A dragon meeting includes Emmy and Max.


Original Medium: Television animation
Produced by: Children's Television Workshop
First appeared: 1999
Creator: Ron Rodecker
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The 1990s were a time of rebellion against the standards enforced by parent action groups of years gone by. Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead, South Park … all '90s. But on public-funded PBS (Carmen Sandiego,

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Clifford the Big Red Dog), you could still find gentle, wholesome, parent-friendly cartoons just like they had back in the '70s. even when the decade was practically over..

But the characters did go back to the heyday of the action groups' power. They were created about 1978 by retired educator Ron Rodecker, who didn't develop them into broadcast material for years. In the 1990s, Sony TV producer Jim Coane found the artwork among Rodecker's works, and did develop the drawings into a television series. Once he had a series, he approached Sesame Workshop, which had a track record in public-supported children's television, for assistance in getting the project funded. Dragon Tales debuted on PBS on September 6, 1999.

The protagonists were kids just like the viewers — Max, about 4 years old, and his sister, Emmy, about 6. Beginning in the third season, they were joined by Emmy's, friend, Enrique, who had immigrated to the U.S. from South America. By using a magic dragon's scale, the kids are able to travel to and from Dragon Land, where they play with their special dragon friends — Ord (a blue male dragon who can turn invisible), Cassie (a pink female dragon , who is shy but smart), Zak and Wheezie (two heads on the same dragon body, one male and one female). They learn lessons taught by Quetzal, the dragon teacher. Enrique helps out when they run across information where knowledge of Spanish is helpful.

Together, the dragons and humans fly around and have adventures in a land that contains a wishing well that really works, a forest of tree-sized dandelions. a school in the sky and other wonders, sure to delight the show's pre-school audience.

Max was voiced by Danny McKinnon, who has also been heard in Reboot, Scary Godmother and Krypto the Superdog. Emmy was Abdrea Libman, whose other credits include Care Bears, Dragon Ball Z and My Little Pony. Enrique was Aida Ortega, whose other voice acting credits are sparse. Ord was Ty Olsson, who is much better known for face acting than voice roles. Cassie was Chantal Strand (Wolfsbane in X-Men). Zak was Jason Michas (Bucky O'Hare). Wheezie was Kathleen Barr (Kevin in Ed, Edd & Eddy), Quetzal was Eli Gabay, another face actor with few voice credits.

New Dragon Tales epidodes were produced until 2005, and the old ones are still seen in reruns on PBS. Altogether, 94 episodes were made.


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Text ©2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Houghton Mifflin Co.