Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears

Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears
Gummi.jpg
Format Animated series
Created by Jymn Magon
Art Vitello
Starring Bill Scott (1985)
Paul Winchell (1985–1989)
June Foray
Lorenzo Music
Katie Leigh
Noelle North
Rob Paulsen
Corey Burton (1986–1990)
Jim Cummings (1990)
Michael Rye
Christian Jacobs (1985)
Brett Johnson (1986)
David Faustino (1987)
Jason Marsden (1988–1990)
R. J. Williams (1990–1991)
Roger C. Carmel (1986)
Brian Cummings (1987–1990)
Bob Holt
Howard Morris
Theme music composer Silversher & Silversher
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 94 (65 half-hours) (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 22 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel

NBC[1][2] 1985-1989
ABC[3] 1989-1990

Syndicated 1990-1991
Original run September 14, 1985 – February 22, 1991

Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears is an American animated television series that aired in the United States in the mid-1980s through the early 1990s. The series was the first animated production by Walt Disney Animation Television, and loosely inspired by the gummi bear candies; Disney CEO Michael Eisner was struck with inspiration for the show when his son requested the candies one day.[4] The series premiered on NBC on September 14, 1985, and aired there for four seasons. The series moved to ABC for one season from 1989 to 1990, and concluded on September 6, 1991 as part of the Disney Afternoon television syndication package. Of the series' 65 shows, 30 were double-features, consisting of two 11-minute cartoons, thereby bringing the series total to 94 distinct episodes overall. The show is well-remembered for its theme music, written by Michael and Patty Silversher.

The series was later rebroadcast on the syndicated Disney Afternoon block, and rerun on the Disney Afternoon through the summer of 1991. In later years, it was shown on the Disney Channel and Toon Disney, with its most recent televised airing occurring on Toon Disney on December 28, 2001. Seasons 1 to 3 of the series were released on DVD on November 14, 2006.[5]

Contents

Premise

The series focuses on the escapades of the eponymous "Gummi Bears", anthropomorphic bears who are the last remnants of a once-great civilization of Gummis that fled the land centuries ago when humans, jealous of the advancements and magical skills of the Gummi Bears, forced the species into exile. Now regarded by most of humankind as fairytales, the show's main cast of Gummi Bears (six in number at the outset of the series, increased to seven during the second season) live in the vast subterranean warren of Gummi Glen in the medieval kingdom of Dunwyn, thus suggesting that the show takes place somewhere in Europe, most likely England.

The Gummis' modern adventures begin when they are discovered by a human boy named Cavin who happens to have a Gummi Medallion, found by his grandfather many years earlier. After he accidentally enters the colony's underground home of Gummi Glen, they capture and interrogate the boy as to how he gained the medallion. During the questioning, Cavin escapes after Tummi inadvertently gives him Gummiberry Juice to drink, but refuses to cause any harm and attempts to befriend the reclusive bears. Impressed by this civilized behavior, they make him swear to keep their confidence and make him a privileged friend of the colony. The medallion magically unlocks the colony's Great Book of Gummi, an essential reference guide to the forgotten knowledge of the Gummi Bears. Inspired by its writings, the colony resolves to rediscover their heritage and help Dunwyn defend against evil. Later, another human from Dunwyn accidentally learns that the Gummi Bears are real: the young daughter of the king, Princess Calla. She also promises to keep the Gummis' existence a secret. In subsequent seasons the Gummis would befriend or be discovered by other friendly humans.

The main antagonist of both Dunwyn and the Gummis is Duke Sigmund Igthorn, a renegade noble with an army of ogres, from the neighboring province of Drekmore. Unfortunately, in stopping Igthorn's attempt to bombard his enemies with a grand catapult, the Gummi Bears alert him to their presence. Igthorn will stop at nothing to discover and exploit their secrets to become invincible and capture Dunwyn Castle. Chief among his primary goals is gaining a reliable supply of the Gummi Bears' vital strategic substance, Gummiberry Juice, a magic potion that endows Gummi Bears with bouncing abilities, but gifts humans or ogres with momentary super-strength as well as other numerous uses, including serving as fuel for machines.

In addition to combating Igthorn's ambition, the Gummis regularly encounter other evil humans and magical beings ranging from wizards to gods, all the while attempting to hide their existence from the world at large. One of the show's main recurring storylines outside the schemes of Igthorn is the mystery of the ancient Gummis, who are now scattered all across the world, but who have left advanced technology behind them.

Characters

Gummi Bears from left to right: Cubbi, Sunni, Gruffi, Zummi, Tummi, Grammi.

