The World of David the Gnome, originally titled David, el Gnomo (also known as David, the Gnome), is a Spanish animated television series based on the children's book The Secret Book of Gnomes, by the Dutch author Wil Huygen and illustrator Rien Poortvliet. The series was originally created in Spain by BRB Internacional (who were also responsible for the Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds franchise and other cartoons such as Bobobobs and Around the World with Willy Fog) and Televisión Española, and retains a sense of the lush illustrations of the original books. Twenty-six episodes were produced. There was also a spin-off series entitled Wisdom of the Gnomes.
|The World of David the Gnome|
|Also known as||David, the Gnome|
|David, el Gnomo|
|Created by||Will Huygen & Rien Poortvliet|
Claudio Biern Boyd
|Directed by||Luis Ballester|
|Voices of||Matilde Conesa|
José María Cordero
|Narrated by||Teófilo Martínez|
|Country of origin||Spain|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producer||Claudio Biern Boyd|
Ronald A. Weinberg
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production companies||BRB Internacional|
|Original release||26 October 1985 –|
19 April 1986
|Followed by||Wisdom of the Gnomes|
The Great Adventure of the Gnomes
The Gnomes in the Snow
The Fantastic Adventures of the Gnomes
The New World of the Gnomes
The English-language dub The World of David the Gnome was produced by Canadian studio CINAR, in association with Miramax Films. Christopher Plummer narrated, with the voice of David the Gnome being provided by Tom Bosley. David the Gnome aired weekdays on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block from 1988 to 1995.
The series presents the gnomes as a kind species, of 15 centimetres (6 inches) in height, and between 250 and 300 grams (8 and 10 ounces) in weight depending on gnome body mass. According to their habitat, different types of gnomes are distinguished: the ones of the forest, the ones of the garden, the ones of the farm, the ones of the house, the ones of the dunes, those of Siberia, and nomadic "gypsy" gnomes (commonly looked down upon by other gnomes). With few exceptions, a gnome's lifespan is exactly 400 years, though there is one example of a couple in the Balkans living 550 years. On their 400th year, they transition from diminutive humanoid beings, into large immobile trees. They appear to have some control over when and where this happens, but cannot avoid the transition altogether. This end of the gnome lifecycle explains their devotion to protecting forests: as the trees are composed of their ancestors.
Gnomes such as the main characters live in pairs in comfortable caves or holes under trees (in their case in the company of a pair of mice and a cricket). Their diet is mostly vegetarian. They are helped by the animals of the forest when travelling long distances or when they need to arrive quickly at a specific location. Gnomes work in various ways to repair the damage inevitably caused by humans. They also have the power of telepathy and mind control.
Their main enemies are the trolls, malevolent and clumsy creatures who always make trouble for the other inhabitants of the forest, as well as gnome poachers.
- David – A gnome of the forest. David is 399 years old, making him the oldest gnome around (since gnomes live no more than 400 years exactly, except Franklin, the gnome from the west, who lived 550 years), although he possesses exceptional constitution. David is a doctor, and he uses his knowledge of many fields, such as hypnosis and acupuncture, to heal his patients, usually animals, such as his faithful friend Swift the fox, or other gnomes. David also befriends a bird that, when he whistles, immediately arrives to quickly transport him to wherever necessary. For longer trips, he sometimes travels in a basket attached to the neck of the bird. Voiced by Tom Bosley.
- Lisa – David's wife and companion and is the same age as him. Together they have two children, Lily and Harold. David's wife is in charge of the household, although she occasionally accompanies him and helps him in his diverse adventures. Voiced by Jane Woods.
- Swift the Fox – David's best friend who lives in the forest and is always available to transport David to wherever he is required. Huygen's son, Josh, came up with this character, and was his favorite character. He is characterized by his speed and loyalty to David. Adult Swift is 1-yr-old and is the pup of David's former fox mount, Nimble. Voiced by Vlasta Vrána.
