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Based onThe Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Developed byMark Zaslove
Written byLibby Hinson
Sindy McKay
Dev Ross
Marianne Sellek
Mark Zaslove
Directed byAnne Luiting
StarringMax Casella as Cro
Voices ofCharlie Adler
Ruth Buzzi
Jim Cummings
Tress MacNeille
Candi Milo
Laurie O'Brien
April Ortiz
Jane Singer
Jussie Smollett
Frank Welker
ComposerStacy Widelitz
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes21 (list of episodes)
Executive producersPhil Roman
Jeffrey Nelson
Franklin Getchell
Marjorie Kalins
Joan Ganz Cooney
Mark Zaslove
ProducersCatherine Mullally
Bob Richardson
Running timeapprox. 23 mins
Production companiesChildren's Television Workshop
Film Roman
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 18, 1993 (1993-09-18) –
December 3, 1994 (1994-12-03)

Cro is an American animated television series produced by the Children's Television Workshop (now known as Sesame Workshop) and Film Roman. It was partially funded by the National Science Foundation. Every episode has an educational theme, introducing basic concepts of physics, mechanical engineering, and technology. The show's narrator is an orange woolly mammoth named Phil, who was found frozen in ice by a scientist named Dr. C and her assistant, Mike. After they defrost him, Phil tells both of them about life in the Ice Age, including stories about his friend Cro, a Cro-Magnon boy.

The show debuted on September 18, 1993, on ABC. ABC canceled the series in 1994, which caused the Children's Television Workshop to plan its own TV channel so that it would not have to rely on other companies to air its shows.[1] The new channel, Noggin, debuted in 1999 and aired Cro reruns from its launch date until 2004. From 2000 to 2002, Cro also aired on Nickelodeon during the "Noggin on Nick" block.[2]

The series' story editors were Sindy McKay and Mark Zaslove, who was also the developer of the show. The premise of using woolly mammoths as a teaching tool for the principles of technology was inspired by The Way Things Work, a book by David Macaulay.[3] Cro was created with the help of a developmental psychologist, Dr. Susan Mendelsohn, and its educational content was heavily researched. According to the Children's Television Workshop, testing of over 2,600 viewers aged 6–12 found that they were absorbing basic science concepts through the show.[4]


A scientist named Dr. C and her assistant Mike travel to the Arctic to study artifacts and find a frozen woolly mammoth named Phil. They thaw him out and are surprised to find that he can speak. Whenever a situation in modern times involves physics principles, Phil remembers when a similar event occurred long ago in the prehistoric valley of Woollyville with his fellow mammoths and his Cro-Magnon friend Cro, who lived with a family of Neanderthals. Each episode features Phil narrating how a problem was resolved through simple engineering.

The show's (and lead character's) name is an Occitan word for "cave"; it alludes to Cro-Magnon, the location in France where the earliest anatomically modern humans were first discovered.


"Dr. C" redirects here. Not to be confused with Mr. C.

Modern-day characters


Woolly mammoths



According to Sesame Workshop's website, 21 episodes were made for the series.[6]

Season 1 (1993)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
11"Lever in a Million Years"September 18, 1993 (1993-09-18)[7]
While stuck in the shower, Phil tells of when the neanderthals first moved into Woollyville.
22"Pulley for You"September 25, 1993 (1993-09-25)
Phil gets stuck in the floor, so Dr. C and Mike make a pulley to lift him up, while Phil tells of the last time he saw a pulley.
33"Meal Like a Pig"October 2, 1993 (1993-10-02)
Dr. C and Mike try to avoid eating Phil's cooking. At the dinner table, Phil tells them about a time Cro went hunting.
44"They Move Mammoths, Don't They?"October 9, 1993 (1993-10-09)
55"What That Smell?"October 16, 1993 (1993-10-16)
All of Woolyville is determined to bathe Og.
66"A Bridge Too Short"October 23, 1993 (1993-10-23)
Earl and Mojo have the humans build a bridge for the Grand Medallion of Merit.
77"Things That Eat Mung in the Night"October 30, 1993 (1993-10-30)
Phil wants to weigh himself, but he's way too big for a scale.
88"Escape from Mung Island"November 6, 1993 (1993-11-06)
Nandy's mung drives Ogg to learn about boats and floating.
99"Let Me Help"November 13, 1993 (1993-11-13)
Phil goes a little overboard in his attempts to help the humans create a window in the cave.
1010"No Way Up"November 20, 1993 (1993-11-20)
Nandy has a final request, to fly.
1111"Adventures in Miscommunications"November 27, 1993 (1993-11-27)
Earl and Mojo's insult war gets mixed up with an important message about the volcano.
1212"Play It Again, Cro... NOT!"December 4, 1993 (1993-12-04)
Cro practices his violin for the Woolyville marching band.
1313"Destroy All Buckies"December 11, 1993 (1993-12-11)
Og discovers a discarded invention and has to defend it as the rest of Woolyville demands its destruction.

