Courage the Cowardly Dog

Courage the Cowardly Dog
Courage the Cowardly Dog
Courage the Cowardly Dog intertitle.jpg
Intertitle featuring the main character Courage.
Genre Black comedy
Comedy horror
Science fantasy
Surrealism
Format Animated series
Created by John R. Dilworth
Voices of Marty Grabstein
Thea White
Lionel G. Wilson
Arthur Anderson
Simon Prebble
Paul Schoeffler
Billie Lou Watt
Peter Fernandez
Arnold Stang
Opening theme "Courage the Cowardly Dog" by Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin
Ending theme "Courage the Cowardly Dog" (instrumental)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 52 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 22 minutes (approx.)
Production company(s) Stretch Films (series)
Wang Film Productions
Cuckoo's Nest Studio
Hanna–Barbera Cartoons (animated short)
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network
Picture format SD: 480i
Audio format Stereo
First shown in July 2, 1995
Original run November 12, 1999 (1999-11-12) – November 22, 2002 (2002-11-22)
Chronology
Related shows What a Cartoon! Show

Courage the Cowardly Dog is an American animated television series created by John R. Dilworth for Cartoon Network. Its central plot revolves around the eponymous protagonist, a somewhat anthropomorphic dog named Courage who lives with his owners, Muriel and Eustace Bagge, an elderly, married farming couple in the "Middle of Nowhere" (the fictional town of Nowhere, Kansas). Courage and his owners are frequently thrown into bizarre misadventures, often involving the paranormal/supernatural and various villains. The series combines elements of black comedy, comedy horror, science fantasy and surrealism. It is rated TV-Y7-FV.

The program originated from a short on Cartoon Network's animation showcase series created by Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert, "What A Cartoon!" titled "The Chicken from Outer Space". The segment was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996, and Cartoon Network commissioned a series based on the short. The series, which premiered on November 12, 1999, and ran for four seasons, ending on November 22, 2002 with a total of 52 episodes produced. The series was the sixth and final series to be spun off from World Premiere Toons, and it was the eighth series to fall under the Cartoon Cartoons label.

As of November 14, 2011, Courage the Cowardly Dog is currently the last original Cartoon to still be airing in reruns on Cartoon Network.

Contents

Plot

From left to right: Courage, Muriel and Eustace.

Courage the Cowardly Dog follows a dog named Courage, an easily frightened canine who lives in a farmhouse with Muriel and Eustace Bagge near the fictional town of Nowhere, Kansas. Abandoned as a puppy, Courage was adopted by Muriel Bagge (a sweet-natured Scottish woman), and her husband Eustace (a grumpy, greedy farmer who enjoys scaring Courage with a large, bright green, bug-eyed mask). Courage, Eustace, and Muriel frequently run into monsters, aliens, demons, mad scientists, zombies, and other perils that Courage must fend off to save his owners. Most of the creatures that the three face are scary or creepy, but they also can be sweet or in distress.

Production

The animated short

Originally, Courage the Cowardly Dog was created as a seven-minute animated short, "The Chicken from Outer Space".[1] Dilworth started the animated short with Hanna-Barbera when Cartoon Network sponsored the short and introduced Courage.[1] After Dilworth graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1985 while he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, Dilworth became an art director and founded his own animation studio Stretch Films in 1991 and incorporated in 1994.[1] The short was shown in one of the episodes of the Cartoon Network's World Premiere Toons in 1995, a Hanna-Barbera Cartoons innovation by then-president Fred Seibert.[2] The short served as a de facto pilot for the future series.[2] The original animated short had no dialogue except for one line spoken by Courage, who had a more authoritative voice than in the series.[1] An alien chicken was the villain in this short, and it would later reappear in the series to seek its revenge.[3] The short was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 68th Academy Awards.[4]

