Spot the Dog


Spot the Dog

"Spot the Dog" is a series of books by Eric Hill, which were later made into a popular children's animation for BBC television by David McKee's "King Rollo Films".

First published in 1980, "Where's Spot" was inspired by the reaction of Eric's 2-year-old son to an advert in which lifting the flap revealed a funny picture and to a bedtime story made up to go along with it. It became tremendously successful and a series of further books featuring the character was commissioned.

Later, an animated version was produced, along with translations into more than 60 languages. The character has also starred in interactive CD-ROMs, as well as appearing "in person" at events throughout the world.

The books are much praised by librarians and teachers for encouraging very young children to start reading, and have even been used to teach literacy to adults.

Book design

The books are set in the typeface Century Schoolbook Infant, a single-story version of Century Schoolbook that is very rare and not for sale to the general public. The closest typeface design available to the public based on this typeface is Tiempo.

Characters

* Spot - The star of the series. A yellow puppy with a brown spot on each side of his body and a brown tip on his tail, Spot is full of wonder and mischief, as well as helpfulness.

Meet the Family

* Sally - Spot's mother. She, too, is yellow and has a brown spot on her back that goes around the back of her body, as well as two brown spots on each side of her body and a brown tip on her tail. Much of the first story, "Where's Spot", involves her going around the house looking for Spot.
* Sam - Spot's father. He is also yellow, but has no spots on his body whatsoever. He works at a farm.
* Susie - Spot's little sister. Like the rest of the family, she is yellow, and has a brown spot that goes around her back of her body, but does not have a brown tip on her tail. Susie has yet to make an appearance on the TV series.
* Grandpa - Spot's Grandpa. He is yellow as well. He has fuzzy fur, but no Spots on his body. He does not have a brown tip on his tail. He's nearsighted, and was a fireman.
* Grandma - Spot's Grandma. She, like everyone else in the family, is yellow. And like Grandpa, she has fuzzy fur. She has two brown spots on her back that go around the back of her body, as well as smaller brown spots on each side of her body (there were 6 spots on her body in "Spot and his Grandparents Go to the Carnival", but somehow it was reduced to 5 in "Spot's Musical Adventures: Spot helps Grandma"). She does not have a brown tip on her tail. She is usually seen wearing glasses.

Friends in the Neighbourhood

* Helen - A blue Hippo. She is the biggest sized and the heaviest in the group. Her mother is a tuba player for the town band. Her color is dark blue and she has sags under her eyes in the first season of the TV series, but turned light blue and the sags under her eyes are gone as of Season 2 of the TV show.
* Steve - A Monkey. As befits his species, he is Playful and is full of surprises. Like many of the characters, his color turns brighter in Season 2.
* Tom - A green crocodile. He started out dark green in color in the first season. He also sports rather sharp-looking incisors and a red coloring inside his mouth on the first season. By the second season of the television series, he loses the sharp incisors, red color, and the white eye sacs and turns to a lighter shade of green leaving him looking younger and less intimidating. Tom's accent is faintly reminiscent of that of Katharine Hepburn. He loves going Fishing. Tom loves the Snare Drum Considered to be his Favorite Interment. His dad is the Mayor of the Town.
* Clare - A green turtle. Like Tom, her shade of green turns brighter in Season 2 compared to Season 1.
* Miss Bear - Spot's school teacher. True to her name, she is a brown bear.
* Betsy - A bear.
* Tina - An elephant.
* Cybil - A Orange Cat. Was very rude towards Spot in "Spot's Lost Bone" and possibly the same cat that scared Spot in "Spot's First Walk". Only appears in Season 1.
* Ginger - Another cat, nowhere near as rude as Cybil.
* Mr. Kangaroo - A kangaroo that speaks with what sounds like a New Zealand accent. Spot's neighbour. Only appears in Season 1.

pot in the Books

The first book, "Where's Spot?" was published in 1980, and it features Sally going on a search around the house for Spot. 2005 marked the 25th anniversary of the publication of "Where's Spot", and was celebrated with a silver jacket hardcover edition of "Where's Spot?".

There are various kinds of Spot books available, from lift-the-flap books to read-along audio CD with book bundle to touch and feel books to sound books (books with an electronic sound panel on them). Some books are also bundled with plush toys. Of course, some are simply good old-fashioned picture books. There are also pop-up books, activity books and cloth books (books which are made entirely of cloth).