- The Trolls – In the series, there are four trolls who constantly try to bother the gnomes. Their names are Pit, Pat and Pot, and Holler. Holler has a receding hairline and is the only one of the four able to think. They have some supernatural powers, and are capable of using magical spells too powerful for gnome magic to break. However, in addition to their extreme lack of wit, they also have another severe weakness: direct exposure to sunlight turns them into stone. Holler was voiced by A.J. Henderson, Pit was voiced by Marc Denis, Pat was voiced by Rob Roy, and Pot was voiced by Adrian Knight.
- Susan – David and Lisa's granddaughter. Voiced by Barbara Pogenmiller.
- King – Voiced by Richard Dumont
- Paul – David's twin brother. Not only does Paul have a normal moustache in contrast to David's handlebar moustache but his jumper is a darker shade of blue, he has a bigger nose, his gnome hat is dark blue whereas David's is red, and his trousers and boots are an inverse of David's: David's trousers are brown and his boots are beige, while Paul wears beige trousers and dark boots. Voiced by Walter Massey.
David the Gnome ran for twenty-six episodes, each approximately 24 minutes in length. In the United States, the series originally aired between January 4, 1988, and February 8, 1988. The English-language episode titles are listed below, along with brief episode synopses:
|No.||Title||Original air date||U.S. airdate|
|1||"Good Medicine"||26 October 1985||4 January 1988|
|David describes what the daily life of the gnomes is like. He speaks about his job as a doctor and the time he saved a goat who had swallowed a wire and a badger that had a splinter in his eye. David also explains that the gnomes have enemies: the trolls.|
|2||"Witch Way Out"||2 November 1985||5 January 1988|
|Lisa becomes worried when David hasn't come home after removing a thorn from a deer's hoof. On the way home, David says that there are many stories about supernatural creatures in the forest. While going down a steep hill, Swift trips over a rope, and he and David are captured by the trolls. Lisa sets out to find them, and disguised as a witch, makes a sleeping potion for the trolls. While the trolls are asleep, she rescues David and Swift.|
|3||"David to the Rescue"||9 November 1985||6 January 1988|
|David is called to Italy to treat a gnome girl. She had eaten a strawberry that had been sprayed with pesticide. The only plant that can cure her is the Shining Begonia. David travels to the Alps and outsmarts a snake to find the flower. On the way back, he meets Pot, one of the trolls. Pot challenges him to a dancing contest, and David cleverly keeps Pot waiting until the sun comes up. The troll turns into stone in the sunlight. David goes back to the palace and revives the gnome girl.|
|4||"The Baby Troll"||16 November 1985||7 January 1988|
|The episode starts with Lisa explaining the clothes gnomes wear. She mentions that David is out helping two deer who have their antlers locked together. David has to saw through the antlers to separate the deer. When he is heading home, he sees a baby troll on a rock in the middle of the river. David decides to save the baby, even though trolls are their enemies. David calls a gnome friend, and they set up a rope pulley to save the baby. The baby had been put in the river by a farmer, because the mother troll had switched his baby for hers.|
|5||"Little Houses for Little People"||23 November 1985||8 January 1988|
|David explains how gnomes build their houses. The entrance of the house is under a tree, with a tunnel leading to another tree. Many other gnomes and animals help build the houses. David and Lisa get a message from a rabbit about a deer with a broken leg. They both go to help the deer, who has fallen on a sharp rock, and part of it has become embedded in her leg. David removes the piece of rock and puts a splint made of branches on her leg. Later that night, David also has to remove pine cones from the throat of another deer.|
|6||"The Wedding that Almost Wasn't"||30 November 1985||11 January 1988|
|It is wintertime in the forest, and David and Lisa are going to a friend's wedding. David explains that trolls love to ruin weddings, so the gnomes had already set up some clever traps. David performs the wedding for the new couple, and all the guests go to their new house. The trolls also come to the house and start a fire outside so the gnomes would be suffocated by smoke. Once all of the gnomes were out, David found Pat the troll in one of the gnome traps. Pat tells the gnomes that the other trolls have gone to the mountains, so the gnomes follow him there. Next the gnomes and animals barrage the trolls with snow and put them to sleep.|
