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|Li'l Elvis and the Truckstoppers|
|Created by||Peter Viska and Esben Storm|
|Written by||Ray Boseley|
|Directed by||Peter Viska|
Jan Van Rijsselberge
Bill Ten Eyck
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producers||Dr. Patricia Edgar|
|Running time||26 - 24 minutes|
|Original network||ABC Television|
|Original release||6 March –|
14 April 1998
Li'l Elvis and the Truckstoppers is the Australian Children's Television Foundation's (ACTF's) first joint venture under the Distinctly Australian Program introduced by Prime Minister Paul Keating. The Director of the ACTF Dr Patricia Edgar selected Peter Viska's character Li'l Elvis to design and co-produce the ACTF's first long-form 26-episode-series animation. As an original concept, not commissioned from overseas or based on an adaption of a classic story, production of the series on this scale was a massive undertaking for the Australian animation industry. With Li'l Elvis, an $11.5 million project, the ACTF opened up a new overseas market in partnership with France 2 and France Animation, a French production company, and Ravensburger, a German distributor, with the financial participation of Centre national de la cinématographie.A team of ninety animators and artists worked for 18 months including thirty- nine trainees were employed on the production in support roles.
The story follows a group of children and their adventures in outback Australia.
The title character of the series, Li'l Elvis, is a ten-year-old boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Lil Elvis has a gift for music, a talent for trouble, and a desire for only one thing: to find out who he really is and be a normal kid again. The opening sequence and music reveal that he was thrown out of a gold Cadillac in a guitar case, hinting that he is the illegitimate child of Elvis Presley. He is raised by foster parents, truck-stop proprietors Grace and Len, who are fervent fans of Elvis Presley. As Li'l Elvis is musically talented, singing and playing the guitar, his foster mother is convinced he is the son of Elvis Presley.
Li'l Elvis and his two friends, Lionel and Janet, form the band "The Truckstoppers", and the series follows their adventures in the outback town of Little Memphis (formerly Wanapoo). Lionel is an Indigenous Australian who plays the didgeridoo and has a penchant for exclaiming "deadly", while Janet is a beret-wearing Asian Australian girl who plays the drums standing up, similar to The Velvet Underground's drummer Maureen Tucker.
The Truckstoppers' recurring enemy is the businessman W.C. Moore, who wants to become their manager to exploit them commercially, turning Little Memphis into a tourist attraction. He is also obsessed with finding deposits of the mysterious mineral Berkonium. He has a Berkonium marble, which he uses to beat children at the game of marbles, their major recreational activity. He also frequently electrically zaps his hapless limousine driver, Duncan.
|1||"Caught in a Trap"||Chris Anastassiades, Cameron Clarke and Esben Storm||1997|
|Tired of having to play the King's music every day at his adoptive parents' diner, The Roadhouse, Li'l Elvis wants to stop being the town of Wannapoo's, in the outback of Australia, entertainment. When obnoxious Janet Rig moves into town and provides Li'l Elvis and his best friend Lionel with a drumbeat, they decide to form a band, known as The Truckstoppers, and the didgibilli sound is born. Meanwhile, legendary billionaire W.C. Moore moves into town to discover Barkonium Baron all around Wannapoo and plans to collect the material in hopes of becoming even richer, while also coming up with big plans for the town.|
|2||"Boggled"||Chris Anastassiades and Wain Fimeri||1997|
|WC Moore plans on transforming Wannapoo into a 1950's styled theme park, based on Li'l Elvis and the Truckstoppers and re-naming the town Li'l Memphis. When WC promises to bring Goondianna Smith, Li'l Elvis' hero, to the official ceremony of the theme park, everyone is excited; everyone except Li'l Elvis and promises to get rid of W.C's influence on the town. Meanwhile, the Truckstoppers hear a rumour about an old Bog-Man who lives below Li'l Memphis. Li'l Elvis and his friends go off to find the mysterious creature while trying to ignore W.C's plans.|
|3||"Li'l Memphis PTD"||Ray Boseley and Susan Macgillicuddy||1997|
|While working on projects at school for Parent Teacher Day, Janet pretends she doesn't care that her mother can't come as she's busy driving around Australia as a trucker. Janet makes up an excuse for her mother's absence and tells her classmates about the myth of the scary skull truck, a demonic trucker that her mother must fight against, protecting all of Australia's towns and cities.|
|4||"Wandering Star"||Susie Campbell and Cameron Clarke||1997|
|W.C. Moore plans on putting on televised performance for the Truckstoppers so they can perform and be seen all around the world, showcasing their talent. When Lionel's Grandfather, Dex, an ex-country singer, gives a pep-talk to the Truckstoppers and tells them about the reality of performing, Li'l Elvis and the Truckstoppers run away finding the whole idea too scary and getting stage fright. Li'l Elvis, Lionel and Janet disappear into the dessert to hide while WC Moore gets rescuers to go find the band.|
