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Arthur & BusterArthur is the name of a Canadian produced animated series that airs on PBS Kids GO! in the United States and on CBC in Canada. In the United States, timeslots vary greatly from station-to-station. The series made its debut on September 2, 1996. The series is based on the Arthur books by author Marc Brown which were first published in 1976, 20 years prior to its popularity after the show was launched. The title character, Arthur (full name Arthur Timothy Read) is an aardvark in the third grade who has two younger sisters: precocious four-year-old D.W. (short for "Dora Winifred") and baby Kate. Arthur's sibling rivalry with D.W. is often a theme of the show.
The series centers around the daily lives of a group of anthropomorphized animal elementary school characters, who deal with various problems such as school plays, classroom assignments, and so forth. Various social issues are also raised by the show, and a diverse range of characters are purposefully used. Among issues raised include asthma, blindness, dyslexia, divorce, and food allergies. Arthur is set in the fictional Elwood City. While the show's producers have stated that Elwood City has no specific location (so as to allow the viewers to imagine it is located wherever they wish), various fans have suggested it as being set in locations in the Northeast United States such as Massachusetts.
The show's opening theme song is the reggae song Believe in Yourself (Rhythm of the Street, What A Wonderful Kind of Day), performed by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. Each half-hour show contains two self-contained episodes, separated by a live-action vignette titled A Word From Us Kids featuring schoolchildren doing a project that is usually related to the subject of the first episode (this vignette is not included in the international versions of the show).
The series often contains a few in-jokes for older viewers (such as parents or older siblings), with Art Garfunkel, the late Mister Rogers, Taj Mahal, Koko Taylor, The Backstreet Boys, Michelle Kwan, Joshua Redman, Frank Gehry, and even Yo-Yo Ma, the noted cellist, having appeared in animated form on the show. The show makes fun of conventions in children's programming. The characters watch fictional cartoons like The Bionic Bunny (A possible parody on Superman and The Six Million Dollar Man), Dark Bunny (a possible parody of The Batman), Mary Moo Cow (representing a composite of various children shows), Love Ducks and Vidiboobies (both a parody of the Teletubbies). Also present were Power Rangers spoofs like Fighty Fluoride Scour Rangers and Terrific Turbo-Trooper Toy T-Bot Team (Although the former was just a short film used to teach oral hygiene in class while the latter is rather violent and is banned from the Read household. It is therefore possible that the former is actually intended to be a parody of the latter). The characters also listen to music from fictional groups like Crazy Bus and holographic pop group Binky (not to be mistaken with the character Binky Barnes).
Cookie Jar Entertainment (Formerly CINAR Animation) produced 125 Arthur cartoons from 1996 to 2005. In October 2004, the spinoff series Postcards From Buster, began airing on PBS Kids.
Arthur and Buster Comic Books
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