The Raccoons is a Canadian animated television series, first broadcast from 1985 to 1991 with four preceding television specials starting from 1980. The series was created by Kevin Gillis, and produced first at Atkinson Film-Arts (from 1985–1986), then at newly established Hinton Animation Studios (from 1987 on) with the cooperation of the Wikipedia:Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Spanish dub of the show is distributed internationally by 20th Century Fox International Television. The show is currently being broadcast in Canada on Teletoon Retro.
The series features the adventures in the Evergreen Forest, "quiet, peaceful, serene", (which is depicted to be in Western Canada) of Bert Raccoon and his friends Ralph and Melissa, particularly in their attempts to thwart the industrialist actions of pink aardvark Cyril Sneer and his trio of pig henchmen. Another interesting character was the capitalist Mr. Knox—a crocodile with a New Orleans accent. Cyril's son Cedric is Bert's best friend.
Usually, the series would feature the main characters learning major life lessons in teamwork, friendship, cooperation, and sometimes just helping out their fellow friends that live near the forest, human and animal alike, tangling with the tyrannical tycoon Cyril Sneer, who does not let anything as trivial as nature's defining highlights (trees, lakes, etc) prevent him attempting to obtain a profit.
One unique element of the series is that Cyril gradually evolves from an unrepentantly destructive capitalist to a likable and environmentally responsible, if still highly aggressive, businessman and occasional ally of the Raccoons.
Debuting in 1980 with The Christmas Raccoons TV special, The Raccoons slowly began its journey to becoming a regular animated series, using assorted specials over the next few years as stepping stones (The Raccoons On Ice, The Raccoons and the Lost Star, Let's Dance), before finally becoming a regular series in 1985. Five seasons of episodes were produced, airing from 1985 to 1991.
In 1989, a new character by the name of Lisa Raccoon was introduced into the series. Lisa is Ralph and Melissa's niece, and the statuesque older sister of Bentley Raccoon, and the eldest child of George and Nicole Raccoon. She is the love interest/best friend of Bert Raccoon. Lisa made her debut in Spring Fever, she was voiced by Lisa Lougheed, the singer of the series' ending theme.
In 2003, As Long As Forever: A Raccoons Movie was listed as being in development on the Canadian Television Fund's website  in the "Development Projects" section, however since then information has been posted to the Canadian Television Fund's website about it.
The series returned to Canadian television on the new Teletoon Retro network, which launched October 1, 2007.
Unlike many cartoon series from the 1980s, The Raccoons was not heavily merchandised. Today it has a small cult following, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation.
The series had a New Wave soundtrack including the theme song "Run With Us" by cast member Lisa Lougheed a minor chart success in some countries, and covered more recently by Spray. Season 1 ended with a different version of the song, not sung by Lougheed. "Run With Us" was performed in Season 1 by Stephen Lunt. In the first season the Wikipedia: French Canadian singer Luba performed several songs, several of which were later re-recorded by Lougheed for use in other seasons. There were also several other songs performed by other musicians such as Rita Coolidge and Rupert Holmes who performed songs for the first special, Leo Sayer and Coolidge again for the second, and John Schneider and Dottie West for the last TV special. Rory Dodd, The Dior Bros.  (actually Kevin Gillis and Jon Stroll under a pseudonym), and several other musicians also had songs performed, although somewhat rarely compared to the aforementioned people. The earlier version of "Run With Us", like quite a few of the other songs from The Raccoons, were never officially released. Nine of the songs from the series featured on Lougheed's 1988 album Evergreen Nights. However Lougheed only sung most of the songs (sometimes in duets), while a couple of the songs were sung by other artists (Curtis King Jr and Stephen Lunt). The French version of "Run With Us", as well as most of Luba and Lisa Lougheeds songs, was performed by the French Canadian singer Jano Bergeron and titled "Viens Vers Nous".