The Gummi Bears

Gummi Bears are a fictional group of anthropomorphic bears who have a vast amount of history, and unknown to the world with the humans believing that they are legends and fairy tales. While most humans believe that they are kids stories, it has been said that the ancient Gummis and the past humans used to live peacefully together side by side, but for reason unknown the Gummis grew a grudge against the humans. The ancient Gummis left behind small, scattered populations of bears, such as the main group of the series the Gummi-Glen Gummis.

The Gummi-Glen Gummis are a group of Gummis who live in a hollow tree known as Gummi Glen. They harvest the Gummiberries that grow wild around them in the forest, and produce a powerful juice known as Gummiberry Juice. They try to hide from humans as much as possible, with the exception of friends Cavin, a squire, and Princess Calla. In later episodes the Gummis have chance encounters with other friendly humans.

  • Gruffi Gummi is an old-fashioned bear who prefers to do things "the Gummi way", and the de facto leader of Gummi Glen. An extremely skilled craftsman and mechanic, he is the one that often fixes the old Gummi technology and trap doors, as well as building traps around the Glen to deal with humans and ogres. When it comes to building and using tools he is a perfectionist, which can be his undoing at times. In the first episode, he was distrustful of Cavin, but later on in the same episode, he unknowingly admitted that he secretly liked him. However, at other times Gruffi is often the voice of stability when the other Gummis fall into despair. Gruffi is voiced by the late Bill Scott in the first season, and by Corey Burton in all seasons thereafter.
  • Zummi Gummi is an aged bear who is the Gummi-Glen Gummi's "Keeper of Gummi Wisdom" and later the holder of the Gummi-Medallion which he uses to read his magic book to become the group's magician. He is forgetful and clumsy, mis-speaking often with spoonerisms, and his spells tend to back-fire. He also had a fear of heights early on. Zummi is voiced by the late Paul Winchell in seasons 1 through 5, and by Jim Cummings in season 6.
  • Grammi Gummi is another old bear who is the matriarch of Gummi-Glen. She acts as the group's mother, who cooks, cleans, and is the Gummi who prepares the Gummiberry Juice. She holds the secret recipe, and wants to pass it down to Sunni when she is of age. She has an intense rivalry with Gruffi Gummi, and tends to bicker with him over what has to be done. Grammi is voiced by June Foray.
  • Tummi Gummi is an overweight teenaged Gummi who enjoys a good meal, and would much rather be eating the Gummiberries than picking them. Of all the kid Gummis in Gummi Glen, Tummi is the oldest. He has a rather relaxed and easygoing personality, which often gets him caught up in Cubbi's schemes. However, in dangerous situations, Tummi has shown exceptional bravery. Throughout the series he shows signs of being a talented sailor, gardener, artist and craftsman. Tummi is voiced by the late Lorenzo Music.
  • Sunni Gummi is a preteen Gummi, who dreams about becoming a princess just like her best friend the human Princess Calla. Sunni is the most curious about human culture and human fashion, and least concerned with Gummi history. She is the second oldest of the kid Gummis, behind only Tummi Gummi. Later in the series she is shown to have a crush on Gusto. Sunni is voiced by Katie Leigh.
  • Cubbi Gummi is the youngest Gummi-Glen Gummi, and dreams of becoming a great Gummi knight. He is incredibly curious and has a tendency to get distracted by anything mysterious or exciting. He sometimes dons a mask and becomes a vigilante known as the "Crimson Avenger". He is best friends with the human Cavin, and coincidentally, he was the first Gummi that Cavin encountered. Cubbi is voiced by Noelle North.
  • Augustus "Gusto" Gummi is an artistic, individualist Gummi who was stranded on a deserted island for twelve years with his best friend Artie Deco, a wise talking toucan. Tummi and Gruffi were shipwrecked on Gusto's island, just as a volcano was due to erupt and cause the island to sink into the sea. The three bears worked together and brought Gusto home with them to Gummi Glen during season 2. Gruffi tends to argue with Gusto for his outside-the-box thinking, and how much influence he is on Cubbi and Sunni. He lives by himself in a makeshift apartment behind a waterfall but lives in Gummi Glen when the weather is too harsh. Gusto is voiced by Rob Paulsen.
  • Sir Thornberry is an old Gummi bear knight. He was voiced by the late Walker Edmiston who also was the voice of Ernie the Keebler Elf.[6]

