Sugar Wiki / Candle Cove
was an obscure children's show that aired in syndication in 1972. It chronicled the adventures of a little girl named Janice, who sailed Candle Cove with Pirate Percy aboard their talking ship, the Laughingstock. As they searched for treasure, they had to stay one step ahead of the Skin-Taker and his accomplice, Horace Horrible, who tried to end their journey at every turn. They also occasionally talked to the Banana King, who they would go to for information on treasure. Season 2 brought a new minor villain known as Milo, a rival pirate who attempted to upstage Percy at every turn.
Remembered by the few who saw it for its god-awful special effects
, inappropriately creepy villains
and omnipresent soundtrack of calliope music, the show didn't air for very long and little information is available. So if you were fortunate enough to record it, remember to Keep Circulating the Tapes
Not to be confused with Candle Jack
, who is going to run out of rope soo Oh, you know me like a book. And I just used up all my rope.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Percy gets a lot of flack for being a "wimpy" pirate but really he's not. I mean, the dude goes out of his way to pick up a targeted, defenseless little girl and keep her out of the clutches of Horace Horrible and the Skin Taker. Think about that. He does his best to save this little girl he doesn't even KNOW from possibly the creepiest villans ever to grace puppetry and then tries to keep her entertained with "adventures" and the like as he does his best to keep them both alive. That takes some serious BALLS man, Pirate Percy was a hero. Fear of the dark and all.
- Anachronism Stew: The Skin-Taker's "skeleton crew"* which show up in the episode "Rocks of Arcadia" are equipped with a bizarre array of weaponry, from cutlasses to muskets to wicked-looking surgical equipment to what looks suspiciously like an SKS rifle. Perhaps even weirder are their clothes, which include traditional pirate garb, one of those cone-shaped Asian hat things, and what may or may not be (you can't really tell since it's so tattered and faded) a British redcoat's uniform. They play a pretty important role in the episode (especially the part where they capture Pirate Percy) but no explanation is ever given for why their appearances are so varied and unsuited to the setting.
- And I Must Scream: One episode of the second series featured no storyline at all. Instead, all the puppet characters screamed and jerked around spasmodically, while Janice sobbed in fear and exhaustion. The entire episode consisted of nothing but close ups of the various characters, screaming and crying into the camera. It has been theorised that this was actually some sort of test broadcast, sent out in error, as the episode was never repeated.
- Animate Dead: The Skin Taker can do this due to being born under the sign of Death Magic.
- Artistic License – Gun Safety: In one scene, Horace Horrible holds Percy and Janice at gunpoint and does some minor Evil Gloating while gesturing emphatically with his pistol, waving it about and even pointing it at his own head at one point.
- Aside Glance: When asked why his jaw slides back and forth, the Skin-Taker looks to the audience to give his reply. "To grind your skin!"
- Bad Boss: The Skin Taker. See under Nightmare Fuel below.
- Milo as well. By the end of his run almost all of his crew are gone and the rest are too frightened to even breathe.
- Badass Beard: Poppy, the captain of the Laughingstock, has one.
- Big Bad: The Skin Taker.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Milo is this during his first appearance he believe he has the strongest fleet on the sea and seems to not even know of the skin taker's existence.
- Big Sister Bully: Melrose in the Pilot.
- Bizarro Episode: Yeah, the show got darker as it went but... Even so, what was with the "screaming episode?"
- Cain and Abel: Milo tried to kill his younger brother Percy on multiple occasions.
- Catch-Phrase: "You have... to go... INSIDE."
- Cannibal Tribe: The Laughingstock crew run afoul of a rather stereotypical tribe of Hollywood Voodoo practitioners who intend to cook Percy in their enormous cast iron cooking pot.
- Canon Discontinuity: There was a 2 parter that had the Laughingstock getting destroyed and being replaced by another similar ship. At the end of the story arc, it was revealed they were All Just a Dream.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The show gets progressively more disturbing and disjointed throughout the series.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Banana King is last seen in the episode introducing Milo. He makes a joke about giving up pirating and is never seen again.
- Horace is not seen after Milo accepts his job. You hear him do his trademark giggle when it cuts to black after Milo dies
- Cigar Chomper: The Banana King.
