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Western Animation / Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse

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"He can dance!
He can dance!
He can dance!"

Marvin The Tap-Dancing Horse is a Canadian animated Preschool Show produced by Nelvana for Teletoon and PBS Kids. It is based on a children's book by the mother-son team Betty and Michael Paraskevas, the same duo behind Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, another preschool Nelvana cartoon produced in association with Teletoon.

The show tells the story of Marvin The Tap-Dancing Horse, an equine performer who works at a circus and carnival run by carny and ringmaster Fast-Talking Jack with the help of the 9-year-old circus boy Eddy Largo. Alongside a host of eccentric but lovable circus animals and carnival performers, Marvin and Eddy always find adventure to be had around the circus.

It originally aired on Teletoon in Canada and on PBS Kids as part of their Bookworm Bunch, running for 2 seasons and 26 episodes. Reruns of the show later popped up on Qubo in the United States.


Tropes found in this series:

  • Everyone Knew Already: In "Edna the Singing Sensation", Edna the fortune teller joins the rest of the cast in singing kareoke, but she can't sing very well. Problem is, she managed to get an act at the circus that night. Everyone thinks she's going to embarass herself trying to sing in front of an audience, and spend most of the episode trying to tell her that she isn't good at singing. When they finall y get the courage to tell her, it turns out Edna knew all along that she can't sing well, and instead uses her act to break glass.
  • Expy:
    • Most of the group have similarly matching personalities to the characters of The Brave Little Toaster, including Marvin being the optimist (Toaster), Elizabeth being the emotional Cowardly Sidekick (Blanky), fiesty and impulsive Diamonds the Elephant (Lampy), and even "Fast-Talking" Jack (Radio). The most obvious example is Stripes the Tiger whose Grumpy Bear personality is very similar to that of Kirby the vacuum cleaner. His voice even bears a somewhat striking resemblance to Kirby's voice actor, Thurl Ravenscroft. Plus, Stripes gets easily annoyed by Elizabeth's emotional outbursts, just like how Kirby gets with Blanky.
    • Also, Elizabeth is basically a combination of Piglet from the Winnie-the-Pooh franchise and Hamilton from Maggie and the Ferocious Beast (Her appearance is based on a female version of the latter except with Black Bead Eyes.)
  • Friend Versus Lover: When Lula Belle, an old flame of Marvin's, shows up, Eddy ends up becoming the third wheel. She's refreshingly understanding, and even apologizes to Eddy for Marvin's behavior.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In "Jokers Go Wild", Stripes tries to mess with the Ferris wheel so that Elizabeth will get stuck at the top. He ends up getting himself stuck up there.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Eddy in the first episode. He quickly befriends everyone and becomes an expert working backstage of the carnival.
  • invokedOld Shame: Marvin isn't too proud of his first acting job in 43rd Street.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Eddy Largo's real name is Edward Larue III.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Stripes uses this excuse in the episode, "Eddy's Fortune" when, after getting attached to a lost puppy, tears up when the latter is reunited with his owner.
    Stripes: What are you looking at? It's just my allergies acting up. I must be allergic to dogs...
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • "When the Stars Come Out" has Eddie, Marvin, and Stripes making a trip to the top of a hill to see the Perseid meteor shower. Despite the entire universe seeming determined to stop them, they finally make it... and then it starts raining. When they get back, though, they find that their friends have set up a planetarium version of the shower in the main tent.
    • "The Visit" has the whole cast getting excited over the prospect of a famous astronaut visiting the carnival and doing special things to get his attention despite Eddy's objections; Marvin and Diamonds try out new acts, Jack makes up a song about, Stripes pretty much tries to ignore everyone, and Elizabeth fails at a new juggling act before Eddy convinces her to give him some of her corn. When the astronaut finally shows up, he simply takes an ear of corn and drives off, without even getting out of his limo. Everyone (except Eddy and Elizabeth, who were standing right outside the limo) is clearly disappointed.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Marvin and his brother Clyde. It's a one-sided example, as Clyde is only too happy to see Marvin. However, Marvin is jealous of how fast Clyde is, and obsesses over beating him in a race.
  • Tempting Fate: Jack decides to do Eddy's chores when he gets sick, because they can't possibly be that hard...
  • Vocal Evolution: Eddy's voice was starting to deepen by the end of the series.


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