Hey Arnold! is an American animated children's television series created by Craig Bartlett that aired on Nickelodeon from October 7, 1996, to June 8, 2004. The show centers on a fourth grader named Arnold, who lives with his grandparents in an inner-city boarding house. Episodes center on his experiences navigating big city life while dealing with the problems he and his friends encounter.
|Created by||Craig Bartlett|
|Based on||Arnold shorts|
by Craig Bartlett
|Developed by||Craig Bartlett|
|Creative director(s)||Tuck Tucker|
|Voices of||Toran Caudell (seasons 1–2)|
Phillip Van Dyke (seasons 2–3)
Spencer Klein (seasons 4–5)
Alex D. Linz (season 5)
Jamil Walker Smith
Francesca Marie Smith
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||100 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Craig Bartlett|
Steve Viksten (Season 5)
Joe Ansolabehere (Season 1)
Steve Viksten (Seasons 1–4)
Joseph Purdy (Seasons 2–5)
Michelle Lamoreaux (Season 5)
Jamie Mitchell (Season 1)
Kathrin Seitz (Season 1)
Steve Socki (Seasons 4–5)
Donna Smith (Seasons 3–5)
Melinda Dilger (Seasons 1–2)
Kelly Crews (Season 5)
Ryan Slater (Season 5)
Michael Lessa (Seasons 1–4)
Michael Lessa (Seasons 1–4)
|Running time||23 minutes (two 11-minute segments each)|
|Production company(s)||Snee-Oosh, Inc.|
Nickelodeon Animation Studios (1998-2004) (as Games Animation (used on pilot and season 1)
|Distributor||Viacom Media Networks|
|Picture format||480i/576i (4:3 SDTV)|
1080p (16:9 HDTV) (2017 TV special)
|Original release||October 7, 1996 –|
June 8, 2004
Bartlett's idea for the show is based on a minor character named Arnold whom he created while working on Pee-wee's Playhouse. The executives enjoyed the character, and Bartlett completed the cast by drawing inspiration from people he grew up with in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Bartlett created the pilot episode in his living room in 1994 and official production began in 1995. The animators worked to transform Arnold from clay animation to cel animation, leading to the series premiere. The show finished production in 2001 after 5 seasons and 100 episodes. A feature film based on the series, Hey Arnold!: The Movie, was released in 2002. All five seasons have been released on DVD.
A television film continuation of the series, Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, was green-lit. It picks up from where the series ended and resolved unanswered plot lines of the story. The film premiered on November 24, 2017, on Nickelodeon.
Hey Arnold! stars nine-year-old Arnold (voiced by Toran Caudell; Phillip Van Dyke; Spencer Klein; Alex D. Linz and Mason Vale Cotton) and his neighborhood friends: Gerald (voiced by Jamil Walker Smith and Benjamin Flores Jr.), a street-smart character who generally serves as the leader of the group, and Helga (Francesca Marie Smith), a girl who bullies Arnold in order to hide the fact that she is in love with him. Bartlett drew inspiration from people he grew up with when creating the characters for the show.
Arnold lives with his eccentric but loving paternal grandparents, Phil (Dan Castellaneta) and Gertrude (Tress MacNeille), proprietors of the Sunset Arms boarding house, in the fictional city of Hillwood. In each episode, he often helps a schoolmate or boarding home tenant in solving a personal problem or encounters a predicament of his own. Many episodes involve urban legends usually told by Gerald, such as superheroes or headless horsemen.
Other characters include students and faculty at P.S. 118, Arnold's school, and citizens of Hillwood. Certain episodes focus on the lives of supporting characters, such as the tenants of the boarding house that Arnold's grandparents own.
Hey Arnold! takes place in the fictional American city of Hillwood. While its geographic location is never revealed outright, Bartlett described the city as "an amalgam of large northern cities I have loved, including Seattle (my hometown), Portland (where I went to art school) and Brooklyn (the bridge, the brownstones, the subway)". Bartlett, having grown up in Seattle, based many of the show's events on his own experience growing up in the city. Evan Levine of the Houston Chronicle commented on the series, "backdrop of dark streets, nighttime adventures and rundown buildings, all seen from a child's point of view".
