ChalkZone
ChalkZone Title.png
Genre
Created by
Voices of
Theme music composerBill Burnett
Opening theme"Rudy's Got the Chalk"
Ending theme"Rudy's Got the Chalk"
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerLarry Leichliter (supervising)
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
DistributorMTV Networks
Nelvana International (Canada)
Release
Original networkNickelodeon
Original releaseMarch 22, 2002 (2002-03-22) –
August 23, 2008 (2008-08-23)
Chronology
Preceded byOh Yeah! Cartoons

ChalkZone is an American animated television series created by Bill Burnett and Larry Huber for Nickelodeon.[1] The series follows Rudy Tabootie, an elementary school student who discovers a box of magic chalk that allows him to draw portals into the ChalkZone, an alternate dimension where everything ever drawn on a blackboard and erased turns to life.[2] Rudy is joined in his adventures by Snap, a wisecracking superhero Rudy once drew with chalk, and Penny Sanchez, Rudy's academically intellectual classmate and personal friend.

ChalkZone originally premiered as a pilot short on Fred Seibert's Oh Yeah! Cartoons animated shorts showcase in 1998. The series ran on Nickelodeon from March 22, 2002, to August 23, 2008, with 40 episodes in total. It was produced by Frederator Studios and Nickelodeon Animation Studio.

Premise

Rudy Tabootie (voiced by E. G. Daily) is a 10-year-old, fifth-grade boy who loves to draw. Reggie Bullnerd (Candi Milo), the school bully, constantly teases him or gets him into trouble with Mr. Wilter (Robert Cait), Rudy's grumpy school teacher who strongly dislikes cartoons, especially Rudy's passion for art. One day while in detention, Rudy discovers a piece of "White Lightnin'" chalk, which allows access to the ChalkZone, a place where everything and everyone that has ever been drawn and erased by chalk takes form as living or is tangible. He soon makes friends with Snap (Candi Milo), a short, blue, humanoid drawing made by Rudy when he was only 8. Snap wears a superhero outfit and is very adventurous and funny. Rudy only lets one other person know about ChalkZone, his best friend Penny Sanchez (speaking voice, Hynden Walch; singing voice, Robbyn Kirmssè), who acts as the genius of the group.

While in ChalkZone, the three are introduced to Cyclops (Rodger Bumpass), the kilt-wearing guardian of the magic chalk mines where Rudy obtains his magic chalk (Rudy later draws a second eye for him and renames him "Biclops"); Queen Rapsheeba (Rosslynn Taylor), ChalkZone's musical artist whom Snap has a crush on; and Blocky (Candi Milo; Robert Cait), a light green block friend of Snap's and Rudy's first-ever drawing. They also face villains such as Skrawl (Jim Cummings), a drawing who blames Rudy for being ugly and wants to destroy him, and the Craniacs (Rob Paulsen), a series of robot drawings obsessed with collecting futuristic devices.

Episodes

Main article: List of ChalkZone episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16March 22, 2002 (2002-03-22)April 26, 2002 (2002-04-26)
28May 30, 2003 (2003-05-30)November 2, 2003 (2003-11-02)
316February 2, 2004 (2004-02-02)June 6, 2005 (2005-06-06)
410June 7, 2005 (2005-06-07)August 23, 2008 (2008-08-23)

Characters

Main

Supporting

Production

ChalkZone was the creation of Bill Burnett and Larry Huber, with Huber's idea of a boy with magic chalk and Burnett's idea of a world behind the chalkboard. The concept's origin dated back during the production of Hanna Barbera's What a Cartoon! where Seibert originally wanted Huber to develop a cartoon for the showcase and assigned him with Burnett, who was writing for Cow and Chicken at the time, to develop a pilot for a potential series.[3] Development fell through at the last minute from the result of Warner Bros. Animation acquiring Hanna Barbera Cartoons. The concept came back when Seibert developed Frederator Studios and was pitched as a short on Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons before getting the greenlight in 1998.[4] In 1999, ChalkZone became the first spin-off of Oh Yeah! Cartoons to enter production and be greenlit.[5] Despite this, ChalkZone did not make it to the air until 2002, as the initial 13 green-light episodes were shortened to 6 due to executive reasons, all which were completed by 2000.[6] The show's air-date was up for debate until the lack of new programming and America's critical situation at the time led the decision to air the series in 2002. Frederator Studios announced in 2005 that the series had been cancelled at 40 episodes.

