Creator: Richard Scarry
aka: The Busy World Of Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry (June 5, 1919 - April 30, 1994) was an American children's author and illustrator known for his anthropomorphic animals, particularly those of the "Busytown" books, which were later adapted by Cinar (now Cookie Jar) into an animated series, The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Additionally there was a series of educational Direct-to-Video releases made by Jumbo Pictures. The direct-to-videos are:
- Best ABC Video Ever! (1989)
- Best Counting Video Ever! (1989)
- Best Busy People Video Ever! (1993)
- Best Learning Songs Video Ever! (1993)
- Best Silly Stories and Songs Video Ever! (1994)
- Best Sing-Along Mother Goose Video Ever! (1994)
Works by Richard Scarry provide examples of:
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- Author Existence Failure: When Richard Scarry passed away in 1994, the Busy Town series didn't get any new stories until the late 90's but aren't as noticeable by the public since the series wasn't as popular as it was during the 80's and 90's.
- Ascended Extra: Sally is demoted as one of the main characters in "Huckle's Busytown Mysteries" compared to her roles in the books and the first animated series.
- Alliterative Name (but not with every character)
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Everyone except Lowly Worm, the one member of the cast who doesn't have feet—but wears a shoe anyway.
- Beary Friendly: Most bear characters, most notably Miss Honey, the primary school teacher.
- Carnivore Confusion: The problem of who eats who is ignored. In fact one can find a family of jolly pigs at the supermarket checking out the butcher's selection. Yes, they are selling bacon, pork and ham.
- And let's not forget the farmer pigs raising pigs in one of the books!
- Creator Provincialism: Much of the art in his books features European-style architecture (such as narrow streets and A-frame houses) and clothing (Huckle himself usually wears lederhosen over a yellow shirt). Originally from Boston, Scarry bought a chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland in 1972 and set up his studio there.
- Cute Kitten: Huckle, an anthropomorphic kitten, and especially his little sister Sally.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Hilda, an anthropomorphic hippo child, accidentally rips a door off its hinges when she is told to open the door so the students can go out to play. Later, when the door is fixed, she rips out the door along with part of the wall when she attempts the same thing.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In some of the earlier books (such as the 1966 Storybook Dictionary), Huckle is a bear.
- Exposed Animal Bellybutton: Huckle has one in the last pagenote of Best Little Word Book Ever.
- Flying Car: Lowly apparently drives an apple-shaped car that also serves as a helicopter since its "leaves" actually function as the helicopter's blades. Except how the heck is he able to drive it if he doesn't have any arms?
- Funny Animal
- Furry Confusion: Most of the characters are Funny Animals; however, there are non-anthropomorphic animals that are kept at farms, zoos or circuses. So Farmer Pig and Farmer Goat can keep pigs and goats at their farm, and when Hilda Hippo, Bananas Gorilla or Miss Honey visit the zoo, they'll see realistic hippos, gorillas and bears there. The most confusing one is on the circus picture in Best Word Book Ever: a non-anthropomorphic horse, lion, seal and an elephant balancing on one leg while wearing a tutu are surrounded by an anthropomorphic, fully-clothed tiger ringmaster and bear acrobats. If the elephant stood slighly more upright and had more hand-like front legs, she'd pass as a person in this setting.
- Hates Baths: The piglets in the Pig Family do not like bathing, as seen in the 1966 Storybook Dictionary. One memorable illustration has them hiding in a hamper in the bathroom as Mother Pig looks for them.
- Honorable Elephant: Polite Elephant.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Huckle's yellow shirt and red/green overalls.
- It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Many of his books have titles like this, most notably Best Word Book Ever.
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Outlived Its Creator: The series continues bringing out newer books every few years after Scarry's death.
- Messy Pig: A lot of the pig residents, although not all of them are messy.
- Mr Fix It: The character Mr. Fixit Fox is the trope.
- Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: Pig Will and Pig Won't.
- Shaped Like What It Sells: Many shops, and particularly, cars in Busy World are like this.
- Species Surname (but not with every character)
- Steam Never Dies: A number of locomotives in his books are of the steam variety: they even co-exist with diesel locomotives in such books as The Best Word Book Ever and What Do People Do All Day?; in most cases they are usually fashioned off European locomotives (especially the diesels.)
- Stock Animal Diet: Bananas Gorilla has... well, bananas as his Trademark Favorite Food. In fact he's rarely seen eating anything else.
- World of Funny Animals
The Busy World of Richard Scarry
- Bizarre Alien Locomotion: Lowly Worm stands upright on one shoe. In animated adaptations, his boneless body contorts in several ways to move about, depending on circumstances and the artists' preferences: sending ripples down his length, coiling up to bounce like a spring, or folding bow- or zigzag-fashion and then extending to launch himself into the air.
