Babar (TV series)

Last updated
Babar title card (Treehouse Airing)
Created by Jean de Brunhoff
Written by
Directed by
  • Raymond Jafelice
  • Laura Shepherd
  • Dale Schott
  • Larry Jacobs
Theme music composer Milan Kymlicka
ComposerMilan Kymlicka
Country of originCanada
Original languagesEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes65 (list of episodes)
Running time23 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNelvana International
Original networkCanada
CBC (seasons 1–3)
Global TV (seasons 4–5)
Canal+/France 3 (season 1-5)
TF1 (season 6)
Audio format Stereo
Original releaseApril 2, 1989 (1989-04-02) [1]  
June 5, 1991 (1991-06-05) [1]
Followed by Babar and the Adventures of Badou (2010–2015)
External links

Babar ( UK: /ˈbæbɑːr/ , US: /bəˈbɑːr/ ; French pronunciation:  [babaʁ] ) is an animated television series produced in Canada by Nelvana Limited and The Clifford Ross Company. It premiered in 1989 on CBC and HBO, and subsequently was rerun on Qubo since 2006. [2] The series is based on Jean de Brunhoff's original Babar books, and was Nelvana's first international co-production. The series has been broadcast in 30 languages in over 150 countries.


The series was the first to be based on the Babar books; previously, two Babar specials narrated by Peter Ustinov were produced by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez for NBC: The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant on October 21, 1968, [3] and Babar Comes to America on September 7, 1971. [4]

In 2010, a computer-animated sequel series spin-off of Babar titled Babar and the Adventures of Badou was launched on Disney Junior. The new series takes place several years after the original and focuses on a majority of new characters including Badou, Babar's grandson and Pom's son.


Based on the books by Jean de Brunhoff and Laurent de Brunhoff, the plot of the first two seasons focuses on the story of Babar as it is told by him to his children. [5] The past Babar is a young elephant who, traumatized by a hunter slaughtering his mother, flees from his home forest in exile to the city, where a kind Old Lady adopts him and teaches him the ways of human life. He returns to his home forest full of ideas for progress and, following the previous elephant king's death from eating poisonous mushrooms, hatches a plan to drive out the unnamed hunter and his men. For his heroism, Babar is crowned king of the elephants, plans and builds Celesteville, and grows up to become a father himself.

While the first two seasons focus on Babar's recollections of his childhood and early years as king, as well as some stories told by his children, the series shifts its focus in the third season to Babar's family life in the present day.

Episodes (original series)

SeasonEpisodesFirst airedLast aired
1 13April 2, 1989 (1989-04-02)June 24, 1989 (1989-06-24)
2 1320 August 1989 (1989-08-20)12 November 1989 (1989-11-12)
3 131 April 1990 (1990-04-01)24 June 1990 (1990-06-24)
4 137 January 1991 (1991-01-07)1 April 1991 (1991-04-01)
5 138 April 1991 (1991-04-08)5 June 1991 (1991-06-05)


Babar's family

Babar's close friends and royal court

Rataxes' family



Home media

DVD releases

In Region 2, Fremantle Home Entertainment released 3 single disc collections on DVD in the UK on May 4, 2009. [7] [8] [9]

On June 5, 2012, Entertainment One released the complete first season on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. [10]

DVD NameEp #Release Date
Babar - The Classic Series: The Complete First Season13June 5, 2012

Critical reception

David Knox at TV Tonight commented on the subject of death and the way it is depicted in Children's Television, citing the pilot of Babar as an example, "This week ABC replayed the pilot episode of the animated series in which the baby elephant loses his mother to a hunter after being shot by a rifle. Produced by a Canadian company in 1989 it doesn't shy away from the separation of mother and child, as written in the original Babar the Elephant stories." An ABC spokesperson told TV Tonight that ABC had carefully considered the content which aired at 3:30 p.m. EST on ABC2 for a G-rated audience, ABC in Australia (2 July 1990 - 3 June 2012) "At no point in the sequence was there any depiction of blood or wounds, and the depiction of the rifle being used was very careful and discreet. The simple animation style reduced the level of detail of the rifle and the action. While there was a sense of threat and menace associated with the hunter and his use of violence, having regard to the animation style, the level of visual detail, and the stylized manner in which the action was depicted, Audience and Consumer Affairs considers that this sense of threat and menace was very low. The violence in the sequence was very discreetly implied, and was not gratuitous as it was a pivotal, dramatic moment of great significance to the story." [11]