Sound effects and theme music

As the series comes to sound effects, Dilworth tried to avoid stock sounds in favor of the fresh material.[1] Dilworth contributed a lot of sound when it came to sound designer Michael Geisler, and Dilworth looked for any sounds that made him laugh. The composition of the series' music depended upon what they were trying to portray, either suspense or comedy, action. Dilworth wanted nothing that was common and they gave him an example. That night the production crew was working with musicians in trying to come up for the series and they had written a lot of material. There were a few bars on this one piece that Dilworth really liked.[1] The production crew isolated that and were able to expand it and create a bigger theme.[1] Dilworth further complicated the matter and was inspired to think that the series of layering the theme with virtually any funny sound that Dilworth want and the theme would play a little bit and have its own little tempo and would stop for a crazy laugh and then continue, or over that would be a person singing or a funny sound.[1]

The theme of the series could be endless and virtually, the theme would just run and just encourage anybody to put anything that Dilworth wanted into it, and thus change it to make the sound funnier.[1] Dilworth can imagine when the CD comes out, it would be thirty minutes long as just the bizarre ingredients added to the theme, and Dilworth felt that it was lot of fun.[1]

Original music featured in Courage the Cowardly Dog was composed by Jody Gray[5] and Andy Ezrin.[6][7] Classical music can be heard at times, which pays homage to classic Warner Bros. animation and the scores of Carl Stalling.[8] In several episodes, Gray arrange famous classical pieces wrote up to 15 songs, such as Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries".[7]

Providing all the voices for the short was voice actor Howard Hoffman.

The television series

In 1999, Cartoon Network gave Dilworth the okay to turn the short into a series. Because they were responsible for the What a Cartoon anthology and thus worked on the short, Hanna-Barbera was intended to develop the series; however, Dilworth instead took production to his Stretch Films Studios. Stories were written by the show's head writer, David Steven Cohen, in addition to Irv Bauer, Craig Shemin, Lory Lazarus, Bill Marsilii, and Michelle Dilworth. Courage the Cowardly Dog premiered on November 12, 1999 and it became the highest-rated premiere in Cartoon Network history at the time,[9] until it last aired on November 22, 2002 with 52 episodes produced in four seasons. Dilworth felt that producing the series was very stressful at the same time and the only satisfaction of the artists of collaborating with artists and writers that contributing much of the show.[10] Dilworth states that "In the western definition, I’ve only had one success - Courage. It has been extremely difficult obtaining patronage throughout my career and remains so today. Art is not something one does with an economic model to follow."[10] Answering the question whether there was any hope of new episodes of "Courage", Dilworth said, "Well, humans have a tremendous capacity to hope...There is no corporate economic rational to make any new episodes. I’ve read that there have been petitions signed by many many fans that never even got to Cartoon Network. Maybe a campaign of a substantial nature of this kind, that actually got to an exec, would be a provocation. However, the lack of courage by the merchandisers still remains. “Pink” or “fuchsia” dogs will not sell in a boy-dominated market place. This is rather complex, but the undercurrent of conservatism in America is strong and easy to intolerance." (sic) [6]

Broadcast history

On August 26, 2007 and again on October 7, 2007, a marathon occurred in the US that consisted of 14 half hour segments running from 12PM-7PM, under the title of "Monstervision Marathon". The most recent marathon was on August 13, 2009 on Cartoon Network. After these events, the show was moved to weekend airings, and from July 5, 2010 through June 10, 2011, the show aired on weekdays daily. Boomerang, Cartoon Network's sister network, also usually airs the show during the winter months. On September 26, 2011, the show returned, once again, at 2:30 PM on Cartoon Network, replacing 2 Stupid Dogs.

In Spain, the show is broadcast everyday in Boing.

In the Netherlands and in Denmark, the show still airs on Cartoon Network. In the Danish version, the series and the protagonist is called Frygtløs (literally: Fearless).

In Australia, reruns air on Cartoon Network in multiple timeslots throughout the week.

