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Crashbox
Genre
Created by
  • Eamon Harrington
  • John Watkin
Directed byDave Thomas
Voices of
ComposerMatthew Morse
Country of origin
  • Canada
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes52
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Eamon Harrington
  • John Watkin
Production locations
Camera setupSingle-Camera
Running time24-30 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkHBO Family
ReleaseFebruary 1, 1999 (1999-02-01) –
April 1, 2000 (2000-04-01)

Crashbox is an educational children's television series co-created by Eamon Harrington and John Watkin for HBO Family that ran from 1999 to 2000 in the United States. It was HBO's second attempt (their first being Braingames 15 years earlier) at a show focused on educational skits.

Crashbox was one of the original programs for the relaunch of the HBO Family channel in February 1999.[1][2][3] Although it has never been released on physical media like DVD or VHS, it still has reruns on HBO Family and is found on various streaming services.

Production

Crashbox was created by Planet Grande Pictures (consisting of Eamon Harrington and John Watkin) and is animated by Cuppa Coffee Studios, headed by Adam Shaheen. Planet Grande Pictures engaged Cuppa Coffee Studios for 8 months to complete 13 hours of programming.[4][5] Some of the segments were repeated for the first half of Season 2, while production of the second half went underway in late 1999.[6]

Along with the 52 aired episodes, it has been stated that a total of 65 episodes were at one point produced/planned, as confirmed through an interview from Planet Grande Pictures.[7] This statement is likely false,[8] however, as all of the segments produced for Season 2 were already featured in the aired episodes,[9] and other crew members have stated otherwise.[10]

Premise

The show takes place in the insides of a game computer where green game cartridges (which are sculpted out of clay) are created and loaded by rusty tin robots, occasionally with short sketches of them "repairing" damaged games. The format of each episode is The Electric Company-esque, with sketches not connecting nor following a sequential plot. Each half-hour episode consists of seven (occasionally eight) 1-to-5-minute educational games, covering subjects like history, math, spelling, and nature.[11]

Segments

The following are the games of the show listed in alphabetical order:

Near the end of each episode, "Crashbox Rewind" takes place, where the robots rewind through certain segments (typically four or five) to showcase what they've learned. The seven segments marked with an asterisk (*) are skipped during Rewind. At least two-to-four of these segments appear in every episode (only in Season 1).

Cast

Major voice cast
Segment Character Actor
Factory, Cafeteria, Maintenance Robots Jerry Stiller,[15] John Watkin (uncredited), Peter Lurie (uncredited), Mari Weiss (Season 2, uncredited), Nancy Cartwright (Season 2; uncredited)
Captain Bones Captain Bones S. Scott Bullock
Dirty Pictures Cleaning Maid Maggie Baird (uncredited)
Old Fossil Greg Eagles (uncredited)
Distraction News Dora Smarmy Mari Weiss
Ear-We-Are Left Ear John Watkin
Right Ear Alan Schlaifer
Eddie Bull Eddie Bull Ritchie Montgomery
Haunted House Party Horrid One John Watkin
Butler Alan Schlaifer
Lens McCracken Lens McCracken S. Scott Bullock
Mugshots[12] Detective Verity Wisenheimer[12] Maggie Baird
Paige and Sage Valley Girl Dawn Maxey
Poop or Scoop Announcer Danny Wells
Psycho Math Professor Rocket Joseph Motiki[16] (Season 1/2A; uncredited), Arif S. Kinchen (Season 2B)
Radio Scramble Jumpin' Johnnie Jumble[6] Peter Lurie
Revolting Slob Polite Female Voice Edie McClurg
Revolting Slob Mike McShane
Riddlesnake[13] Riddlesnake Raj[13] Veena Bidasha
Sketch Pad Sketch Pad Greg Eagles
Ten 2nds[13] Announcer Alan Schlaifer
Think Tank Captain Bob Greg Eagles
Wordshake[14] Chef Pierre[17] John Watkin

Seasons

Season 1

The first season of Crashbox premiered on HBO Family on February 1, 1999.[3] The first seven episodes aired throughout the first week of February. The remaining 19 episodes aired on weekends, typically in batches of twos, with Episode 26 closing the season on April 17.

