Slice of life
|Created by||Craig Bartlett|
|Developed by||Craig Bartlett
|Creative director(s)||Tuck Tucker|
|Voices of||Toran Caudell (seasons 1–2)
Phillip Van Dyke (seasons 2–3)
Spencer Klein (seasons 4–5)
Alex D. Linz (season 5)
Jamil W. Smith
Francesca Marie Smith
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||100 (185 segments) (list of episodes)|
|Running time||23 minutes (two 11-minute segments each)|
|Production company(s)||Snee-Oosh, Inc.
Nickelodeon Animation Studios (as part of Games Animation, pilot episode and season 1)
|Distributor||Paramount Domestic Television|
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV)|
|Original release||October 7, 1996– June 8, 2004|
Hey Arnold! is an American animated television series created by Craig Bartlett for Nickelodeon. The show centers on a fourth grader named Arnold, who lives with his grandparents in an inner-city boarding house. Episodes center on his experiences navigating big city life while dealing with the problems he and his friends encounter.
Bartlett's idea for the show is based on a minor character named Arnold whom he created while working on Pee-wee's Playhouse. The executives enjoyed the character, and Bartlett completed the cast by drawing inspiration from people he grew up with in Portland, Oregon. He created the pilot episode in his living room in 1994, and official production began in 1995. The animators worked to transform Arnold from clay animation to cel animation, leading to the series' premiere on October 7, 1996. The show finished production in 2001 and aired its final episode on June 8, 2004.
Hey Arnold! received generally positive reviews, with many critics praising its character development, emotional storytelling and mature themes. Over the course of its eight-year run, the series aired 100 episodes. A feature film based on the series, Hey Arnold!: The Movie, was released in 2002. All five seasons have been released on DVD, and reruns currently air on the TeenNick block The Splat.
A Hey Arnold! television movie is in its early development stages. It is expected to pick up from where the series ended and will resolve unanswered plot lines of the story, including the whereabouts of Arnold's parents.
Hey Arnold! stars nine-year-old Arnold (voiced by Toran Caudell; Phillip Van Dyke; Spencer Klein; Alex D. Linz) and his neighborhood friends: Gerald (Jamil Walker Smith), a street-smart character who generally serves as the leader of the group, and Helga (Francesca Smith), a girl who bullies Arnold in order to hide the fact that she is in love with him. Bartlett drew inspiration from people he grew up with when creating the characters for the show.
Arnold lives with his eccentric but loving paternal grandparents, Phil (Dan Castellaneta) and Gertrude (Tress MacNeille), proprietors of the Sunset Arms boarding house, in the fictional city of Hillwood. In each episode, he often helps a schoolmate or boarding home tenant solve a personal problem, or encounters a predicament of his own. Many episodes involve urban legends usually told by Gerald, such as superheroes or headless horsemen.
Other characters include students and faculty at P.S. 118, Arnold's school, and citizens of Hillwood. Certain episodes focus on the lives of supporting characters, such as the tenants of the boarding house that Arnold's grandparents own.
Hey Arnold! takes place in the fictional American city of Hillwood. While its geographic location is never revealed outright, various episodes suggest that the city is a fictional version of New York City. Bartlett described the city as "an amalgam of large northern cities I have loved, including Seattle (my hometown), Portland (where I went to art school) and Brooklyn (the bridge, the brownstones, the subway)". Bartlett, having grown up in Seattle, based many of the show's events on his own experience growing up in the city. Evan Levine of the Houston Chronicle commented on the series' "backdrop of dark streets, nighttime adventures and rundown buildings, all seen from a child's point of view".
Animator Craig Bartlett graduated from Anacortes High School and obtained a degree in communications from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. During high school and college, he studied painting and sculpture at the Museum Art School in Portland, and his first job after college was at Will Vinton Productions, a claymation house. Originally, Bartlett intended to become a painter "in the 19th-century sense", but he became interested in animation during a trip to Italy.
In 1987, while working on Pee-wee's Playhouse, he created claymation cutaways about a character named Penny and her friend Arnold. Six years later, Bartlett was teamed up with five writers from Rugrats to develop animation projects for Nickelodeon. These meetings were generally difficult and the writers became frustrated; Bartlett recalled: "Our ideas were OK, but such a large and motley group couldn't get far at pitch meetings. Network execs got migraines just counting us coming in the door." As a last resort, Bartlett played the "Penny" tapes, intending to highlight the Penny character. However, the executives were more impressed by Arnold, despite him being a minor character.
After the meeting, the group began developing Arnold, creating his personality and evolving him from claymation to cel animation. Bartlett stated: "We did a lot of talking about who Arnold is. We came up with a reluctant hero who keeps finding himself responsible for solving something, making the right choices, doing the right thing." After creating ideas for Arnold, Bartlett began work on the supporting characters, drawing influence from his childhood: "A lot of the characters are an amalgam of people I knew when I was a kid. The girls in Hey Arnold! are girls that either liked or didn't like me when I was in school."
