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"Elwood City Turns 100!"
Season/Series: 7
Number in season: 5
Original Airdate: United States October 14, 2002[1]
Canada January 20, 2003[2]
Credits
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Matthew Lane
Storyboard by: Jeremy O'Neill
Robert Yap
Episodes
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"Waiting to Go"
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"Pick a Car, Any Car"
Read transcript

"Elwood City Turns 100!" is the fifth episode in the seventh season of Arthur. It is a two-part episode. It is also the 100th episode of the series overall as well as the first 22-minute special.

Summary

The musical Mr. Ratburn’s class is staging for Elwood City's centennial turns into a drama of missed cues, inflated egos, and alien invasions — and all of that is going on behind the scenes.

Plot

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt officially declares the community of Elwood a city and unveils a statue of its founder Jacob Katzenellenbogen. Old Katzenellenbogan is angry because his name was misspelled, the statue is too fat, and the city’s name was supposed to be Elmwood. Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan are jealous, because Katzenellenbogan founded a city before they did, but they are sure that the city will not last a hundred years.

A hundred years later, Mr. Ratburn proudly announces that Lakewood has been chosen out of fifteen schools to stage a musical for the centennial celebration. He remembers doing Hamlet as a puppet show in college. The performance was ruined by the puppet's head falling off. He lets the third-graders draw lots to decide who will do what. Arthur is the singing narrator, Brain the writer, and Buster the director. Francine is annoyed to be chorus member, despite being a better singer than Arthur. Muffy offers to help with the publicity work.

Brain and Buster have an argument in the library, because Brain wants the musical to be historically accurate while Buster wants it to include aliens.

During the rehearsals, it becomes clear that Arthur is not a good singer. When he practices at home, even the Tibbles give up trying to sing worse. Francine offers to help, which Arthur accepts after first suspecting her of wanting to show off her better singing.

Preparations continue. Mrs. Morgan makes costumes. George builds a model of the set.

One week before the performance, the kids get into a big argument on stage. Mr. Ratburn imagines the performance failing like his Hamlet show, but Muffy gives a pep talk and the others pull themselves together. After the rehearsal, Arthur offers Francine to switch parts.

On the night of the performance, Francine and her dad pick up a flying saucer prop for the show with the garbage truck. When they have to stop for a duck, the prop is accidentally crushed.

When Francine does not show up, the others talk Arthur into playing the narrator. He opens the first musical number, “Jacob Katzenellenbogan”, which is about the founding of Elwood City. Francine calls to say that she is hitching a ride and the flying saucer is damaged.

The next number is Fern with a dirge to the green-tailed grebe. Meanwhile, Buster has locked himself in the janitor’s closet and Francine is hitching a ride in a very slow car.

The next number is about an alien sighting. Brain writes new dialogue, which replaces the flying saucer with a long-winded talk about natural explanations for the sighting. Buster steps in with a makeshift alien costume and sings a song about flossing your teeth. He accidentally pulls down the backdrop and Mr. Ratburn calls for an intermission.

The kids are about to give up, but Francine arrives and tells them that the audience likes the play. The kids look through the curtain and see that it is indeed so.

They do the last number about life in Elwood City today with Francine as the narrator. The show is a big success.

On the way home, D.W. suggests that Arthur play Jacob Katzenellenbogen at the next centennial, since he will have a beard by then.

Characters

Major

Minor

Cameo

Songs

Trivia

  • This was the first episode that didn't show the "And now back to 'Arthur'." title card with the kids saying it. Instead, Larry King said "Thanks for tuning in, folks. And now back to Arthur."
  • In the beginning, Buster's excited comment "We won! We won!" could be referring to the line "Yee-hey, woo! We wiiiiin!" in the often-used "cheering" sound effect, which was in fact played a few seconds before he spoke.
  • Ducks appear in this episode three times, meaning that it's possible that in Arthur's universe, ducks are a descendant of grebes, which are said to be extinct in this episode.
  • Since Elwood became a city in 1903 and the centennial is celebrated in this episode, the episode takes place in 2003.
  • The scene in which Nigel Ratburn announces that Lakewood Elementary School has been chosen out of 15 schools to produce a musical makes connections with the Erie City School District, a Pennsylvanian school district compromising of the same number of schools. Marc Brown is the resident of Erie.

Episode connections

Cultural references

Errors

  • The man giving Francine and her father a ride to the play appears in the audience even before they arrive.
    • Also, in the audience, Mr. Frensky can be seen in the crowd at the beginning of the musical before they arrived.
  • Arthur was wearing a pink sweater for a couple of seconds.[citation needed]

Production notes

  • This is the first two-part episode.
  • Counting both halves of an episode as a single episode, this is the 100th episode.
  • Marc Brown made a cameo in this episode. He was not only on the guest list, he was seen in the row with the other celebrities while Arthur narrated after Fern's song. Jeremy O'Neill was also on the guest list.

Home Video

DVD:

Free on-demand episode courtesy of

PBS (Kids Thirteen)

Gallery

Main article: Elwood City Turns 100!/Gallery

See also

References


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