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Western Animation / Where's Wally? (1991)

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Where's Wally (alternatively Where's Waldo? in North America) is an Animated Adaptation of Martin Handford's long-running picture book series of the same name. With Handford serving as series creator and an executive producer, the show was developed by Rowby Goren and produced by DIC Enterprises and The Waldo Film Company. Animation services were done by Sei Young.

Much like the books, this series follows the jovial Wally/Waldo (Townsend Coleman) and his fantastical adventures to unique lands. However, the series expands on this concept by adding a narrative to each adventure. Usually tasked by Wizard Whitebeard (Brad Garrett impersonating Rodney Dangerfield), he'd be aided by his friend Wenda, his trusty dog Woof and his magic cane to help the locals with their problems any way he can, or solve a mystery. Unbeknownst to the wanderer, his nemesis Oldaw (Julian Holloway) would use this opportunity to try and steal his magic cane for his own misdeeds. Throughout the episode, the witty narrator (Jim Cummings) would commentate on the events.

Twice per episode, the show stops a scene to give viewers a minute to locate Wally/Waldo - a manner similar to widespread pages of the books.

The series originally aired on CBS in the United States. With a total of 13 episodes, the series lasted from September 14 to December 14, 1991, for one season. Nickelodeon eventually aired reruns. The United Kingdom also aired the series through ITV. After being cancelled, four new episodes were released straight-to-video in 1992, albeit with all voice actors except Holloway recast. While formatted similarly, the puzzles and games made use of the pause & rewind functionalities of VHS tapes to give viewers more time or look for extra hidden items.

