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The World of Strawberry Shortcake

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Genre  Animated special
First episode date  March 28, 1980
Duration  
Country  United States
6.8/10 IMDb

Director  Charles Swenson
Final episode date  1985
Writer  Romeo Muller
Language  English
The World of Strawberry Shortcake movie poster
Release date  March 28, 1980
Characters  Strawberry Shortcake
Cast  Romeo Muller (Mr Sun), Sarah Heinke, Russi Taylor (Strawberry Shortcake), Robert Ridgely (Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak), Joan Gerber (Blueberry Muffin)
Similar movies  The World of Strawberry Shortcake and Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City are part of the same movie series

The World of Strawberry Shortcake is a 1980 animated television special written by Romeo Muller, directed by Charles Swenson, and produced by Swenson, Muller and Fred Wolf. Starring the voices of Romeo Muller, Russi Taylor, Julie McWhirter and Joan Gerber, it was made by animators from Murakami-Wolf-Swenson in the United States and by Toei Doga in Japan. The music was written and performed by Flo & Eddie of the rock group, The Turtles.

Contents

The World of Strawberry Shortcake movie scenes

The title character, Strawberry Shortcake, lives in a fictional place called Strawberryland. In the special, narrated by Romeo Muller (as Mr. Sun), she and her friends celebrate her sixth birthday. While preparations for her party are underway, a villain called the Peculiar Purple Pieman plots to steal the berries from Strawberry's home in order to make his pies.

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Produced and sponsored by the Kenner toy company, The World of Strawberry Shortcake was the first special to feature the American Greetings character, Strawberry Shortcake. Bypassing network television, it debuted on March 28, 1980, in syndication across more than 90 U.S. cities, and was later released on 16 mm film, VHS, Beta and DVD. The special received generally favorable reviews in the School Library Journal, which reviewed it in 1983 and 2007.

The World of Strawberry Shortcake 1980 Classic Cartoon Openings

Plot

The Wonderful World of Strawberry Shortcake Episode 1 Part 2 YouTube

Strawberry Shortcake lives in a place called Strawberryland, with her calico cat Custard; her house resembles a shortcake. Her friends – Huckleberry Pie, Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Tart, Plum Puddin' and toddler Apple Dumplin' – also live close by. One morning, during their Market Day, Strawberry's friends discuss plans for her sixth birthday – all except for lazy Huckleberry Pie.

Strawberry Shortcake The World of Strawberry Shortcake Strawberry

Strawberry's villain, the Peculiar Purple Pieman, lives atop the Pie Tin Palace on a black hill called Porcupine Peak. While she is doing chores, the Pieman sends his crows – "berry birds" – to retrieve some berries for his pies. Strawberry tries shooing the flock away with her broom, but a moving tree helps out as a scarecrow, and she thanks him for helping. In desperation, the Pieman heads down to Strawberryland himself to get his supply, dressed as a kind old peddler.

At noon, Strawberry calls her friends over for lunch, but they leave her behind and go to Lilac Park to prepare for her surprise party. Soon after, the disguised Pieman meets her and offers watering cans for sale. To his chagrin, Strawberry cannot afford to buy a magical one guaranteed to produce strawberries seven feet tall. Assisted by Lucky Bug, Huckleberry's ladybug aide, he goes to the Park, where Huckleberry pays for the equipment.

Strawberry soon arrives at the venue to see her friends, who greet her with "Happy Birthday" and give her a present: the Pieman's watering can. The device fails to grow anything and spills over instead, flooding the Park and much of Strawberryland. The children are dismayed that the Pieman tricked them for his berry-stealing plot, and soon they harvest every bit of that supply over to him.

The group travels to the Pie Tin Palace on rafts made of flotsam. Landing upon a mud field, they find out from Lucky Bug that Apple Dumplin' ended up at the Palace; they now have no way to rescue her. Mr. Sun, the narrator of the story, grants Strawberry a wish. She wishes to defeat the Pieman, and a grove of marching trees help her accomplish this; their stomping causes the Palace to collapse. Afterward, Apple Dumplin' gives him a note demanding that he surrender and do good deeds; he reluctantly does so, giving the toddler and berries back to Strawberry and company. At the end of the special, Strawberry Shortcake offers him a chance to sell his pies at Strawberry Market, and become friends with her.

