Under the Umbrella Tree

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Holly Higgins, Jacob Bluejay, and Gloria Gopher.

Under the Umbrella Tree is a Canadian children's television television series created by canadian puppeteer Noreen Young in 1986. The show was well appreciated for using humour coupled with family values and promotion of healthy activities to enlighten and educate the youth of North America. Under the Umbrella Tree was produced by Noreen Young Productions and CBC Television. The first episode aired was on the CBC in 1986, and the show's 280 episode run ended in 1993.

In 1991, American television station The Disney Channel began to co-produce the program, and episodes were aired for American viewers on The Disney Channel from 1991 to 1996. Syndication continued on YTV, a Canadian station, until 1997. Many episodes of the show were released to DVD by Cinerio Entertainment, Inc. in partnership with Noreen Young in 2006, following a long wait for expiration of ownership rights.

As part of an agreement with CBC, episodes of the show were filmed with the understanding that no TV commercials would be later added. Because of this, each "regular" episode is exactly 15 minutes, and each "special" episode is 28–30 minutes, leaving no room for TV ads if it were to resurface in syndication on network television in the future.

Contents

[edit] Plot and characters

[edit] The series

Under the Umbrella Tree was well known for its many lovable characters, including the only human cast member Holly Higgins, and lively puppets Iggy the Iguana, Jacob the Bluejay, and Gloria Gopher.

There are also various other puppet characters, such as Mrs. McMurtry, the Umbrella Tree gang's neighbour, and Chuck Chickadee, who is Jacob's friend. Special guests have also appeared on the program, such as Michelle St. John as the gang's new neighbour in 1990's Great Gardening episode.

The program consists of 280 episodes, 270 of which are 15 minutes in length, and there are ten 30-minute specials. There are episodes about baseball, holidays, singing, dancing, exercise, and various other activities. The show is well known for being quite enjoyably funny; an example being the half-hour special opening credits, which showcase a bucket of water being dispensed on Holly's head, a pie being thrown at Iggy's face, envelopes falling on Gloria, and Jacob tumbling over a display of cans. The show aired from 1986 to 1993, and was picked up by The Disney Channel and YTV from 1993 off-and-on through 1997.

[edit] Characters

  • Holly Higgins (Holly Larocque) - The only human cast member. Holly was seen as a parental figure for the three puppet characters. She is known for being funny, artistic, and generous.
  • Iggy Iguana (Bob Stutt) - Iggy sleeps on the shelf at the Umbrella Tree residence, and his characteristics include sometimes thinking too highly of himself, and unwillingly making mistakes. He, along with Jacob Bluejay, can be regarded as the klutzes of the gang.
  • Gloria Gopher (Noreen Young) - Gloria is the only female puppet in the Umbrella Tree household, and lives and sleeps 'under the umbrella tree', which is located behind the couch. It is known as her borough.
  • Jacob Bluejay (Stephen Brathwaite) - Jacob is the only citizen of the Umbrella Tree household capable of flight. He usually sleeps somewhere outdoors, preferably on the patio. Jacob sometimes invents things that seldom work as he plans, which results in a humorous episode.
  • Louis Bird (Bob Stutt) - Louis is a friend of the Umbrella Tree gang, usually involved in festivities outside the apartment, or in dialogue within several episodes. He is well known for overusing the term "indeed", and usually adds the phrase "hmm, indeed!" at the end of his statements.
  • Mitzi the Dog (Holly Larocque) Mitzi is Gloria's best friend who is always seeming to get either herself or Gloria in trouble.

[edit] Recent developments

In 2001, it was revealed by the creator, producer, and star of Under the Umbrella Tree, Noreen Young, that plans to bring back the 280 episodes of the program to airwaves was a large possibility. It was noted at that time that the show may be aired on a Canadian television station by 2005. Though three DVDs have already been released with episodes of the program during 2005, the re-occurrence of television syndication seems less than likely and did not occur during the foreclosed year 2005.

In 1997, Under the Umbrella Tree reruns were placed on hiatus, after the Disney Channel stopped allowing the airing of the program and shelved the episodes. Since Disney owned all rights to the family classic, airing reruns on another television station was not possible until the rights expired in 2005. Since then, Noreen Young Productions in unison with Cinerio Entertainment, Inc.has begun selling the episodes on DVD. It is not publicly known whether this decision means there is no chance of the program airing in syndication on any television station in the future.

[edit] External links

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