|Also known as|
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Opening theme||"Down at Fraggle Rock"|
|Ending theme||"Down at Fraggle Rock" (second verse)|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||96|
|Executive producer||Jim Henson|
|Production locations||CBC Toronto Broadcast Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company||Henson Associates|
|Distributor||The Jim Henson Company|
|Original release||January 10, 1983 -|
March 30, 1987
|Followed by||Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series|
|Related shows||The Muppet Show|
Fraggle Rock (also known as Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock or Fraggle Rock with Jim Henson's Muppets) is a children's puppet television series about interconnected societies of Muppet creatures, created by Jim Henson.
An international co-production of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, Fraggle Rock was co-produced by British television company Television South (TVS), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, U.S. pay television service Home Box Office (HBO) and Henson Associates. Unlike Sesame Street, which had been created for a single market and later adapted for international markets, Fraggle Rock was intended from the start to be an international production, and the entire show was constructed with this in mind.
Fraggle Rock debuted in 1983 as one of the first shows involving the collaboration of Henson International Television (HiT Entertainment from 1989), the international arm of Jim Henson Productions. The co-production brought together British regional ITV franchise-holder Television South (TVS), CBC Television (Canada), and U.S. pay-TV service Home Box Office and Henson Associates (later Jim Henson Productions). Filming took place on a Toronto soundstage (and later at Elstree Studios, London). The avant-garde poet bpNichol worked as one of the show's writers. In the early days of development, the script called the Fraggles "Woozles" pending the devising of a more suitable name.
Henson described the Fraggle Rock series as "a high-energy, raucous musical romp. It's a lot of silliness. It's wonderful." The program proved accessible to audiences of all ages, and used the fantasy creatures as an allegory to deal with serious issues such as prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, the environment, and social conflict.
In 2009, as part of the Jim Henson Foundation's donation of puppets to the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Atlanta museum displayed many of the original puppet characters from Fraggle Rock in their exhibition Jim Henson: Wonders from his Workshop.
The producers made the series with the intention of it airing in various forms internationally. That concept grew out of Jim Henson's experience adapting Sesame Street to the requirements of foreign markets. The human "wraparound" segments were produced separately in several countries, so the viewer could always relate to the world of the program. The series has appeared now in over 10 countries and languages. The head producer was Wesley James Tomlinson.
There are four main intelligent anthropomorphic species in the Fraggle Rock environment: Fraggles, Doozers, Gorgs and Silly Creatures. The Fraggles and Doozers live in a system of natural caves called Fraggle Rock that are filled with all manner of creatures and features and which connect to at least two different areas:
One of the main themes of the series is that, although the three species depend on the other for their survival, they usually fail to communicate due to vast differences in their biology and culture. The series mainly follows the adventures of five Fraggles, each with their own personality: pragmatic Gobo, artistic Mokey, indecisive Wembley, superstitious Boober, and adventurous Red. Some of the characters' names are film industry in-jokes. For example, Uncle Travelling Matt is a reference to the travelling matte technique used with blue screen to give the impression a character is somewhere they are not; Gobo is named after a shaped metal grill placed over a theatre light to produce interesting shadows (window shapes, leaves etc.) and Red is a reference to a "redhead", another name for an 800w film light.
Fraggles are small anthropomorphic creatures, typically 22 inches (56 cm) tall, that come in a variety of colors and have fur tuft tipped tails. Fraggles live a generally carefree life, spending most of their time (they have a thirty-minute work week) playing, exploring, and generally enjoying themselves. They live on mainly radishes and Doozer sticks, made of ground-up radishes and the material with which the Doozers build their constructions. The Fraggles seek wisdom from Marjory the Trash Heap, who is located in a corner of the Gorgs' garden. Marjory the Trash Heap is a large, matronly, sentient compost heap. According to her rat-like companions Philo and Gunge, the Trash Heap "knows all and sees all." By her own admission, she has "everything".
Within Fraggle Rock lives a second species of small humanoid creatures, the pudgy, green and industrious Doozers. Standing about 6 inches (15 cm) tall ("knee-high to a Fraggle"). Doozers are in a sense the opposite of Fraggles; their lives are dedicated to work and industry. Doozers spend much of their time busily constructing all manner of scaffolding throughout Fraggle Rock, using miniature construction equipment and wearing hardhats and work boots. Doozers build their constructions out of an edible candy-like substance (manufactured from radishes) which is greatly enjoyed by Fraggles. This is essentially the only interaction between Doozers and Fraggles; Doozers spend most of their time building just for the sake of it, and Fraggles spend much of their time eating Doozer buildings which they consider delicious. The Doozers say in an early episode that "architecture is meant to be enjoyed", and in "The Preachification of Convincing John" Mokey prevents the other Fraggles from eating the building work, believing it to be insensitive to the Doozers. As a result, the Doozer building eventually takes over Fraggle rock, and once full the Doozers plan on moving out as they have nowhere left to build. They explain that they want the Fraggles to eat their work in order to create space for more building work to go up again. Despite this co-dependence, the Doozers generally maintain a low opinion of Fraggles, considering them frivolous. The Doozers also seem to have little knowledge of the universe outside Fraggle Rock; early in the series they are unaware of the existence of the Gorgs or their garden. However, there was also one time when Doc found, in his workshop an ancient-looking Doozer helmet, indicating that the Doozers may have explored outside Fraggle Rock into "Outer Space" at some time in their forgotten past.
