RugratsNews & Other Little-Known Facts -- Part 2

Parents Approve of "Rugrats"

On Monday, 6/26/2000, The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania released a list of the top 10 shows that are encouraged and discouraged by parents. In the "encouraged" list, Rugrats was ranked # 9, and was the only Nicktoon on that list (no Nicktoons were "discouraged"). Here are both lists:
Most Encouraged: Most Discouraged:
1. "Sesame Street"
2. "Blue's Clues"
3. News shows
4. "Arthur"
5. "Barney"
6. "Touched by an Angel"
7. "Seventh Heaven"
8. "National Geographic"
9. "Rugrats"

10. "Little Bear"
1. "The Simpsons"
2. MTV
3. "South Park"
4. Wrestling
5. "Jerry Springer"
6. "NYPD Blue"
7. "Beavis and Butthead"
8. "Friends"
9. "Power Rangers"
10. Soap operas

Chatting With The Rugrats

On 6/22/2000, Nick.Com has held a chat with Mark Valenti, one of the writers of the show, along with the Rugrats themselves. To see how the chat went, click here.

Tommy's Second Birthday

In a rare comic story published in a Rugrats Movie promo magazine, Tommy celebreates his birthday at the beach. For this story, click here.

Giving Credit Where Credit's Due... Sort Of

Beginning Friday, 3/3/2000, Nick US has changed the way the closing credits look like on their channel; unfortunately, this is the same trend followed by all other US & Canadian broadcast networks, and many cable networks as well.

In the past, the Rugrats' closing credits used the same fonts and backgrounds as the program itself, followed by the Klasky-Csupo and Nickelodeon logos at the end. However, beginning on 3/3, the 1999 K-C logo (even on older shows) and Nick logos are followed by the credits, which are typed in with a chyron (electronic character generator) and displayed on the left side of the screen, while promos for Nick's upcoming shows are displayed on the remaining parts of the screen. Also, the older episodes' copyrights go to Viacom, rather than MTV. One thing that's unique to Nick, however, is that the theme music plays quietly in the background, while the promos play.

While the credits are a little harder to read, at least they're treated better than what some channels are doing -- vertically squishing the original credits to 1/3rd or even 1/4th of the screen, making the credits difficult, if not impossible, to read. On the other hand, there's a danger that the credits for the wrong episode would be seen. For example, in a new episode of Hey Arnold on 3/11/2000, "Helga's Masquerade" / "Mr. Green Runs" had end credits for "Veteran's Day" instead.

Also, such a move means an extra 30 seconds for promos or commercials, in addition to the 30 seconds of promos that run concurrently with the credits. Before the credits were redone, they take a minute to run, and any shows that require promoting during the credits was done via voiceovers. Since the retooling, they now have 30 seconds to show promos during the credits, and they have an extra 30 seconds to do anything they wish.

This credit change might be another consequence of the merger between Viacom & CBS, which occurred in September 1999. CBS Television has been handling their credits in a similar manner for the last few years.

Rugrats Go Reptar!

In celebration of the 8/3/1999 release of the direct-to-video episode Runaway Reptar, Nickelodeon is pulling out the stops to promote the video and the world's second most popular giant lizard. Unfortunately, not everything went as planned. For information, click here.

(Above: Cover to a special Nickelodeon
20th anniversary magazine distributed
only at the 1999 Licensing Show in New
York. From eBay; cover and sales pitch ©1999 Viacom.)

The Sales Pitch

At the 1999 Licensing Show in New York City, Nickelodeon distributed a special magazine showcasing their top shows and future marketing campaigns. Rugrats is one of those shows showcased. Here's their sales pitch:

"One word describes the Rugrats -- ONE. The #1 kid's televison show, #1 selling products, #1 Q Score and #1 touring family show. Plus, their big screen debut -- The Rugrats Movie -- grossed $100 million at the box office and went on to become the #1 selling video its first three weeks of release! (The source on the video data wasn't given, though Billboard® said differently. -- SM)

"Now, new '99 episodes featuring Dil have garnered the show's highest rating's ever, keeping "Rugrats" #1. To help it stay there, Rugrats will continue into the new millennium with new looks in products and new sub-brands for added excitement and appeal.

"Plus, Nickelodeon is prepared to keep Rugrats growing with:

  • Q1-2 '00 Sping Sweepstakes Promotion

With the added support of integrated marketing, on-air promotions, TV advertising, 3rd party promotions and product tie-ins.

"Will the potty (party) ever stop?"