- Coconut Meets Cranium: Something of a running gag throughout the series. Virtually every major character fell victim to it at least once.
- Cool Ship: The Laughingstock, sorta. At least it's got a talking face on it. That's gotta count for something.
- The war ship Manrow from the dream episodes was this as well.
- Cool Airship: The Laughingstock briefly became one when it was equipped with a balloon in order to escape from a tree it had been thrown into by a hurricane.
- Cowardly Lion: Pirate Percy, of course.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Milo gains this when he becomes so fed up with losing to Percy that he decides to try to join The Skin Taker. He appeals to Skin Taker by killing his own crew and when that wasn't enough, he tracked down and skinned a girl he apparently used to be good friends with.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Mina, the title character of "The Ghost of Misty Moors" is perfectly sweet and harmless. Of course, Percy is still afraid of her.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Horace Horrible combines this with Cloudcuckoolander to make an... interesting character.
- One way to describe him is the mixture of one half of the namesake, Dick Dastardly and Fearless Leader of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Banana King in Season 1.
- Captain Milo could be such a snarker to put the Banana King to shame.
- Dem Bones: The Skin-Taker
- Downer Ending: It's been suggested that final episodes were actually about an Eldritch Abomination eating the universe.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Most viewers forget Skin Taker only shows up a handful times in the whole series, and Horace was more the main antagonist for the rest of it.
- Dressed to Plunder: Most of the characters.
- The Dead Can Dance: Skin-Taker and his troupe of skeletons.
- The Dead Have Eyes: The Skin-Taker's eyes are too big for their sockets.
- Ear Worm: The one thing everybody remembers about this show (apart from the Skin Taker, that is) is the calliope music.
- Eldritch Abomination: In one of the last episodes, the Skin Taker is seen sitting on a rock and whispering inaudibly to what appears to be a small, bubbling whirlpool in the water. The whirlpool's voice actor is the same as the Skin Taker's, but its only lines are high-pitched giggles filled with either Nightmare Fuel or Narm, depending on the viewer. This scene cuts immediately to one of Percy and Janice on a beach, and is never mentioned again.
- Some fans speculate that the final episode was a result of one of these eating the universe. Perhaps the whirlpool monster and the final episode monster are one in the same?
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Though the Skin Taker doesn't make a great number of appearances (as mentioned above), any discussion of the show is practically guaranteed to bring him up at some point.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Candle Snuffer's bartender is only ever called "Barman."
- Eyepatch of Power: Scary-Ann has one.
- Failure Is the Only Option: How most of Milo's plans end.
- Faux Affably Evil: Captain Milo is a nice guy, when not trying to prove he was better than Percy, although as the show went on obsession got the better of him.
- Firing in the Air a Lot: Pirates are seen doing this with impunity, firing round after round into the air from their flintlock pistols without ever having to reload.
- Five-Finger Fillet: One of the background pirates in The Candle Snuffer can be seen playing this in a few episodes. In one of the later episodes he's missing a finger.
- Flaying Alive: The Skin Taker.
- Flynning: The sword fighting scenes are pretty much made up entirely of the characters waving their swords while lunging forward and back. This was later parodied by the puppet fight scenes in Team America: World Police.
- Follow the Leader/Spiritual Successor: The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack may well have drawn a lot of influence from this show. One could even make a strong case of it being a deconstruction or parody.
- Dr. Heartfelt, the Laughingstock's resident medical officer (as mentioned on the now-defunct Troper Tales page), is very similar to the Medic in both voice acting and personality.
- It is has been suggested that Thurop van Orman watched it, but Pendleton Ward may also have seen at least one episode, as the Lich is eerily reminiscent of the Skintaker.
- Michael Dante Dimartino and Bryan Konietzko's Korra, when she is spiritually regressed into a child, is heartrendingly helpless, and her scenes bring to mind similar ones from Candle Cove, such as when Janice, at the request of the Banana King, begs the clearly dead wishing fish to "wake up and come home with [her] now..." in song.
- Musically, it's clear Dr. Steel himself borrowed parts of the Candle Cove theme song's leitmotif, as well as incorporating the melody of One Year Closer (played backwards!), for his song "Childhood (Don't) A Go-Go."
- Much of Regular Show's Woman Scorned episodes seem to be inspired by Milo's encounter with a one shot character, "Tempest the Merlady."
