, , , , ,


Castle Music Box
Featured in: Eureeka’s Castle (1988-1995)
Performed By: Noel MacNeal

With the school year approaching and the adds in full swing, I found myself with a recent bout of nostalgia of my first days at school that had me venturing once more into the vestiges of my old attic. It was there that I found pieces of my childhood that I’m ashamed to have forgotten and it is one those very pieces that I shall speak of now in greater detail with, as always for those unawares, a bit of backstory first and foremost.

Eureeka’s Castle was one of, if not the, first of the Nickelodeon shows geared entirely towards young children and would be one of the few to actually be rerun in more recent years on the Nick Jr/Noggin channel from 1999 to 2004. The show lasted for close to six seasons with about 124 episodes in all but do you know what makes it all so absolutely brilliant? It was co-created by R.L. Stine.

Yes, R.L. Stine, the writer who has been hailed time and again as the kid’s equivalent to Stephen King whose Goosebumps series shall forever haunt the bookshelves for generations to come co-created a preschooler’s television series and served as head-writer. A television series that was part puppets and part stop motion animation.

The show itself, as its name might imply, takes place in a castle belonging to the young sorceress-in-training, Eureeka but… not precisely. You see, though Eureeka is the de-facto leader of the denizens of the castle, it rightfully belongs to a giant whom happens to live nearby and uses the castle as a music box, which often serves as the introduction of the show proper. Eureeka herself is a strange mix of elf, troll, and a dash of pixie with her appearance and mannerisms and acts as the mother figure for most of the denizens in the castle but for one person in particular.

Magellan is the dragon of the castle but is far from the typical fierce monster. While the largest of the castle’s denizens, he is also the youngest and is clearly meant to be the one that children can both sympathize and empathize with. Though he lacks wings, Magellan makes up for this by possessing a tail that clearly has a mind of its own, by his own admittance in fact. Of course, this supposed mind seems to occur mostly whenever Magellan happens to be turning near objects or persons to knock aside but that’s neither here nor there. Though he never demonstrates the ability to breathe fire, Magellan certainly has the lung capacity for it as he can make the entire room, if not the whole castle, shake with but a single sneeze. That and he can play the saxophone surprisingly well.

… In hindsight, I’m more amazed by the fact he has one fit for a dragon’s size but that’s neither here nor there.

Magellan is also the only dragon that I know fully dressed rather than wearing an odd piece of apparel or two. In fact, Magellan’s wardrobe consists of a pair of sneakers, socks, pants, and a buttoned shirt with tie-dye dinosaurs.

Yeah… But in his defense, dinosaurs were everywhere back then. Heck, I remember a line of TMNT toys that featured them with dinosaurian partners. I think Michelangelo’s was a stegosaurus now that I think about it…

But I digress.

Like most of the denizens of the castle, Magellan has his fair share of pets though I hesitate to call them such as they are all quite intelligent and, in the case of one, not truly alive in the strictest sense of the word. The first and only one that could truly be called Magellan’s pet is a little yellow flufball appropriately named Cooey. Appropriate in that the little puff actually coos and bounces about like a ball to get around. Next are the slurms, a unique hybdrid species of worm and slugs that were brought to life via clay animation. Last and certainly not least are the Blanketeers, living spots of fabric on Magellan’s blanket that move about dispite being clearly stitched down and communicate via little squeaky noises and picture charades.

… Yeah, Linus van Pelt’s blanket wishes it were that awesome.

While being friends with all of the denizens of the castle, Magellan’s closest with the titular Eureeka who acts as a mother/big sister figure towards him. Honestly, the byplay between the two of them made the show for me as a kid more than anything else. It was really rather nice to watch a dragon being looked after by someone, never mind that the someone in question was quite smaller in comparison and unique in both appearance and mannerisms. Seriously, the mystery of just what Eureeka is rivals that of Yoda in my book.

Overall, Magellan was an absolute delight to watch as a child and still so as an adult. There was a reason the show lasted not only as long as it did but was also rerun after a four-year hiatus for close to the same length. While the animations clearly could not stand the test of time, the show’s heart clearly did. If ever there was a preschooler’s show that could, and should, be released in its entirety on DVD, it should definitely be Eureeka’s Castle.