Saturday, December 1, 2007


Timon & Pumbaa (TV series)
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This article is about the television series. For the characters, see Timon and Pumbaa.
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa

Timon and Pumbaa
Format Animated series
Starring Quinton Flynn
Ernie Sabella
Corey Burton
Nancy Cartwright
Cam Clarke
Jim Cummings
Michael Gough
Robert Guillaume
Jess Harnell
Tress MacNeille
Richard Naran
Rob Paulsen
Kevin Schon
April Winchell
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 86 (List of episodes)
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel CBS
Original run September 1, 1995 – 2002
External links
IMDb profile summary
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa is a Disney animated television series that originally aired from 1995 to 2002.

1 Premise
2 Production
3 Characters
4 Episodes
5 External links

[edit] Premise
The show stars Timon, a meerkat, and Pumbaa, a warthog, both characters from the Disney animated film The Lion King, and its sequels.

[edit] Production
Ernie Sabella and Nathan Lane reprised their roles as Pumbaa and Timon, respectively, in The Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and The Lion King 1½. Both actors were featured early in the television show, however, Lane isn't the only voice actor who played his respective role. The role was also played by Quinton Flynn, in some episodes, and Kevin Schon, in most episodes.

During the final season (1998-1999), there was also a change in writers, and a new director meant and the show became aimed more towards kids than the whole family. As a result of this, ratings declined and the show was cancelled by Disney in 1999.

Reruns of Timon and Pumbaa currently air on Toon Disney and Disney Channel.

[edit] Characters
Has there ever been a better beginning to a musical than the opening of "The Lion King"? It starts with a call and response, gloriously harmonized, summoning all the animals to greet the new baby lion, Simba. Down the aisles they come, a procession of actors in oversized, fancifully costumed but recognizable as the creatures they're supposed to be. The elephant, 11 feet high with an actor in each leg, draws wild applause from people in the orchestra seats as it lumbers toward the front, and a second wave of applause from people in the balconies who finally see it as the elephant climbs up to the stage.Passionate, insightful and reverential, Tony Award-winning director and designer Julie Taymor speaks with an almost clerical faith in the power of art.
"When you're doing something on a stage or on a screen or on a canvas, you're in a moment that goes back to the shaman," she said last week. "You're going back to the very first totem and what children do when they make dolls out of sticks. They're creating an outside image that reflects the inside."

Taymor, 54, director of "The Lion King" and the ravishing Beatles-inspired movie "Across the Universe," showed a talent for theater and puppetry as a child growing up in Newton, Mass.

Even before she enrolled at Oberlin College, from which she graduated in 1974 with a degree in mythology and folklore, the daughter of a gynecologist and a political science teacher traveled the world to study with masters of performance. She studied shadow puppetry and mask drama in Indonesia and mime and commedia in Paris with Jacques Lecoq, the legendary thespian who also taught the founders of Minneapolis' Theatre de la Jeune Lune.

All of that helped her to conjure spirits and dreams onstage, Taymor said, again invoking the shamans she calls "doctors of the soul." Both the narrative and the stage imagery of "The Lion King," which premiered in Minneapolis a decade ago, are layered with spirituality.

She has done operas and films, from "The Magic Flute" to "Frida," a Frida Kahlo biography; "Titus," based on Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus," and "Across the Universe," her gorgeously evocative film musical based on the music of the Beatles.

"['Universe'] has gotten 50 percent brilliant reviews and 50 percent terrible reviews -- there's no middle ground," she said. "Neither the critics nor the studio marketing people know how to classify it. I read somewhere that it doesn't have a plot. Can you imagine having a plot in a musical? That would be a disaster. It's all in the lyrics, in the performance, in the imagery."

Taymor has been tapped to do the stage adaptation of "Spider-Man," for which she has begun preparations.

"I have to love something and find my way into it, like 'Lion King' or 'Frida,'" Taymor said. "It has to become your baby. You listen to it and hear what it needs to be born."

Lionizing production

It is "The Lion King," a cartoon that she turned into a theater landmark, that has made her an icon. Based on a Disney animated film, the show is about a feline monarch, Mufasa, whose death is orchestrated by his brother, Scar, and blamed on his son, Simba.

With her designers and creative team, Taymor created costumes, puppets and theatrical language that reveal the human in animals, and vice versa, for the show's colorful cast of characters. And she has guided it as it has opened in nine nations, the latest being France and South Africa.

So, what changes did she have to make to move "Lion King" from Minneapolis to, say, Paris or Johannesburg?

"We adapt the humor in the show to each culture," said Taymor. "In Johannesburg, we have a black actor with a Soweto accent playing Timon and a white actor with an Afrikaner accent playing Pumbaa. These two best friends missed apartheid; they were out in the bush."

Multicultural casting and productions can be a minefield. But Taymor said she learned a lot about multicultural casting while in Minneapolis.

"If you put a black actor in a role, it transcends race and yet it's all about race," she said. "A young black person may see a king in one scene, and five scenes later, there are all these hyenas. That's when you know you're truly free, because you don't get offended that the hyenas are Hispanic or black."

In working on "Le Roi Lion," the French adaptation of "Lion King," her creative team was skittish about some of the humor. The show opened amid recent riots by the offspring of immigrants.

"I would have pushed it further than the writers were willing to go," said Taymor. "With the [wise-cracking] hyenas, you want to play the suburbs of Paris. But they were careful because it's such a tinderbox."

Power of art

"The Lion King" has brought her lots of satisfaction, Taymor said, but she does not measure it in ticket sales. Her greatest joy has come from the power of her art.

She tells the story of a family of four that wanted to get tickets to "The Lion King" when it first opened in New York 10 years ago. Because tickets were so hard to come by, they purchased them six or seven months in advance. During the wait for the show, the daughter in the family died.

"Then, in their grief, they didn't know whether they wanted to go to the theater," Taymor said. "But they went. And when [title character] Mufasa sings, 'They live in you, they live in me' and looks at the stars, when that song happened, the little boy turned to his parents in their seat and said, 'That means Sarah is with us, isn't she?' That moment, religion and art healed the spirit."


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