|Katie and Orbie|
|Genre||Children's television series|
|Created by||Ben Wicks and Susan Wicks|
|Written by||Mary Mackay-Smith|
|Directed by||Lee Williams|
Maryl T. Morris
Daisy von Scherler Mayer
|Voices of||Chris Wightman|
|Narrated by||Leslie Nielsen|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||78 (234 stories) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer||Sheldon S. Wiseman|
|Running time||26 minutes|
|Production companies||Lacewood Productions (1993-1996)|
Amberwood Entertainment (2001-2003)
Entertainment Rights (2001-2003)
|Original network||Family Channel|
|Original release||May 3, 1993 –|
June 9, 2003
Katie and Orbie is a Canadian animated television series aimed at preschoolers, originally broadcast in Canada from 1993 to 2003 by Family Channel and later aired in the USA on PBS from 1995 to 1997 and cable television network Disney Channel (part of Playhouse Disney) from 1997 to 2000. In Canada, the series aired uninterruptedly on Family Channel and beginning in 2007, on Disney Junior (formerly called Playhouse Disney) until December 31, 2012. A total of 78 episodes were produced over six seasons. The series has also aired in different countries around the world.
The animated series is based on a series of four environment-themed children's books titled Katie and Orbie Save the Planet, illustrated by Canadian cartoonist Ben Wicks and written by his daughter Susan Wicks, which were published in 1991. In 1993, Lacewood Productions adapted the characters into an animated series which was originally in production until 1996, being revived five years later by Amberwood Entertainment and then ending in 2002. Contrary to the original books, the series isn't strictly environment-themed, having stories that range from having a new pet or helping their friends, to address themes like children with divorced parents, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, one of the few series aimed at preschoolers to do so.
The theme song was written by Edmund Eagan and performed by his niece, Mireille Eagan.
Unlike most TV series, Katie and Orbie was animated in a technique referred to by producer Sheldon Wiseman as "picture-mation," similar to a Play-a-sound book, instead of coming to life. Also, none of the characters actually speak, so a variety of cartoonish sound effects are used during the stories, with a narrator telling the story. The series is narrated by Leslie Nielsen.
Main article: List of Katie and Orbie episodes
Ontario-based animation studio Lacewood Productions began work on the series in 1993, creating 13 half-hour episodes, which premiered in 1993 on Family Channel and quickly became a success, prompting Lacewood to create two further seasons in 1995 and 1996. In the third season, the series switched to digital ink and paint for colouring. The series switched to Flash animation in the sixth season.
In 1997, Lacewood Productions closed down and was taken over by Paragon Entertainment. In 1999, Amberwood Entertainment, a studio founded by Sheldon Wiseman after Lacewood's closure, acquired some of its assets from Paragon, including the series, and along with Entertainment Rights began production of 26 more episodes, which premiered on the Family Channel in 2001. However, in 2002 after the sixth season the series definitely ended production.
A total of 234 individual stories were produced, three per each half-hour episode. Each episode also had two interstitial segments titled Did You Know? which tells viewers small pieces of information regarding several subjects, such as plants, food, animals, the body and arts. These segments are narrated off-screen by Katie (voiced by Amanda Tripp).
Each episode is structured by the opening theme, the first story, a Did You Know? interstitial segment, the second story, another Did You Know? interstitial segment, the third story and the closing credits.
Seasons 1, 4, 5 and 6 were available on DVD on the online store of the now-defunct Canadian retailer Express Media; however, seasons 2 and 3 were not.
Two DVDs were released in Australia in 2010 with season 6 episodes.