Adolescent Doozers come of age with a "taking the helmet" ceremony, in which they proudly accept their Doozer helmet from the Doozer Architect, after swearing to live a life of hard work. Rarely, a Doozer will refuse to "take the helmet"; a once in a generation occurrence that is generally met with shock and disbelief in the Doozer community. Such non-conformist Doozers can, however, find places of high regard in the Doozer society, due to the advantages of their more creative way of thinking.
Outside another exit from Fraggle Rock live a small family of Gorgs, fat furry humanoids standing about 264 inches (670 cm). The husband and wife of the family, Pa and Ma, consider themselves the King and Queen of the Universe, with their son Junior Gorg as its prince and heir-apparent, but to all appearances they are simple farmers with a rustic house and garden patch. In "The Gorg Who Would be King", Pa says he has ruled for 742 years.
Fraggles are considered pests by the Gorgs, as they often steal radishes from the garden. The Fraggles do not consider it stealing. The Gorgs use the radishes to make anti-vanishing cream, without which they disappear headfirst.
In the North American French, and German versions of Fraggle Rock (along with most other foreign dubs), the connection between Fraggle Rock and Outer Space is a small hole in the wall of the workshop of an eccentric inventor named Doc and his (Muppet) dog Sprocket. In the British version the situation is much the same, except that the hole leads into the living quarters of a lighthouse where the keeper lives with his dog, Sprocket.
Gobo must go out into Doc's workshop to retrieve the postcards from his uncle Matt from the wastebasket where Doc throws them, assuming they are misdelivered. Traveling Matt (a pun on travelling matte, the film compositing technique used in his segments) is exploring the wider world, observing humans and reporting humorously false conclusions about their everyday behaviour.
Sprocket often sees and chases Gobo, but can't convince Doc anything lives beyond the wall. Sprocket and Doc have many similar miscommunications throughout the series, given the language barrier, but overall, they understand each other quite well.
In the final episode arc of the original North American version of the show, Doc himself finally meets Gobo and befriends him. Gobo tells Doc that Fraggles refer to humans as "silly creatures", and apologizes. Doc tells him that he thinks that it is a very good name for humans. Unfortunately in the final episode, Doc and Sprocket have to move to another state, but the Fraggles discover a magic tunnel that allows them to visit Doc and Sprocket's new home easily at any time.
The CBC/HBO version of the series has been broadcast and dubbed in 95 countries. The series airs on Channel 7, Doordarshan, and Workpoint TV. Others were broadcast on Coub as an uploaded video, and others broadcast on TVtropolis (Canada), Bolivision (Bolivia), and CNC3 (Trinidad and Tobago).
After the show ended on HBO in 1987, the channel started to rerun the series. In 1988, it ran on TNT. The show aired on Disney Channel from October 1, 1992 to 1996. From 1999 to 2001, the show moved to Odyssey Network, which had recently been purchased by Henson and Hallmark. After Hallmark took full control, it discontinued the reruns. In 2010, reruns began airing on The Hub as part of the channel's launch.
In 2007, Fraggle Rock reruns aired on television internationally. On July 23, 2007, Boomerang and Cartoonito started repeating episodes of the original North American production of Fraggle Rock in the UK, as they were unable to use the UK edits. In January 2013, ITV broadcast two episodes of this version as part of its Old Skool Weekend feature on the CITV channel.
On December 12, 2015, the remastered "The Bells of Fraggle Rock" episode debuted alongside Henson's remastered Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas on ABC Family in its 25 Days of Christmas programming block.Fraggle Rock was available on HBO Now in HD  and in 2016 the series began to air reruns on HBO Family.
On May 26, 2020, Apple TV+ announced that, alongside a series order for a reboot, they had acquired the exclusive streaming rights to the previous seasons of Fraggle Rock in the 100 countries the service is available in, making the series the first piece of non-original content available on the service.
Magna Pacific published the American version of Fraggle Rock on Region 4 DVD in 2007. The DVD set Fraggle Rock: The Complete Fourth Season actually includes seasons four and five. The DVDs have no special features.
A set of plush dolls of Gobo, Wembley, Boober, and Red were released by Sababa Toys, each accompanied by a DVD featuring two episodes of the show, and one episode of the animated series.