|7||"To Grandfather's House We Go"||7 December 1985||12 January 1988|
|David is expecting a visit from his granddaughter, Susan. In a deep part of the forest lives a real witch with her cat. Once the witch leaves for the day, her cat goes wandering in the woods. Lisa goes to pick up Susan, and they meet a friendly porcupine family. The witch's cat sees the gnome house, and he knows the gnomes have mice as pets. But when he tries to get into David and Lisa's house, he falls into the trap designed to catch small animals. Later that evening, David lets the cat out. The cat gets scared of Swift and runs back home. That night the witch comes home and listens to the cat's adventures. This inspires her to write a story: "Little Red Riding Hood".|
|8||"Ghost of the Black Lake"||14 December 1985||13 January 1988|
|This episode begins with David explaining how gnomes make glass. Then he is called to the palace, where the king tells him about a little wizard named Tiraland. The wizard stole all of the gold in the castle, and now the trolls have thrown it into the eerie Black Lake. David has to ask permission to go to Black Lake from the ghost of Black Lake Castle. The ghost is a shape shifter, and agrees to let David go for only three days. David locates the gold with the help of an otter. The trolls have tied a rope around the gold bag and are about to pull it up. The otter removed the rope and ties it to a big rock. The trolls chase David and Swift, thinking they have the gold. Finally the trolls get scared by the ghost and give up the chase.|
|9||"Kingdom of the Elves"||21 December 1985||14 January 1988|
|The episode starts out with David describing how gnomes make pottery and candles. When he goes outside, another gnome tells him that a little deer has a barbed wire around his neck and needs help. David calls for Swift, but Swift does not come. He finds the fox a few feet away, but he is sick from eating poisoned food, a trap set by the trolls. David gives Swift some medicine and makes him better. Next David goes and cuts the wire from the deer's neck. On the way back, David decides to go see Gustav, the king of the elves to help get revenge on the trolls. Gustav sends some of his little elf messengers to the lake and Swift lures the trolls there, by lying down and pretending to be dead. Once the trolls show up, the elves tease them, drag them through the water, and tie their tails together. David reminds the elves not to hurt the trolls, just tease them.|
|10||"The Magic Knife"||28 December 1985||15 January 1988|
|Lisa's sister, Julie, comes to visit, and she brings along a copy of a scalpel. Julie says the copy came from the Himalayas. David decides to journey there to find the original knife. When he is in the high mountains, he goes to see his human friend Pondent do Rey. Pondent is a wizard and with the help of his magic mirror, he tells David that the original knife is in the Temple of Meykong, an abandoned structure in India. David and Swift leave the Himalayas and go to the deep jungles of India. Once David enters the temple, he learns that not only was it built over an active volcano, it is guarded by Holler the troll and his army of spiders. Holler has the knife and verbally taunts David while the spiders chase after him. Eventually Holler throws the scalpel into a spider's web. David gets it, then sprays Holler and the spiders with sneezing powder. While Holler is sneezing uncontrollably, he hits a lever that makes the volcano erupt. David escapes while the Temple of Meykong falls in. Holler gets out, although he is badly burned.|
|11||"Young Dr. Gnome"||4 January 1986||18 January 1988|