- Most surprisingly, references to Candle Cove pop up throughout Rebecca Sugar's work. References to Pirate Percy and Janice's familial relationship occur in "I Remember You", and "Simon and Marcy", and the most disturbing scene in "Rose's Room" parallels a meeting between Janice and an illusion of her sister in "Paradise Isle." "So Many Birthdays" borrows so liberally from Janice's Birthday Episode that it's unnerving.
- Hoody Hans looked remarkably like Hell's Chef from Gregory Horror Show. He was more like Judgement Boy in terms of personality, though.
- Fridge Horror: When Janice's actor changed, the Skin-Taker's cape got longer. Could be purely coincidental, but it's still pretty damn terrifying.
- Coincidence. His cape would get longer several times over the course of the series. That one instance just stood out because he was wearing an elaborate costume made of the same material while doing that trippy dance with all the skeletons.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted. The Candle Snuffer is explicitly called an "alehouse" and it is shown to serve a veritable Gargle Blaster as its "Special."
- Functional Magic: It was stated in the show that all Abyssians (or descendants of Abyssians) could use magic, although it was rarely shown.
- The Skin Taker was stated to be born under the sign of Death Magic
- Red Mary was born under the sign of Fire Magic
- Gainax Ending: Descriptions from people who watch the show indicate the final episode makes no sense. There's a YouTube video that's supposed to have the final episode, but the entire second half of it is static.
- What are you talking about? It's the first half that's static.
- That video is fake. The Skin Taker was never seen without his cape, Horace never wore a hood, and his teeth were always visible, and while ManBearPig or what's his name only appeared in the last episode (besides a brief cameo in the first), he was in a cave, and wasn't wearing a plaid shirt.
- Before that South Park episode, nobody thought to nickname it that. Its original name was Bigfoot, and it threw big rocks at Pirate Percy if he came near its treasure. Rumor has it, it's a brown painted and badly damaged replica of the Abominable Snowman from the Rudolph Christmas special and it was claymation rather than the puppet format the rest of the show was, hence why it took so long to produce episodes with him in it and why he was never used outside of a few appearances.
- Only Janice called him Bigfoot. Everyone else called him 'Gorger' or 'Hungry'.
- It's been suggested that the "Screaming Episode" wasn't a real episode or even the final episode but just a test broadcast. Why it involved everyone screaming and why no later episodes have surfaced remains unknown. Others suggest that that it's the result of an Eldritch Abomination driving the cast except Janice insane, later going on to eat the universe.
- Another longtime fan, however, suggests that it was just a tape error that looped what was merely a reaction to the Skin-Taker's latest plan.
- Gargle Blaster: The vaguely defined "Special" served at "The Candle Snuffer." One sip of it causes smoke to shoot out of Percy's nostrils and ears.
- Hilariously, though in the subsequent scene while Percy and the banana King are discussing their plan to thwart Horace, Janice can be seen in the background taking a sip from Percy's unfinished drink. She makes a face, but is otherwise unaffected. Is Percy just a lightweight who can't handle his drink? Was the actress going off script and trying a prop drink out of curiosity? We may never know.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Skin-Taker, obviously. Though there were several episodes with some pretty surprising content, ranging from the subtle to the not-so-subtle. Seems the Radar was sleeping on the job. Some of it was pretty funny in hindsight, though others... yikes.
- Godiva Hair: Tempest the Merlady sports this rather than the Seashell Bra you'd be likely to see in most kids' shows.
- High-Class Glass: Horace Horrible's monocle.
- Hook Hand: One of the background pirates in The Candle Snuffer is seen in several episodes drinking from a flagon held in his hook.
- Horny Vikings: Captain Sven, a one-episode villain who despite the show's ostensible Caribbean setting wears a horned helmet and a fur cloak and sails a Viking Longship. The closest we get to an explanation for this is that he's from "the North."
- Humanoid Abomination: The Skin Taker, probably.
- Hoody Hans might be one as well, considering that nothing is known about his physical appearance aside from the fact that he covers himself with a yellow raincoat (the hood of which conceals his face, showing only his sharp teeth)
- Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: Invoked pretty much any time the characters visit an island with dense foliage.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Even though it has a strong nostalgic fan base online, there's pretty much no chance these days of finding any recordings of the show.