Season 2 (1994)

No. in
TitleOriginal air date
141"Here's Lookin' at You, Cro!"September 10, 1994 (1994-09-10)
Cro discovers a 'seemyselfer' (a mirror) and uses it to watch Og and Gogg compete.
152"It's Snow Problem"September 17, 1994 (1994-09-17)
Cro invents a way to get everyone up the mountain to enjoy his new sport.
163"Just a Stone's Throw Away"September 24, 1994 (1994-09-24)
After Bobb and Steamer trap themselves on the opposite side of a canyon, a few of Woolyville’s residents band together to find an ingenious way to reach the other side to rescue them. Meanwhile, in the present, Phil helps Mike with his basketball skills with the aid of a catapult.
174"Laugh, Mammoth, Laugh"October 1, 1994 (1994-10-01)
185"Turn Up the Heat"October 15, 1994 (1994-10-15)
Cro needs to ride a mammoth for his coming of age ceremony. He hopes that making a new shower for Phil will get Phil to agree to help him.
196"No Time for Steamer"October 22, 1994 (1994-10-22)
Steamer is left behind as the other mammoths leave on vacation. Cro and the Neanderthals come up with a way to balance out everyone's time spent babysitting him.
207"Pakka's Cool Invention"October 22, 1994 (1994-10-22)
Pakka helps find a way to keep Esmeralda cool in the summer heat.
218"The Legend of Big Thing"December 3, 1994 (1994-12-03)
On a camping trip, Phil tells a story about a creature called Big Thing.


Cro debuted on September 18, 1993, on ABC. Even though the show received high ratings and drew the largest audience in its time slot,[8] ABC cancelled the series after two seasons. The last episode premiered on December 3, 1994. In response to the cancellation, the Children's Television Workshop started planning its own TV channel where it could air Cro as well as other shows from its library. The CTW's senior Vice President, Gary Knell, said that "the lesson for us was that we can't rely entirely on other channels to put on programs which are educational as well as entertaining."[1] The new channel was eventually named Noggin, and it launched as a joint venture with MTV Networks (the owners of Nickelodeon) in February 1999. Reruns of Cro were a mainstay on Noggin's schedule.[9]

From 1999 until April 2002, Cro aired during the daytime on Noggin. From April 2002 until January 2004, the show only aired during Noggin's early-morning hours, during time slots reserved for Cable in the Classroom. Nickelodeon itself also aired Cro during a block called "Noggin on Nick" from 2000 to 2002.[2]

Home media

Three VHS tapes were released by Republic Home Video in the United States:[10]


  1. ^ a b Kaplan, Karen (25 April 1995). "Company Town : TV's 'Sesame Street' Creators Want Their Own Niche on Dial". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b "Noggin on Nick". May 10, 2000. Archived from the original on 2000-05-10.
  3. ^ "MORE THAN CARTOONS IN FALL LINEUPS". Chicago Tribune. 27 April 1993.
  4. ^ Knell, Gary E. (1995). "The Children's Television Act: Encouraging Positive Television for Our Children". Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal. 17 (3): 699–704. ISSN 1061-6578.
  5. ^ "Things That Eat Mung in the Night". Cro. Episode 14. 26 February 1994. ABC. Murray: "But it is very, very chilly out there in the cold, cold snow, boss. Perhaps we'd better wait 'til the mornin'?" Big Red: [growls] "Are you thinking again, Murray?" Murray: "Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, boss. See, I just thought that- Whoop!" [yelps as he is kicked out of the cave] "We was just leavin', Big Red."
  6. ^ "Cro - Sesame Workshop". Archived from the original on 2011-06-08.
  7. ^ "Kids TV gets a toon up". San Francisco Examiner. August 31, 1993. p. 25. Retrieved September 11, 2021 – via
  8. ^ Frankel, Max (October 8, 1995). "WORD & IMAGE;'Alas for Hamelin!'". The New York Times – via
  9. ^ Everhart, Karen (May 4, 1998). "CTW finds its cable outlet: a venture with Nickelodeon". Current.
  10. ^ "The Times Leader from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on June 16, 1994 · 48". 16 June 1994.