|5||"I Hate My Own Birthday"||John Armstrong||1997|
|Since Li'l Elvis was found on the anniversary of the King's death, he must celebrate his day with Len and Grace's favourite celebrity and he hates it, never getting any attention. When the famous hypnotist-interviewer, Dick Collingwood, comes to town to interview Li'l Elvis, he gets the idea to use Dick to find out the truth about how his parents found him and what happened on that night he was left at their doorstep. Meanwhile, Janet and Lionel want to make Li'l Elvis' birthday the best birthday ever by getting him whatever he wants but all Li'l Elvis wants is to go surfing, despite living in the middle of the Australian outback.|
|6||"You Can't Buy The Playground"||Chris Anastassiades, Cameron Clarke and Mark Hopkins||1997|
|Li'l Elvis wants to join the school football team but he has a lot to learn. The amount of time practising for the team affects Li'l Elvis' performing skills on stage and WC Moore has had enough. He builds a remote control football for Li'l Elvis and convinces the other players to stay out of his way during matches by bribing them with money, so he can be champion and become confident during football matches and performing with the Truckstoppers.|
|7||"Goondianna Smith, the Wonder Years"||Chris Anastassiades||1997|
|Goondianna Smith and Scotty, Li'l Elvis' favourite movie stars, are coming to Li’l Memphis to film “Goondianna Smith, the Wonder Years” and all of Lil' Memphis is buzzing with excitement. Li'l Elvis and Lionel land the roles of the two heroes and it's a dream come true. When Goondi says he is more important than Scotty, who is just a sidekick, the whole town is divided. Film production ends up being a disaster and the Truckstoppers must convince Goondi and Scotty to be friends again so filming can continue.|
|8||"Monkey Sea, Monkey Doo"||John Armstrong||1997|
|Li'l Elvis wants a pet but his mother thinks he's too irresponsible. Li'l Elvis discovers Sea Monkeys, the perfect low maintenance pet at a really cheap price. After buying them and realising they're just wriggly bits of algae, Li'l Elvis abandons his pets and gets transported to the Sea Monkey world, where the Sea Monkeys are determined to make him pay. Meanwhile, the town watches Herb "Brittle Bones" Petrankovic's attempt at a new land speed record.|
|9||"Bearing All"||Kevin Nemeth||1997|
|After looking for more merchandising opportunities, WC Moore finds out about Li'l Elvis' favourite sporting hero, Roy Reno, and he decides to bring Roy to Li'l Memphis to meet his biggest fan. Li'l Elvis is excited to meet his favourite footballer and WC can't wait to get all the profits. However, the meeting between Li'l Elvis and Roy turns into a fiasco when he realises that Roy isn't really such a tough or strong guy after all after finding out one his deep secrets.|
|10||"It's a Dog's Life"||John Armstrong, Pepe Trevor||1997|
|WC Moore plans on chaining up a local resident's dog, Anzac, because he's too violent and angry around visitors in town. The Truckstoppers secretly re-train the junk-yard dog to be nice to tourists so he won't get chained up and they work day and night in hopes of getting Anzac to control himself around the town's visitors. The Truckstoppers are exhausted by are still determined to train Anzac into becoming a loving, sweet dog. Meanwhile, WC tells Grace the Truckstoppers should do more shows at the Roadhouse or else they'll end up becoming lazy, with bad attitudes and wasted lives.|
|11||"D.I.V.O.R.C.E"||Chris Anastassiades, Cameron Clarke and Vicki Madden||1997|
|After coming up with so many plans on taking control over Li'l Elvis' career fail, WC finally comes up with his craziest scheme yet. He hires a lawyer, Rhonda Rorts, who convinces the kids of Li'l Memphis to divorce themselves from their own parents after telling the children they can do whatever they want, including no home-work and junk food diets. Li'l Elvis soon realises that the plan was only made so WC can adopt him and take over his career, so he must try and get to the court-room trial on time to tell the kids about WC's true and evil plan.|
|12||"Duncan's Big Day Out"||John Armstrong, Kevin Nemeth||1997|
|On the way to a concert, the Truckstoppers convince Duncan, WC's loyal limo driver, to visit his old town that he has fond memories of. As they arrive in Greensburg, the Truckstoppers and Duncan are shocked to find the citizens of the town turn on them on sight. The Truckstoppers learn that the town was destroyed by WC Moore, in order to find the material Berkonium, and was sucked dry and left in an unpleasant state, with Duncan regretfully helping WC along the way in order to achieve his goal.|
|13||"Fun in Apapulcolypse Now"||Chris Anastassiades and Gene Conkie||1997|
|Li'l Elvis discovers that famous Elvis Presley impersonator, Willard Kurtz, drove through the town of Li'l Memphis and performed a concert in town on the night he was left on Len and Grace's doorstep. Li'l Elvis believes that Willard is his father and the key to his true identity. Despite what his parents say, Li'l Elvis ignores their arguments and travels through Li'l Memphis' mine tunnels with Janet and Lionel in search of Willard's last whereabouts; the Dark Heart Bar, so he can solve the mystery of his real father once and for all.|
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