.
Marie - Henry's classmate and close friend.
During the first two seasons, many of the episodes contained moral lessons or addressed specific issues, such as running away from home ("The Little Fairy Tale"), drug abuse ("Prescription for Disaster") and jealousy ("Lights, Camera, Littles" and "Twins").
The first two seasons also featured simple arts and crafts at the end of each episode ("Little Ideas for Big People"), with the second season using suggestions sent in by viewers. During the third season, a segment called "A Little Known Fact" highlighted historical or geographic trivia that was related to the episode.Jimmy E. Keegan as Henry Bigg
Alvy Moore as Grandpa Little
Gregg Berger as Frank Little
Patricia Parris as Helen Little
Donavan Freberg as Tom Little (Seasons 1–2)
David Wagner as Tom Little (Season 3)
Bettina Bush as Lucy Little
B.J. Ward as Ashley Little (Seasons 2–3)
Frank Welker as Slick (Season 1)
Pat Fraley as Slick (Seasons 2–3)
Robert David Hall as Mr. Bigg and Dinky Little
Laurel Page as Mrs. Bigg
Ken Sansom as Dr. Hunter and Peterson
Mona Marshall as Misc.
Rachelle Cano Opening and Closing Theme Vocals
Besides the clarified family tree, Henry knowing about the Littles was unique to the television series and the movie, Here Come the Littles. The first season never revealed how Henry met the Littles; during the opening credits Henry simply tells the audience that he has "a very special secret" – that he is the only one who knows about the Littles. During the second season, the opening credits said that Henry first met the Littles when Tom and Lucy fell inside his suitcase as he was moving, and they jumped out when he opened the suitcase. In the movie, however, Tom and Lucy still get trapped inside Henry's suitcase, but Henry does not discover the Littles until much later; he first sees Grandpa and Dinky in his uncle's yard, while Tom and Lucy later befriend him when they need his help. Henry took great care to keep the Littles' existence a secret, even from his own parents. Although he betrayed them in one episode ("Dinky's Doomsday Pizza"), the entire incident and its resulting fallout turned out to be only a dream that Dinky was having.
Some characters are unique to the television series. Most notable are the two villains, Dr. Hunter and his assistant, Peterson. Hunter is a scientist who has been trying to capture a Little to prove his theories, but has been unsuccessful, although he came close at times.
Along with Inspector Gadget and Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, The Littles was one of the first cartoons produced by DIC Entertainment for American television, and was the only one of the three to air on a network, rather than in syndication.
The first two seasons of shows feature The Littles around the Bigg household, but to improve the show's popularity the final season features the Littles traveling around the world.
During the production run of the show, the Littles were also popular enough to warrant two movie tie-ins:On May 24, 1985, the Littles starred in their first animated feature, Here Come the Littles, which serves a prequel to the television series. It was directed by Bernard Deyriès and written by Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Jack Olesker and Jeffrey Scott. This is available on DVD.
The following year (1986), a made-for-TV movie was created starring the Littles: Liberty and the Littles. This film was also directed by Bernard Deyriès and written by Heywood Kling. This second movie was subsequently edited into a three-part episode and included in the third season of the series. Liberty and the Littles, which also aired in three parts during the ninth season of ABC Weekend Specials. The episode is available on DVD.
(An asterisk (*) denotes an episode that was not rerun in syndication.)
On November 13, 2007, S'more Entertainment released The Littles – The Complete Unedited Series on DVD in Region 1.
On July 19, 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment re-released the entire series on DVD in a 3-disc set entitled The Littles: The Complete Series. It contains the two Animated movies Here Comes the Littles and Liberty and the Littles.
Some of the merchandise that was released during the series run included: tie-in story books, a Milton Bradley board game, stickers and greeting cards. Foreign merchandise included many more items such as Halloween Masks, a set of figures, card game, VHS videos, records, and more.