Charles Solomon of Los Angeles Times gave a review of Babar's first few episodes, "The designs for the characters and the simple animation capture the essence of Jean de Brunhoff's understated watercolor illustrations. The artists occasionally seem to lose their sense of the characters' size and weight: The young Babar jumps and climbs in ways that seem very unelephantlike (but very few elephants wear uniforms and crowns, as the adult Babar does). As the voice of Babar, Gordon Pinsent gives the elephant king a reassuring presence and keeps the mildly didactic stories from bogging down in moralizing. Child actors provide the voices for the young Babar and his friends, which makes the show sound a lot like a "Peanuts" special at times. Created by the Canadian Nelvana studio—the producers of the entertaining My Pet Monster --"Babar" manages to be endearing without sliding into the saccharine cutesiness of Hello Kitty . Parents with children in the 4-to-10-year-old range should plan on setting their VCRs: The kids will probably want to watch Babar more than once." [12]

Common Sense Media finds the series suitable for viewers aged 4 and up and has given the series 4 stars out of 5, adding, "Babar is a good role model who promotes sharing and getting along with others." [13] They continued to say that Parents Need to Know that "Although the show is an ideal pick for preschoolers, most kids will probably outgrow it by the time they're 7". The review ended by saying, "Many shows adapted from books tend to move at a slow pace. But Babar provides enough adventure and silliness to keep even the most active preschooler engaged. As an extra plus, the music is beautifully orchestrated. Babar exemplifies the lesson that all of us are the same on the inside. These elephants hold their trunks high, but they also know that money doesn't conquer all. Many kids' shows depict well-off characters as villainous and/or gluttonous; Babar shows kids that wealth doesn't necessarily equate to greed." [13]


In 1990, the TV series won a 7 d'Or award for Best Youth Program (Meilleure émission pour la jeunesse). In 1989, the TV series won a Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Patrick Loubert, Lenora Hume, Clive A. Smith, and Michael Hirsh). In 1990, the show won a Gemini for Best Animated Program or Series (Patrick Loubert, Michael Hirsh, and Clive A. Smith). It was also nominated for a Gemini award for Best Original Music Score for a Series (Milan Kymlicka). In 1992, the TV series won a Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series (Clive A. Smith, Patrick Loubert, and Michael Hirsh). [14]


Babar: The Movie

In 1989, New Line Cinema, Nelvana, and Astral Films announced that a film adaption of Babar would be released. This would be followed by a sequel released in 1999, titled Babar: King of the Elephants , and was released by Alliance Films theatrically and HBO Home Video as a direct-to-video film.

Babar and Father Christmas

The 1986 television film Babar and Father Christmas won the 1987 Gemini award for Best Animated Program or Series. [15] It first aired on HBO in the U.S. on December 5, 1986, on the CBC in Canada on December 15, 1986, on the BBC in the United Kingdom on Christmas Eve 1986 and on the ABC in Australia on Christmas Day 1987. The film's DVD title is also known as Babar et le Père Noël in France. The film was made in Canada. The song "Christmas in Celesteville" was featured in the TV film. Gary Morton wrote the music and Merilyn Read wrote the lyrics. John Brough, Geri Childs, Teresa Dunn, and Craig Kennedy are credited as singers. [16] [17]

2000 series

Babar (2000)
Genre Animation
Created bysee creator
Starring Dan Lett
Janet-Laine Green
Kyle Fairlie
Kristen Bone
Noah Reid
Philip Williams
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes13 (list of episodes)
Executive producersPatrick Loubert
Michael Hirsh
Clive A. Smith
Dan Danko
Tom K. Mason
Clifford Ross
ProducerAndrew Young
Running time23 minutes
Production companies Nelvana
The Clifford Ross Company
DistributorNelvana International
Original network Teletoon
Original releaseSeptember 23 (2000-09-23) 
December 16, 2000 (2000-12-16)
External links

There was a short-lived revival of the animated series in 2000 on Teletoon and KiKa, Nelvana Limited returned to preduce this series, alongside Ellipseanime and the Kodansha company. Most of the episodes for the revival series have Babar and his family traveling in a hot-air balloon to different Lands of Adventure, such as the Land of Toys. None of the cast from the previous series returned for the revival, though Dan Lett would go on to voice adult Pom in Babar and the Adventures of Badou .


