Ned typically lies awake at night.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Disney
First Appeared: 1997
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By 1997, Disney was accustomed to produce half-hour animated TV shows, like Gummi Bears, DuckTales and The Little Mermaid. Nor was it any stranger to adding horror motifs to its regular output — the very first Silly Symphony, Skeleton Dance, had done that, and The Nightmare Before Christmas had been a …

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… big hit for them a mere four years earlier. Nonetheless, Nightmare Ned, a half-hour animated TV show that debuted April 19, 1997 on ABC, was something of a departure for the studio.

Instead of its traditional Mickey Mouse style, Disney did Ned's show in an idiosyncratic, quasi-impressionistic style, more reminiscent of modern animation by modern studios, such as Nubian Nights Worldwide's Hey Arnold!, Klasky-Csupo's Rugrats or Castle Creek's Grim & Evil.

Ned Needlemeyer was 8 years old, and subject to the fears and anxieties that often plague his age group. His unease would manifest itself, in exaggerated, mutated form, in his unpleasant dreams. For Ned, sleep, instead of offering respite from the day's worries, was merely a continuation of the cares that beset him by day.

Ned's voice was provided by child actor Courtland Mead, who also did Doug in Recess. His mom was Victoria Jackson (Penelope in Garfield & Friends) and dad was Brad Garrett (Lobo in Justice League). Also heard in the series were Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson), Kevin West (dog catcher in the 101 Dalmatians series) and Aria Noelle Curzon (Ducky in The Land Before Time).

Nightmare Ned was spun off into a video game, also released in 1997, but only 25 episodes were made of the TV show. They haven't been rerun.


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Text ©2008-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © The Walt Disney Co.