"Rugrats" Is One Of The Best Things About Television

In early 2000, TV Land has compiled a list of The 2000 Best Things About Television, ranking the all-time TV shows, channels, commercials, people, catch phrases, etc., and putting them all together in a gigantic list of 2000 items. On that list, Rugrats is ranked # 699, ahead of Ally McBeal (# 700), but behind the "Never Trust Little Old Ladies" episode of Green Acres (# 698). The only other Nicktoon on the list was Ren & Stimpy, at # 992. Where the voices are concerned, Jack Riley was ranked # 819 and David Doyle was # 959 (at # 1568 was the fact that everyone confused David Doyle and Tom Bosley), while Pat Buttram, who was a voice in the Graham Canyon episode, was # 945. For the record, The Simpsons was TV's best cartoon at # 10 (Flintstones was second-best at # 108), MTV was best TV channel at # 27 (Nickelodeon was # 130), PBS was best over-the-air network at # 60, Saturday Morning TV was best daypart at # 46, the remote control was best gadget at # 8, I Love Lucy was best TV program at # 2, and the sitcom was THE best thing about TV at # 1.

For the complete list, click here. (List is from the TV Land site, and is ©2000 by Viacom.)

Prehistoric Rugrats

Did you know that the idea of talking babies going on their own adventures predates the Rugrats by about 33 years? Yes, it's true -- the first such babies were Sugar and Spike, which were introduced to comic book readers in 1956. For more details on THE first Rugrats, click here.

(Left: The logo for Sugar and Spike; © DC Comics, Inc and Warner Bros., Inc..)

Chuckie Has A Need For "Greed"

As some of you may know, Greed is a Fox game show where a lucky person can win up to $2 million, with that person deciding on whether or not to share it with his partners. On the 4/7/2000 edition, host Chuck Wollery gave a question about female voiceovers in cartoons. From a given list, the team gave Chuck the names of 4 characters that they felt were voiced by women. The last name given in their answer was Chuckie Finster, and, in essence, Chuckie helped the team win $500,000. Never before have the Rugrats helped someone win a lot of money.

(Special thanks to Nick Baker Miller)

"Rugrats" May Cost You $31,000

On the 9/27/2001 episode of the US Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the Rugrats weren't the right answer, but rather the wrong answer. Luckily, the contestant, Eddy McIntyre, an attorney and president of the board of a non-profit organisation in Miami, FL, knew the right "final answer", but not before using a lifeline.

The $32,000 question was:

What animated TV series features a character whose favorite snack is Cheesy Poofs?

A. Rugrats   B. The Powerpuff Girls

C. The Simpsons   D. South Park

Eddy used his "phone a friend" lifeline to get the correct answer -- South Park. And in the end, he ended up walking away with $64,000.

"Whatchyou talkin' about, Willis?"

What do Rugrats and Diff'rent Strokes have in common? Why don't we ask the Fox network, the same folks that presented that "Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire" scam? On 5/16/2000, the Fox network presented an hour-long telefilm, After Diff'rent Strokes: When the Laughter Stopped. That film, narrated by Dana Plato's ghost, tells of the dark side of the popular NBC sitcom, and the lives of the 3 principal players -- Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and of course, Dana Plato. That film was riddled with bad acting by an entirely-unknown cast, bad writing and anachronisms. One prime example was a scene set in 1991, when Plato robbed a video store; in the background are videos of Pokemon and Rugrats. In 1991, Pokemon didn't even exist, while Rugrats was just starting out on Nick (it'll be another 2 years before they appeared on video).

Rappin' & Rockin' With The Rugrats

If you think the Rugrats' songs are something else, you should hear what Nickelodeon's studio musicians put out. In the mid-1990s, Nick has produced Rugrats Rap and Rugrats Rock. These can be found on a couple of videos, as well as be seen during the commercial breaks on Nick.

Here are the lyrics (click to view):

Rugrats Rap

Rugrats Rock

Rugrats 1995

It happened to Star Trek. It happened to Brady Bunch. And it definitely also happened to Rugrats. All 3 shows have one thing in common -- they both became popular after production has ended. In 1995, USA Today was one of the first to acknowledge the Rugrats' growing popularity in reruns, as well as THE first to mention The Rugrats Movie. For their article, click here.

The Secret Life Of Angelica Pickles

As anyone knows, Rugrats is now one of America's top programs, and The Rugrats Movie is a huge success, but if you think getting to the top is smooth sailing, you're sadly mistaken. The road to the top can be a very bumpy one, and Rugrats is no exception. Who's to blame? Not Nick, not Klasky-Csupo, but Angelica (yes, Angelica).

The 11/30/1998 issue of The New Yorker magazine featured an article by Mimi Swartz, which revealed various facts on the series, especially regarding Angelica, which was actually despised by one of the creators and almost tore the staff apart. For more information, click here.

