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The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon is a Canadian children's television series which aired in Canada on YTV and the United States on public television stations, through Tampa, Florida PBS member station WEDU. The show ran for five seasons from 1993 to 1997, with reruns continued until 1999. It was a live-action show incorporating actors, full body costume characters (notably the titular dragon) and puppets. The story follows Dudley, a dragon who recently woke up from centuries of hibernation and his new ten-year-old friends Matt and Sally. The two kids would guide Dudley around the modern world and the trio would learn about environmentalism, friendship and pro-social values.

Besides Matt and Sally, Dudley was later joined by other kids, Terry, Julia, Mickey and Laura. Other recurring characters included a laid back frog named Sammy, the Robins, a grouchy apple tree named Mr. Crabby Tree and a lovable caveman.

Graham Greene won a Gemini Award in 1994 for his role, and was nominated in 1998 for the episode The Tiny Little Raincloud. Jackie Burroughs was also nominated in 1994 for the same award, for her performance in the episode High Flying Dragon.

History with the Macy's Parade

Two years after the inception of The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon, PBS partnered with Macy's to help produce a giant helium balloon of the titular character, Dudley the Dragon.  

In August of 1995, Manfred Bass, then-head Parade designer, started sketching concepts for the balloon after watching clips and looking at pictures of Dudley. Once the design was finalized, Macy's worked closely with PBS executives as they molded clay onto a steel armature, resulting in a final scale model of the Dudley balloon. After seaming together miles of seams and painting the 68-foot tall dragon, Dudley crossed the Hudson River, arriving incognito for his test flight. At this test flight, he was flown with two White Macy's Stars.  

Weeks later, Parade day had arrived. Hopes were high for the Dudley balloon, as a special segment was produced for The Today Show, featuring Dudley go from a pencil drawing to a giant balloon. This excitement, however, was short-lived. Due to an accident (read below), Dudley had to be deflated and removed from the Parade, and in order to make up for it, the NBC telecast used archival footage from the balloon's test flight to fill in his supposed live appearance at Herald Square. 

A year after the incident, Jean McFadden confirmed that Dudley would be a no-show for the Parade's 70th Anniversary. When asked why, McFadden responded "We wanted to find the balloons that the kids love the most," she said. Despite a promise to bring him back in 1997, the Dudley balloon would lay dormant in the Parade Studio for good, after his show ended that same year. This makes him one of only two units in the Parade -- the other being the Blue Holiday Ornament balloonicle -- to never reach 34th Street. 

Sometime in 2011, when the Parade Studio was moving to a new location, many balloons were disposed of, with Dudley being one of them. Due to the extreme obscurity of his show, it is very unlikely that Dudley will ever return to the Parade in any form.

Music

  • The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon Theme Song (Instrumental, 1995)

Incident

  • Mere moments after the Dudley balloon had stepped off at Central Park West and 77th Street, wind wreaked havoc. A sharp crosswind blew Dudley into a lamppost, showering the crowd below with glass, leaving one person with minor injuries. The balloon rapidly lost helium and was eventually removed around Columbus Circle. He was discretely deflated and shipped back to the Parade Studio. After the accident, his handlers would go their separate ways and help out Betty Boop and The Pink Panther.  

Trivia

  • Dudley, along with the first Ronald McDonald, have models that were constructed without their three balloons, most likely because they were just spheres and not complex shapes. Also, he, the first Ronald McDonald, and Olive Oyl are the only giant balloons designed to be holding some balloons.
  • As mentioned above, Dudley was originally scheduled to be back in the 1997 Parade, but it ended up not happening due to his show's ending on September 13th of that year.

Gallery

Gallery: Dudley the Dragon

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