Big Bag
Created byNina Elias-Bamberger
Developed byJoan Ganz Cooney
StarringSelena Nelson
Cullen Douglas
Clare Sera
Tessa Ludwig
Muppet Performers:
Rickey Boyd
Alice Dinnean
Joey Mazzarino
Voices ofMaría Conchita Alonso
Fran Brill
Kevin Clash
Allan Enlow
James Spector
Narrated byAndrew Sachs ("William's Wish Wellingtons" segment)
Opening theme"Big Bag!"
Ending theme"Big Bag!" (instrumental)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes30
Production
Running time55 minutes (1996-1997)
26 minutes (1997-1998)
Production companyChildren's Television Workshop
Original release
NetworkCartoon Network
ReleaseJune 2, 1996 –
September 7, 1998

Big Bag is a live action television puppet program for preschoolers that was produced by Children's Television Workshop with the puppet characters made by The Jim Henson Company. It aired from 1996 to 1999 on the Cartoon Network. There were also localized versions for Canal J in France and Yorkshire Television in the UK.

Plot

The principal Muppet character was Chelli, a puppet dog who is joined by his best friend Bag. They live with their human friend Molly. Also on the show was Lyle the Sock and Argyle McSock who often interact with the characters. In 1998, a humanoid puppet character called Sofie joined the cast.

The first season also featured frequent interaction with a large cast of human regulars, including an assortment of child friends (notably Kim), and colorful locals including Martha, Bernard, Trudy, Josie, Doc Furrball, and Waldo.

Characters

Animated Segments

The scenes with Chelli and friends served as frames for a variety of individual animated segments, which were also rotated between seasons. As opposed to the shorter clips on Sesame Street, the animated segments ran approximately 3 to 8 minutes each, and were produced by various studios in New York, Australia, and Europe, often with consultation from CTW and Cartoon Network (Big Bag aired back to back with Small World, another preschool series which showcased different international cartoons). The shorts included:

In the second season, every segment except Troubles the Cat and Koki were removed. A new segment was added:

Episodes

Season 1: 1996-1997

Ep # Title Airdate
01"Pilot (a.k.a. Let's Work Together)"June 2, 1996 (1996-06-02)
Molly, Chelli, and Bag unpack and get the store ready for opening day. Chelli cannot wait to make new friends, but Bag misses the choo-choo train that was near their old home.Throughout the day the neighborhood adults and children stop by to meet their new neighbors. Chelli makes friends, but the neighborhood kids get into an argument about what to make out of some cardboard boxes. The kids leave in a huff. But the kids soon return and apologize. Chelli and the kids then decide to cooperate and make something that really makes Bag happy--a cardboard choo-choo train!
02"One Little Lie"June 9, 1996 (1996-06-09)
Molly obtains an old music box that has a dancing clown on it. Before she leaves the store, she tells Chelli to wait until she returns before playing it again. Chelli cannot wait and plays with it. But he breaks the music box. He then hides it. Josie comes by the store and mentions that Molly told her about her new music box. Josie asks Chelli to see it and Chelli lies and says Kim has it. Josie and Kim come back to the store to say that Kim does not have it. Then Chelli claims that the music box is with "Him" meaning Doc Furball. Chelli's lie gets bigger and bigger as the whole cast is trying to figure out who has the music box. This lasts until Molly returns upon Chelli claims that Waldo took it for a swim. In the end, Chelli tells the truth and apologizes. Waldo ends up fixing the music box.
03"Bag O' Tricks"June 16, 1996 (1996-06-16)
Chelli is having fun dressing up in disguises. Bag decides that he would like to have a disguise as well to see if he can fool people into thinking she's something she's really not. Chelli and the neighborhood kids work together to come up with a disguise for Bag. However, the disguise does not work--no one is fooled. Later that day, Molly and Kim work with Chelli to make a new disguise for Bag. This time, Bag dresses up as a chicken. Bag (a.k.a. The Chicken) tries to fool Doc, but it does not work. However, Doc just happened to bring some baby chicks with him to the store and they cluster around Bag, convinced that he is their mother. Bag is happy that his disguise finally fooled someone.
04"Good-Bye To Feeling Shy"June 23, 1996 (1996-06-23)
Chelli needs to bring something for show-and-tell day at school. He decides he wants to take Bag. However, Bag is too shy to stand in front of Chelli's class. Molly and Chelli try different methods to cure Bag out of his shyness. They finally succeed with a big finale that the townspeople watch.
05"Birthday Bash"June 30, 1996 (1996-06-30)
It's Kim's birthday and Chelli has painted her a special painting. Kim comes by the store to show everyone her new birthday overalls. She also tries to take a peek at Chelli's painting. Chelli tries to prevent her from seeing the painting and Kim accidentally gets paint on her overalls. She blames Chelli, and Chelli says it was her fault. Kim uninvites Chelli to the birthday party that she is going to have that day. They both realize that it was an accident and decide to apologize to each other. The day ends with a big birthday party at the store.
06"Key, Key, Where Can You Be?"July 7, 1996 (1996-07-07)
Molly discovers a locked wooden chest in her store, but she does not have the key. Josie comes by and tells her that the chest is filled with old toys from the previous store owner. She also mentions that the previous owner would hide keys under objects that remind her of the things she's locking up. Molly, Chelli, and the neighborhood kids set out to search for the key. They decide that the key must be hidden under a toy. They find the key with the help of Bag and the audience at home.
07"The Apple Corps"July 14, 1997 (1997-07-14)
Chelli wants to spend the day telling jokes to Kim. Kim has made other plans. She is going to spend the day with the Apple Corps, a Girl/Boy Scout-type group. Feeling a bit jealous when Molly goes with the Apple Corps, Chelli decides the Apple Corps are not cool and he creates his own group called the "Supercool Incredibly Groovy Joke Squad" where they accidentally cause a mess. The Apple Corps returns to invite Chelli to help them pass out cookies to sick kids. They also help Chelli clean up the mess he and Bag had caused before he can go. Chelli decides that the Apple Corps are cool because they help people. The Apple Corps invite Chelli to join their group.
08"Win, Lose, or Draw"July 21, 1997 (1997-07-21)
After cleaning the store, Chelli complains that it's hard to find things, so Molly decides to decorate the store by having her friends each draw a picture of something that is special to them. Chelli decides to draw a picture of Bag. However, as he shows his picture to everyone, each person thinks it's a wonderful picture of something it is not. Chelli is embarrassed by his drawing. Molly teaches Chelli how to draw a better picture. After much practice, he does. At the end of the day, everyone compliments Chelli on his second picture. Molly points out that his first picture was a wonderful work of art, because it allowed everyone to see what they want to see.
09"The Imaginary Treasure"July 28, 1997 (1997-07-28)
Molly reads a book to Chelli, Bag, Kim, and Jamie about pirates who find a buried treasure. As Molly finishes, she discovers the last pages are missing. Everyone is disappointed because they want to find out what happens to the pirates. So Molly suggests that the kids pretend that they are the pirates. The cast spends the rest of the day looking for make-believe buried treasure and discovers that using their imagination can be very rewarding.
10"My Crayons, My Crayons"August 4, 1997 (1997-08-04)
Chelli receives a new box of crayons and decides the only way to keep them new and pointy is not to share them. However, that day everyone needs to use one of Chelli's crayons. He reluctantly shares with each person but is not happy about it. At the end of the day, Chelli's new crayons are no longer fresh and pointy. Chelli, however, discovers how wonderful it is to be share with his friends....before Bag has a new box of crayons.
11"Practice, Practice"August 11, 1997 (1997-08-11)
Chelli and Kim are scheduled to learn a song on the recorder for a homework assignment. Molly shows them how to play the recorder and reminds them that they need to practice in order to learn how to play the song. Kim practices with the recorder, but Chelli decides he does not need to practice with the actual recorder. He thinks he can learn to play by other methods. After the his way of learning fails, he discovers that practicing is the only way to master a skill.
12"Piano Roll Blues"August 18, 1997 (1997-08-18)
Molly receives music rolls for her player piano. Chelli and Kim are supposed to take turns playing their favorite roll. However, when Kim puts her roll in, she forgets to take turns. She plays her song over and over again and never gives Chelli a chance to play. Chelli is very upset, but is afraid to confront Kim. Instead, he tries various methods to prevent Kim from playing her song. After accidentally breaking the player piano and being talked to by Molly, Chelli finally decides to confront Kim and she apologizes. Waldo is called in to repair the player piano.
13"Bringin' Up Puppy"August 25, 1997 (1997-08-25)
Doc needs a dogsitter for the afternoon and Chelli volunteers for the job. After the puppy falls asleep, Chelli decides that dogsitting can be really boring. Kim and Joey come by to ask Chelli if he would like to rollerblade. Chelli knows he should not because he is supposed to be watching the puppy, but he and Bag leave anyway. When they return they discover the puppy made a mess of the store. Soon after, Doc and Molly return and express their disappointment in Chelli. Chelli apologizes and agrees to clean up the mess the puppy made.