Paul Speaks

On Billy D'Augustine's now-defunct Rugrats site, He interviewed one of the Rugrats' creators, Paul Germain. To see the interview, click here.

How The Rugrats Speak

On Billy D'Augustine's site, he also gave an explanation on how the Rugrats "talk". For details, click here.

Who Created Whom

Officially, Klasky, Csupo & Germain created Rugrats, but in actuality, a few other names should be added -- Peter Chung, Craig Bartlett & Igor Kovalyov; they're also responsible for creating the beloved characters.

Here's a list of characters, abd their creators:
Creator: Characters:
Arlene Klasky Phil & Lil
Boris & Minka
Gabor Csupo Tommy
Stu & Didi
Betty & Howard
Paul Germain
& Peter Chung
Peter Chung Spike
Craig Bartlett Cynthia
Igor Kovalyov Dil
Reptar Wagon

The Rugrats Really Get Around, Don't They?

Rugrats is the first Nicktoon to make the prestigious Nick-At-Nite line-up (normally reserved for off-network reruns like Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi and Bewitched, among others), something even Ren & Stimpy didn't do (though they were seen during prime time on Nick's sister channel, MTV). They are also the first Nick program to have been seen in all 5 "areas" of the Nickelodeon channel (TV Land doesn't count, as that's a separate channel, though they've televised a Rugrats Movie documentary on 11/26/1998). Here's where Rugrats is, or was, seen:

1. General Nick (6AM ET to 9AM ET, 2PM ET to 9PM ET; period includes Nickel-O-Zone):

8/11/1991 to date.
Repeats since Fall 1994.

2. Cable In The Classroom (weekdays at 6AM ET):

The Chanukah & Passover episodes were televised here during their respective seasons.

3. Nick Jr. (weekdays from 9AM ET to 2PM ET):

Daily repeats at 9AM ET, from early 1994 to fall 1997; when they moved to 8:30AM ET, those episodes became part of general Nick, rather than the commercial-free Nick Jr.

4. Snick (Saturdays from 8PM ET to 10PM ET):

New episodes at 8PM ET since 8/23/1997, plus occasional seasonal classic episodes.

5. Nick-At-Nite (9PM ET (10PM Saturdays) to 6AM ET):

"Rugrats After Hours", 4/26/1998 to 6/7/1998, Sundays at 11:30PM ET. Also on this date, repeats of Charlie Brown specials began Sundays at 11PM ET, during the same time frame. Also, Rugrats was part of Block Party Summer, with Rugrats seen Fridays from 8:30PM ET to 11:30PM ET, 7/17/1998 to 8/28/1998.

Fron 6/7/1999 to 6/11/1999; Nick-At-Nite featured a special week of programming, featuring its All-Star TV Family. Dil Pickles was part of that family, and a 4-hour Rugrats marathon featuring Dil was seen on the final night of the special week, Friday 6/11/1999, 9PM ET to 1AM ET. Other "family" members included Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick, The Brady Bunch), Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont, Leave It To Beaver), Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton, All In The Family) and Wayne Arnold (Jason Hervey, The Wonder Years).

(Left: Photo from Nick-At-Nite's website; ©1999 Viacom. Marcia Brady & Dil Pickles © Viacom; Ward Cleaver © Studios USA; Edith Bunker © Columbia -Tri Star Tevevision; Wayne Arnold © New World Television.)

The Disney Way
The Recess Cast:

Vince: Very athletic and very popular.
(Ashley) Spinelli: Brave and tough.
Mikey: Soft-hearted and emotional; non-violent; loves poetry.
T.J.: The trusted leader of the Recess pack.
Gretchen: The smart one who solves every problem through experimenting.
Gus: The new kid; very insecure.

Not shown:

Miss Finster: Their elderly teacher who hates fun of any kind.
(no relation to Chazz)

"Recess" characters & logo ® & © Disney Enterprises.

Doug is not the only thing associated with Nickelodeon to move to ABC and Disney; Paul Germain (the creator of Rugrats) and Joe Ansolabehere (frequent Rugrats writer) have created a new Disney animated series for ABC entitled Recess. The series deals with a group of 4th graders during a cherished part of an elementary school kid's day -- Recess. This was part of a new 2-hour block of shows called Disney's One Saturday Morning. Recess and One Saturday Morning can be seen every Saturday on most ABC stations.

On 2/16/2001, Disney released that show's first movie, Recess -- School's Out, in theaters.

(Above:Banner for the  video release of Recess -- School's Out, from Nick.Com; ©2001 Disney.)

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