- Killed Off for Real: Milo, Percy's rival, is killed off screen during his last appearance.
- It's rumored that because of his abrupt departure and the change in his voice when he speaks his last lines, that this may actually be an example of The Character Died with Him.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Sir Periwinkle the Deep Sea Knight, who dressed in an old-fashioned diving suit and carried the magic anchor Durendale as a weapon. Notably the one person to scare the Skin Taker, he unfortunately only appeared in one episode.
- Knight of Cerebus: The Skin-Taker
- Large Ham: The Skin-Taker and the Laughingstock.
- Laughably Evil: Horace Horrible could be pretty damn funny. The time he threw a trash bag at Percy comes to mind.
- Leitmotif: The melody which is played every time the Laughingstock goes inside; it's mostly known as the "Muddy Boots Song" because it was also the melody of said song.
- Local Hangout: "The Candle Snuffer" attracts clientele a bit too unsavory to be classed as a Good-Guy Bar, although it is frequented by the Banana King and Percy, and it seems many of its customers don't do much actual pirating anyway.
- Medium Blending: The occasional animated sequences, which invariably slipped into Deranged Animation and Disney Acid Sequence.
- Memetic Mutation: There's a pretty random forced meme of people claiming they only see static when shown footage of the show, or alternately saying they see the show when shown static. It's kind of weird, actually. The infamous "Screaming Episode" has made a lot of YouTube cameos, as well.
- That's also a way of trolling others who haven't heard of the show.
- Misplaced Vegetation: Sandy Isle has cacti growing on it.
- Missing Episode: There have been numerous "last episodes" that have surfaced, some more obviously fake than others.
- Ms. Imagination: One theory says that the whole show actually took place in Janice's imagination.
- Another theory holds that the show took place in Pirate Percy's imagination.
- Moral Event Horizon: It was played for laughs, but the episode where Milo rigged a chest full of bombs and tried to trick Percy into opening it showed just how insane Milo had gotten.
- Musical Episode
- Narm Charm: Even though the bad special effects should kill any Willing Suspension of Disbelief, the storytelling was effective enough that nobody really paid attention to how obviously low budget it was until after the fact, preventing the show from being a Narm-fest.
- Nightmare Fuel: The Skin-Taker, a living skeleton wearing a top hat and cloak made from the skin of children.
- The puppets in general were pretty damn creepy looking.
- There was this one scene in the second-to-last episode that featured the Skin Taker in a fit of anger curb-stomping Horace face-first into the corpse of a giant dead rat. The scene made no sense and was never mentioned again, but the cruelty of the Skin Taker in that scene was bone-chilling; also, Horace could not stop uttering "master, master" in the saddest voice for a good twenty seconds.
- And there's Milo's death scene. The Skintaker grabs a sword, the silhouette of Milo's falling head, and then the cut to black is damn chilling. Supposedly if you turned the volume up just after the cut to black there was a faint grinding noise, and the next episode he got new gloves...
- The Screaming episode is probably THE most notable example, it has no relation to the plot and came right the fuck out of no where.
- The multiple implications that Janice is insane, and hallucinating the whole show.
- No Ending: Due to the show being canceled there was no real conclusion for any of the story arcs.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Laughingstock sounds like Ed Wynn.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Most fans consider both Horace and Milo this as their plans were more slapstick.
- Horace had invented a weather machine which he used to make the Laughingstock crash. It turns out that was All Just a Dream though.
- Not-So-Safe Harbor: The eponymous Candle Cove.
- Off-the-Shelf FX: Pirate Percy is made up of various doll parts.
- One-Scene Wonder: Typical for a kid's show; besides the main characters and villains (and Milo), most characters show up once and are never seen again.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: The Banana King states that The Candle Snuffer is "the finest alehouse in Candle Cove." He then adds that "it's also the only alehouse in Candle Cove."
- Our Ghosts Are Different: In one episode, they discover the Banana King's dead brother Henry, who haunts a bowl in a cave near Walter's Warf.
- Pirate Girl: Scary-Ann is a rather by-the-numbers example, being The Lad-ette, and a Fiery Redhead to boot.
- Pirate Parrot: The Banana King has one.
