Puppeteers: Kevin Carlson, Bruce Lanoil, Todd Mattos, Cheryl Blaylok, Michael Earl, Allan Trautman, Christine Papalexis, Phil Baron, Greg Ballora, Dina Fraboni, James Murray.
Taped in Los Angeles by Bomp Prods. in association with MCA Home Entertainment. Executive producer, Jillian Sosin; producer, Dina Fraboni; co-producers, James Murray, Kevin Carlson; line producer, Gary L. Stephenson; director, Rick Clarke; writers, Murray, Carlson, Phil Baron; lighting designers, Richard Ocean, Lee Rose; Barney and Big Bird have little to fear from Timmy the Tooth, despite the high hopes of the show’s creators.
A cross between “The Muppets” and “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” this endeavors to teach youngsters life’s lessons through story and song, but the dental debacle covers strictly been-here, done-that material.
MCA is using the syndicated television series as a springboard for the subsequent release of a series of sell-through homevideos and merchandising tie-ins that will be backed by a multifaceted marketing campaign.
Five episodes have been taped, all of which will air during the first week, as a way of solidifying the presence of the newly created character. Those same five will be released in homevid at $ 12.98 (suggested retail price).
First seg sets Timmy the Tooth channel surfing on Saturday morning, attempting to find something suitable to watch that’s not too loud, too violent or, even worse, an infomercial.
The Capped Crusader declares toys instead of TV are the order of the day, and the adventure begins.
Using imaginary kiddie equivalents of “Star Trek”-like communicators and beaming process, Timmy and his trusty sidekick, Brush Brush, imagine they’re astronauts and set out to save a space station that has been occupied by the inane Cavity Goon and Miss Sweety. (Goon surfaces in future segs as a nemesis of Timmy’s — a sort of kiddie Moriarty to his Sherlock Holmes.)
Naturally, there’s a lesson beneath all this niceness, which prompts the characters to frequently break out in song to celebrate — and communicate — the moral.
Each episode will feature three original tunes, all of which will make their way onto a soundtrack album as another tier in the marketing campaign.
Viewers will find plenty of similarities to well-known series in the genre, such as those offered by Jim Henson or Sid & Marty Krofft.
Although the puppet work is first-rate and the colorful set design is visually pleasing, it is likely not enough to help the series — or the vidcassettes — topple the genre’s current leaders.