Cast and CharactersEdit
- Rich Little - Narrator (1980–1983)
- Rupert Holmes - Chief Forest Ranger Dan (1980)
- Tammy Bourne - Julie (1980–1983)
- Hadley Kay - Tommy (1980–1983), Bix Wheelie (1988)
- Carl Banas - Schaeffer the Dog (1980-1991), The Bears (1981–1991), Mr. Mammoth (1985–1991), Mr. Willow (1988–1991)
- Bob Dermer - Ralph Raccoon (1980-1991), Bears (1981–1991), Lady Baden-Baden (1987–1991), Toof (1988), Rod Steel (1991)
- Rita Coolidge - Melissa Raccoon (1980–1981)
- Len Carlson - Bert Raccoon (1980-1991), Pig Two (1983-1991), Pig Three (1985-1991), Mr. Knox (1986–1991), Duck Snyder (1987), Karl Snarl (1987), Dick Ermine (1987, 1989), Professor Smedley-Smythe (1987-1991), Dr. Canard (1987, 1990), Sir Malcolm Havelock (1988), John Roykick (1988), Fern (1988), Dirk Dassie (1988), Inspector Rutledge (1989), Milton Midas (1989-1991), Mr. Barnes (1990), Robin Steel (1991)
- Michael Magee - Cyril Sneer, Snag (1981-1991)
- Fred Little - Cedric Sneer (1980–1983), Pig Three (1983)
- Leo Sayer - Chief Forest Ranger Dan (1981)
- Sharon Lewis - Sophia Tutu (1981–1988), Broo the Puppy (1983–1991)
- Danny Gallivan - Ferlin Fielddigger (1981)
- Nick Nichols - Pig One (1983–1990), Mr. Barnes (1988)
- John Schneider - Chief Forest Ranger Dan (1983)
- Dottie West - Melissa Raccoon (1983)
- Kevin Gillis - Chief Forest Ranger Dan (1984)
- Geoffrey Winter - Narrator (1985–1991)
- Linda Feige - Melissa Raccoon (1985–1986)
- Marvin Goldhar - Cedric Sneer (1985–1991), Henri de la Possum (1987), Herman Zechariah Stroll (1987-1988), Simon Sneer/Sid Leech (1988), J.P. Gordon (1989)
- Murray Cruchley - Chief Forest Ranger Dan (1985–1986)
- Vanessa Lindores - Julie (1985–1986)
- Noam Zylberman - Tommy (1985–1986), Bentley Raccoon (1987–1990)
- Les Lye - Samaritan "Sammy" Sneer (1985)
- Rick Jones - Sidekick (1985-1987), Master of Ceremonies (1986)
- Derek Diorio - Haggis Lamborgini (1985)
- Susan Roman - Melissa Raccoon (1987–1991), Wendo (1988)
- Pauline Rennie - Aunt Gertie (1987)
- Nonnie Griffin - Mrs. Pig (1988, 1990)
- Bob Segarini - Woodchuck Berry (1989)
- Barry Bailey - Troy Malone (1989)
- Jeremiah McCann - Bonneville Knox (1989)
- Lisa Lougheed - Lisa Raccoon (1989–1991)
- Peter Messaline - The Great Tromboni (1989)
- Kay Hawtrey - Ms. Primrose (1989)
- Bruno Gerussi - Edward Miller (1989)
- Barbara Frum - Barbara LaFrum (1989)
- Teresa Sears - Ingrid Bellamour (1990)
- Debra Peck - Nurse Peck (1990)
- Stu Stone - Danny (1990), Bentley Raccoon (1990–1991)
- Dan Hennessey - George Raccoon (1990–1991), Sidekick (1990)
- Elizabeth Hanna - Nicole Raccoon (1990–1991)
- Keith Hampshire - Pig One (1990–1991)
- Tara Strong - Donna (1991)
The series was broadcast around the world by the following channels:
- Canada: CBC Television (original broadcaster), APTN, Canal Famille, Teletoon, A-Channel (the stations that are now Citytv), Teletoon Retro, Nickelodeon (Canada),YTV
- United Kingdom: CBBC (BBC One and BBC Two (1987–2002) and Boomerang (2006–2008), Nicktoons (UK and Ireland)
- United States: Disney Channel, Starz, TRIO, LAT TV (2007-2008; in Spanish), Nicktoons (United States)
- Eastern Europe: Boomerang Europe
- Brazil: TV Cultura
- Greece: ERT
- Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Televizija Zagreb (now Croatian Radiotelevision)
- Poland: Boomerang Poland, TVN (in 1998 and 1999)
- Hungary: m1 (1992–1994)
- Romania: TVR 1, TVR 2
- Russia: REN TV (Currently showing), Teleinform, NTV+
- Germany: Super RTL, Tele 5
- Ireland: RTÉ 2 (Network 2)
- Portugal: RTP 1, Canal Panda
- The Netherlands: Kindernet, RTL (Telekids), Boomerang
- Flanders: VRT
- New Zealand: TVNZ, TV ONE Sunday mornings in late 1987. Later series not screened.
- Middle East: Infinity TV, Al Deera TV and Boomerang (Orbit). Original Canadian version used to show on Children's Theatre (Cinema El Atfal) that aired on Egyptian Channel 1 in the 90s.
- Trinidad & Tobago: TTT
- Czech Republic: Czech Television
- South Africa: SABC in the early 90s. Currently on Boomerang (DStv).
In 2004, Morningstar Entertainment released The Raccoons on DVD for the first time. Two 9-episode boxsets entitled "The Raccoons: Collector's Set 1" and "The Raccoons: Collector's Set 2" were released, each containing 3 discs that were also available separately. The first set contained nine of the ten episodes from series 2 (omitting "Stop the Clock") and the second set contained the first nine episodes of series 3.
A 2-disc region 2 PAL DVD release of the complete series 1 was released on September 17, 2007 through Fabulous Films Ltd. They later released a DVD entitled "Three Adventures With The Raccoons" on April 7, 2008. This DVD contained the first 3 episodes of Series 1. Series 2 was released on April 20, 2009 by Fabulous Films Ltd. DVD extras on the set include character model sheets and a documentary.
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