The show is remembered for featuring one-minute music videos sung by Rudy and his friends at the end of each episode. Several songs Bill Burnett composed before ChalkZone's production, i.e. Insect Aside and Dream Alotta Dreams, were implanted into the series. A well-liked rumor about the show is that it was based on Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings. Bill Burnett denied this in a 2013 interview, claiming that he wasn't even aware of the series' existence until after ChalkZone entered production, although Burnett did mention that Harold and the Purple Crayon was an influence on Larry's idea for the "boy with magic chalk" concept.[7] A one-hour special, "The Big Blow Up", premiered on August 6, 2004. The final season featured new character designs with a slimmer line quality and a zooming chalk transition as new artists and overseas studios were used for the remainder of the series.

The show had four different variations of the theme song released to the public, one from the 2001 Nickelodeon album, "The Newest Nicktoons", which used a synthesizer instead of a guitar and had an earlier version of Penny's voice which was a demo Bill Burnett created in order for the song to get the green-light, an earlier version of the final version from the album "ChalkZone: In The Zone", where the guitar was used and Penny's earlier voice was still used, and the final version which was shown on regular episodes. Another variation was shown in the 1999 pilot, which not only featured a slightly different opening sequence and logo from the final series but also features a preparatory track mix of the final version and the second demo albeit with some modified vocals, also with Penny's final voice used.[8] Bill Burnett's original idea for the concepts' score was something in akin to simplistic children's toy instrument melodies to fit the show's children's "chalk-drawing" theme, but the Nickelodeon crew suggested a more techno rock-based score to give the show a huge contrast from the premise. Steve Rucker was brought into the music composition team and some of his compositions were later re-written upon request by Burnett and Moon to fit the series better, much to his discourage.[3]

Broadcast

The pilot for the series first aired on December 31, 1999, as part of Nickelodeon's annual New Year's Eve block,[9] but due to being delayed by Nickelodeon for executive reasons, the series made its official premiere on March 22, 2002, as the highest-rated premiere in Nickelodeon's history up to that point.[10][11]

The show aired in reruns on "Nick on CBS" for more than a year from February 1, 2003, to September 11, 2004. In June 2005, following the announcement that the series had been cancelled, the fourth season of the series premiered. Of the season's 11 episodes, only five would be aired that year before Nickelodeon abruptly halted the broadcast of new episodes. The remaining six episodes would not air until three years later in June and August 2008. The final episode aired on August 23, 2008.

Since the series' cancellation, reruns aired on Nicktoons until October 28, 2013. ChalkZone reruns aired on NickSplat (then known as "The Splat") for two nights only on November 12 and 13, 2016, as part of a block that ran every weekend from August until December commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Nicktoons franchise. NickSplat –including ChalkZone– was a subscription channel based on VRV from 2018 to 2020.

The show is now streaming on Paramount+.

Home media

During the show's original run, there were no DVD releases specifically for ChalkZone. The episode "Future Zone" was released on the Nickstravaganza! VHS. Three episodes ("Gift Adrift", "French Fry Falls", and "Eschucha Mi Corazon") were released for the Nickstravaganza! 2 DVD (only "French Fry Falls" was included on the VHS). The Christmas episode, "When Santas Collide", was featured on the 2006 DVD Nick Picks Holiday. A Complete Series DVD set was released through Amazon.com's CreateSpace manufacture-on-demand program on October 13, 2014; the release is missing the episode "The Smooch" due to music licensing issues. A soundtrack album In the Zone has also been released.[12] The entire series is available on Amazon Video and the PlayStation Store.