Production

Produced and sponsored by the Kenner toy company, The World of Strawberry Shortcake was the first of six television specials to star the title character. The franchise began in 1977, when American Greetings staff member Muriel Fahrion drew the first designs of Strawberry and her pet cat Custard. In 1979, she appeared in greeting cards; dolls, books and games soon followed.

The special was made by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, which previously worked on The Point! and Frank Zappa's 200 Motels, both from 1971; RLR Associates of New York City was another production partner. Animation work was also handled by Japan's Toei Doga. At the time of production, the producers called it a "morality play for tots". One of the crewmembers was Romeo Muller, writer for several Rankin/Bass television specials. Muller served as writer, co-producer and lyricist of the Strawberry Shortcake special; he also voiced Mr. Sun, the narrator. After he proposed the idea to Kenner, the company and American Greetings agreed to do it. According to Jack Chojnacki, co-president of Those Characters from Cleveland, a subsidiary of American Greetings, the card manufacturer considered new additions to the script, and reminded the writer that every character should be marketable. With those suggestions in mind, Muller came up with a villain called the Peculiar Purple Pieman. The Toy Group division of General Mills, which owned Kenner at the time, spent US$400,000 on the special.

Release

Upon completion, Muller was satisfied with how The World of Strawberry Shortcake turned out. Although he pointed out the lack of such influences in the special, he told The New York Times in April 1981: "I suppose the show is a commercial, in the largest sense of the word." Some time after the title character's debut at the 1980 American International Toy Fair, major television networks in the U.S. were offered a chance to air the special. They also deemed it an advertisement for the toy line, and rejected it. On March 28, 1980, the special debuted on independent stations in over 90 U.S. cities; it aired on WNEW (now WNYW) in the New York City market, and on KTLA in Los Angeles. Kenner launched a collection of dolls and toys based on the special, concurrently with the original broadcast. This led John J. O'Connor of The New York Times to proclaim, "Onward and upward with the art of marketing!"

In 1981, the Lexington Broadcast Services Company acquired syndication rights to The World of Strawberry Shortcake, along with its follow-up, Strawberry Shortcake in Big Apple City. By 1986, the Television Program Source took over the rights for the first special. It was released on 16 mm film by the Coronet company in 1982, and on VHS and Beta in October 1985 by Family Home Entertainment. A Region 1 DVD from Allumination FilmWorks, featuring this special and Big Apple City, was released on March 6, 2007. In Germany, the original special premiered on ZDF on April 4, 1983, as Emily im Erdbeerland. A soundtrack album, with contributions by Flo & Eddie of The Turtles, was released by Kid Stuff Records the same year as the original airing. The track list featured the "Strawberry Shortcake Theme", along with "Smile a Sunny Morning", "Sunflower Market", "Monster Trees" and "Berry Talk".

Reception

The World of Strawberry Shortcake was reviewed twice by the School Library Journal. In the December 1983 issue, Margaret Bush said that the "Story, characters, dialogue and bits of stage business are busy, bright, contrived, and will appeal of young children." She added, however, that "Some of the lyrics and dialogue are not easily understood – it sounds as if adult voices may be attempting to simulate the voices of small children." In August 2007, Kirsten Martindale gave the DVD set a positive review. She wrote that "Fans [...] will be thoroughly engaged by these two episodes", and recommended it "For nostalgic moms and their young daughters." She however singled out the audio and video quality: "[F]or those who haven't experienced the charm and simplicity of older cartoons, this may be annoying, but the nostalgic effect of the original presentation is relaxed and welcome." In 1987, Kathleen Pulcini of The Video Directory called it "Delightful fun for children."

References

The World of Strawberry Shortcake Wikipedia
The World of Strawberry Shortcake IMDb The World of Strawberry Shortcake themoviedb.org


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