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The Busy World of Richard Scarry

Voices: Keith Knight, Sonja Ball, Philip Williams, John Stocker, Peter Wildman, Don Dickinson, Paul Haddad, Len Carlson, Judy Marshak, Cathy Gallant, Tara Meyer, Jeremy Ratchford, Keith Hampshire.

Voices: Keith Knight, Sonja Ball, Philip Williams, John Stocker, Peter Wildman, Don Dickinson, Paul Haddad, Len Carlson, Judy Marshak, Cathy Gallant, Tara Meyer, Jeremy Ratchford, Keith Hampshire.

Parents looking for innocent, happy, instructive entertainment for their youngest children will want to set their VCRs for this Showtime kids series, because pre-schoolers are likely to wear out a few cassettes of “The Busy World of Richard Scarry” before they move on to older fare.

For non-toddler audiences there’s little spectacular about these internationally co-produced cartoons, but their adaptations of popular Scarry storybooks combine enough fun stories, inventive slapstick and colorful animation to entertain that pre-school audience so underserved by broadcast television.

The show is set in the happy, accident-prone burg of “Busytown,” with such funny-animal characters as Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm and Grouchy Mr. Gronkle. Lowly Worm is the real star of the series, with his goofily deprecating name and natty ensemble that includes a bow tie and single sneaker.

The stories, voice acting and animation are fine for the toddlers, and occasional flourishes may grab a few older viewers. Best example in the premiere episode is the middle adventure, “Patrick Pig Learns to Talk,” where off-the-wall Irish characters lose their pants and get the Blarney Stone dropped on them.

Between the three stories, the show presents entertaining safety and educational tips that parents will probably appreciate, especially those who fondly recall “Multiplication Rock.” None of this is Disney quality, but international sales and video afterlife should be pretty solid. “The Busy World of Richard Scarry” delivers the kind of healthy, upbeat and amusing entertainment many parents want for their kids.

The Busy World of Richard Scarry

(Wed. (9), 7:30-8 p.m., Showtime)

Production: Filmed by Cinar France Animation, Canada/France Co-Production, in association with Paramount Pictures, Beta Film, the British Broadcasting Corp., Showtime Networks Inc., the Family Channel, Canada's Family Network, Canal J and France 3 . Animation by Crayon Animation Inc. Executive producer, Micheline Charest; producer, Ronald A. Weinberg; co-producer, Christian Davin; supervising producer , Cassandra Schafhausen; executive in charge of production, William Rus; directors, Greg Bailey, Pascal Morelli, Stephan Martiniere; voice directors, Debra Toffan, Andrew Gryn; writers, Thomas Lapierre, Joseph Mallozzi; S.M. Molitor; storyboards, Luc Savoie, Morelli, Martiniere, Marcos Da Silva; based on books by Richard Scarry; animation supervisor, Scott Mansz; design supervisors, Chris Wren, Charlie Sansoretti.

Crew: Editor, Nathalie Rossin; sound, Raymond Vermette; music, Laurent Petitgirard, Don Arioli, Leon Aronson, Demo Cates, Keith Duncan, Richard Evans, Jean Elliott Manning, C. Schafhausen, Jody Golick, Margie Golick, Thomas La Pierre, Mallozzi, Rick Morrison, Bruce Robb, Peter Sander, Jill Golick, Libert Subirana; theme, Milan Kymlicka, Sara Zahn.

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