Season 2

The first half of Crashbox's second season first premiered on HBO Family with Episode 27, which aired on August 1, 1999. The twelve other episodes of Season 2A premiered on weekends in batches of twos up until September 12.

Segments from the first half of Season 2 reuse select segments from Season 1, with the games "Ear-We-Are", "Wordshake", and "Paige and Sage" being dropped from the game lineup. Lens McCracken is featured in Season 2A but will later be dropped for Season 2B.

The second half of Season 2 premiered on February 19, 2000, with Episode 40; Crashbox 41 premiered the following day. Episodes 42-51 aired on the following weekdays in batches of twos, with Episode 52 airing on April 1, 2000, serving as the series' final episode.

Distinctly, Episodes 43, 45, 48, and 50 were produced in 1999 (as seen in their credits), in contrast to the rest of Season 2B, which was produced in 2000.

Interstitial Spinoffs

Along with the series premiere in 1999, two interstitial series were aired on HBO Family. "Smart Mouth", featuring Dora Smarmy from "Distraction News", has her explaining unusual vocabulary words with personal experiences. "Who Knew?", featuring Professor Rocket from "Psycho Math", features him talking about strange facts and trivia.

Both series have 80 episodes each, and aired on HBO Family, Magnet from 2001-2005, Jam from 2005-2016, and during movie breaks. Both series were removed from syndication following the HBO Kids rebrand in 2016, and only a few episodes survive to this day.

Syndication

Starting in 2001, HBO Family launched two TV blocks marketed towards kids; Jam, which was marketed towards a preschool demographic, and Magnet, which was marketed to an older, afterschool crowd. Crashbox, along with its associated interstitial spinoff series, Who Knew? and Smart Mouth, aired on the Magnet block up until it was discontinued in 2005.

Crashbox retroactively joined the Jam block in 2005, in spite of the show being marketed towards an older audience than the mainly preschool-oriented programming already on the block. The show aired routinely on the block up until 2016, where the block was rebranded to HBO Kids. The show premiered on the new block a day after the rebrand, on January 18, 2016, and was moved to the afternoon along with The Electric Company for weekdays.[18]

Crashbox 14 served as the series' premiere on HBO Kids, with the rest of Season 1 airing on weekdays up until February 22, 2016. Episodes 27-37 were skipped after Episode 26 premiered, while Episodes 38-52 premiered on the block as usual. Episode 1 finally aired on March 15, 2016,[19] with the rest of Season 1 following it. Season 1 then aired again up to two[20][21] times[22][23] until Season 2B returned to the schedule in July.[24]

Following the removal of various Sesame Workshop shows, Crashbox was moved to an early morning timeslot a few years later, and airs routinely on the channel.

Removed Episodes

Following the 2016 rebrand of HBO Family's preschool block, Jam, to HBO Kids, Crashbox aired most of its first season in the afternoon (skipping Crashbox 1 in favor of Crashbox 14). Episodes 27-37 were skipped after Episode 26 premiered.[25] Only Episodes 38[26] and 39[27] were ever aired on the HBO Kids block. The final times Episodes 27-37 aired was on Jam from January 4[28] to January 8,[29] 2016.

Episodes 27-39 have not aired on the channel since February 2016, due to the segments being recycled from Season 1.[30] The episodes are not available on most of HBO's digital or streaming services, including HBO Now, HBO Go, and Max. As of 2023, Crave is currently the only site that features all of Season 2 (erroneously listed as part of Season 1), including Episodes 27-39.[31]

Most sources pre-HBO Kids, such as HBO's various streaming services, promos for said episodes, and most TV Guides, list Episodes 27-39 of Crashbox as part of Season 2.[32] In following years, the removed episodes were (erroneously) considered part of Season 1, despite being produced for Season 2. Outside of Crave, Amazon Prime, and Max, most HBO sources (before the removal of these episodes) consider these removed episodes as part of Season 2 officially.

