Richard Scarry (June 5, 1919 - April 30, 1994) was an American children's author and illustrator known for his anthropomorphic animals, particularly those of the "Busytown" books, which were later adapted by Cinar (now Cookie Jar) into an animated series, The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Additionally there was a series of educational Direct to Video releases made by Jumbo Pictures. The direct-to-videos are:
- Richard Scarry's Best ABC Video Ever! (1989)
- Richard Scarry's Best Counting Video Ever! (1989)
- Richard Scarry's Best Busy People Video Ever! (1993)
- Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever! (1993)
- Richard Scarry's Best Silly Stories and Songs Video Ever! (1994)
- Richard Scarry's Best Sing-Along Mother Goose Video Ever! (1994)
The most recent adaptation of the characters is Busytown Mysteries (also known as "Hurray For Huckle" in some regions), also by Cookie Jar.
Works by Richard Scarry provide examples of:
- Alliterative Name (but not with every character)
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Everyone except Lowly Worm, the one member of the cast who doesn't have feet--but wears a shoe anyway.
- Carnivore Confusion: The problem of who eats who is ignored. In fact one can find a family of jolly pigs at the supermarket checking out the butcher's selection. Yes, they are selling bacon, pork and ham.
- And let's not forget the farmer pigs raising pigs in one of the books!
- Cute Kitten: Huckle, an anthropomorphic kitten.
- Does Not Know His Own Strength: Hilda, an anthropomorphic hippo child, accidentally rips a door off its hinges when she is told to open the door so the students can go out to play. Later, when the door is fixed, she rips out the door along with part of the wall when she attempts the same thing.
- Exposed Animal Bellybutton: Huckle has one in the last page of Richard Scarry's Best Little Word Book Ever.
- Flying Car: Lowly apparently drives an apple-shaped car that also serves as a helicopter since its "leaves" actually function as the helicopter's blades. Except how the heck is he able to drive it if he doesn't have any arms?
- Funny Animal
- Honorable Elephant: Polite Elephant.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Huckle's yellow shirt and red/green overalls.
- It's the Best Whatever Ever!
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Messy Pig: A lot of the pig residents, although they aren't messy.
- Right Way, Wrong Way Pair: Pig Will and Pig Won't.
- Species Surname (but not with every character)
- Steam Never Dies: Most locomotives in his books are of the steam variety: the only time a diesel locomotive is ever shown in their world is in Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever.
- World of Funny Animals
The Busy World of Richard Scarry
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The brothers Pig Will and Pig Won't, who somehow manage to embody this Aesop using only two people. As their names suggest, one agrees to every request or offer, and the other refuses every offer. No matter what their giggly hippo babysitter asks them to do, Pig Won't's refusal ends up making him miserable... somehow. Even when it's a simple preference not to play a certain game. One wonders how, exactly, Pig Will would cope with being so "agreeable"/mentally pliable in the outside world, without the protection of a benign authority figure.
- In the original book Pig Won't would always say "I won't", without even thinking about it. So one day when their father asks who wants to go with him to visit the fire station, Pig Won't declares "I won't". At the fire station, Pig Will gets to play with the dalmatian, wear a fire suit, play with the fire hose (with adult supervision), and it all ends with an all-you-can-eat hot fudge sundae orgy! When Pig Won't sees all the fun Pig Will had, he immediately becomes Pig Me Too. The moral's supposed to be: "Don't just blindly disobey your folks, because you might miss out on some pretty cool stuff!", but reeks more of "Obey all orders without question, and you'll get a treat! You know, a treat, like a dog gets for not shitting on the carpet!". When Pig Me Too enters the real world and stops getting treats for obeying, he's going to feel like a dumbass.
- Edutainment Show
- Everything Is Big in Texas: This show featured a parody of the story about a nameless Dutch boy who plugged a hole in a dike with his finger, which first appeared as "The Hero of Haarlem," a story being read aloud within Mary Mapes Dodge's 1865 novel, Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates. There was a fat tourist from Texas waltzing about, taking pictures of windmills and tulips, while making comments about how everything was bigger in Texas. When the hole in the dike turned out to be too big to be filled with just Hans' finger, he and his friends save the day by stuffing said tourist into the hole.
- Logo Joke / Match Cut: The Paramount logo morphs into a mountain in Busytown which the Applecopter promptly flies out from behind, again via a fade.
- Road Sign Reversal: In one episode, an inadequately supported sign flips and sends people looking for a stall selling corn into the middle of a cornfield, causing them to become Lost in the Maize.
- Shipper on Deck: Hilda Hippo for...pretty much anyone who looks like they might make a viable couple.
- Suddenly Voiced: Lowly Worm talks in this series, but not in other Busytown-related works.
- Took a Level In Jerkass: Hilda Hippo becomes a total jerk in this show.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story
- Added Alliterative Appeal: In Richard Scarry's Best ABC Video Ever, all of the students names begin with the letter they're holding (e.g.: Freddie Fox has the letter F, Huckle Cat has the letter H, etc.)
- Art Evolution: The first two videos, Richard Scarry's Best ABC Video Ever and Richard Scarry's Best Counting Video Ever, are produced by a different animation studio, so they were done with rather Limited Animation; but in the Jumbo Pictures videos that follow them, the animation has gotten a lot better and much more fluid than its predecessors.
- Banana Peel / Epic Fail: After Freddie finishes his counting song about numbers in Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever, he slips on a banana peel and grabs onto the curtain, accidentally pulling it down and ruining the stage. This results in him and some of the other kids getting buried under the curtain.
Huckle: Ladies and gentlemen, we're experiencing technical difficulties. Please take a fifteen-minute intermission.
- Comically Missing the Point: Libby Leopard in Richard Scarry's Best ABC Video Ever mistakenly jumps over Kathy's turn with the letter L after the letter J was finished. Miss Honey tells her that L doesn't come after J.
Libby: I'm next! I'm next! I've got the letter L!
Miss Honey: I'm sorry, Libby. But L doesn't come after J.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Happens frequently in some videos, such as Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever.
- Edutainment Show
- Running Gag: In Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever, Bananas Gorilla always comes up seeing a banana, says "Banana!" and takes the banana.
- Scenery Porn: The videos made after Richard Scarry's Best Counting Video Ever. Just look at the colorful animation and backgrounds!
- Sleepyhead: Quincy in Richard Scarry's Best ABC Video Ever.
- Variety Show: Premise of Richard Scarry's Best Learning Songs Video Ever.
- ↑ which is basically an anatomy picture