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The Raccoons, also known as The Raccoons of Evergreen Forest, is a Canadian animated cartoon focusing on environmental and wildlife consciousness, created by the talented songwriter/artist Kevin Gillis. Unlike so many other cartoons of its time, it handled action, humor, and romance in a fairly sophisticated manner, while remaining sufficiently uncomplicated for younger viewers.
- Bert Raccoon (voiced by the late Len Carlson) - Jack of all trades, and master of all (by his own account), Bert was the heroic, clumsy, loveable star of the gang. Incredibly lucky, his non-stop antics never managed to do more than injure his pride and he sometimes stumbled into just the position where he needed to be.
- Ralph and Melissa Raccoon (Bob Dermer and Dottie West/others) - a married couple, these two are really the brains behind most plans to combat the schemes of the villain Cyril Sneer. In the series, they owned the "Raccoondominium" where Bert stays as a permanent houseguest and ran the forest's newspaper, the Evergreen Standard. They also seemed somewhat more vocal in the series as compared to the specials, especially Melissa by the time voice actress Susan Roman portrayed her.
- Schaeffer and Broo (Carl Banas and Sharon Lewis) - Two English sheepdogs. Schaeffer was the elder and acted as sort of a guardian to the puppy Broo. Oddly, Broo was one of only two non-morphic character on the show. In the series, Schaeffer acted as a wise mentoring type of friend and denizen of the forest community, but in the specials he was a pet who travelled back and forth between the "real" world and the realm where the other characters lived.
- Cyril Sneer (Michael Magee)- Cyril is ostensibly an aardvark, though highly stylized. For some reason, he never wears clothes, even though his employees usually do. He was usually portrayed as a cunning businessman who had little in the way of scruples, although he did gain some sympathetic character development later on. His role as the villain was more pronounced in the specials than in the series, in which he was partly supplanted in that capacity by one Mr. Knox the alligator, and later Mr. Midas (who pollutes the Evergreen Lake in one of the last episodes). His pet dog is Snag, who has a long snout like his master, but like Broo is non-morphic.
- Floyd, Lloyd, and Boyd (Nick Nichols, Len Carlson, Keith Hampshire, Fred Little) - These three pigs (likely no coincidence) are Cyril's top lieutenants. Like most middle management, they are easily intimidated by their own boss but not above harshness to their own subordinates as well as seeking their own advancement given the opportunity. They do have distinct personalities (Pig One is bossier and more dominant than the other two), in spite of the fact that they usually report and act in concert. The credits of the show just refer to them by numbers rather than names.
- Cedric Sneer (Fred Little, Marvin Goldhar) - Cedric is Cyril's son (by some unknown means) and a very smart young man. Despite his father's evil intentions, he has a good heart and is known in the series as Bert's best friend. He is a "geek" or "nerd" stereotype and timid, but he slowly learns to overcome his lack of self-confidence and helps to save the day on various occasions. In the specials, he had a love interest in Sophia Tutu, but her character inexplicably disappeared (many fans do not consider her a material loss).
The animated specials
The first animated special featuring the Raccoons was The Christmas Raccoons (1980), which was followed by The Raccoons On Ice (1981), The Raccoons and the Lost Star (1983), and The Raccoons: Let's Dance! (1984), which consisted mostly of songs and footage from the previous three specials. There is little in the way of continuity between the specials, although in Lost Star, Schaeffer comments that he recognizes the other characters in spite of the fact that they don't seem to recognize him. Music included songs performed by Leo Sayer, John Schneider, Rupert Holmes, Rita Coolidge, and Dottie West.
The Raccoons series aired on various networks, including the CBC (its original broadcaster) in Canada, and Nickelodeon in the United States during its original run, between 1985 and 1992. It would later air on Trio in the USA, and on A Channel, APTN, and Teletoon Retro in Canada. There were a total of sixty episodes. The series was well-known for its New Wave-inspired soundtrack. Music included songs performed by Lisa Lougheed, Luba, and others.