Region 1
Title Format Season(s) Episode count Release date Episodes
Nickstravaganza! VHS 1 1 March 4, 2003 "Future Zone"
Nickstravaganza! 2 Both DVD and VHS 1 (VHS)
3 (DVD)
September 2, 2003 "French Fry Falls" (VHS)
"French Fry Falls" / "Gift Adrift" / "Escucha Mi Corazon" (DVD)
Nick Picks Holiday DVD 3 1 September 26, 2006 "When Santas Collide"
The Complete Series DVD (CreateSpace release) 1–4 40 October 13, 2014 (Amazon exclusive) All episodes

Excluded: "The Smooch" (due to music licensing issues.)

Reception

Critical

Joly Herman of Common Sense Media rated the series 3 out of 5 stars, saying, "What makes this show interesting is that it acknowledges that worlds of imagination are available to all of us. But while it's true that we love to get lost in a story, for a young child, getting as lost in a world as Rudy does can be scary."[13] Lana Berkowitz from The Houston Chronicle wrote, "There are flashes of fun in [ChalkZone], the action moves along, and there's no violence. But cartoon connoisseurs, particularly those who stay tuned after loony SpongeBob SquarePants at 7 p.m., probably will need something more intriguing to keep their attention." Berkowitz further added, "After a clever setup, Chalkzone settles into a predictable zone with stories that could easily be erased from memory."[14] Allison Fass of The New York Times praised the imagination and creativity in the series, but she opined that series creator Bill Burnett's message, "We have to take responsibility for what we create", may be "a little mature" for children.[15]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2002 BMI Film & TV Awards BMI Cable Award[16] Guy Moon Won
2004 31st Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television Production Produced for Children[17] ChalkZone Nominated
Outstanding Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production[17] "Pumpkin Love" Nominated

References

  1. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 196–198. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ a b Cartoons VS Cancer - Ep. 17 (The One with Bill Burnett!)
  4. ^ Ellin, Harlene (July 18, 1998). "New Cartoon Show Will Honor Irreverence". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
  5. ^ Seibert, Fred. "ChalkZone. Postcards, Series 5". The Frederator Studios Blog. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  6. ^ "The Skrawl/Pie Day/Secret Passages/In the Zone". ChalkZone. Season 1. Episode 6. April 5, 2002. 23:18 minutes in. Nickelodeon. ChalkZone and all related logos, titles and characters are trademarks of Viacom International, Inc. © 2000 Viacom International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  7. ^ "Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Interview with Bill Burnett". Old School Lane. 2013-01-28. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  8. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "ChalkZone | Pre-Series Theme Song". YouTube.
  9. ^ "The Rugrats Timeline". Rugratonline.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2001. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  10. ^ Ball, Ryan (May 8, 2003). "Nickelodeon Chalks Up More ChalkZone". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
  11. ^ "Nickelodeon Draws Best Kid Ratings in Four Years, Ranks as Number-One Net for First Quarter '02, SpongeBob SquarePants and ChalkZone Etch Out Top-Rated Territory, Kids Find The Fairly OddParents Fairly Fascinating". Viacom. April 2, 2002. Archived from the original on August 17, 2002. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
  12. ^ "Rudy & ChalkZone Gang: In the Zone [EP, Soundtrack]", Amazon.com, ASIN B000084U51
  13. ^ Herman, Joly (22 March 2002). "Chalkzone Review". Common Sense Media. Archived from the original on 2019-01-30. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  14. ^ Berkowitz, Lana (March 22, 2002). "Review: Characters Explore a Cartoon World in 'ChalkZone'". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2021-12-10. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  15. ^ Fass, Allison (April 7, 2002). "For Young Viewers; Chalking It Up to Imagination". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-05-27. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  16. ^ "2002 BMI Film/TV Awards: Song List". BMI.com. Broadcast Music, Inc. May 14, 2002. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  17. ^ a b "31st Annie Awards". annieawards.org. Archived from the original on 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-05-01.