No.TitleOriginal air dateHBO air date
1"The Departure"23 September 2000 (2000-09-23)6 July 2002
While being punished for their rowdy behavior, Alexander, Flora and Pom find their father's old magic map in a dusty corner of the attic.
2"Adventures on Big Island"30 September 2000 (2000-09-30)13 July 2002
Babar, Celeste, Zephir and the children arrive at their first destination only to find that everything on the island is bigger than usual. The plants are bigger, the fruit is bigger and even the people are bigger!
3"Land of Games"7 October 2000 (2000-10-07)20 July 2002
After landing their balloon on a giant chessboard, the gang realizes that they have come across a land filled with games!
4"Land of Toys"14 October 2000 (2000-10-14)27 July 2002
Alexander, Flora and Pom are overjoyed when they learn that their balloon has landed in a town inhabited by toys. Everyone appears to be happy until they follow their new friend Dora to a terrible factory for broken toys.
5"Land of Ice"21 October 2000 (2000-10-21)3 August 2002
A large wooden door in the middle of the jungle leads the family to the beautiful Land of Ice. Inside however, things aren't as playful as they had hoped.
6"Land of Pirates"28 October 2000 (2000-10-28)10 August 2002
While on a fishing adventure, Babar and his family get shipwrecked in a terrible storm. A pirate ship led by the Pirate Captain comes to their rescue and brings the family to the Pirate Mansion where a big feast is prepared.
7"Land of Witches"4 November 2000 (2000-11-04)17 August 2002
After following a path lined with flowers, the family finds themselves in a magical land inhabited by witches. The first friend they meet is a Witch-In-Training named Lulu.
8"Land of Mysterious Water"11 November 2000 (2000-11-11)24 August 2002
Babar, Celeste, Zephir and the children, come across a spring filled with mysterious water in this land of adventure. Surprisingly, the water allows them to float in the sky!
9"Land of The Underground"18 November 2000 (2000-11-18)31 August 2002
Looking for the next Land of Adventure, the family balloon crashes and falls into a large crevasse. This time, they find themselves in an enchanted underground city!
10"The Seabed Land"25 November 2000 (2000-11-25)7 September 2002
When the balloon lands on a small island in the middle of the ocean, they come across a giant sea turtle who shows them the way to their next land of adventure.
11"Land of the Treats"2 December 2000 (2000-12-02)14 September 2002
Babar and his family arrive in a town where everything is made out of treats and every store they go into has better tasting delicacies than the last! That is, until they find a bakery with the worst tasting cakes in the land!
12"Land of the Treasure Hunt"9 December 2000 (2000-12-09)21 September 2002
Babar and his family find themselves in the middle of a championship treasure hunt! The children are sure they can win; after all, they go on treasure hunts all the time back home in Celesteville!
13"Land of Happiness"16 December 2000 (2000-12-16)28 September 2002
Once Babar and his family journey through this final land, they should be able to reach the fabled Land of Happiness. That, of course, is easier said than done!


See also

Related Research Articles

Babar the Elephant Fictional character

Babar the Elephant is an elephant character who first appeared in 1931 in the French children's book Histoire de Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.

Nelvana Animation studio in Toronto, Canada

Nelvana Enterprises, Inc. is a Canadian animation studio and entertainment company owned by Corus Entertainment. Founded on July 30, 1971 by Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert and Clive A. Smith, it was named after Nelvana of the Northern Lights, the first Canadian national superhero. The company's production logo is a polar bear looking at the North Star.

Babars Kingdom

Created by Jean de Brunhoff between 1931 and 1937, Babar's Kingdom, also known in French as Le pays des Éléphants, is a fictional country supposedly in West Africa with French characteristics that is composed of elephants and other animals, which are usually bipedal and “civilized.” As its name implies, it is ruled by its first civilized citizen, Babar himself. The political regime is an elective monarchy, as described in the book The Story of Babar, which explains his election as king after the previous king dies from eating a bad mushroom. The court consists of King Babar, Queen Celeste, Royal Princes and Princesses, Arthur, Pompadour, Troubadour, and Cornelius, who also serves as Secretary of Defense and a Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Old Lady and her monkey Zephyr complete the court.

Ellipsanime is a French animation studio that produces television programs. It was founded in 1987. In February 2000 it merged with Expand SA; Expand sold the company to Dargaud in 2003 and it became Ellipsanime in 2004. In 2014, Ellipsanime bought the assets of Moonscoop SA.

Jean de Brunhoff French artist and writer

Jean de Brunhoff was a French writer and illustrator remembered best for creating the Babar series of children's books concerning a fictional elephant, the first of which was published in 1931.

