Doug hits the books.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Jumbo Pictures
First Appeared: 1991
Creator: Jim Jinkins
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Nickelodeon spent the 1980s achieving its position as a leader in children's TV programming, but didn't have any original animation. On August 11, 1991, the cable station burst onto the first-run toon scene by …

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… premiering three new shows, all of which went on to great success. Rugrats became an international phenomenon and Ren & Stimpy pioneered a new style of cartooning. Doug didn't make as spectacular a splash as those two, but it's had a steady presence on television, both cable and broadcast, ever since, and has become allied with the biggest name in toondom.

Like the others, Doug came from a small, creator-run studio — in this case, Jumbo Pictures Inc., owned and operated by cartoonist Jim Jinkins. Jinkins conceived Doug as a typical American boy adjusting to a new community. Not a stunningly original premise, perhaps, but a perennial favorite, and one with which a great deal of creative work has been done.

The protagonist (full name, Douglas Yancey Funnie) and his family (Dad Phil, Mom Theda, big sister Judy, and dog Porkchop) were first seen as new residents of Bluffington, having recently moved there from Bloatsburg. Early stories involved Doug, age 11½, making new friends such as Skeeter Valentine, Patti Mayonnaise and Roger Klotz. Later, as he settled into his new social milieu, he evolved into a typical kid coping with life at home and school.

By the way, Bluffington was a diversity lover's dream, with people of all different colors — and not just the ones usually found among human beings. For example, tho Doug was a pretty standard Caucasian color, Patti was orange and Roger, light green.

Doug's voice was done by Billy West, who has done both Bugs and Elmer in recent productions. Patti was Constance Schulman, better known for face acting than voice work. Other voices include Greg Lee (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?), Doug Preis (Silverhawks) and Alice Playten (Heavy Metal). The show remained in production until 1994, after which it went into reruns, which can still be seen on Nickelodeon.

In 1996, Disney bought out Jumbo Pictures, and promptly made Doug a part of ABC's One Saturday Morning, a two-hour compilation that aired Recess, Pepper Ann, Timon & Pumbaa and quite a few other modern-day Disney toons as segments. New Doug episodes were made, and to emphasize the fact, the segment was titled Brand Spanking New! Doug. Also, he was advanced in age to 12½. Some of the voice actors remained, but Doug himself was voiced by Thomas McHugh (PB&J Otter).

Doug became a movie star on March 19, 1999, with the premiere of his first movie (appropriately titled Doug's 1st movie). It went into general release one week later.

One Saturday Morning was canceled in 2000. Some of the segments went on to become separate shows, but Doug, of which there were already hundreds of episodes, went out of production. Reruns of the Disney episodes can still be seen on Toon Disney.


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Text ©2004-06 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Walt Disney Co.