`Davey and Goliath' returning to TV

December 14, 2004|By Mark I. Pinsky | Mark I. Pinsky,ORLANDO SENTINEL

Two beloved animated figures from the 1960s and 1970s - a good-natured but clueless boy and his drawling dog - are returning to national television. Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas will air on the Hallmark Channel at noon Sunday and Dec. 26.

The original stop-action Sunday-morning series, developed and owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was designed to teach values to children in 15-minute segments.

In the first new cartoon in 30 years, Davey and Goliath takes an ecumenical turn, with the introduction of a Jewish boy and a Muslim girl to the cast.

Some things never change. In the hourlong special, Davey Hansen makes bad choices and gets into trouble, producers say, and his dog Goliath serves as his conscience, putting him on the right path.

"During this adventure, Davey learns some dazzling snowboard maneuvers and some very important lessons about the real meaning of Christmas, and about understanding and respect for people who are different than he is," says the Lutherans' Kristi Bangert.

The Lutherans developed the series with Art Clokey, creator of the equally beloved Gumby and Pokey.

The 5 million-member, mainline Protestant denomination has been working to revive its entertainment franchise.

It licensed Davey and Goliath to Mountain Dew for a 30-second commercial that ran nationally in 2002 and 2003.

(Clokey was not happy about the licensing. "We never would have done it," he says. "I don't believe in peddling drugs to children: caffeine." Mountain Dew contains caffeine.)

Ultimately, the Lutherans would like to create new weekly episodes of the series and sell the old ones in a boxed DVD set, according to the Rev. Eric Shafer, the denomination's communications director.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. The Hartford Courant contributed to this article.

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