In 1994, Bartlett created the pilot episode of Hey Arnold! in his living room, and showed it to producers at Nickelodeon. A year later, the network decided to begin work on the series. The character was previously featured in a trilogy of clay animation shorts from 1988 to 1991: Arnold Escapes from Church (1988), The Arnold Waltz (1990), and Arnold Rides a Chair (1991), the latter having been aired as a filler short on Sesame Street in 1991. The 10-minute pilot episode, titled Arnold, was shown in theaters in 1996 before Nickelodeon's first feature-length film, Harriet the Spy.
Apart from the animation style, Nick's Arnold wears a sweater, with his plaid shirt untucked (resembling a kilt). Only Arnold's cap remains unchanged from his original clay-animation wardrobe. Arnold comic strips also appeared in Simpsons Illustrated magazine, as Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, is Craig Bartlett's brother-in-law.
Production of Hey Arnold! wrapped in 2001. A dispute over a second planned Hey Arnold! movie, The Jungle Movie, then resulted in Bartlett leaving Nickelodeon. The last season's episodes were released over four years, beginning in 2000. The series aired its final episode, unannounced, on June 8, 2004, as did fellow Nicktoons Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.
The show aired in reruns on "Nick on CBS" from September 14, 2002, to September 17, 2005. In 2011, the Canadian Nickelodeon channel began airing episodes of Hey Arnold!. In September 2011, TeenNick brought Hey Arnold! reruns to "The 90's Are All That" programming block.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Pilot||July 10, 1996|
|1||20||October 7, 1996||February 14, 1997|
|2||19||September 21, 1997||January 18, 1998|
|3||20||August 31, 1998||March 8, 1999|
|4||17||March 10, 1999||December 11, 1999|
|5||24||March 4, 2000||June 8, 2004|
- Urban Adventures
- The Helga Stories
- Arnold's Christmas
- Love Stinks
- Hey Arnold!: The Movie
- Arnold for President
- Return of the Sewer King
- Arnold's Valentine
- Parents Day
- Summer Love
- The Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle
- Arnold's Christmas
- Arnold's E-Files
- Hey Arnold!: The Movie
In this 2002 feature film, Arnold, Helga and Gerald set out on a quest to save their old neighborhood from a greedy developer who plans on converting it into a huge shopping mall. This film was directed by Tuck Tucker, and featured guest voice talents of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Sorvino and Christopher Lloyd.
In 1998, Nickelodeon gave Craig Bartlett the chance to develop a feature adaptation of the series. As work on the fifth season was completing, Bartlett and company engaged in the production of Arnold Saves the Neighborhood, which would eventually become Hey Arnold!: The Movie. The Neighborhood project was originally made for television and home video, but executives at Paramount Pictures decided to release it theatrically after successful test screenings. According to animation historian Jerry Beck (in his Animated Movie Guide), the decision was buoyed by the financial success of the first two Rugrats movies, The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie.
Home media releases
Nickelodeon released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 via Amazon.com through its CreateSpace Manufacture-on-demand program in 2008/2009. Season 1 was released on August 21, 2008, Season 2 on August 29, 2008, Season 3 on December 8, 2009, Season 4 on November 27, 2009, and Season 5 on December 4, 2009. All of these releases are now discontinued.
On May 9, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series. They subsequently released Season 1 in a 4 disc set on August 9, 2011. Season 2, Part 1 was released on March 20, 2012, followed by Season 2, Part 2 on July 24, 2012. Season 3 was released on January 29, 2013, as a Shout Select title. On May 14, 2013, season 4 was released as a shout exclusive followed by season 5 released on October 15, 2013, also as a shout exclusive making the entire series available on DVD. On August 19, 2014, the complete series was released through Shout! Factory as a Walmart exclusive.
In Australia, all five seasons have been released by Beyond Home Entertainment.
|DVD Name||Episodes||# of Discs||Release Date|
|Season 1||20||4||August 9, 2011||April 3, 2013|
|Season 2, Part 1
Season 2, Part 2
|20||4||March 20, 2012
July 2, 2012
|April 3, 2013|
|Season 3♦||19||3||January 29, 2013||June 3, 2015|
|Season 4♦||17||2||May 14, 2013||June 3, 2015|
|Season 5♦||24||3||October 15, 2013||September 1, 2015|
|Complete series||99||16||August 19, 2014|
♦ – Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store.
In an interview with Arun Mehta, Craig Bartlett announced that he was working with Nickelodeon on a Hey Arnold! reboot. In September 2015, Nickelodeon president Russell Hicks announced that the company was considering reboots for a number of series, including Hey Arnold!. According to an announcement by The Independent, a Hey Arnold! reboot is "very much on the cards". On November 23, 2015, Nickelodeon announced that a TV movie is in the works and will pick up right where the series left off. The film will also answer unanswered questions about the fate of Arnold's parents.
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