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Fraggle Rock
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Fraggle Rock


The core cast. Back row, from left: Mokey and Gobo. Front row, from left: Boober, Wembley and Red. Three Doozers are visible in the foreground.

Fraggle Rock was a children's television series created by Jim Henson, primarily featuring a cast of muppet creatures called Fraggles.

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.

Table of contents
1 The inhabitants of Fraggle Rock
2 The television show
3 Books based on Fraggle Rock
4 Sites Describing Fraggle Rock

The inhabitants of Fraggle Rock

Fraggles


Red, with a Doozer at lower right

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 US 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.

Gorgs

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.

Doozers

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 be done, Doozers build their constructions out of an edible candy-like substance 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

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 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. The wraparounds featuring "Doc" in the US 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. However the only release thus far has been a UK release, a "best of" with 12 episodes in a grainy transfer. "UPDATE" Hit Entertainment has relesed a DVD containing three episodes of Fraggle Rock. It will be relesed on July 27th, 2004. But due to this is just a test to see if there still is a market for Fraggle Rock it will only be relesed at Wal-Mart Stores in the USA.

Books based on Fraggle Rock

Each book listed is followed by its author, illustrator, and date of publication.

Sites Describing Fraggle Rock