Twelve UK episodes were released on VHS and DVD by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment in April 2004. TVS, the original ITV broadcaster, has passed through several owners since dropping out of the ITV network in 1992 and it was believed only these 12 episodes had survived. Research found more episodes, but many of the original 95 remained lost. HiT Entertainment has tried unsuccessfully to locate the missing episodes, including extensive enquiries with The Jim Henson Company both in the UK and the US. When UK television channels wish to broadcast the show, they used the US versions; such was the case with Boomerang and Cartoonito in 2007. In addition to the unknown fate of the physical master material, much of the original TVS production paperwork and sales documentation has been lost during the intervening years. This problem affects the majority of the TVS programme archive, preventing any commercial exploitation. As of December 2017, search efforts and returned episodes from private collectors - mostly home recordings on VHS - has raised the number of episodes to 95, with only one episode - "Gobo's School For Explorers", missing. In 2010, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK began releasing complete season box sets. These releases are the same as the American box sets, except without bonus features.
HBO Home Video released a collection of single-episode VHS tapes during the 1980s.
In 1993, Buena Vista Home Video, under their Jim Henson Video label released five Fraggle Rock VHS tapes with two episodes each.
HIT Entertainment released a number of single-disc DVDs with three episodes each (two in the VHS counterparts) plus bonus episodes which could be unlocked by completing a trivia game before releasing the first three seasons of Fraggle Rock on DVD in Region 1 between September 2005 and September 2007. It released a complete series box set on November 4, 2008 but did not release the final season in a separate release. Season 4 had originally been scheduled to be released on the same day as the complete series set but at the last minute it was scrapped and was never released. The season box sets have been re-released by Vivendi Visual Entertainment, but the 5 DVDs with 3 episodes are still sold in stores.
In 2009, Lionsgate Home Entertainment reached a deal with The Jim Henson Company to release Fraggle Rock on DVD. It subsequently released the final season on DVD for the first time on November 3, 2009. It re-released the "Complete Series" collection with new packaging (due to numerous complaints about the previous release) on the same day.
In 2013, Vivendi Visual Entertainment acquired the license to release Jim Henson Company DVDs, including Fraggle Rock. Season 1 was re-released on March 12, 2013, followed by Season 2 on April 16, 2013, Season 3 on May 14, 2013 and Season 4 on June 18, 2013. A complete series set was released on May 14 as Fraggle Rock - The 30th Anniversary Collection. This 22-disc set features all 96 episodes of the series as well as bonus features. A six-episode DVD with the same title Meet The Fraggles as a previously released 1993 VHS cassette, but it contains different episodes.
On July 11, 2018, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced that they would be releasing a complete series set of Fraggle Rock on Blu-ray in honor of the show's 35th anniversary. The 12-disc set includes remastered versions of all 96 episodes of the series in high-definition, and includes all features from the previous DVD season releases as well as additional new material such as a 1993 Today Show segment featuring Uncle Traveling Matt, a series of on-set videos with creator Jim Henson, and all 13 episodes of Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series. It was released on September 25, 2018.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep #||Additional Information|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete First Season||September 6, 2005||24||Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock notepad, Behind the Scenes Documentary narrated by Jim Henson, Interviews with the cast and creators, Deluxe collectors box.|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete Second Season||September 5, 2006||24||Jim Henson's Creatures and places of Fraggle Rock notepad, Steve Whitmire's Home Videos, Deluxe Collectors Box and tribute to Jerry Juhl.|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete Third Season||September 11, 2007||24||All-new featurettes and interviews with Fraggle Rock cast and creators, Deluxe embossed collector's packaging.|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete Final Season||November 3, 2009||24||All-new featurettes and interviews with Fraggle Rock cast and creators.|
|Fraggle Rock: Complete Series Collection||November 4, 2008||96||All 96 Episodes in one collectible Package Art, Original Fraggle Rock Illustrated Poster, All New Featurettes and Interviews with Fraggle Rock cast and creators.|
|Fraggle Rock: The Complete Series||September 25, 2018||96||All 96 episodes remastered in HD with special features from previous releases and limited edition packaging; all episodes of Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series included.|
An animated Fraggle Rock series aired for one season on NBC's Saturday morning lineup in 1987. The cartoon series introduced some Fraggles, Doozers, and other cave creatures exclusive to the series.
Doc, Sprocket the Dog, Gobo Fraggle, Wembley Fraggle, Boober Fraggle, Mokey Fraggle, Red Fraggle, and Uncle Traveling Matt appeared in A Muppet Family Christmas. Doc and Sprocket rent the farmhouse of Fozzie Bear's mother while she plans to go to Malibu until Fozzie shows up with his friends. Doc and Sprocket end up adjusting to the Muppets and the characters from Sesame Street even to the part where Doc volunteers to help Kermit by looking for Miss Piggy in the blizzard. While Doc was out looking for Miss Piggy, Kermit and Robin find a Fraggle Hole in the basement and enter Fraggle Rock where they encounter the five main Fraggles and tell them about Christmas. During the song "Pass It On," Large Marvin Fraggle and the other background Fraggles made appearances. During the Christmas songs near the finale, the five Fraggles came up where Uncle Traveling Matt was seen sitting near Doc and Sprocket. In the final scenes, Jim Henson washes the dishes while Sprocket dries them.