Animator Craig Bartlett graduated from Anacortes High School and obtained a degree in communications from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. During high school and college, he studied painting and sculpture at the Museum Art School in Portland, and his first job after college was at Will Vinton Productions, a claymation studio. Originally, Bartlett intended to become a painter "in the 19th-century sense", but he became interested in animation during a trip to Italy.
In 1987, while working on Pee-wee's Playhouse, he created claymation cutaways about a character named Penny and her friend Arnold, and made three "Arnold" shorts: Arnold Escapes from Church (1988), The Arnold Waltz (1990) and Arnold Rides His Chair (1991) which years later, were given the nickname "Clay Arnold ". Six years later, Bartlett teamed up with five writers from Rugrats to develop animation projects for Nickelodeon. These meetings were generally difficult and the writers became frustrated; Bartlett recalled: "Our ideas were OK, but such a large and motley group couldn't get far at pitch meetings. Network execs got migraines just counting us coming in the door." As a last resort, Bartlett played the "Penny" tapes, intending to highlight the Penny character. However, the executives were more impressed by Arnold, despite him being a minor character.
After the meeting, the group began developing Arnold, creating his personality and evolving him from claymation to cel animation. Bartlett stated: "We did a lot of talking about who Arnold is. We came up with a reluctant hero who keeps finding himself responsible for solving something, making the right choices, doing the right thing." After creating ideas for Arnold, Bartlett began work on the supporting characters, drawing influence from his childhood: "A lot of the characters are an amalgam of people I knew when I was a kid. The girls in Hey Arnold! are girls that either liked or didn't like me when I was in school."
In 1994, Bartlett created the pilot episode of Hey Arnold! in his living room, and showed it to producers at Nickelodeon. A year later, the network decided to begin work on the series. As mentioned earlier, the character was previously featured in a trilogy of clay animation shorts from 1988 to 1991: Arnold Escapes from Church (1988), The Arnold Waltz (1990), and Arnold Rides a Chair (1991), the latter having been aired as a filler short on Sesame Street in 1991. The 10-minute pilot episode, titled Arnold, was shown in theaters in 1996 before Nickelodeon's first feature-length film, its adaptation of Harriet the Spy.
Apart from the animation style, Nick's Arnold wears a sweater, with his plaid shirt untucked (resembling a kilt). Only Arnold's cap remains unchanged from his original clay-animation wardrobe. Arnold comic strips also appeared in Simpsons Illustrated magazine, by Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, who is also Craig Bartlett's brother-in-law.
Production of Hey Arnold! wrapped on December 7, 2001. A dispute over a second planned Hey Arnold! movie, The Jungle Movie, then resulted in Bartlett leaving Nickelodeon. The last season's episodes were released over four years, beginning in 2000. The series aired its final episode, unannounced, on June 8, 2004.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Pilot||July 10, 1996(cinemas)|
|1||20||October 7, 1996||February 14, 1997|
|2||19||September 21, 1997||January 18, 1998|
|3||20||August 31, 1998||March 8, 1999|
|4||17||March 10, 1999||December 11, 1999|
|5||24||March 4, 2000||June 8, 2004|
|Hey Arnold!: The Movie||June 28, 2002|
|Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie||November 24, 2017|
2002 feature filmEdit
In this 2002 feature film, Arnold, Helga and Gerald set out on a quest to save their old neighborhood from a greedy developer who plans on converting it into a huge shopping mall. This film was directed by Tuck Tucker, and featured guest voice talents of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Sorvino and Christopher Lloyd.
In 1998, Nickelodeon gave Craig Bartlett the chance to develop a feature adaptation of the series. As work on the fifth season was completing, Bartlett and company engaged in the production of Arnold Saves the Neighborhood, which would eventually become Hey Arnold!: The Movie. The Neighborhood project was originally made for television and home video, but executives at Paramount Pictures decided to release it theatrically after successful test screenings. According to animation historian Jerry Beck (in his Animated Movie Guide), the decision was buoyed by the financial success of the first two Rugrats movies, The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie.