Notable releases

These books are considered important to the timeline of Spot because they include important events or introduced new characters to the series.

Information in this section are researched off the Eric Hill biography/interview at the official website as well as off Amazon UK.

Where's Spot (1980)

This is the book that started it all. The first book ever in the series, it chronicles Sally going around the house looking for Spot. Sally and Spot are introduced in this book. Spot's main friends (Tom, Steve, Helen, and Clare) are also introduced in this book, but they were yet to be named and instead served as characters that Sally finds during her search for Spot.

pot Goes to School (1984)

Spot's teacher, Miss Bear, is introduced in this book, and Tom, Steve, Helen, and Clare are also finally named. This book chronicles Spot's day at school (kindergarten).

pot Goes on Holiday (Spot Goes to the Beach) (1985)

Spot's dad, Sam, is introduced in this book. In this book, Spot and his family go to the beach, and Spot meets a new friend (a brown cocker spaniel).

pot's Baby Sister (1991)

Spot's sister, Susie, is introduced in this book. Basically, the book involves Spot getting a new sister, and the trials and tribulations of putting up with her. The words at the end of the book have the same meaning as the words said during the opening of the Caillou theme song.

pot Visits his Grandparents (1996)

Spot's grandparents are introduced in this book. In it, Spot visits his grandparents' place and helps out in the garden. We learn about Sally when she was only a puppy.

List of Spot sound books

Here is a quick list of Spot sound books; the list is by no means complete.

UK Releases

A list of Spot sound books released in the UK. These books are produced by Publications International and published by Frederick Warne.
* ISBN 0-7232-4513-4, "Spot's Noisy Walk"
* ISBN 0-7232-4598-3, "Spot Plays Hide-and-Seek"
* ISBN 0-7232-4656-4, "Spot's First Songs"
* ISBN 0-7232-4737-4, "Spot's Busy Week"
* ISBN 0-7232-4835-4, "Spot's Helpful Day"
* ISBN 0-7232-4844-3, "Spot's Christmas Songs"
* ISBN 0-7232-4941-5, "Spot's Big Nursery Song Book"
* ISBN 0-7232-5297-1, "Spot's Rainy Day"
* ISBN 0-7232-5307-2, "Spot's Marching Band"
* ISBN 0-7232-5483-4, "Sing Along with Spot"
* ISBN 0-7232-5484-2, "Spot's Noisy Toy Box"
* ISBN 0-7232-5777-9, "Spot's Birthday"
* ISBN 0-7232-5814-7, "Spot's Day Out"
* ISBN 0-7232-5870-8, "Spot's Fun Day"

US Releases

The US edition of the sound books are somewhat different from the UK editions of the book. The text in them is somewhat changed, and in some cases, the title is changed as well. They are produced and published by Publications International.
* ISBN 0-7853-2681-2, "Spot's Noisy Walk"
* ISBN 0-7853-4224-9, "Spot's First Songs"
* ISBN 0-7853-6425-0, "Good Job, Spot" (US Release of "Spot's Helpful Day")

pot on TV and Videos

"Spot, Spot, the lovable Spot, He's soft and cuddly and he smiles a lot,"
"If there ever was a pup to cheer you up, It's Spot, Spot, Spot."
- Spot theme song, written by Duncan Lamont and performed by Paul Nicholas, used in the UK episodes of "The Adventures of Spot" and "It's Fun to Learn with Spot" from 1985 to 1994

"Here he comes with a giggle and a hop, running so fast that he just can't stop,"
"Hello, Spot, Spot, Hello, Happy little puppy who's always on the go,"
"Hello, Spot, wait for me, I want to come along and see the things you see"
- Spot theme song, written by KiCK productions and performed by Andrew Brenner, used in the UK revoiced episodes of "The Adventures of Spot","It's Fun to Learn with Spot" and "Spot's Musical Adventures", 2004-present

"With a smile and a laugh he will light up your day, Like the sun, get over the hill"
"And his tail wiggle-wags 'cause he's ready to play, come along, it'll be quite a thrill,"
"There's a great big world to discover, let's uncover, what he's got,"
"Everyone's having lots of fun, with a friend named Spot"- Spot theme song in the Disney (US) releases, used in 1993-present

In estimation, there is about 6 hours and 15 minutes of Spot animation available in total. Here's a list of the episodes. Note that all of them are readily available on video and/or DVD and/or VideoCD.