In India, Srilanka and Nepal reruns air on Cartoon Network at 12:30 A.M. (Season 1-2) and 3:00 A.M. (Season 4).

In Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, reruns continue to air on Cartoon Network, and is also aired on Wikkid Plus(Pakistan Only).

In the United Kingdom, the show premiered on Cartoon Network in January 2000 and all seasons of the show were broadcast up to 2003, when towards the mid-to-late 2000s had random episodes shown infrequently during Halloween each year, this way of broadcasting the show lasted an unknown amount of time. During the mid-to-late 2000s, they continued to air the show in reruns as part of a 2 hour block featuring various other Cartoon Cartoon shows alongside it, which aired each evening from 11pm-1am. Episodes were aired without commercials, not even for half-hour breaks. This was the only show on the UK version of this network aired in such a manner, until the Cartoon Cartoon block was dramatically changed by the beginning of the 2010s with more recent shows like Chowder and Ben 10 replacing the older Cartoon Cartoon shows. The show now gets reruns at 9PM every night, alongside Cow & Chicken, Samurai Jack and Johnny Bravo.

In Bulgaria, on March 31, 2009 Courage the Cowardly Dog started on Diema Family.

In Italy, Leone il Cane Fifone is broadcast from 7 August 2009 on the digital terrestrial channel Boing. Before, it was also transmitted by BBC, La7 and Cartoon Network. On Sunday, April 4, 2010, Cartoon Network Italy celebrated Easter by airing a marathon featuring rarely shown cartoons, including Courage the Cowardly Dog's first three episodes: "Una Notte al Motel Gatti" (A Night at the Katz Motel), "Lo Stufato Della Nonna" (Cajun Granny Stew) and "Leone e l'Ombra Malefica" (The Shadow of Courage). Since May 2010 Courage The Cowardly Dog is back on Cartoon Network Italy, from Monday to Friday at 7:00 AM, at 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM instead of Saturday and Sunday at 9:35 AM and at 4:05 PM. In Italy Courage The Cowardly Dog, after being removed from Cartoon Network's programming, is not airing on Boomerang, but is broadcast from March 30, 2009 on free channel Boing.

In Brazil, the show is broadcast by Tooncast throughout the week at 11:30 AM and PM. The show is also often broadcast by Cartoon Network.

Characters

As depicted in every opening sequence of every episode, it starts with a TV anchorman announcing, "We interrupt this program to bring you... Courage the Cowardly Dog show, starring Courage, the cowardly dog! Abandoned as a pup, he was found by Muriel, and lives in the middle of Nowhere with her husband Eustace Bagge..."[11]

Episodes

In total, there were 52 episodes in four seasons produced. The series originally ran from November 12, 1999 and ended on November 22, 2002.

Home media releases

A VHS tape of Courage the Cowardly Dog was released along with Mike, Lu & Og in 2000. The VHS tape is now out of print.[citation needed]

Courage the Cowardly Dog: Season One, a two-disc DVD set featuring all 2 episodes from the show's first season, was released in Australia (Region 4) on September 12, 2007, by Madman Entertainment.[12][13] On January 13, 2010, the complete second season was released by Madman Entertainment in Australia.[12][14]

A Region 1 release of the first season was released by Warner Home Video on July 20, 2010. The release is the second in an official release of several Cartoon Cartoons on DVD, under the "Cartoon Network Hall of Fame" name.[15]

In addition, all four seasons of the series are also available for download on iTunes.[16][17][18][19]

Title Release date Episodes Region Description
Season 1 September 12, 2007[12][13] List of Courage the Cowardly Dog episodes 4 This two-disc release includes all 13 episodes from the first season.
Season 2 January 13, 2010[12][14] List of Courage the Cowardly Dog episodes 4 This two-disc release includes all 13 episodes from the second season including the pilot episode "The Chicken from Outer Space".
Courage the Cowardly Dog: Season One July 20, 2010[15] List of Courage the Cowardly Dog episodes 1 This two-disc release includes all 13 episodes from the first season.

