Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The vision of Fraggle Rock articulated by Jim Henson was to depict a colorful and fun world, but also a world with a relatively complex system of symbiotic relationships between different "races" of creatures, an allegory to the human world, where each group was somewhat unaware of how interconnected and important they were to one another. Creating this allegorical world allowed the program to entertain and amuse while seriously exploring complex issues of prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, environment, and social conflict. Fraggle Rock generally refused to over-simplify any individual issue, instead simply illustrating the consequences and inherent difficulties of different actions and relationships. Though the Fraggles do learn important lessons, they rarely are aware that they are learning them. The ideals of friendship, being true to yourself, embracing magic, and learning to love those who are incredibly different, were the cornerstone of Jim Henson's work throughout his 40 year career, and he considered Fraggle Rock to be one of the purest and most successful expressions of that vision.
The inhabitants of Fraggle Rock
Fraggles are small humanoid creatures, about 22 inches tall, that come in a wide variety of colors and have tails that bear a tuft of fur on the end. They live in a system of natural caves called Fraggle Rock that are filled with all manner of creatures and features, and which seem to connect to at least two different worlds. Fraggles live a very carefree life, spending most of their time playing, exploring, and generally enjoying themselves. They live on a diet of radishes and "doozer sticks" (see below).
The series focused on one group of Fraggles in particular; Gobo, Mokey, Red, Wembley, and Boober. The five form a tight-knit group of friends, and each has a distinctive personality type. Gobo is the "leader", level-headed and practical, and considers himself chiefly an explorer. Mokey is highly spiritual and artistic, being quiet and contemplative. Red, on the other hand, is exuberant and athletic; she is one of the best swimmers among the Fraggles. Wembley is nervous and pathologically indecisive, though no coward when push comes to shove. Boober's cardinal trait is depression and worry, and his favourite activity is washing socks (ironically, Fraggles do not appear to use footwear under most circumstances).
The Silly Creatures of Outer Space
Gobo's uncle Matt, known as Travelling Matt, has gone into "Outer Space" (which is what the Fraggles call the normal human world) to explore, and he sends postcards back to Gobo on a regular basis. The connection between Fraggle Rock and Outer Space is a small hole in the wall (in the North American version) of the workshop of an eccentric inventor called "Doc", and Gobo must make the trip out into Doc's workshop to retrieve the postcards from the wastebasket where Doc throws them. Doc is unaware of the Fraggles' existence, but his dog Sprocket has seen them and goes to great efforts to attempt to prove them to his master. Humans are known to Fraggles by the name "Silly Creatures", bestowed by Matt after observing them in his travels.
Doc's true name was revealed in the last episode to be Jerome Christian (or Crystal, according to the official Encyclopedia Fragglia). In the second-last episode, he finally learns of the Fraggles' existence and befriends them.
Outside another exit from Fraggle Rock live a small family of Gorgs, giant furry humanoids standing 22 feet tall. The husband and wife of the family consider themselves the Emperor and Empress of the Universe, with their son Junior as its prince and heir, but to all appearances they are really simple farmers with a rustic house and garden patch. Fraggles are considered a pest by the Gorgs, as they steal radishes. Also in the Gorgs' world is a sapient compost heap called Marjory, and her two rat-like sidekicks Philo and Gunge. The Fraggles consider the Trash Heap to be all-wise and go to her for advice on a regular basis.
Within Fraggle Rock itself lives a second species of small humanoid creatures, the pudgy green ant-like Doozers. Standing only 6 inches tall, Doozers are in a sense anti-Fraggles; their lives are dedicated to work and industry. Doozers spend much of their time busily constructing all manner of pointless scaffolding throughout Fraggle Rock, using miniature construction equipment and wearing hardhats and work boots. To ensure that they always have a steady stream of work to do, Doozers build their constructions out of an edible candy-like substance (apparently manufactured from radishes) which is greatly enjoyed by Fraggles. This is essentially the only interaction between Doozer and Fraggle; Doozers spend most of their time building, and Fraggles spend much of their time eating tasty Doozer buildings. They thus form an odd sort of symbiosis. The series had several episodes that featured a Doozer as a main character, the young female named Cotterpin, and reveals much of Doozer culture; it is surprisingly well developed.
The Trash Heap
The Fraggles got their advice from a trash heap named Marjory. Her assistants were two rat-like creatures named Philo and Gunge. Only Philo and Gunge called her Marjory; the Fraggles called her Madame Trash Heap. She wasn't much of a principal character on the show but did appear in nearly every episode. She was played by Jerry Nelson.
Philo & Gunge
These two characters were very minor. Philo was a really stupid character; Gunge pretended to be the brains of the group but ends up being just as stupid. They watched over the Trash Heap; if they left for a long time she would begin to die out. Philo and Gunge did get two episodes of the series devoted to them: "Home Is Where The Trash Is" and "Gunge & Great & Glorious". After Fraggle Rock ended, Philo went into retirement but Gunge appeared on Dinosaurs and Mopatop's Shop .