The adventures of Spot: Season 1 (1986)

The first season of the TV series apparently went into production sometime in 1986. It consisted of 13 episodes, each 5 minutes long, and was aired on the BBC between 1986-1987. The episodes were voiced and narrated by Paul Nicholas and the music was composed by Duncan Lamont. The animation was done at David McKee's King Rollo Films.

"Episodes in this season:"
* Spot's Surprise Parcel
* Spot's Lost Bone
* Spot's First Walk
* Spot in the Woods
* Spot's Birthday Party
* Where's Spot
* Sweet Dreams, Spot
* Spot Goes to School
* Spot Goes To The Circus
* Spot Follows His Nose
* Spot Goes Splash
* Spot's Windy Day
* Spot Goes On Holiday (released in the US as Spot Goes To The Beach)

It's fun to learn with Spot - Phase 1 (1990)

In 1990, Spitfire Television and Living Doll Productions made 4 episodes of "It's fun to learn with Spot", each approximately 15 minutes in length. These episodes were voiced by Peter Hawkins. The Spot theme song was licensed from King Rollo Films, so the familiar tune by Duncan Lamont was heard on the opening and closing. However, music on the show was kept to a minimum - the only noticeable music from the phase other than the opening and closing theme was "The Alphabet Song" in Spot's Alphabet. These episodes were never officially released in the US.

"Episodes in this season:"
* Spot's Alphabet
* Spot's Busy Year
* Spot Learns to Count
* Spot Tells the Time

The adventures of Spot: Season 2 (1993)

This season of the TV series went into production in 1993, and consisted of yet another batch of 13 5-minute episodes. Production of the show has shifted back to King Rollo Films after the first phase of "It's fun to learn with Spot". Paul Nicholas returns as the voices and narration, and Duncan Lamont returns as composer of the music. Many of the characters' looks (most notably Helen's and Tom's) are refined in this season.

"Episodes in this season:"
* Spot Goes To A Party
* Spot's Winter Sports
* Spot Goes to the Fair
* Spot's Favourite Toy
* Spot's First Picnic (released in the US as Spot Goes on a Picnic)
* Spot at the Playground
* Storytime With Spot
* Spot Goes to the Farm
* Spot Stays Overnight (released in the US Spot Sleeps Over)
* Spot Makes A Cake
* Spot Goes to the Park
* Spot Finds A Key
* Spot in the Garden

It's fun to learn with Spot - Phase 2 (1994)

Like the first four episodes, these are 15 minutes long. Unlike the first four episodes, however, these are produced by King Rollo Films and retained the talents of Paul Nicholas and Duncan Lamont. Much of the character's refinements made to the second season of The Adventures of Spot were retained in this season. Also, at the end of each episode, there was a song reinforcing the lessons learnt in the episode - something missing in the first four episodes (with the exception of "The Alphabet Song" in Spot's Alphabet). Sadly, like the first four episodes, these were never officially released in the US.

"Episodes in this season:"
* Spot's Looks at Opposites
* Spot's First Word Game
* Spot Looks at Colours
* Spot Looks at Shapes

Note: The two phases of "It's fun to learn with Spot" are often listed as one series, even on Penguin Television's website. However, as noted, the two phases were produced 4 years apart by two different companies and are very different in design.

The Specials (1995 - 1997)

The specials have some notable differences from the normal series. Unlike the other episodes in the series, they're 30 minutes in length, without narration and each character is voiced distinctly. The characters' mouths also move to speech, in comparison to the other episodes which the characters' mouths remain static and the entire episode was narrated as a story. The songs in the specials are longer and more complex than those featured in 'It's fun to learn with Spot'.

"Episodes:"
* Spot's Magical Christmas (1995)
* Spot and his Grandparents Go to the Carnival (1997)

pot's Musical Adventures (2000)

In 2000, yet another 13 episodes of Spot was produced, each with a short song in them. The format of the series was reverted back to the narration format used prior to the specials. These episodes, however, are no longer voiced by Paul Nicholas. Instead, comedienne Jane Horrocks was given the role of narrator and voices of these episodes. Music was composed by Duncan Lamont with KiCK Productions and the songs are performed by Dan Russell. The US release of the episodes (revoiced and released as "Discover Spot" by Disney) also feature a real kids segment.