|David's nephew Jonathan is coming to visit. Jonathan is a city gnome and his parents want him to be a doctor, but he does not want to. On the way to David's house, Jonathan meets a mischievous gnome named Martin, who asks the boy what is wrong. When Jonathan tells him, Martin starts a rumor that David is sick and Jonathan is taking his place. The word spreads fast, and soon the other gnomes show up at David's house, asking Lisa if David is sick. She tells them no. The gnomes all share stories about how David helped them in the past, and Jonathan decides he wants to be a doctor after all. Soon David returns home from letting a rabbit out of a trap. The gnomes are all celebrating until they hear a gunshot. They rush outside and learn that a little deer has been shot. While David goes to help the deer, the other gnomes try to scare off the hunter and his dog. Jonathan throws a rock at the dog, and the other gnomes trip the hunter with a rope. The hunter takes off running, but the dog comes back. David uses magic to scare off the dog for good. Once David removes the bullet from the deer, he sees the other gnomes with the hunter's gun. He sees they will bury the gun so they will not have to think of this bad time.|
|12||"Happy Birthday to You"||11 January 1986||19 January 1988|
|David talks about the childhood of gnomes, using his friend Harry and his family as an example. David describes Harry's children, Billy and Belle, and the way children grow up. It is also Billy and Belle's birthday, and David takes Susan to the party. On the way, he helps a mother hen learn how to keep up with her chicks. Then they go to the party. While Susan plays party games with the other children, Harry takes David to the forest nearby and tells him how he is sad because the men from the city are cutting down all the trees. When they go back to the party, they learn that the trolls have shown up. The trolls throw apples and sticks at the gnomes, and they all run into Harry's house. David and Susan go back out and try to think of a way to get even with the trolls. They see the trolls asleep in a tree, and then a bulldozer from the city comes by. Some men take a chainsaw and cut down the tree, sending the trolls crashing to the ground. For once, David is thankful for the men cutting down trees.|
|13||"The Siberian Bear"||18 January 1986||20 January 1988|
|David is in his garden picking vegetables when he receives a telepathic message. The message is coming from the king of Siberia. David tells Lisa that they will be gone for a long time, and he builds a sort of bench for them to sit on during the journey. Swift carries them to Siberia, holding the top part of the bench in his mouth. On the first night, they have to take shelter from a storm. In the morning, the storm is over, and the king's messenger comes to greet them. On the way to the palace, David tries his hand at skiing, and impresses the other gnomes. At the palace, the king tells David that there is a bear stuck in a high tree, who has been there for several days. David gets help from some other gnomes to save the bear. They tie a rope around the bear, and loop it around the branches of the tree. The gnomes shove on a weaker branch until it falls and the bear comes down too. The bear is fine and thanks the gnomes for helping him.|
|14||"Foxy Dilemma"||25 January 1986||21 January 1988|
|Susan goes to a sawmill with David, who explains how gnomes cut down dead trees to make furniture and birdhouses. Susan gets bored and goes for a ride on Swift with a little boy named Tom. Swift gets his leg caught in a trap in the forest, and Tom tries to cross a river to get help. The current catches him and he is left hanging on a rock in the middle of the river. Susan gets help from David, and he sends an eagle to pick up Tom. The other gnomes free Swift from the trap.|
|15||"Three Wishes"||1 February 1986||22 January 1988|
|A poor woodsman saves Lisa after she is attacked by his cat. To express his generosity, David grants the woodsman three wishes, which do not go as planned. When David grants the woodsman's wish to become a rich man, the woodsman takes a bar of gold into the city and attempts to sell it to a store owner. The woodsman is accused of thievery and thrown in prison. David helps him to become free and the woodsman learns to use his wishes wisely.|
|16||"Ivan the Terrible"||8 February 1986||25 January 1988|
|David and Lisa travel to Siberia where David is called upon by the gnome king. The king wants David to stop a mean gnome called Ivan, who is stealing furs from the human hunters and giving the gnomes a bad name. David enlists help from a man and the king's owl to teach Ivan a lesson he will not forget.|
|17||"Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere"||15 February 1986||26 January 1988|
|David and Lisa journey to Holland to help some farmer gnomes. It is raining heavily, and there are dozens of rabbits trapped on a small island in the floodwater. The gnomes build rafts, and with the help of Swift, they save the rabbits from drowning.|
