1 9 9 0 – 1 9 9 1 (USA)
65 x 30 minute episodes
The Fox network got off to a very shaky start in programming for children with this troubled adaptation of the classic novel by JM Barrie, whose copyright expired on 31 December 1987.
Originally developed as a Saturday morning cartoon for CBS, the project ended up being a daily entry instead as part of Fox’s initial schedule of daily programming for children.
But the network gave the production company only a few months lead time to make the standard minimum 65 shows for daily airing, and the compromises made to get on the air by September 1990 proved disastrous.
The show itself was not terrible, though hardly in a class with the 1953 animated Walt Disney version. It had the old crew of Peter, the boy who never grew up (voiced by Jason Marsden); Tinkerbell, his pixie assistant (Debi Derryberry); and their adversary, Captain Hook (superbly voiced by Tim Curry), who dominated the action.
The show was designed to have an overall appeal for older children, particularly males. But any hopes Fox had of making this Peter Pan a success were dashed when it became clear that few shows would be ready by the September airing.
Ratings were horrible, not surprising, given the multiple reruns seen in the first few months alone.
To try and boost its appeal, Fox added a sixth day of broadcasts in early 1991, replacing Zazoo U, a series which had the unenviable distinction of being Fox’s first Saturday morning casualty.
The Saturday slot didn’t help, and after one other daily season, the cartoon quietly disappeared.
Chris M. Allport
Big Chief Little Panther