"Episodes:"
* Spot's Show
* Spot's Treehouse
* Spot's Breakfast
* Spot's Horse (Released in the US as Spot's Hobby Horse)
* Spot's Grandpa
* Spot's Umbrella
* Spot's Band
* Spot's Bath
* Spot's Tent
* Spot Tidies Up (Released in the US as Spot Cleans up)
* Spot Helps Grandma
* Spot's School Trip
* Hide and Seek (Released in the US as Spot Plays Hide and Seek)

Back commits

After the release of Spot's Musical Adventures, the following interesting modifications were made to the show:
* A live kids segment was added to Disney's US releases of "The adventures of Spot" and the specials, and then to the UK release of "Spot's Musical Adventures", "The adventures of Spot" and the specials. It will come as no surprise if these are added to the upcoming re-release of the "It's fun to learn with Spot" episodes.
* "The adventures of Spot" episodes were revoiced by Jane Horrocks. Additionally, the original Duncan Lamont music was replaced with new tracks written with KiCK Productions. It will come as no surprise if the voices and music in the re-release of the "It's fun to learn with Spot" episodes are changed as well.

US/UK differences

* The US releases of the show are revoiced. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (whose credentials include "young Simba" in The Lion King and the TV show Home Improvement) did the voice of Spot throughout "The Adventures of Spot" and the specials, and Haley Joel Osment (known for his the role as 'Cole Sear', in The Sixth Sense) did the voice of Spot in Disney's release of "Spot's Musical Adventures" (which was released as "Discover Spot") in the US. The other characters were voiced by Corey Burton and Linda Gary.

pot on CD

Spot has had a few music records out, here's a record of those I know of. Track listings courtesy of FreeDB.

pot in the Park with the Flowerpot Gang

Released in Australia by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation(ABC) in the early 2000s, Spot in the Park with the Flowerpot Gang consists of 26 nursery rhymes. Apparently, it is no longer published.

Tracks
# ABC Concert Theme
# Spot Theme
# Old MacDonald Had A Farm
# Mary Had A Little Lamb
# Ring A Ring A Rosie
# Happy Little Flower Pot
# Nick Nack Paddy Wack
# Hooray!
# Tip Toe
# Shake
# Statues In The Park
# Little Bo-Peep
# Farmer In The Dell
# Baa Baa Black Sheep
# Hickory Dickory Dock
# Doing The Hop!
# Can You Do What Kristy Can?
# Incy Wincy Spider
# Heel And Toe
# If You're Happy And You Know It
# Spot Says
# Mary Mary Quite Contrary
# Sing A Song Of Sixpence
# Humpy Dumpty
# Hey Diddle Diddle
# ABC Concert Theme (2)

pot's First Play Songs

Another CD of nursery rhymes. It is published by Genius Entertainment and is also available in a boxed set called "Spot's Favorite Toddler Tunes".

Tracks: 1. One, Two, I Love You 2. The Alphabet Song 3. If You're Happy & You Know It 4. Say, Say, Oh Playmate 5. Ring Around The Rosey 6. The Green Grass Grows All Around 7. Humpty Dumpty 8. Do You Know The Muffin Man 9. Mary Had A Little Lamb 10. Hickory Dickory Dock 11. Hot Cross Buns 12. One, Tow, Buckle My Shoe 13. Skip To My Lou 14. Pop! Goes The Weasel

pot's Farmyard Friends

Yet another CD of nursery rhymes. It is also published by Genius Entertainment and is also available in a boxed set called "Spot's Favorite Toddler Tunes".

Tracks: 1. Old Mcdonald Had A Farm 2. I Bought Me A Cat 3. Farmer In The Dell 4. Turkey In The Straw 5. Did You Ever See A Lassie? 6. Itsy Bitsy Spider 7. The Ants Go Marching 8. Buffalo Gals 9. Three Blind Mice 10. Shoo Fly 11. All The Pretty Horses 12. Oats, Peas, Beans And Barley Grow 13. The Fox 14. Kookaburra

pot's Classics For Growing Minds

Bidding on the success of the controversial Mozart Effect, Spot's Classics For Growing Minds contains 12 classical numbers from various classical composers. It is also published by Genius Entertainment and is also available in a boxed set called "Spot's Favorite Toddler Tunes".