Reception

The series received generally positive reviews from audiences and parents on Common Sense Media, with a 4 out of 5 star rating.[33]

References

  1. ^ "HBO nabs kid eyeballs with sked-centric Web content". Kidscreen. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  2. ^ Richard Katz, "HBO in Family way with heavy push of new fare", Variety, September 9, 1998.
  3. ^ a b Lynne Heffley, "HBO Launches Spinoff With Pair of Excellent Kids' Shows", Los Angeles Times, February 1, 1999.
  4. ^ "Crashbox has British sensibility". Playback. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  5. ^ Eichhorn, P: "Cuppa Coffee brews up a special blend of animation Take One Magazine, Summer, 1999, No. 24
  6. ^ a b "Crashbox 43; One of 4 episodes of Season 2B to be produced in 1999; Johnnie's name is also confirmed here, as it is scrambled as "Hojenin"". play.max.com. Retrieved 2023-07-31.
  7. ^ Pictures, Planet Grande (2015-05-15), Planet Grande Reel, retrieved 2023-08-19
  8. ^ "Crashbox's page on theTVD.com, which erroneously lists 65 episodes, and features Eps 27-39 in Season 1". thetvdb.com. Retrieved 2023-10-29.
  9. ^ "WebVoyage Titles; Source for Lost Suitcase". cocatalog.loc.gov. Retrieved 2023-07-22.
  10. ^ Video featuring Creator confirmation of the 52-episode run., retrieved 2023-10-29
  11. ^ "Crashbox | Official Website for the HBO Series | HBO.com". HBO. Retrieved 2023-02-07.
  12. ^ a b c "Crashbox 50; Verity is referred to as "Detective Wisenheimer" here". play.max.com. Retrieved 2023-07-31.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Crashbox 1; The spelling of Ten 2nds and Riddlesnake's names as sourced from the show's credits". play.max.com. Retrieved 2023-07-31.
  14. ^ a b "Crashbox 2; The spelling of Wordshake and Radio Scramble's names are sourced from the show's credits". play.max.com. Retrieved 2023-07-31.
  15. ^ Katz, Richard (1998-09-09). "HBO in Family way with heavy push of new fare". Variety. Retrieved 2023-07-30.
  16. ^ "CRASHBOX - PsychoMath w/ Professor Rocket | Crashbox is the first animated show I ever worked on, and it still airs today on HBO Family. I got a nice note from Stephanie in Montana about it, so I... | By Joseph Motiki | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2023-07-31.
  17. ^ "Portfolio". 2001-04-23. Archived from the original on 2001-04-23. Retrieved 2023-07-30.
  18. ^ "Crashbox's HBO Kids premiere with Episode 14". 2016-01-20. Archived from the original on 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  19. ^ "HBO Kids premiere of Crashbox's first episode". 2016-02-23. Archived from the original on 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  20. ^ "The end of Crashbox Season 1's first syndicated run on HBO Kids". 2016-03-23. Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  21. ^ "Only for it to start airing again, skipping Season 2". 2016-03-23. Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  22. ^ "Season 1 finishes airing for the second time". 2016-05-18. Archived from the original on 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  23. ^ "Season 1 starts airing for the third time in a row". 2016-05-18. Archived from the original on 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  24. ^ "Season 2 returns to the HBO Kids schedule for good". 2016-05-24. Archived from the original on 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  25. ^ "Crashbox 26 airs on HBO Kids for the first time". 2016-01-19. Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  26. ^ "Episodes 27-37 are skipped, going straight to Episode 38". 2016-01-19. Archived from the original on 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  27. ^ "Episode 39 airs for the first and final time on HBO Kids". 2016-01-17. Archived from the original on 2016-01-17. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  28. ^ "Final airings of Episode 27-29 on HBO Family". 2015-12-03. Archived from the original on 2015-12-03. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  29. ^ "Final airings of Episode 39 on HBO Family Jam". 2015-12-02. Archived from the original on 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  30. ^ "An Email Response from HBO Max Advanced Support Concerning Episodes 27-39". Discord.
  31. ^ "Season 2A of Crashbox on Crave, erroneously listed as part of Season 1". crave. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  32. ^ "Crashbox's Second Season consists of 26 episodes officially, despite the first half of them being removed". DIRECTV. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
  33. ^ "Parent reviews for Crashbox - Common Sense Media". Archived from the original on 2021-10-26. Retrieved 2019-08-13.