Zoboomafoo: From January 25, 1999, through June 7, 2001, Zoboomafoo was a children’s television program that aired on PBS.
It was previously broadcast on public television (depending on location) and was a regular on Sprout until 2013.
There were 65 episodes in total. It features a talking lemur (a Coquerel’s sifaka) named Zoboomafoo, played by Ottawa-born puppeteer Gord Robertson (who had also puppeteered on Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock).
And was primarily portrayed by a lemur named Jovian, as well as a collection of returned animal guests, and was created by the Kratt Brothers (Chris and Martin).
Every episode starts with the Kratt boys in Animal Junction, a strange realm where nature’s rules vary and wild animals come to visit and play.
Jovian died of kidney failure on November 10, 2014, at the age of 20 at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Zoboomafoo: Was A Children’s Television Program
The Kratt brothers (Chris and Martin Kratt) lean out the window when they arrive at Animal Junction and call Zoboomafoo (or “Zoboo” for short, and occasionally “Zob”), who is depicted in a live-action section as a genuine lemur (Jovian) sprinting across a field to reach them.
When the lemur arrives at Animal Junction, he will not speak to the Kratt brothers unless he is given a snack, which should be garbanzo beans, sweet potato, or mango slices.
After finishing his snack, he burps and says, “Excuse me,” before spinning around on a turntable and shouting, “Zoboomafoo-oo-oo-oo!” He then transforms into a talking lemur puppet (voiced by Robertson).
He then goes on to describe a “Mangatsika!” (a Malagasy word that literally means “cold,” but is adopted in the series to signify “cool”) animal that he observed on his trip to Animal Junction.
A song called “Who Could It Be?” plays as he explains the species, and a cartoon depicts the “mystery animal’s” traits. Chris and Martin try to guess the animal Zoboo has described at the end of the song, and the mystery is solved when the animal or animals arrive at Animal Junction.
Every episode has a central theme. Baby animals, terrifying animals, or the value of play, for example. The appearance of the “mystery animal,” which is usually employed as exposition, prompts Zoboo, Chris, and Martin to discuss the animal.
Zoboo claims that some occurrence in Animal Junction reminds him of a period in Zobooland at least once (usually twice) in every episode, where he tells anecdotes of his greatest buddies in Zobooland, such as…
- Narchi (a teal anteater who uses his nose for a handful of tasks)
- Gobbling (a purple bear who eats Goobleberries and drinks Goobleberry goo)
- Sensitivity (a blue-violet lemur that typically plays around)
- Wiggy Waxwing is a type of waxwing (a blue and red chicken who likes to sing and eat Root Noodles)
- Green Puppy (A green puppy who enjoys playing in Goobleberry Goo, as her name suggests.)
Samantha Samantha Slimantha Slimantha Slimantha (a yellow and blue salamander that likes to slide around and loves to hug her friends, despite them slipping out of her grip)
- Noggendrill is a term used to describe a person who has (an orange mole with a drill horn he uses to dig)
- The Snow Lemur (a shy blue and white lemur that lives on top of Mt. Zoboomafoo)
- Mama Zoboomafoo asaurus and Baby Zoboomafoo asaurus (Two dinosaurs who appear in CGI, that the animals often play on)
- Little Sisters of Sensit (three small lemurs related to Sensit that play around as well)
- Awkward (A gravelly-voiced bug that Zoboo rides on)
- False (A sea creature with an octopus tentacle and a lobster claw)
- Emily is a good example of this (his first cousin from Canada)
- Cyril (a flying green one-eyed squid introduced in the second season)
These pieces are produced with clay animation, and each figure has a separate voice.
Following the events of the first Zobooland story, Zoboo, Chris, and Martin get a letter from the Animal Helpers (Jackie in the first season and Amy in the second), who teach youngsters how to help animals.
This leads to Chris and Martin visiting creatures associated with the topic, always beginning with Zoboo’s song “Going to the Closet” (and sometimes the characters from Zobooland).
Each episode concludes with Zoboo and the brothers performing “Animal Friends,” a song that explains why animals of various sorts are friends to one another.
Finally, Zoboo reverts to his former state as a normal lemur and returns to Madagascar. Chris and Martin also depart Animal Junction to further explain the day’s theme, traveling to a different place, usually in India or Africa, to see the animals there.
Prior to each episode’s credits, children demonstrate and educate viewers about the various animals and pets they own, with a disclaimer warning viewers to be cautious of the creatures they encounter. Then Chris and Martin bring up animal facts, which prompts Zoboo to crack a joke.