Laurent de Brunhoff

Laurent de Brunhoff is a French author and illustrator, known primarily for continuing the Babar the Elephant series of children's books that was created by his father, Jean de Brunhoff.

Christopher John Wiggins was an English-born Canadian actor.

Cécile de Brunhoff was a French storyteller and the creator of the original Babar story. She was also a classically trained pianist.

Jayne Eastwood, also credited as Jane Easton or Jane Eastwood, is a Canadian actress and comedian. She is best known for her film roles as Anna-Marie Biddlecoff in the comedy film Finders Keepers (1984), Judy the Waitress in the Christmas film The Santa Clause (1994), Mrs. White in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) and its 2016 sequel, Mrs. Borusewicz in Chicago (2002), Lucy Decker in the comedy Welcome to Mooseport (2004) and Miss Wimsey in the musical film Hairspray (2007).

Peter Sauder is a Canadian film and TV writer, television producer and animator best known for his contributions to Nelvana franchises such as Care Bears, Babar, Strawberry Shortcake and Droids. Peter also wrote the first ever story for another hit Nelvana series, Franklin. He is sometimes credited as Pete Sauder.

Frank Luther was an American country music singer, dance band vocalist, playwright, songwriter and pianist.

Rataxes, or Lord Rataxes, is a fictional rhinoceros who is a character in the Babar universe. Although he is the monarch de jure of his kingdom, called Rhinoland, his more intelligent wife, Lady Rataxes, is the de facto ruler. He is often surrounded by his rhinoceros guards. These guards also keep watch for cars, to collect tolls on the roads that pass through the kingdom. It is said that King Rataxes got his name from these tolls, so it is questionable if "Rataxes" is his real name or a sobriquet.

<i>Babar: The Movie</i> 1989 Canadian film

Babar: The Movie is a 1989 Canadian-French traditionally animated adventure film based on the characters of Jean de Brunhoff's eponymous children's books. It serves as the season finale to the first season of the TV series, as the second season started airing shortly after.

Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse is a Canadian/Chinese children's animated television show co-produced by Nelvana and Hong Guang Animation for Teletoon and PBS Kids. It tells the stories of a young horse named Marvin who is part of a carnival. Among the executive producers are Michael Paraskevas and Betty Paraskevas, creators of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, who also created the book that the show is based on. The show aired on PBS Kids in the United States as part of the PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch from 2000 to 2004. In Canada, it aired on Teletoon, and in the United Kingdom, the series also aired on Tiny Pop. In 2007, reruns of the show began airing on Qubo in the US, with airing wrapping up in July 2020.

<i>Babar: King of the Elephants</i> 1999 film

Babar: King of the Elephants is a 1999 Canadian-French-German traditionally animated film directed by Raymond Jafelice and made by Nelvana Limited, Home Made Movies, and TMO-Loonland, in association with The Clifford Ross Company. The film was released in theaters in Canada by Alliance Communications and in the US by HBO Home Video. It is the second film based on Jean de Brunhoff's original book series, following Babar: The Movie. The story chronicles the events of the first four Babar books.

<i>Babars Museum of Art</i>

Babar's Museum of Art was the collaborative product of Laurent de Brunhoff (illustrations) and his wife Phyllis Rose de Brunhoff (text) for the Babar the Elephant series. The aim was to introduce different notable works of art found in museums around the world, mostly paintings, but also including sculptures. The human subjects in these artworks were re-interpreted as elephants.

Elizabeth Hanna is a Canadian film and television actress, most notable for her voice acting work in animated films. She later complemented her voice acting skills by becoming a speech-language pathologist. She is also the voice of Miss Biscuit on Corn & Peg.

<i>Babar and the Adventures of Badou</i>

Babar and the Adventures of Badou is a Canadian/French computer-animated children's television series that premiered in 2010 based on the characters created by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff. The series takes place several years after the original series and has created new characters to the Babar universe, including Badou, who is Babar's 8-year-old grandson and the protagonist of the series. The series is co-produced by Nelvana, TeamTO and LuxAnimation, in co-production with TF1 and with the participation of Playhouse Disney France/The Walt Disney Company France.

Jeff Pustil is a Canadian actor, director and writer. He is best known for his role as Jack Christian in the television series Check It Out!.


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  6. Lady Retaxes' real name, Louise, is revealed in the episode "No Place Like Home"
  7. Babar - The Missing Crown Affair
  8. Babar - School Days
  9. King Tuttle's Vote
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