In 2012, The Jim Henson Company and DHX Media announced a computer animated spin-off to Fraggle Rock, titled The Doozers, targeted at children between ages 4 and 7. It focuses on four young Doozers named Spike, Mollybolt, Flex and Daisy Wheel, who live at Doozer Creek.
In September 2005, The Jim Henson Company announced it was working on a film adaptation of Fraggle Rock, known as Fraggle Rock: The Movie, with the aim of a release in 2009. The story allegedly involves the original Fraggle characters.
On October 20, 2006, Darkhorizons.com reported "Henson's company has hired executive producer Ahmet Zappa (The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless) to write a treatment for the film which will be a full-length live-action musical fantasy starring the underground dwellers who venture out into the human world. Henson Co. co-topper Lisa Henson is producing, whilst Brian Henson will exec produce."
In May 2008, The Weinstein Company announced it would distribute the Fraggle Rock movie. The film was written as a live-action musical by Cory Edwards, who would also direct. The film was to be produced by The Jim Henson Company; Ahmet Zappa was executive producing along with Brian Inerfeld. The film would involve all of the core characters from the series. The story would take the characters "outside of their home in Fraggle Rock, where they interact with humans, which they think are aliens."Karen Prell and Dave Goelz were slated to return for the film as Red Fraggle, Boober Fraggle, and Uncle Traveling Matt, respectively.
In 2011, Weinstein's deal with Henson expired, leaving production of the film in doubt. The Scissor Sisters were announced to write music for the film. In October 2011, New Regency acquired the rights to the movie to be produced by The Jim Henson Company and The Montecito Picture Company, with 20th Century Fox distributing. New Regency and the producers are currently in discussion whether to use puppets or CGI as well as a mix of live-action. Once this has been decided, it will look to a writer for the movie.
Fraggle Rock: Rock On! is a series of weekly live action shorts, first broadcast on the Apple TV+ streaming service starting on April 21, 2020. Episodes follow the Fraggles living in separate caves during a period of social distancing, and interacting with each other using a video chat system that was installed by the Doozers. Footage for the series is shot using smartphones in the production teams' and artists' own homes. A total of six episodes have aired. Original cast members Karen Prell and Dave Goelz reprise their roles as Red Fraggle, and the voices of Boober Fraggle and Uncle Travelling Matt (they were puppeteered by John Tartaglia, who also performs Gobo Fraggle and puppeteers Wembley Fraggle). Other cast members include Donna Kimball as Mokey Fraggle and Frankie Cordero as the voice of Wembley.
Music played a central part in Fraggle Rock. Every episode featured two or three original songs co-written by Canadian poet Dennis Lee and Philip Balsam, as well as incidental music. Several episodes (usually involving Cantus and the Minstrels) focused primarily on music--such as Red Fraggle's attempt to find "her song" for the Fraggle Medley, or the effect of music on the breaking of winter or the presence of light in Fraggle Rock.
During the show's original run, its opening theme was released as a single that reached number 33 on the British chart. Writers included Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, and Jocelyn Stevenson, with songs by Philip Balsam and Dennis Lee.
KOCH Records released Fraggle Rockin': A Collection, a three-disc box set of Fraggle Rock music, on October 30, 2007. The collection featured "restored and remastered" versions of three original Fraggle Rock LPs. The collection also included "special liner notes featuring rarely seen photos, contributions from the original composers and even sheet music for select songs." The main portion of these liner notes, called "Getting Down at Fraggle Rock," features an interview with Philip Balsam and Lawrence S. Mirkin and is written by Mike Petersen and Saul Pincus.
Magic Pen and Invisible Inks books for Lee Publications
The Star Comics imprint of Marvel Comics published two separate Fraggle Rock comic-book series in 1985 and 1988 respectively. Originally, the first series was to be drawn by Marty Taras, the creator of Baby Huey, and the cover of the first published issue of the Fraggle Rock comic is done by him. Also, at least one penciled page of his Fraggle work for that first issue has been preserved in print. However the art assignment for the series finally went to Marie Severin, who illustrated all eight issue interiors and the other seven covers. The second series lasted six issues.
In early 2010, Archaia Studios Press published its first three-issue series of Fraggle Rock. A second three-issue series was followed in January 2011. Both series were collected into hardcover editions shortly after their respective publications. No further announcements were made regarding any future volumes.