Humans

  • Cavin (voiced by: Christian Jacobs (Season 1), Brett Johnson (Season 2), David Faustino (Season 3), Jason Marsden (Season 4-5), R.J. Williams (Season 6)): Cavin, one of the main human characters in the series, and one of the few who believe that Gummi Bears exist, is the squire of Sir Tuxford, of King Gregor's court. Cavin befriends the Gummi Bears in the first episode and shares the same ambition as Cubbi - to become a knight. Cavin also had a Gummi medallion, given to him by his grandfather, that opened The Great Book of Gummi, the source of all Gummi Bear wisdom. The young squire has a crush on Princess Calla, which is requited.
  • Princess Calla (voiced by Noelle North) Princess Calla is the daughter of King Gregor, ruler of Dunwyn. She is an adventurous character of considerable talents, and she often drags the dumbstruck Cavin (of whom she is more than a little fond) into story situations. She also befriended the Gummi Bears in due time and is close friends with Sunni. She hates the pomp and circumstance that comes with being royalty while wishing to be more involved in the governance and defense of the realm. Consequently, she tends to be somewhat rebellious at times, often spurning her father's admonishment that "a princess must set an example for her people." That does not, however, prevent her from exerting her authority as a princess whenever it suits her purpose. She even proved that she needs no protection, as she had surreptitiously trained herself in the use of weapons.
    It is not known whatever became of Calla's mother. As there is never any mention of her mother in any of the episodes, it is often assumed by fans that Calla's mother died before the series timeline. Calla was named after the daughter of the late NBC president Brandon Tartikoff, according to the Internet Movie Database.
  • Sir Gawain (voiced by Michael Rye): Cavin's grandfather, who also originally found the Gummi Medallion which Cavin had been wearing until he gave it to the Gummi Bears. He is highly idealistic and loves to tell moral fables of the ancient Gummis on every suitable occasion. He has met the Bears of Gummi Glen, but he is unaware that Cavin knows them as well, although he has said that he is confident Cavin will meet the Gummi Bears. When Sir Gawain saw that Zummi was wearing the Gummi medallion he had given to Cavin, he was glad it was in the right hands. Most likely named for the knight of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend, though it is possible that he is meant to be the same character. (See Gawain)
  • Princess Marie (voiced by Kath Soucie): The daughter of King Jean-Claude (voiced by Hamilton Camp), the ruler of a kingdom allied to Dunwyn. Originally a spoiled brat, she considered Calla a rival and picked a fight with her on every occasion. After both their lives are saved by the Gummi Bears, however, she mellows considerably and becomes one of Calla's best friends.
  • Prince Yen-Moon (voiced by Keone Young): A prince from the Far East who travels to Dunwyn in search of help from the Gummies in defending his kingdom from a lethal dragon. Using an ancient Gummi Buddha-like statue, the Gummies are able to defeat the dragon by using it as a teleporting device.
  • Trina (voiced by Patricia Parris): A blind peasant shepardess who lives in the Dunwyn region with her shepdog Watcher and befriends Tummi after he hides in her cottage when on the run from the ogres. She shares a common bond with Tummi in that both are chubby due to their love of food and she wishes to cook for Tummi, who is more than happy to accept. She sets traps to throw Duke Igthorn off the track, teaching Tummi that "disabled does not mean unable". She invites Tummi to come visit her whenever he wishes, but not to sneak in.
  • Doctor Dexter: A pharmacist who feels he is not owning up to his family's proud reputation of medicine. Tummi uses Gummiberry juice in one of his medicines, which results in Dunywn citizens becoming super strong, but attracts Igthorn as well. Dr. Dexter later realizes his concoction can serve as a super fertilizer and thus achieves success after all.
  • King Gregor (voiced by Michael Rye): King Gregor is the ruler of Dunwyn. He is a brave figure and protects his people from villains like Duke Igthorn with the help of Sir Tuxford and his knights. On occasion he has personally commanded knights in combat when leading a charge against ogres. Gregor is unaware of the Gummi Bears' existence or involvement in saving his kingdom many times. His pride and joy is his daughter, Calla, which later includes considerable respect of her previously hidden fighting prowess which he saw first hand when they inadvertently challenged each other in disguise during a test. King Gregor has actually met the Gummis on certain occasions, but has not caught on to the fact that his secret benefactors were Gummi Bears.
  • Sir Tuxford and knights (voiced by: the late Bill Scott (Season 1), the late Roger C. Carmel (Season 2), Brian Cummings (Seasons 3-6)): Sir Tuxford is the highest ranking knight in King Gregor's court and his trusted friend. He is an older, jolly character, always ready for a fight but perhaps past his prime. Sir Tuxford leads the knights of Castle Dunwyn and is the main force that keeps Duke Igthorn and his ogres away. His catchphrase is often "I'm sure I don't know, Sire" when questioned by King Gregor of the present situation. Despite his age and his appearance, Sir Tuxford has apprehended many troublemakers in Dunwyn, and done battle with Igthorn and his ogres.
  • Sir Victor Igthorn (voiced by Michael Rye): He is Duke Igthorn's brother and a famous paladin in the realm of Dunwyn. Ashamed of his family's betrayal (which had remained a dark secret for a major part of his life), he has taken the path of justice to atone for their sins. Fortunately, when Victor eventually confessed to stop his brother's blackmailing, he was relieved to learn that at least the Dunwinians do not hold his family relations against him. Sir Victor has become Cavin's idol and friend, but he is unaware of the Gummi Bears' existence. He can take any insult to himself, but NOT to his steed Destiny, and has the ability to make ladies (including Calla) swoon when he kisses their hands.