Season 2: 1997-1998

Ep # Title Airdate
14"Join The Club!"March 9, 1997 (1997-03-09)
Chelli and Sofie disagree about club rules.
15"Sock Hop"March 16, 1997 (1997-03-16)
The gang throws a sock hop to cheer homesick Argyle.
16"The Birthday Blah"March 23, 1997 (1997-03-23)
Chelli needs help with Sofie's last-minute birthday party when he realizes he can't do it on his own.
17"Zoom to the Zoo"March 30, 1997 (1997-03-30)
The pals use pets and imagination to create a zoo when they cannot go to a real zoo due to Molly injuring herself.
18"The Showdown"April 7, 1997 (1997-04-07)
Buckaroos Sofie and Chelli have a drawing contest, after Sofie gets something in the mail from her cowboy cousin.
19"Elmo's Visit"April 14, 1997 (1997-04-14)
Elmo visits Chelli, realizing they are pen-pals.
20"Afraid of the Dark"April 21, 1997 (1997-04-21)
Chelli and Sofie overcome their fear of the dark after Bag accidentally causes a blackout in the store.
21"Presto Change-O"April 28, 1997 (1997-04-28)
Sofie and Chelli disobey Argyle and play with his magic kit making Bag invisible by mistake.
22"To See Or Not To See"May 5, 1998 (1998-05-05)
Sofie dislikes her glasses.
23"Giggle Cookies"May 12, 1998 (1998-05-12)
Chelli tries to get some cookies without asking, but thanks to a mishap from Bag, the "choco-lock cookies" cause whoever eats them to laugh uncontrollably.
24"Royal Bag"May 19, 1998 (1998-05-19)
Sharing is discussed in this episode.
25"It's Showtime"May 26, 1998 (1998-05-26)
Chelli and Sofie want to produce a play of "The Three Little Pigs," but Bag would rather pretend he is a robot. They compromise and put on a play of "The Three Evil Space Pigs," starring Sofie and the socks as the pigs, and Bag as "Robo-Wolf."
26"Case of The Missing Sock"June 2, 1998 (1998-06-02)
Chelli (pretending to be Sherlock Holmes) and Bag (playing Dr. Watson) search for missing socks.
27"Chelli's In Charge"June 9, 1998 (1998-06-09)
Chelli creates a new song and dance.
28"Fair Play at the Country Fair"June 16, 1998 (1998-06-16)
Chelli does not like Sofie's new game.
29"Bathtub Blues"June 23, 1998 (1998-06-23)
Lyle does not want to take a bath.
30"Parrot Patrol"June 30, 1998 (1998-06-30)
Sofie and Chelli lose Molly's bird.

VHS tapes

  1. Explore with Us! (Key, Key, Where Can You Be?) - 1998
  2. Share With Us! (My Crayons, My Crayons) - 1998
  3. Imagine With Us! (The Imaginary Treasure) - 1999
  4. Dance with Us! (Sock Hop and The Birthday Blah) - 2000
  5. Sing with Us! - 2000

Cast

Muppet Performers

Additional Muppets performed by Jeff Conover, James Andrew Stone, and Matt Vogel

Voice Cast