Channel Umptee-3 (also known simply as Umptee-3) is a Saturday morning animated television series created by Jim George and produced by Norman Lear. It aired on The WB as part of the Kids' WB programming block in 1997. This one-season cartoon show was designed to teach kids to appreciate the wonders of everyday things, such as sleep and water. The title is derived from the fictitious number "umpteen". It was also the last television series that Lear was involved in as an executive producer until the 2017 reboot of One Day at a Time.
|Created by||Jim George|
|Developed by||Jim George|
|Directed by||Chris Headrick|
Michael Peraza Jr.
|Voices of||Gregg Berger|
|Theme music composer||Walter Murphy|
|Opening theme||"Channel Umptee-3 Theme" by Rob Paulsen, David Paymer, and Jonathan Harris|
|Ending theme||"Channel Umptee-3 Theme" (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John Baskin|
|Running time||21 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Adelaide Productions |
Act III Television
Enchanted George Productions
Columbia TriStar Television
|Distributor||Sony Pictures Television|
|Original network||The WB|
|Audio format||Dolby Surround|
|Original release||October 20, 1997 –|
February 25, 1998
Ogden Ostrich, Holey Moley (a mole), and Sheldon S. Cargo (a snail) drive around the world in a van with their own underground television station. Channel Umptee-3, which exists between other channels and is broadcast from a mobile station, tries to focus on a specific topic in each episode, but is usually diverted from it and shifted onto another topic; e.g., one episode started out discussing cats, but quickly segued into the subject of ownership (which was the real topic of that show). Meanwhile, “The Frumps” (i.e., Stickley Rickets and his henchmen) would try to shut the station down or increase their own power, but whatever plan they came up with would fail.
The show made great use of stock footage, as did the earlier WB show Freakazoid! Also, the show sometimes made references to well-known movies and TV shows; e.g., the episode “Yours, Mine, and Ours” included references to Cats, Harvey, Star Wars, Dragnet, and The People’s Court, and the title was that of a classic movie.
- Ogden O. Ostrich (Rob Paulsen) - An excitable yellow ostrich who first came up with the idea for a television program to show everyone that “the world is a magical place” after pulling his head out of the ground one day and looking at the world around him. At the start of every episode, Ogden comes running up the camera yelling “Hey!” over and over.
- Holey Moley - A pantomime character. He is a large mole who carries a number of portable holes that allow him and his friends to go anywhere.
- Sheldon S. Cargo (David Paymer) - A large pink snail whose shell is fitted with a unicycle-like wheel to help him get around. Sheldon is the serious, professional member of the team; he tries his best to hold the show together, despite Ogden's almost hyperactive behavior. His name is derived from “escargot.”
- Professor Edwin I. Relevant (Greg Burson) - The station's resident expert on everything. Ogden and the others turn to Professor Relevant for information on the day's topic in almost every episode.
- Test and Polly (Neil Ross and Susan Silo) - two newscasters who work for Channel Umptee-3.
- Stickley Rickets (voiced by Jonathan Harris) - The elderly president of a corporation that produces boxes. Because the “Umptee-doodies” (as he calls them) encourage people to take things out of boxes and look at them in a new way, he sees them as a threat to his business. So he constantly plots to shut them down and “put them in a box, where they belong.”
- Pandora Rickets (voiced by Alice Ghostley) - Stickley's wife. She isn't nearly as obsessed as her husband where the Umptees are concerned. Pandora even likes to watch some of the shows, although she doesn't want Stickley to find out. Her name is derived from “Pandora’s box.”
- Ed and Bud (voiced by Neil Ross and Gregg Berger) - Two black-suited henchmen who carry out Stickley's orders and are almost never successful. Ed is the taller one, and Bud is the shorter, balding one.
Other voice actors who appeared on the show included:
|Nº||Title||Topic||Original air date|
|1||"The Music Show"||Music||October 25, 1997|
|2||"Umptee Sunrise"||The sun||November 1, 1997|
|3||"The U.F.O. Show"||UFOs and extraterrestrial life||November 8, 1997|
|4||"What’s So Funny"||Laughter and humor||November 15, 1997|
|5||"The Now Voyagers"||Time||November 22, 1997|
|6||"Just Add Water"||Water||December 6, 1997|
|7||"Perchance to Dream"||Sleep and dreams||December 19, 1997|
|8||"Sale of the Century"||Money||January 2, 1998|
|9||"The Fear Show"||Fear||January 9, 1998|
|10||"The Weather Show"||Weather||January 16, 1998|
|11||"Yours, Mine, and Ours"||Ownership||February 6, 1998|
|12||"The Lying Show"||Truth and lies||February 13, 1998|
|13||"Words Are Weird"||Words||February 20, 1998|
Due to the short run and general obscurity of Channel Umptee-3, only four episodes and the intro music have been found publically after it's initial airing. Originally, the second, third, tenth and twelfth episodes were posted to YouTube, but they were blocked worldwide by Sony Pictures, leading them to be posted elsewhere, ultimately on the Internet Archive.
Currently, Sony Pictures Television has the full rights to Channel Umptee-3, and has the option to provide the series for streaming content providers. As of 2019, it is not yet available on any streaming platform.
- Unknown author (September 14, 2007). "WB's 'Umptee-3' has Norman Lear's signature". Variety. USA. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- James Collins; Jeanne McDowell; William Tynan (November 24, 2007). "TELEVISION: TUBE FOR TOTS". Time Magazine. USA. Retrieved 28 May 2011.