|18||"Any Milk Today?"||22 February 1986||27 January 1988|
|David remembers a time when his children Lily and Harold were kids. Lisa realized the milkwoman had not delivered milk that day, and she knew something was wrong. David and Harold and Lily decided to go to town and see the milkwoman. On the way, Harold carelessly ran ahead and was almost stepped on by racehorses, and David got caught in a rope trap. Later David treats the milkwoman for a sprained ankle and tells her that he and his family will help deliver the milk. When Harold goes on the milk route, he loses his hat and is picked up by a magpie. David finds him hiding in some tall grass and teaches Harold a lesson about being more careful.|
|19||"The Shadowless Stone"||1 March 1986||28 January 1988|
|David and Lisa are summoned to the palace of King Conrad. The king lives behind a waterfall and has a jester named Tim. King Conrad tells the gnomes he wants them to go to the island of Mentoa and find the valuable shadowless stone. The stone is a royal treasure and it is stolen by the trolls. David and Lisa jump down a deep hole, then sail across an eerie red sea. David and Lisa enter Mentoa, a mountain with 1000 steps leading to the top. At the top of the stairs is a chamber holding the stone. Once David picks it up, the trolls materialize out of thin air and chase him and Lisa down the steps. But the trolls can not exit the mountain, because only a person with a kind heart can open the entrance door.|
|20||"Friends in Trouble"||8 March 1986||29 January 1988|
|David and Lisa learn that a hunter is in the forest trapping birds. The man even caught David's friend, the flycatcher. While Lisa tries to feed the flycatcher's family, David rides on a raven to the city. There he finds a pet store where the hunter is selling wild birds. David gets help from some guinea pigs and unlocks all the cages. Then they use a chair to break out the window. Just as the birds are flying out, the man comes back. The raven grabs David, while the hunter fires a rifle at them. They outsmart the man and David took care of the sick birds himself.|
|21||"Airlift!"||15 March 1986||1 February 1988|
|David meets up with his friend Cosmo, who says he is worried about the bats in the forest. Cosmo says the humans are poisoning the insects the bats eat, and many of them are starving. The bats are currently hibernating in trees, which are in danger of being cut down. David calls on all the gnomes in the forest to make baskets from bullrushes, and then the bats are put into the baskets. A flock of geese transports the bats to a gnome-operated animal hospital when they can finish hibernating.|
|22||"Big Bad Tom"||22 March 1986||2 February 1988|
|David and Lisa go to a birthday party in a windmill for a David's nephew, Maxmilion, where the two cure the former's twin brother Paul's cold. The farm has three friendly cats and one big mean black cat named Tom. During the party a gnome girl named Tina goes outside and gets picked up by Tom. David and the other gnomes get help from the friendly cats, who run after Tom. The cats beat him up and he lets Tina go.|
|23||"Kangaroo Adventure"||29 March 1986||3 February 1988|
|Susan is staying with David and Lisa and finds a gnome xray in an old trunk. It is an xray of the Australian Prince Rex, who just happens to be coming to visit David that day. David tells Susan about how he and Lisa went to Australia a long time ago. Rex was just a boy then, but he was a lot shorter than his twin brother. David found out Rex was allergic to his boomerang and told the prince to drink lots of fruit punch. At the end of David's story, an adult Prince Rex shows up. He is a lot taller than average gnomes, and David says it is because he kept drinking the fruit punch.|
|24||"The Careless Cub"||5 April 1986||4 February 1988|
|David and Lisa go for a walk in the forest and meet a wolf. The wolf tells David that his wife and one of his cubs ate meat that had been poisoned by a shepherd. The wife had died, but the cub was still holding on. David examines the wolf cub and determines that a certain plant can cure him. He and Lisa split up and go look for the medicine. Lisa is snatched by the trolls, but they let her go when she tells Holler that a wolf will die if she cannot get the medicine to it. The wolves are friends of the trolls. David and Lisa find enough of the plant to cure the wolf cub.|
|25||"The Gift"||12 April 1986||5 February 1988|
