Articles - Raccoons, The (Series) (1980-1989)

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Raccoons, The

'Racoons on Ice' returns to CBC

From The Newfoundland Herald, December 19, 1981

The patter of tiny feet will be heard across the country this Christmas as children head for their television sets to tune into a raccoons bonanza on CBC-TV. The animation adventure begins with Raccoons On Ice, making its premiere Sunday, December 20 and Christmas Raccoons, back for a repeat performance, Wednesday, December 23.

Both films, produced and directed by Kevin Gillis, feature the delightful Melissa, Ralph and Bert Raccoon, with the infinitely less lovable Cyril and Cedric Sneer performing their dastardly deeds.
Familiar voices heard in the roles include Rita Coolidge, Leo Sayer, Rupert Holmes, Michael Magee, Len Carlsen, Fred Little and Carl Banas, with Rich Little narrating both films. The hockey play-by-play on Raccoons On Ice is handled by Danny Gallivan. New York Islanders' Mike Bossy was the consultant for the hockey scenes, giving the animation an added authenticity.

In Christmas Raccoons, the Raccoon family set out to save their forest from the evil lumber baron Cyril Sneer. Cyril and his son, Cedric, hatch another villainous plot in Raccoons On Ice as they attempt to build a "Cyril Dome" over Evergreen Lake. In order to take the lake away from the Raccoons, Cyril and his "Brutish Bears" challenge the Raccoons to a hockey game, which of course is rigged. After exciting scenes of dirty tricks, contests of muscle and willpower, and a surprising turn of events, there is a happy ending and a heart-warming moral.

Kevin Gillis is optimistic that Raccoons On Ice will enjoy the same overwhelming success that Christmas Raccoons achieved last year when it garnered 1.5 million viewers on 15 CBC owned-and-operated stations. It was also watched by 9.6 million American households and was rated the #1 syndicated children's special and #1 animated special in the United States in 1980. More than ten TV networks in countries around the world will again air Christmas Raccoons this season. Raccoons On Ice has so far been sold to 150 network affiliates in the United States.

As far as credits on the films are concerned, Kevin Gillis explains, "We used essentially the same team to produce both specials. Everyone was fired with the same desire to create a children's program which would entertain as well as stimulate with a subtle message in the story."

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For an in-depth look at CBC programs (1952-82),
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