Candle Cove was an obscure children's show that aired 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 soon-Oh, you know me like a book. And I just used up all my rope.
Anachronism Stew: The Skin-Taker's "skeleton crew"* Get it? Because they're all skeletons! 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.
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!"
Bigger Bad: There are subtle hints throughout the show that the Skin Taker refers to a higher authority. Wild Mass Guessing dictates that the Skin Taker's boss is an Eldritch Abomination which, in the final episode, devours all of existence.
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.
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.
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.
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 (playedbackwards!), 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.
Fridge Horror: Maybe I'm just imagining it, but, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
No Ending: Due to the show being canceled there was no real conclusion for any of the story arcs.
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.
Screwed by the Network: Most stations aired it late in the afternoon, instead of in their usual children's morning lineup.
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.
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. Unless I'm mistaken, that's the one and only time it's used as well.