Tracks: 1. W.A. Mozart / Menuetto From Symphony No. 19 2. Lange / Der Kleine Postilion 3. Beethoven / Minuet No. 2 From Eleven Dances 4. W.A. Mozart / Molto Allegro From Symphony N0. 40 5. W.A. Mozart / Minuet In G 6. W.A. Mozart / Allegro From Horn Concerto No. 3 7. J.S. Bach / Allegro From Concerto No. 3 8. Beethoven / Für Elise 9. W.A. Mozart / No. 1 From Three German Dances, K. 605 10. Beethoven / Minuet No. 4 From Eleven Dances 11. J.S. Bach / Allegro-Assai From Concerto No. 2 12. W.A. Mozart / Rondo Alla Turca 13. J.S. Bach / Allegro From Concerto No. 5

pot on CD-ROMs

Two Spot CD-ROM titles are currently available. They are published by Europress in Europe and Hasbro in the US. Both titles runs on both Microsoft Windows (Windows 95 or NT4 or newer) and Apple Macintosh (Os 8 up to OS 9.2.2, and in classic mode from PowerPC Mac OS X up until Mac OS X Leopard) computers. It should be noted that the PowerPC Mac version of the software would not run on newer Intel-based Macs as these newer Macs do not support classic PowerPC or 68k binaries, nor would they run on PowerPC Mac OS X Leopard-based PowerPC Macs as Leopard has dropped support for the classic environment the titles runs on).

pot's Busy Day

Consisting of 4 independent stories and 4 activities accessible from the main screen, Spot goes to school, plays with a ball, bakes a cake and amuses himself on a rainy day. Activities includes Jigsaw puzzles, painting, cake decorating and scene creation.

pot and his Friends

Another 4 independent stories and activities accessible from the main screen. Spot visits the farm, goes to the beach, goes to the fair and goes to a party. Activities include scene creation, sandcastle building, and dressing Spot up for the party.

Combo packs

The above two titles are also sold in a combo pack consisting of both CDs. Additionally, Spot's Busy Day also ships in a pack with a plush.

pot: the Ride

In August 1995, OMC Electronics started production of a Spot kiddie ride, licensed by Copyright Group and manufactured simultaneously in both UK and Australia. It is in the form of Spot on a train like those portrayed in the Spot books, particularly "Spot at the Fair". The ride made use of the ROSie version 4 control board. When in use, it would start off with the Spot theme song (original 1985 version that was written by Duncan Lamont and sung by Paul Nicholas), followed by a BGM loop lifted from "Spot Goes on Holiday" (original 1985 audio track), complete with background noises from the said episode. Three buttons exist on the ride: (from right to left) one to start the ride and makes train whistle noises when pushed if the ride is in use, one with a picture of Helen, Tom and Steve which when pushed plays a clip of Steve (voiced by Paul Nicholas) saying "We're having lots of fun", and one with a picture of Spot, which plays a clip of Steve (again, voiced by Paul Nicholas) saying "Hello, Spot!" when pushed. There is also a 7-segment LED display on the ride to show how many rides were purchased and rides remaining if more than one ride is purchased.

It is said that the ride did not do well in the UK, mainly because the ride was more train than Spot, and the figure of Spot was so diminished that many children failed to recognize him [http://www.kidzstuff.uk.com/spt.htm#sptinfo] .

Rumor has it that another different Spot kiddie ride design exists and was manufactured in Australia, however, suggesting that the ride did fare better in Australia. The design of the ride is said to be in the guise of Spot sitting in a reindeer sleigh (likely modeled after the sleigh shown in "Spot's Magical Christmas", which belonged to Santa Claus), and the child would sit next to Spot. However, no solid account of such ride being manufactured could be found.

Units from both UK and Australia have been exported worldwide. However, how it fared elsewhere remains to be known.

External links

* [http://www.funwithspot.com Official site]
* [http://www.tv.com/the-adventures-of-spot/show/16163/summary.html TV.com Spot episode guides]
* [http://www.toonhound.com/spot.htm Toonhound's record on Spot]
* [http://www.marinagames.com/spot/spotpg.htm Spot Game Manufacturer]


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