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Sugar Wiki: Candle Cove

You have. To go. Inside!
The Laughingstock

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.

Tropes demonstrated:

  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • Big Bad: The Skin Taker.
    • 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.
  • Big Sister Bully: Melrose in the Pilot.
  • 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.
  • Catch Phrase: "You have... to go... INSIDE."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Horace Horrible combines this with Cloudcuckoolander to make an... interesting character.
  • 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.
    • Maybe more like Big Bad and Bigger Bad because in the episodes with the Skin Taker, it's obvious who's in charge.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • High-Class Glass: Horace Horrible's monocle.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Skin Taker, probably.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 Laughing Stock 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.
  • 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.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: The infamous encounter with Bigfoot (AKA Man-Bear-Pig). He was enough to scare all the characters into simultaneous hysterical screaming.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Rival: Milo was this to Percy for some of the second season.
  • 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?
    One year closer
    Another years past
    Soon you'll find out that your body won't last
    One year closer
    Another years 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
    because
    One years 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
    So remember
    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. Unless I'm mistaken, 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" .
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Poor Milo. You should have never joined the Skin Taker.

Better Than It SoundsSugarWiki/Sweet ExistsDreaming Mary

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