both episodes from the series were also featured on several Cartoon Network compilation DVDs:

  • The Powerpuff Girls: Down 'n' Dirty - "Journey to the Center of Nowhere" - November 7, 2000
  • Scooby-Doo and the Toon Tour of Mysteries - "The Mask" and "The Tower of Dr. Zalost" - June 2004
  • Cartoon Network Halloween Volume 1: 9 Creepy Capers - "The Demon in the Mattress / Courage Meets Bigfoot" - August 10, 2004
  • Cartoon Network Christmas Volume 1: Yuletide Follies - "The Nutcracker" - October 5, 2004
  • Cartoon Network Halloween Volume 2: Grossest Halloween Ever - "Courage Meets the Mummy / Night of the Weremole" - August 9, 2004
  • Cartoon Network Christmas Volume 2: Christmas Rocks - "The Snowman Cometh" - October 4, 2005

Reception

Reviews

Courage the Cowardly Dog received generally positive reviews from the television critics. John G. Nettles of PopMatters reviewed the show and called it, "a fascinating and textured mixture of cartoon and horror-movie conventions, and a joy to watch."[20]

Alex Mastas of Lights Out Films reviewed the show gave it a grade "A-" and described it, "The backgrounds are rich and imaginative—they composite lot of the show over real photos and occasionally integrate CGI into cartoon. The look is weird and ethereal, just like the show itself."[21]

KJ Dell Antonia of Common Sense Media posted a review and gave three stars out of five and describes as "Cult fave 'toon plays over-the-top violence for laughs."[22] Antonia warned parents that the series contains graphic animated violence, including exploding organs, growing extra limbs, turning inside out.[22] Antonia gave a positive response that the series has very little, although Courage always fights for his cowardice, and another main character tries to harm Courage, as well as stating that all characters except two are prone to cruel remarks and behavior toward one another.[22]

Randy Miller of DVD Talk considered that the show is not fairly consistent, and they haven't aged much during the last decade.[23] Miller states that the show and believes: "It's obvious—especially in retrospect, if you were younger when the series first premiered—that Courage takes a very cinematic approach to its art, storytelling and characters, especially the horror genre."[23] Miller concurs that "usually don't go for thrills and chills, so it's good to see a genuinely surreal and slanted series develop a decent following."[23] Miller felt that Warner Bros. had the DVD treatment that doesn't offer much support and stated that the technical reasons is only passable that have lack of bonus features certainly doesn't help matters, and overall, fans of the series should be glad to have the first season on DVD and a relatively ticket of low price that ease the pain.[23]

Jeff Swindoll of Monsters and Critics reviewed the first season DVD and felt a bit disappointed about the DVD having not included the short in disc-set.[24] Swindoll felt that the lack of special features still should not deter fans from buying the season since the other episodes have appeared on other releases of the series.[24]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee Result
2000 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television Production[25][26] John R. Dilworth
For episode "A Night at the Katz Motel"
Won
2000 Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing — Television Animated Series — Sound[26] For episode "The Duck Brothers" Nominated
2001 Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing — Television Animated Series — Sound[26] For episode "Courage In The Big Stinkin' City" Won
2003 Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing — Television Animated Series — Sound[26] For episode "The Tower of Dr. Zalost" Nominated