- Bully Bulldog: Defied with Billy Dog. When he joins the class, everyone expects him to be this trope and avoid him. When someone finally talks to him he's revealed to be a pretty nice guy.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The brothers Pig Will and Pig Won't, who somehow manage to embody this Aesop using only two people. As their names suggest, one agrees to every request or offer, and the other refuses every offer. No matter what their giggly hippo babysitter asks them to do, Pig Won't's refusal ends up making him miserable... somehow. Even when it's a simple preference not to play a certain game. One wonders how, exactly, Pig Will would cope with being so "agreeable"/mentally pliable in the outside world, without the protection of a benign authority figure.
- In the original book Pig Won't would always say "I won't", without even thinking about it. So one day when their father asks who wants to go with him to visit the fire station, Pig Won't declares "I won't". At the fire station, Pig Will gets to play with the dalmatian, wear a fire suit, play with the fire hose (with adult supervision), and it all ends with an all-you-can-eat hot fudge sundae orgy! When Pig Won't sees all the fun Pig Will had, he immediately becomes Pig Me Too. The moral's supposed to be: "Don't just blindly disobey your folks, because you might miss out on some pretty cool stuff!", but reeks more of the Broken Aesop "Obey all orders without question, and you'll get a treat! You know, a treat, like a dog gets for not shitting on the carpet!". When Pig Me Too enters the real world and stops getting treats for obeying, he's going to feel like a dumbass.
- Crossdressing Voices: Huckle Cat was voiced by Sonja Ball.
- Ear Worm: The main theme to the first animated Busy Town series "The Busy World Of Richard Scarry" along with some musical segments.
- Edutainment Show
- Everything Is Big in Texas: This show featured a parody of the story about a nameless Dutch boy who plugged a hole in a dike with his finger, which first appeared as "The Hero of Haarlem," a story being read aloud within Mary Mapes Dodge's 1865 novel, Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates. There was a fat tourist from Texas waltzing about, taking pictures of windmills and tulips, while making comments about how everything was bigger in Texas. When the hole in the dike turned out to be too big to be filled with just Hans' finger, he and his friends save the day by stuffing said tourist into the hole.
- Exact Words: In "A Big Operation," Huckle Cat is dreading his tonsilectomy until he is told by Sprout Goat that, afterwards, he can get "all the ice cream he can eat". As it turns out, his throat is so sore from the operation he can barely eat any.
- Gratuitous German: Rudolf Von Flugel is prone to this sort of thing.
- Pink Means Feminine: Sally used to wear a dark pink and purple dress. In the latest animated series, she wears a red and yellow dress similar to her brother Huckle.
- The Kiddie Ride: Lowly Worm in his apple car and Bananas Gorilla in his Bananamobile, both from Jolly Roger.
- King of Beasts: The Queen of England is portrayed as a lioness with a mane.
- Logo Joke / Match Cut: The Paramount logo morphs into a mountain in Busytown which the Applecopter promptly flies out from behind, again via a fade.
- Shipper on Deck: Hilda Hippo for...pretty much anyone who looks like they might make a viable couple.
- Suddenly Voiced: Lowly Worm talks in this series.
- Slice of Life
- Token Minority: Lowly Worm is this.
- The Tonsillitis Episode: Played straight in the episode segment "The Operation". Huckle even got his ice cream, although he couldn't eat it.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Hilda Hippo becomes a total jerk in this show.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story
- The Villain Sucks Song: "The Busy Ol' Witch Of Busytown" comes the closest to this.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: In The Best ABC Video Ever, all of the students names begin with the letter they're holding (e.g.: Freddie Fox has the letter F, Huckle Cat has the letter H, etc.)
- The comments of the teacher also match the letter — "Congratulations, Christine", "Very interesting, Iris", and so on. She bends the rule with the X, though — "eXcellent, Xavier" — and we do not get to hear her comments on some letters, such as Q or Z.
- Art Evolution: The first two videos, The Best ABC Video Ever and The Best Counting Video Ever, are produced by a small New York City-based animation studio, so they were done with rather Limited Animation; but in the Jumbo Pictures videos that follow them, the animation has gotten a lot better and much more fluid than its predecessors.
- Banana Peel / Epic Fail: After Freddie finishes his song about numbers in The Best Learning Songs Video Ever, he slips on a banana peel and grabs onto the curtain, accidentally pulling it down and ruining the stage. This results in him and some of the other kids getting buried under the curtain.Huckle: Ladies and gentlemen, we're experiencing technical difficulties. Please take a fifteen-minute intermission.
- Comically Missing the Point: Libby Leopard in The Best ABC Video Ever mistakenly jumps over Kathy's turn with the letter L after the letter J was finished. Miss Honey tells her that L doesn't come after J.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Happens frequently in some videos, such as The Best Learning Songs Video Ever.
- Edutainment Show
- Fake Interactivity: After Miss Honey tells Libby that L doesn't come after J:Miss Honey: Do you know what letter comes after J? (beat) That's right! It's the letter K.
- Running Gag: In The Best Learning Songs Video Ever, Bananas Gorilla always comes up seeing a banana, says "Banana!" and takes the banana.
- Scenery Porn: The videos made after The Best Counting Video Ever. Just look at the colorful animation and backgrounds!
- Sleepyhead: Quincy in The Best ABC Video Ever.
- Variety Show: Premise of The Best Learning Songs Video Ever.