Villains

  • Duke Sigmund Igthorn (voiced by Michael Rye): The primary villain of the series. Once the greatest knight of Dunwyn, he was exiled after conspiring against King Gregor. He found refuge in Castle Drekmore and formed an army of local ogres. He is a bad-tempered and scheming villain, who constantly seeks to conquer the castle and kingdom of Dunwyn. After having encountered the Gummi Bears, he has employed their secrets time and again to fulfill his plans, but he always meets only short-lived success at best. Eventually, he later became responsible for the fall of Gummi Glen.
    Igthorn has a big - and alas unrequited - crush on Lady Bane. We also discover that he has a brother named Sir Victor, who fights wrongdoing as the antithesis of Sigmund Igthorn. It is implied in some episodes that Igthorn had a father who had also conspired to control Dunwyn and thus raised his son in that mindset.
  • Toadwart, aka Toadie (voiced by Bill Scott in Season 1, Corey Burton in Season 2-6): The smallest ogre in Drekmore, and Igthorn's illeistic lieutenant. He seems to genuinely like his "Dukie" and as his name suggests, he is a fawning and enduring character who bears most of the bullying and punishment brought upon him by the Duke and his fellow ogres. He is the smartest of his kin, who do respect his ability to read and write. He has a cousin named Tadpole, who is just as diminutive, but more intelligent and bossier. Although Toadwart is largely an enemy, there are rare occasions where he learns the values the Gummis stand for, such as one time when he decides to impersonate the Crimson Avenger and gets taught a serious lesson about personal honor and the means of service to others.
  • Ogres (voiced by Will Ryan): Duke Igthorn's shock troops. Big and strong, but also extremely stupid; they are organized in way of military rank, and constantly call Igthorn "Dukie" (a slang term for feces), which he loathes:
Igthorn: Don't call me "Dukie"!
Ogres: Okay, Dukie!
  • Gad and Zook (both are voiced by Will Ryan): Igthorn's bodyguards, their names are taken from "Gadzook!" Gad has purple skin and wears a metal helmet, while Zook has green skin and orange hair. Gad and Zook hold the rank of corporal and private, respectively. Once, when all the ogres were turned into babies for a while, Zook was called "Snookums" by Grammi.
  • Umma: This was originally Cavin in disguise, but in a later episode Cubbi was captured by an ogre who also has that name.
  • Lady Bane (voiced by Tress MacNeille): The main evil witch character of the series. She is in possession of a Gummi Medallion much like Zummi's, and craves any power she can get her hands on (including the Gummi Bears') for her bid for power. She is served by her jackal-like Troggles and on occasion by Duke Igthorn, whose crush on her she finds VERY annoying, although she did agree to a dinner date with Igthorn if she figured it would forge an alliance to destroy the Gummis. She is also vain, at one point in addition to expressing anger that she was foiled by the Gummis, that she chipped one of her nails as well. In one episode it was discovered that she is extremely old, and uses her magic to "de-age" herself into an attractive dark-haired sorceress by stealing Sunni's youth until the other Gummis manage to reverse it. The creators of the television program took inspiration for the character by the historical figure of Lucrezia Borgia.
  • The Trolls: A band of green-skinned and diminutive thieves trying to do their best to better their positions at the expense of other people. They are very skilled in kitbashing and operating mechanical devices (mostly traps and weapons, like a walnut submachine gun). They are eventually captured by King Gregor's knights and remanded to the dungeon in Dunwyn Castle.
  • Carpies (all of them and their king were voiced by Will Ryan): A race of vulture-like creatures living on the spire-like Carpy Mountain. They capture Sunni twice - first for her singing talent, then to become their King (or rather, Queen). Their bullying King has been succeeded by Bobo the Dodo.
  • Unwin (voiced by Will Ryan): A knight squire at Dunwyn. A big bully, loud-mouth, and in reality a coward, who constantly picks on Cavin. He finally gets his dues when Princess Calla bests him at a tournament for the appointment of the princess' royal protector ("Girl's Knight Out").