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Miller, Bob (November 1, 1999). "The Triumphant Independent - an interview with John R. Dilworth". Animation World Network. http://www.awn.com/articles/people/triumphant-independent. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Strike, Joe (July 15, 2003). "The Fred Seibert Interview - Part 1". Animation World Network. http://www.awn.com/articles/people/fred-seibert-interview-part-1. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Revenge of the Chicken from Outer Space". Courage the Cowardly Dog. Cartoon Network. 2000-03-23. No. 12, season 1.
  4. ^ "Academy Awards, USA (1996), Best Short Film, Animated". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Academy_Awards_USA/1996#Oscar_Best_Short_Film_Animated. Retrieved 2011 May 24. 
  5. ^ Chan, Darlene (November 14, 2002). "Creating Successful Music For Animation". Animation World Network. http://www.awn.com/articles/profiles/creating-successful-music-animation. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Sporn, Michael (August 9, 2008). "Splog » Dil & Dali". Michael Sporn Animation. http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/?p=1559. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Guerin, Ada (April 23, 2002). "Courage the Cowardly Dog - Cartoon Network". Jodygray.com. Hollywood Reporter. http://www.jodygray.com/press_hollywood.htm. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Crisafull, Chuck (August 20, 2002). "Children's programming is pacing the field of TV music". Jodygray.com. The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.jodygray.com/press_hr_sk.htm. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Courage the Cowardly Dog Best Series Premiere in Cartoon Network History". Time Warner. November 16, 1999. http://www.timewarner.com/newsroom/press-releases/1999/11/COURAGE_COWARDLY_DOG_Best_Series_Premiere_in_Cartoon_11-16-1999.php. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Levinson, Stephen (May 18, 2007). "John R. Dilworth Interview". Frederator Studios Blogs. http://archives.frederatorblogs.com/channel_frederator/2007/05/18/john-r-dilworth-interview/. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Opening intro of Courage the Cowardly Dog.
  12. ^ a b c d "Courage the Cowardly Dog". Madman.com.au. Madman Entertainment (Australia). http://www.madman.com.au/series/home/6233. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "Courage the Cowardly Dog Season 1". Madman.com.au. Madman Entertainment (Australia). http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/8699. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Courage the Cowardly Dog Season 2". Madman.com.au. Madman Entertainment (Australia). http://www.madman.com.au/catalogue/view/12203. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Lacey, Gord (June 29, 2010). "Cartoon Network Hall of Fame: Season 1 Press Release". TVShowsonDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Courage-Cowardly-Dog-Season-1-Press-Release/13990. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Courage the Cowardly Dog, Season 1". iTunes.Apple.com. Apple. http://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/courage-the-cowardly-dog-season/id362811158. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Courage the Cowardly Dog, Season 2". iTunes.Apple.com. Apple. http://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/courage-the-cowardly-dog-season/id362812410. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Courage the Cowardly Dog, Season 3". iTunes.Apple.com. Apple. http://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/courage-the-cowardly-dog-season/id387369129. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Courage the Cowardly Dog, Season 4". iTunes.Apple.com. Apple. http://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/courage-the-cowardly-dog-season/id387369511. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  20. ^ Nettles, John G. (2001). "Courage the Cowardly Dog review". PopMatters. http://popmatters.com/tv/reviews/c/courage.html. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  21. ^ Mastas, Alex (March 4, 2003). "TV Review: Courage the Cowardly Dog (2003)". Lights Out Films. Archived from the original on 2003-05-12. http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20030512012334/http://www.lightsoutfilms.com/tv_couragethecowardlydog.html. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  22. ^ a b c Antonia, KJ Dell. "Courage the Cowardly Dog - Television Review". Common Sense Media. http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/courage-cowardly-dog. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c d Miller III, Randy (July 21, 2010). "Courage the Cowardly Dog: Season One : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVDTalk.com. http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/43190/courage-the-cowardly-dog-season-one/. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  24. ^ a b Swindoll, Jeff (July 21, 2010). "Courage the Cowardly Dog: Season 1 - DVD review". Monsters and Critics. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/dvd/reviews/article_1572340.php. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  25. ^ "28th Annual Annie Awards - Category # 15 - Outstanding Individual Achievement for Design In an Animated Television Production". Annie Awards. http://annieawards.org/28thwinners.html. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  26. ^ a b c d "Awards for "Courage the Cowardly Dog" (1999)". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0220880/awards. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 

External links

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