Consider the following scenario: “Knock on the door. Is anyone there? Panther. Who is this Panther? I’m going swimming without my pants, Panther! “. For non-PBS broadcasts, the disclaimer and joke were removed (except for On-Demand viewings and Universal Kids).
- Chris Kratt in the role of himself
- Martin Kratt in the role of himself
- Jovian in the role of Zoboomafoo
- Gord Robertson in the role of Zoboomafoo (voice)
- Samantha Tolkacz in the role of Jackie (Season 1)
- Amy is played by Genevieve Farrell (Season 2)
Jokes that repeat themselves
Slapstick and situation comedy are also featured in the program. It begins when Zoboo burps after having a snack and says, “Excuse me,” before spinning on a turntable and yelling, “Zoboomafoo-oo-oo-oo!” The series’ running gags include Chris and Martin (and occasionally, Zoboo) falling into a pool, a mud puddle, or simply tumbling down.
The “closet” gag, which is evocative of Fibber McGee and Molly but involves a jammed closet that Chris and Martin open to acquiring needed goods for an investigation, is the most notable of these repeated jokes.
Chris and Martin open the door while Zoboo sings a song about the brothers’ preparations for a trip, and an avalanche of outdoor gear and garments falls on them, knocking them over and causing them to giggle.
Then they emerge from the gear pile, all prepared for their journey. Chris and Martin open the closet in the episode “Running,” expecting to be buried beneath its items, only to find a tidy and well-organized closet. When Zoboo or the brothers are hit by flying objects such as pies, balls, or even yarn thrown by animals, it is a sort of slapstick comedy.
Also, right before the trip, a bird soars down towards Animal Junction, causing Chris and Martin to exclaim, “Incoming! Duck!” The bird is almost never a real duck.
Sticky Feet, a peregrine falcon, or Moon Face, a barn owl, are frequently seen. Zoboo’s catchphrases include the following: “I meant to do that!”, “I can’t believe my eyes!”, “I’m okay!” and “Hey!” (a Malagasy phrase meaning “cold” that was accidentally used instead of “Milay,” which is the Malagasy counterpart of the English word “Cool!”). Hoo! Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wo “..
A group of kids known as the “Animal Helpers” send messages to the Kratt brothers at Animal Junction through a variety of birds, including a turkey vulture (named Tomatohead), a barn owl (named Moonface), a lanner falcon (named Sandstorm), a peregrine falcon (named Stickyfeet), a great horned owl (named Blink), a saker falcon, a
The letters lead to short stories that depict the Animal Helpers’ interactions with the creatures in their surroundings, such as placing a fledgling bird back in its nest or escorting a calf back to its mother cow.
Samantha Tolkacz played Jackie on the show from its premiere on January 25, 1999, to April 27, 2000, when Genevieve Farrell took her place and played Amy for the rest of the show’s run.
Zoboomafoo would also give the creatures unique names based on their look, attitude, or behavior. A juvenile Indian elephant named “Toothbrush” because of his bristly hair; a young female chimpanzee dubbed “Brainiac” because chimps are extremely clever; and two sloths named “Slow” and “Slower” because of their slowness.
Notes regarding the production
PBS KIDS, Cinar Corporation (formerly WildBrain), and the Kratt brothers’ Earth Creatures Company collaborated on Zoboomafoo.
The series was partially filmed on-site at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Even though the last new episode of Zoboomafoo aired on PBS Kids in November 2001, most PBS stations reran Zoboomafoo episodes in syndication until January 2004. In addition, until August 2013, Sprout’s broadcast reruns. [requires citation]
In 2003, the Kratt Brothers started a new National Geographic Channel series called Be the Creature. In January 2011, they started a new children’s cartoon series called Wild Kratts, which presently airs on PBS Kids and TVOntario, among other networks.
In the live-action sequences, Jovian (a captive Coquerel’s sifaka at the Duke Lemur Center) played Zoboomafoo (along with stand-ins). He died of kidney failure at home on November 10, 2014, at the age of 20.
The show debuted on PBS on January 25, 1999, and ran through June 7, 2001. It was formerly broadcast on public television (depending on the area). The series was dropped from most PBS stations’ weekday schedules after January 16, 2004, while some PBS stations continue to air it.
In addition, until August 2013, Sprout’s broadcast reruns. In the United States, Canada, Latin America, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, and India, the show is/was televised.
Nominations and awards
Zoboomafoo won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series in 2001 and a Parents’ Choice Award in Spring 2001 and a Silver Honor in Fall 2001.
Other forms of media
There are also other PC video games based on Zoboomafoo that teach youngsters the alphabet and the animals that correspond to each letter. Interactive games, such as a coloring page, are included with some of the letters.