HBO Classics: Down in Fraggle Rock

Jim Henson surrounded by Fraggles

Have you ever had a feeling of Nostalgia? Well, let’s take a trip through the years, on back to the magical 80’s to a place called Fraggle Rock. Here you can “Dance your cares away” and “leave your worries for another day”. And if that doesn’t get the memorable theme song stuck in your head, nothing will.

Fraggle rock is one of the many iconic televisions shows to be created by the legendary Jim Henson, and one of HBO’s earliest children’s series. The series debuted in 1983 and had a rather successful 96 episodes over 5 seasons and even spawned a 1987 animated spin-off. There have even been rumors and rumblings of a feature film as recent as 2012.

Fraggle Rock spawned an animated spin-off in 1987

The show centered on a group of small, fuzzy critters that lived in a hole in the wall (literally) who get into various short lived misadventures and teach us all how to deal with serious issues such as prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, the environment, and social conflict.

Doc and his spry dog Sprocket live in a house infested with these educational little creatures, but he spends the bulk of the series never knowing his house built on top of the vast Fraggle Rock. The Fraggles are not alone on the rock either, sharing it with the diligent Doozers, giant Gorgs, and an all knowing trash heap called Marjory.

The heroes of The Rock are a rag tag bunch of Fraggles named Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, and Red. These diminutive, but light-hearted Fraggle friends never fail to come through for each other. They face fear, discrimination, persecution, kidnappings and swim meets, but no matter the dangers, they always remain friends.

The Fraggles and Marjory, the “All Knowing Trash Heap”

Gobo’s Travelling Uncle Max provides a unique perspective on “Outer Space” (the world outside Fraggle Rock) as he travels among us “Silly Creatures” and relates his adventures through postcards to the Rock bound Fraggles.

Over time, the Fraggles befriend the Gorgs, Doozers and even Doc. It proves that with the right outlook on life, and few close friends, you can overcome anything.

Jim Henson once described Fraggle Rock as “a high-energy, raucous musical romp. It’s a lot of silliness. It’s wonderful.” His inspirational messages of equality, tolerance and brotherly love helped mold generations of children, and Fraggle Rock is a wonderful piece of his mosaic of work.

Doc and Sprocket

The show was ground breaking in many ways. It was the first Henson series to be created with the intention of being accessible to the international market. Filmed in Toronto, Henson said the show set out to make a positive statement and when the show finally rapped, concluded “I think the body of work of Fraggle Rock is something that’s going to stay around and I think it’s going to be something we are going to be really proud of for a long time. I think that’s really nice.”

Fraggle Rock has become a staple for many people who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, and has left an indelible mark in the development of millions of people around the world. As I look back on fond childhood memories, I recall that I did not think of Fraggle Rock as something life changing at the time, but over the years I have watched syndicated episodes and have come to realize just how much influence shows like this really had on people like me.

Now the show is 30 years old, and it is still out in the world. I think Jim Henson and HBO should proud of the work they did. And I think, whether you have children or not, Fraggle Rock is one [amazon_link id=”B002LYD2LW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]DVD collection[/amazon_link] that everyone should own.

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