|David goes to see an old friend of his, a human doctor named Walter. David wants to give Walter a pocketwatch that has been in the gnome family for generations. David tells Walter a story about the time he let a human boy enter the world of the gnomes. The boy's name was Wimpy and David used magic to shrink him and his dog down to gnome size. David took Wimpy around the forest and let him meet his fox friend, Nimble. Nimble and his wife just had cubs, and Wimpy named one cub Swift. Later Wimpy went to David and Lisa's house for dinner, and the boy was fascinated by the pocketwatch. It is revealed that Wimpy grew up to be Walter. David's son Harold did not want the watch, but told David to give it to the best doctor he knew. Walter had always wanted the watch and thought it was a heartfelt gift.|
|26||"The Mountains of Beyond"||19 April 1986||8 February 1988|
|David and his wife Lisa must go off into the mountains because their time on Earth is almost over. They know they will not live past the age of 400 years. David finishes writing his journal about the gnomes. He and Lisa are visited by an Arctic mouse, who is carrying a message from their old friend Casper who explains that he does not want to go alone. On the way, David and Lisa meet up with all the animals, who have come to say goodbye. Then they travel to the Blue Mountains and have tea with Casper. Past the Blue Mountains is a beautiful valley of flowers. They tell Swift he cannot climb up the mountain with them. The Gnomes ascend the mountain, and say final goodbyes. As David and Lisa pass on, their bodies turn into intertwined apple trees. Casper passes moments later, after muttering to himself for awhile, and turns into an oak tree. On the way back to the forest, Swift meets another gnome named Christopher, who rides a female fox named Agnes. Swift and Agnes appear to be romantically interested in each other. Christopher and the spirits of the dead Gnomes wave goodbye.|
In the 1980s, Family Home Entertainment released four VHS tapes of the series in the United States, each containing 2 episodes. In the United Kingdom, Video Collection International Ltd released one VHS tape of The World of David the Gnome (Cat. No. VC1178) with the first two episodes, Good Medicine and Witch Way Out, on 14 May 1990.
A complete series DVD set was released in the United Kingdom in 2006 by Revelation Films. The complete series was also released on DVD in 2011 in Spain and Italy. Most episodes are available on DVD in Germany and the Netherlands. The Italian and Spanish versions can currently be found on their respective countries' Amazon websites. The complete series was released on DVD in the United States in 2012, by Oasis DVDs.
After the success of the initial series, the same producers created a spin-off called Wisdom of the Gnomes (1987). In this series, the protagonist is a gnome called Klaus, a judge who travels with his assistant Dani to solve disputes.
Other sequels, both in serial and movie form, were The Gnomes' Great Adventure (1987), The Great Adventure of the Gnomes (1995), The Gnomes in the Snow (1999) and The Fantastic Adventures of the Gnomes (2000).
The series was also preceded by the popular television movie Gnomes in 1980, which was based on the same series of books as The World of David the Gnome.
In 1997, there was a series called The New World of the Gnomes which was a retelling of the original series as David and his nephew Tomte now travel the world to save animals and preserve nature as it is endangered by problems of modern-day pollution and environmental dangers. Lisa, David's wife from the original series, also appears in the show. Other than the humans who cause either unintentional or intentional destruction to nature and harm to animals, the show's other antagonists are three trolls who run into David and the gnomes now and then, their names are Stinky, Brute, and Drool. The show was made in collaboration with the World Wildlife Foundation.
- "David the Gnome". Foundus.com. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 917–918. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Lewin, Tamar (21 October 1990). "TELEVISION; Hey There, Dudes, the Kids Have Grabbed a Network". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- Fleming, Mike (6 May 2015). "'Gnomes', 'Reboot' & Animated 'Spy Kids' Series on Weinstein Company TV Slate". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 28 February 2016.