The Blob is a giant, rolling blob that has a generally amorphous shape but has some kind of mouth somewhere. In one episode, the Blob comes in and continues to eat Doozer after Doozer. The Fraggles finally find a way to get the Blob to regurgitate all the Doozers by telling jokes and getting the thing to laugh very intensely.
The television show
The first episode aired on January 10, 1983, and the last episode aired on March 30, 1987 for a total of five seasons, with a total of 96 episodes. The show was a co-production between British television company Television South (TVS), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, HBO and Henson Associates.
The series was produced with the intention of being aired in varied forms internationally. The human "wraparound" segments were shot separately for each nation, so that the child viewer could always relate to the world of the program. However, in the Norwegian show the American human surroundings were used. The wraparounds featuring "Doc" in North America are replaced in the UK by the character called "The Captain" (played by Fulton Mackay, and after Mackay's death by John Gordon Sinclair ) who lives in a lighthouse, and the same segments in France take place in a bakery. The series has appeared now in over ten countries and languages.
Another animated Fraggle Rock series was aired some years later. Some of the episodes were based on the live action stories.
All the episodes have been released on VHS at one point or another.
A petition to get Fraggle Rock released on DVD has been available on the web for many years now. For a long time the only release had been in the UK, a "best of" with 12 episodes in a grainy transfer.
Hit Entertainment has released a DVD containing three episodes of Fraggle Rock (titled Fraggle Rock: Where it All Began). It was first released on July 27th, 2004, to Wal-Mart Stores in the USA, as a test to see if there still is a market for Fraggle Rock. The test was apparently a success, as sites such as Amazon.com now list the DVD with a general release date of January 4, 2005.
Books based on Fraggle Rock
Each book listed is followed by its author, illustrator, and date of publication.
- The Radish Day Jubilee, Sheilah B. Bruce, Lawrence DiFiori 1983
- Red and the Pumpkins, Jocelyn Stevenson, Kelly Oechsli 1983
- They Call Me Boober Fraggle, Michaela Muntean, Lisa McCue 1983
- Wembley Fraggle Gets the Story, Deborah Perlberg, Steven Schindler 1984
- Gobo and the River, Joseph Killorin Brennan, Diane Dawson Hearn 1985
- Marooned in Fraggle Rock, David Young, Barbara McClintock
- Best Friends, Jocelyn Stevenson, Sue Venning 1984
- Boober Fraggle's Celery Souffle, Louise Gikow, Kelly Oechsli 1984
- Danger: Boober Cooking, Louise Gikow, Kelly Oechsli 1984
- Boober Fraggle's Giant Wish, Jocelyn Stevenson, Jeffrey Severn 1984
- If I Were King of the Universe, Danny Abelson, Lawrence DiFiori 1984
- The Legend of the Doozer Who Didn't, Louise Gikow, Barbara McClintock 1984
- No One Knows Where Gobo Goes, Mark Saltzman, Peter Elwell 1984
- The Tale of Traveling Matt, Michaela Muntean, Lisa McCue 1984
- Traveling Matt's Adventures in Outer Space, Michaela Muntean, Lisa McCue 1984
- What Do Doozers Do?, Michaela Muntean, Sue Venning 1984
- What's a Fraggle?, Louise Gikow, Barbara McClintock 1984
- The Cave of the Lost Fraggle, Michael Teitelbaum, Peter Elwell 1985
- Follow That Fraggle, Louise Gikow, Barbara Lanza 1985
- Mokey's Birthday Present, Ellen Weiss, Elizabeth Miles 1985
- Waggleby of Fraggle Rock, Stephanie Calmenson, Barbara McClintock 1985
- Why Wembley Fraggle Couldn't Sleep, H. B. Gilmour, Barbara McClintock 1985
- Goodnight Wembley Fraggle, H. B. Gilmour, Barbara McClintock 1985
- Cotterpin's Perfect Building, Ellen Weiss, Lauren Attinello 1986
- Wembley and the Soggy Map, Louise Gikow, Lisa McCue 1986
- Wembley Fraggle and the Magic Stone, Louise Gikow, Lauren Attinello 1986
- Gobo and the Prize from Outer Space, Lyn Calder, Frederic Marvin 1986
- The Case of the Missing Socks, Rebecca Grand, Jeffrey Severn 1986
- Wembley Fraggle's Big, Bigger, Biggest, Harry Ross, Larry DiFiori 1988
- The Fraggles Alphabet Pie, Harry Ross, Larry DiFiori 1988
- The Fraggles Counting Book, Harry Ross, Larry DiFiori 1988
- Mokey Fraggle's New Colors, Emily Paul, Larry DiFiori 1988
- The Fraggles Cooperate, Harry Ross, Larry DiFiori 1989
Sites Describing Fraggle Rock
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