Gummiberry Juice

Gummiberry Juice is a concoction formulated using Gummiberries by the Gummi Bears, with the recipe only known by Grammi Gummi, who later taught it to Sunni Gummi. The juice is produced by adding six handfuls of red berries, then four orange berries, three purple berries, four blue berries, three green berries and one yellow berry. The recipe ends with the 3-step-stir: first stir slow to the right, then slow to the left, then tap the pot to banish the bubbles.[7]

Gummi Bears gain the ability to bounce at unusual heights for a limited amount of time. Ogres and humans both gain super strength for a similar amount of time. Drinking too much Gummiberry Juice has unforeseen side effects on the consumer, and it appears that the abilities gained from drinking the juice can only be used by humans once per day. Also if the juice is produced inaccurately from the recipe the results are adverse outcomes though nothing fatal.[7] In Season 1, Episode 14 - 'The Secret Of The Juice', Grammi Gummi tries to teach Sunni Gummi for the first time how to make the juice. Grammi performs the three-step-stir successfully like she always does, but when it's Sunni's turn, it ends in disaster. She stirs the pot too vigorously and then bangs it too hard, causing the pot to somehow explode, covering Sunni, Grammi and the entire house in juice.

In the series, the Juice was used as a major plot device with the main reoccurring villain, Duke Igthorn, trying get a good supply of the juice or the recipe to create mass amounts to grant himself and the ogres superstrength.

Episodes

DVD releases

On November 14, 2006, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Volume 1 on DVD in Region 1. The 3-disc set features seasons 1 to 3 and does not contain any bonus features, save for subtitles for the hearing impaired.

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Volume 1 47 November 14, 2006
Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Volume 2 48 TBA

Amazon UK also released the series in twelve Region 2 volumes, each containing approximately 5 episodes, as well as a box set containing the first seven volumes. These DVDs are currently unavailable. They had random episodes, which weren't in series, storyline or production order, and were only about 60 minutes per volume, meaning if they had five episodes, that would be five stories and not 5x30 minute shows.

In Australia they released nine volumes, which have long been discontinued. They are all in complete storyline production order, but starting from the first volume, they start from production episode 19 in series 2 and go right up to episode 65 of the series' final two part double episode adventure.

International broadcast

Significance

Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears was Disney's first major serialized animated television series (it was released back to back with another show, The Wuzzles, which lasted only 13 episodes), and is often credited by animators and animation historians as having helped jump start the television animation boom of the late 1980s and 1990s. Consequently, it also became the forerunner to Disney's famous Disney Afternoon timeslot, which gave way to other famous serialized Disney television series, such as DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, and Bonkers. Although many of these subsequently-created shows exceeded Gummi Bears in budget and length, it is often credited as the sort of prototype to all of the subsequent animation which followed it, with DuckTales really jumpstarting the trend.

Additionally, while not having the largest number of total episodes, Gummi Bears has the biggest number of seasons of any Disney animated series. Whereas other shows simply produced large numbers of episodes for each of their seasons (DuckTales, for instance, had 100 episodes over three years), Gummi Bears is unique in that it was actually annually renewed for new episodes over six consecutive years, a feat which few other children's animated series can boast even today.

The show was so successful in the United Kingdom that the episodes A New Beginning and Faster than a Speeding Tummi were released as theatrical featurettes there in 1986 and 1987.

Other appearances of Gummi Bears in other media included one appearance of Gruffi Gummi starring in a D-TV music video of the Elvis Presley song "Teddy Bear" in 1986.[10]

The show's popularity also led to a re-theming of Disneyland's Motor Boat Cruise, along with a small part of Disneyland that became known as "Disney Afternoon Avenue." The Motor Boat Cruise became the "Motor Boat Cruise to Gummi Glen" and plywood characters from the show made Gummiberry Juice along the waterway. The Gummi Bears, and on occasion human characters such as Duke Igthorn, Princess Calla, or King Gregor, have also been featured as meetable characters who greet guests in Disney theme parks.

References

External links


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