2017 television filmEdit
In an interview with Arun Mehta, Craig Bartlett announced that he was working with Nickelodeon on a Hey Arnold! revival. In September 2015, Nickelodeon president Russell Hicks announced that the company was considering revivals for a number of their older shows, including Hey Arnold!. According to an announcement by The Independent, a Hey Arnold! revival is "very much on the cards". On November 23, 2015, Nickelodeon announced that a TV movie is in the works and will pick up right where the series left off. The film will also answer unanswered questions about the fate of Arnold's parents. On March 1, 2016, it was announced that the TV film, The Jungle Movie, would be divided into two parts and would air in 2017. On March 6, 2016, voice actress Nika Futterman confirmed on Twitter that she and her character Olga Pataki would appear in the two-hour film. In June 2016, it was confirmed that the TV film would be titled The Jungle Movie, and that 19 of the original voice actors from the series would lend their voices in the film. New cast-members included Mason Vale Cotton as Arnold; Benjamin "Lil' P-Nut" Flores as Gerald; Gavin Lewis as Eugene; Jet Jurgensmeyer as Stinky; Aiden Lewandowski as Sid; Laya Hayes as Nadine; Nicolas Cantu as Curly; Wally Wingert as Oskar; Stephen Stanton as Pigeon Man; and Alfred Molina as the villain Lasombra. The film debuted on November 24, 2017, on Nickelodeon.
Apart from Nickelodeon in the United States, Hey Arnold! premiered on October 30, 1996, in the United Kingdom, originally on CITV. In 2002, Nicktoons Network began broadcasting the show, and aired reruns of all Hey Arnold! episodes until May 30, 2008, when the show was taken off its nightly schedule. The show aired in reruns on the now-defunct Nick on CBS programming block for two years, from September 14, 2002, to September 4, 2004. On September 5, 2011, the Canadian Nickelodeon channel began airing reruns of Hey Arnold!. In September 2011, TeenNick brought Hey Arnold! reruns to "The '90s Are All That" programming block (which has been rebranded "NickRewind") where it continues to air today. It also airs regularly on the Nick channel of Viacom-owned free streaming service Pluto TV.
Nickelodeon released all five seasons on DVD in Region 1 via Amazon.com through its CreateSpace Manufacture-on-demand program in 2008 and 2009. Season 1 was released on August 21, 2008, Season 2 on August 29, 2008, Season 3 on December 8, 2009, Season 4 on November 27, 2009, and Season 5 on December 4, 2009.
|CreateSpace Releases||Release Date||Discs||Episodes|
|Season 1||August 21, 2008||4||20|
|Season 2||August 29, 2008||4||19|
|Season 3: Volume 1 & Volume 2||December 8, 2009||6||20|
|Season 4||November 27, 2009||4||17|
|Season 5||December 4, 2009||4||24|
On May 9, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the rights to the series. They subsequently released Season 1 in a 4-disc set on August 9, 2011. Season 2, Part 1 was released in a 2-disc set on March 20, 2012, followed by Season 2, Part 2 in a 2-disc set on July 24, 2012. Season 3 was released in a 3-disc set on January 29, 2013, as a "Shout Select" title. On May 14, 2013, Season 4 was released in a 2-disc set as a Shout exclusive followed by Season 5 released in a 3-disc set on October 15, 2013, also as a Shout exclusive making the entire series available on DVD. On August 19, 2014, the complete series was released in a 16-disc set through Shout! Factory as a Walmart exclusive. On November 20, 2018, Paramount Home Media Distribution released Hey Arnold!: The Ultimate Collection DVD containing all of the previously released episodes and movies now packaged into one set.
In Australia, all five seasons have been released by Beyond Home Entertainment under licence from Nickelodeon. A 16-disc collector's edition was released on September 1, 2016, containing all five seasons.
|DVD Name||Episodes||# of Discs||Release Date|
|Season 1||20||4||August 9, 2011||April 3, 2013|
|Season 2, Part 1
Season 2, Part 2
|19||4||March 20, 2012
July 2, 2012
|April 3, 2013 (complete)|
|Season 3♦||20||3||January 29, 2013||June 3, 2015|
|Season 4♦||17||2||May 14, 2013||June 3, 2015|
|Season 5♦||24||3||October 15, 2013||September 1, 2015|
|The Complete Series||100||16||August 19, 2014||September 1, 2016|
|The Ultimate Collection||100, 2 Movies||18||November 20, 2018|
♦ – Shout! Factory select title sold exclusively through Shout's online store.
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As part of a presentation to promote its upcoming slate of programs, the kids-content media empire (comprising several cable networks and more) will unveil a live-action TV movie inspired by its mid-1990s game show “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” as well as a two-part TV movie based on “Hey Arnold!,” one of its best-known animated series that ran between 1996 and 2004.
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