Full Name: Dudley the Dragon
Featured in: The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon (1993-1997)
Voiced By: Alex Galatis
Some kids had Barney the Dinosaur and many more had Sesame Street but me? … Okay, I had them both back in the day –Cookie Monster is still Best Monster— but I had another television series that truly educated me and helped grow the seedling of my imagination. That series was The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon, a live action series featuring an illustrious cast of characters the likes of which I couldn’t even begin to count then or now. Heck, every time the intro song began to play, you couldn’t get me to stop singing along, particularly in answer to many of the questions asked throughout it.
Originally, Dudley the Dragon was a character created back in 1983 as a means of teaching children the importance of energy conservation in yonder Ontario. Dudley’s creator wrote a play entitled The Conserving Kingdom that featured a young, bumbling but quite kindhearted dragon named Dudley. The play ran from 1984 to 1987 and was performed in so many grade schools that it earned itself a television special in 1986 before the series was made fully in 1992. The show lasted a whole five seasons with a total of sixty-five episodes in all with an actual series finale to its name. Not bad for a show that started as a children’s play, eh?
The setting of the show, contrary to its original play, takes place in the home forest of one Dudley the Dragon and his adventures with his friends, mostly young kids visiting the forest and the loveable dragon. The forest also has a surprising number of inhabitants ranging from a living crabapple tree named Mr. Crabby Tree, to talking animals such as the Robin family and Sammy the jazz playing frog, to even other magical creatures such as a troll, a genie, a fairy, and even a caveman!
Okay, the caveman was real at one point but you can’t argue that seeing one running about in this era wouldn’t turn a few heads.
Dudley himself is a young dragon though he is several decades old, at least a hundred given the circumstances of the first episode alone, but he’s still a child at heart and oftentimes has to learn some valuable lessons with the help of his friends. Still, there’s no one that Dudley meets that doesn’t eventually call him a friend. Even the crabby tree does so and he’s more of a grouch than Oscar! He’s also has a very distinctive voice that even to this day, I can easily pick out in a crowd of other more recognizable voices.
As far as dragons go, Dudley is oftentimes confused, and jokingly referred to, as a crocodile by those who first encounter him due mostly to the fact that he lacks wings and he’s just shy of seven feet tall. Still, Dudley can breathe fire though it’s rare for him to do so in any particular episode of the series and his favorite food is a type of exotic berries native to his home forest known as dragon berries.
These berries are extremely colorful, rather oddly shaped, and can even send a dragon into a several decades long hibernation. Of course, a dragon has to eat huge quantities of the stuff for that to happen and, unfortunately, such was the case for Dudley whose premiere episode is an adventure of finding his old home in a drastically different world.
While The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon lasted quite a few years, I doubt there is anyone who remembers the show besides those whom watched it as kids themselves. Despite the immense popularity of the show, which was great enough to not only earn it an actual float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but a few books and a soundtrack CD, there were very few video cassettes released beyond the first few odd episodes of the first season.
I sincerely doubt that they would ever re-release the show on DVD or even re-air it on PBS or some similar channel, but if either were to occur, you can be assured that I would be the first in line to purchase and/or record it. Still, I can at least content myself with what few dozen videos exist on Youtube…