In 1994, executive producer Ron Saunders approached Jay Rayvid, a producer at WQED, Pittsburgh's local PBS station (known for producing Mister Rogers' Neighborhood) to see if the station was interested in helping to get Johnson and Friends on television in the United States. Jay

agreed, but was unable to find a market for the series as a standalone program. By this point, 52 episodes (the first three series) had been produced and were available to WQED for distribution. FOX Kids were looking to start a preschool series around the same time and thus The Fox Cubhouse was created.

 

WQED and FOX teamed up and implemented Johnson and Friends as a segment in Tuesday and Thursday episodes of the 'Cubhouse'. In addition, The Fox Cubhouse itself was shot at WQED. However, the FOX network executives believed that the Australian accents in Johnson and Friends would confuse American viewers, so the series was dubbed over by local Pittsburgh actors.

 

It was decided that Peter Browne would be retained as Alfred's voice actor, but due to master recording issues, all of his dialogue had to be rerecorded. Several additional songs and music tracks were written by Chris Neal and his son Braedy, who had previously composed the score and songs for the original version of Johnson and Friends, as FOX felt that some of the earlier episodes were "too quiet" and didn't fit the atmosphere they wanted for the series. Instrumental versions of preexisting Johnson songs were also used. As the series was broadcast as a segment rather than a standalone program, the credits were featured at the end of the Cubhouse itself and each Johnson episode ended with the final chorus of 'Toys, Toys, Wonderful Toys' from the Johnson album, re-recorded by the US cast. Minor cuts were also occasionally made along with adjustments to John Patterson's scripts, to remove Australian terminology and slang. Series director Ian Munro maintained a level of creative control over the American version of the program and was involved with voice direction.

 

hasn't seen the light of day since. It is believed that the master tapes of the US version were wiped, however, several master copies are known to exist.The Fox Cubhouse became a short-lived success, and FOX commissioned an additional season of 26 episodes of Johnson and Friends for the Cubhouse's second season. These episodes were also shown in Australia, dubbed by the original voice cast and marketed as the fourth series of the program. David Flick, who had provided the American voice of Diesel was replaced by Doug Scroope, Diesel's original voice, and several episodes of the first season of Cubhouse were also revised with Doug Scroope as Diesel. While previous Cubhouse episodes featured two episodes of Johnson, each, the second season was quite different, and one episode was sometimes replaced with an episode of Budgie the Little Helicopter or Magic Adventures of Mumfie, due to the fact that these programs also had a running time of ten minutes. Some episodes, however, still featured two Johnson episodes. Shortly after the broadcast of these episodes, The Fox Cubhouse was taken off the air, and the American localisation

  

American Cast

Tony Marino

Johnson

Zoje Stage

McDuff

David Flick

Diesel

Peter Browne*

Alfred

Katie Watkins

Squeaky

Minette Seate

Victoria

Amy Hartman

Narrator

Doug Scroope*

Diesel (Revised versions

and Season 2)

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Site © 2020 Joseph Marshall. Johnson and Friends belongs to its respective owners.

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