- Port Town: The eponymous Candle Cove.
- Public Domain: Possibly. So far, no one has stepped forward and claimed ownership. It was on local stations in the US but no syndicated studios produced it. In fact, many of the local stations that supposedly aired it claim to have no recollection of the show.
- Quicksand Sucks: Invoked in the episode where Percy blunders into a pit of quicksand while searching for buried treasure on Isla Somna. Of course, Janice manages to pull him out just in the nick of time.
- Reactive Continuous Scream: The infamous encounter with Bigfoot (AKA Man-Bear-Pig). He was enough to scare all the characters into simultaneous hysterical screaming.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Percy, unsurprisingly.
- Screwed by the Network: Most stations aired it late in the afternoon, instead of in their usual children's morning lineup.
- Sibling Rivalry: Milo and Percy have a pretty severe case of this, although it's pretty one-sided since Percy doesn't care about one-upping Milo.
- Special Effects Failure: Damn near everything. You can even see the fishhook they use to make the Laughingstock's mouth flap.
- If there was an award for this, it would go to the giant octopus seen in 'Eight Legs Under The Sea'. Its head was a soccer ball painted purple with a face drawn on it (the face was admittedly well-drawn), and its tentacles were purple tongue depressors. What really puts it over the top, however, is that every time it changes its expression they use a whole new soccer ball, which are usually painted in completely different colors!
- Stepford Smiler: Probably unintentional, but Janice sometimes seemed this way. In a couple of episodes she started crying for no reason.
- Suckiness Is Painful: Percy's piano playing has this effect on Horace.
- Talk Like a Pirate: Oddly enough, almost no one save a few incidental characters indulged in this.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: In the 2-part dream episode, "Mrs. Skintaker" looks exactly the same as the normal Skintaker, only with big red lips, big eyelashes, and a big pink bow.
- The Ageless: Abyssians (which includes The Skintaker) are unable to be killed.
- The Other Darrin: Milo had a British accent, but it changes noticeably in the lines before his death, to the point that it sounds like someone doing more of a mock british accent than the real deal.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Pirate Percy can barely work up the courage to go after treasure.
- The Banana king's brother Henry, spent most of his time complaining about his unusual circumstances. Which is fair, since he's a ghost inextricably bound to a small wooden bowl.
- Subverted with Captain Poppy who, when he was seen, was usually on his way to the high seas to go adventuring.
- The Rival: Milo was this to Percy for some of the second season.
- Token Evil Teammate: Milo was a member of the Laughingstock crew until he went out on his own.
- Unusual Euphemism: Horace was fond of saying "Bilgewater!" whenever he got sufficiently annoyed.
- Villain Song: In one episode, the Skin Taker finds out it's Janice's Birthday, and he sings an eerie song called "One Year Closer", made creepier by the minimalist, singsongy melody. Seriously, how did they let kids see this stuff? The fact that it sounds like the Oompa-Loompa songs doesn't help at all.
One year closer
Another year's past
Soon you'll find out that your body won't last
One year closer
Another year's end
A few more years with your family and friends
One year closer
The time flies by
Get on your knees and begin to cry
One year's closer
You can't hold on
You will slip away and then you'll be gone
One year closer
Its too late
Everyone in the world will share your fate
One year closer
Time grinding away
I'll sew you in on that day
One year closer
One year dies
One year wasted
No matter how you try
No matter how you try
One year closer
One year closer
I will hunt you
And then it'll begin
You will scream
And I will grind the skin
I will grind the skin
- Milo had one called simply "Wimp", mocking Percy for his perceived unmanliness. Percy's offstage frowning during the number is rather disturbing.
- There's a reason that look was disturbing. His normal wooden face wasn't capable of making that expression, and a completely different head was needed just for that scene. That's the one and only time it's used as well.
- Villainous Breakdown: Milo gets a bad one at the beginning of the episode "A Drastic Team Up" .
- Vine Swing: Done a few times by various characters over the course of the series. Notably, the one time Percy attempts it, he accompanies his swing with a Tarzan yell that quickly turns into Screams Like a Little Girl.
- Yellow Peril: Minor villain Captain Lao, who is pretty obviously an Expy of Fu Manchu.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Poor Milo. You should have never joined the Skin Taker.