This show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • A Running Gag in "Forest Women", with Queen Emeralda calling Waldo such names as Walnut, Walrus, Wallpaper, Wallbang and Pizza Dough. That last one is left unchanged in the British English dub, resulting in a rather hilarious Non Sequitur:
      Wally: You fellas wouldn't mind if I take the queen home, would you?
      Emeralda: Pizza Dough!
      Wally: That's Wally!
    • The Narrator gets in on it by the end, calling out "Where is Wallab- er, Wally this time?"
  • Adaptation Distillation: Wenda is pointedly missing from the show, except for one episode, while even the scrolls and cane made it in.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Waldo greets most everything with the enthusiasm of a tourist, even if — perhaps especially if — it's a mortal danger to him.
  • Brick Joke: The things the narrator challenges the viewer to find don't normally count as these, of course... except for the time he snuck in a mention of his stolen car. It shows up anyway.
  • Calvinball: The eponymous "Great Ball Game" which sees four teams playing two matches on the same pitch, doesn't appear to have any rules other than you get points to getting it across (or over) the goal-line and you lose points by having your ball thrown into a pit. Throughout the episode, we get glimpses of the other games in the kingdom that make just about as much sense (throwing darts blindfolded in an attempt to hit bowling balls while another player uses a baseball bat to knock them away springs to mind).
  • Captain Colorbeard: Pegbeard the pirate. Son of Pegface, and grandson of Pegspleen.
  • Captain Oblivious: Waldo is always blissfully unaware of Odlaw's attempts to destroy him, and in fact, seems to have no idea that Odlaw even exists. He always beats Odlaw through sheer dumb luck, all while never actually seeing him.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The corn Wizard Whitebeard gives Wally in "A Stone Age Story". Turns out it was needed to complete the first movie theater... by being used for popcorn!
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Waldo.
    Witch: All I want is someone to turn into a frog (proffers open palm)... and a tip.
    Waldo: Okay, here's a great tip: never hold your nose and sneeze with your mouth closed.
    Witch: (looks at the camera surprised) Gee, never heard THAT one before.
  • Dissonant Serenity: "Oh boy Woof! Isn't this exciting?" Waldo says while falling without a parachute, about to be squashed by a bolder, in the middle of a cave-in, being charged by a singing swordfish and while a village is being pillaged by Vikings (to name a few).
  • Green Aesop: The episode "Forest Women", in which Waldo saves a forest from evil tree-cutting knights.
  • Human Pincushion: One episode opens with Waldo and Woof returning from the Land of the Porcupine People. Cue Odlaw following them through the portal, and he's evidently taken after the natives.
    Odlaw: I hate the Land of the Porcupine People.
  • Identical Grandson: Waldo meets his "Great, Great, Great, Great, you get the idea" grandfather when he travels back to the stone-age. Looks exactly like him but wears a stripy loincloth and his hat has horns. Woof also has a prehistoric shaggy dog counterpart.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Odlaw. The poor guy gets beat up almost constantly, and Wally doesn't even know he exists.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In one episode Waldo makes friends with a robot but he gets disassembled leaving our hapless hero to rebuild him. Once finished the robot doesn't remember anything but is promptly hit on the head, which apparently jogged the old memory circuits.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator (courtesy of Jim Cummings) makes a lot of snarky remarks throughout the series as well as the occasional fourth-wall break.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Odlaw, while you will often hear him screaming, nine times out of ten you'll see him stoically swaddle off after being flattened or twisted into knots with only a deadpan castrating word to the gleeful narrator.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • Odlaw - he directly interacts with the narrator (once poking him with a sharp object), and he even tries to learn from what happens to him on the show. His only problem is that he doesn't seem to learn that he's the Cosmic Plaything.
      Odlaw: That walking stick will soon be mine.
      Narrator: Yes, because little does Wally know that's he's being watched. By the mean, nasty, loathsome-
      Odlaw: Errr... I believe he left out disgusting.
      Narrator: Oh yeah, sorry. AND DISGUSTING... ODLAW!"
      Odlaw: (beaming) Thanks much.
    • Waldo himself gets in on this sometimes; in one episode, the narrator was saying a lot of gibberish, and Waldo tells him he may be holding the script upside down.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Waldo smiles constantly while watching others get pummeled or is in danger of a pummeling himself (said eagerly: "Who's the menacing fellow who looks as if he'd like to twist me into a knot and throw me off a cliff?"), is excited to be standing in front of an angry stampede, be attacked by monsters, be tied up in chains, be taken prisoner ("Wow, Woof, didjya hear that? We're official prisoners!"), hop into a dangerous pit of doom (shaking bag and smiling: "Well, Woof, apparently I didn't bring my parachute."), and is nothing short of thrilled to be in a cave-in. ("Wow, Woof! It's a real cave-in! And we've only been here just a few minutes! (elated sigh) How lucky can you get?") Seriously, how did Woof survive being around this guy?
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Brad Garrett puts on his best Rodney Dangerfield impression for Wizard Whitebeard.
  • Once an Episode:
    • Shortly after the scene is set, the narrator will tell the audience to look for three unusual objects during the show.
    • At some point Waldo will disappear, leading everybody to ask "Where's Waldo?". The audience will then get a still shot and about a minute to find him, before the narrator will tell you where he is.
  • Sidekick Creature Nuisance: Woof; he's pretty useless. He's just there for Waldo to talk to so he doesn't look crazy, although he does chase off Odlaw from time to time.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Odlaw's pretty self-defeating... Wally doesn't even know he exists. In one episode, he briefly entertained the idea of not following Waldo since he'd bring back the magical cane anyway, but had a change of mind when he heard about a magical fruit.
  • Unknown Rival: Odlaw is never even noticed by Waldo or Wizard Whitebeard. Lampshaded once: "Hey aren't you the guy Wally never sees?"
    • The closest Waldo comes to seeing Odlaw is at the end of Around the World in a Daze, where they're on-screen at the same time, though Waldo is part of a Living Photo with Wenda and Woof and isn't looking directly at Odlaw, who is outside of the photo.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In "The Unfriendly Giants", Waldo shuts the Narrator (and the audience) out of a meeting where plans to deal with the titular Giants are being discussed. The Narrator asks Waldo if he thinks he'd tell the Giants what they're up to. Only for Waldo to tell him they might be watching the show.

Alternative Title(s): Wheres Waldo 1991