|Based on||The Way Things Work by David Macaulay|
|Developed by||Mark Zaslove|
|Written by||Libby Hinson|
|Directed by||Anne Luiting|
|Starring||Max Casella as Cro|
|Voices of||Charlie Adler|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||21 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Phil Roman|
Joan Ganz Cooney
|Running time||approx. 23 mins|
|Production companies||Children's Television Workshop|
|Original release||September 18, 1993 –|
October 22, 1994
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
According to Sesame Workshop's website, 21 episodes were made for the series.
|Title||Original air date|
|1||1||"Just a Stone's Throw Away"||September 18, 1993|
|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 aid of a catapult.|
|2||2||"No Time for Steamer"||September 25, 1993|
|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.|
|3||3||"Destroy all Buckies"||October 2, 1993|
|Og discovers a discarded invention and has to defend it as the rest of Woolyville demands its destruction.|
|4||4||"It's Snow Problem"||October 9, 1993|
|Cro invents a way to get everyone up the mountain to enjoy his new sport.|
|5||5||"Let Me Help"||October 16, 1993|
|Phil goes a little overboard in his attempts to help the humans create a window in the cave.|
|6||6||"The Legend of Big Thing"||October 23, 1993|
|7||7||"A Bridge Too Short"||October 30, 1993|
|Earl and Mojo have the humans build a bridge for the Grand Medallion of Merit.|
|8||8||"Pakka's Cool Invention"||November 6, 1993|
|Pakka helps find a way to keep Esmeralda cool in the summer heat.|
|9||9||"Here's Lookin' at You, Cro!"||November 13, 1993|
|Cro discovers a 'seemyselfer' (a mirror) and uses it to watch Og and Gog compete.|
|10||10||"No Way Up"||November 20, 1993|
|Nandy has a final request, to fly.|
|11||11||"Adventures in Miscommunications"||November 27, 1993|
|Earl and Mojo's insult war gets mixed up with an important message about the volcano.|
|12||12||"Escape from Mung Island"||December 4, 1993|
|13||13||"Pulley for You"||December 11, 1993|
|14||14||"Things That Eat Mung in the Night"||December 18, 1993|
|15||15||"Laugh, Mammoth, Laugh"||TBA|
|Title||Original air date|
|16||1||"Meal Like a Pig"||September 17, 1994|
|Dr. C and Mike try to avoid eating Phil's cooking. At the dinner table, Phil tells them about a time Cro went hunting.|
|17||2||"What's That Smell"||September 24, 1994|
|All of Woolyville is determined to bathe Og.|
|18||3||"Play It Again, Cro... Not!"||October 1, 1994|
|Cro practices his violin for the Woolyville marching band.|
|19||4||"Lever in a Million Years"||October 8, 1994|
|20||5||"Turn Up the Heat"||October 15, 1994|
|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.|
|21||6||"They Move Mammoths, Don't They?"||October 22, 1994|
Cro debuted on September 18, 1993, on ABC. Even though the show received high ratings and drew the largest audience in its time slot, ABC cancelled the series after two seasons. The last episode premiered on October 22, 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." The new channel was eventually named Noggin, and it launched as a joint venture with Nickelodeon in February 1999. Reruns of Cro were a mainstay on Noggin's schedule.
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.
Three VHS tapes were released by Republic Home Video in the United States:
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."