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Season 4 of Arthur premiered on October 4, 1999, on PBS with the episode "D.W.'s Library Card"[1][2] and ended on October 18, 1999, with the episode "That's a Baby Show!"

Episodes

Screenshot Title Number Episode Original Airdate
D.W.'s Library Card 001 "D.W.'s Library Card" 66 1a October 4, 1999
Arthur refuses to get a book for D.W.. Luckily, she figures out how to get a library card and check it out. But the Tibble Twins make her worried.
Arthur's Big Hit "Arthur's Big Hit" 66 1b October 4, 1999
Having had enough of D.W., Arthur angrily punches her for tossing his model airplane (that he worked on for a long time) out the window and breaking it, but nobody sees his side. Worse, when the Tough Customers hear about this, they dare Binky to hit Arthur the next time he sees him.
Hide and Snake "Hide and Snake" 67 2a October 5, 1999
Arthur and his friends find a snake and he decides to keep it in a box in his room without telling his parents. It escapes and he and his friends are worried when they can't remember if it was a venomous coral snake (Micrurus) or the similarly colored, but harmless, king snake (Lampropeltis Triangulum).
Muffy's New Best Friend "Muffy's New Best Friend" 67 2b October 5, 1999
Muffy and Francine are best friends, but Muffy does not like practicing soccer and Francine does not like shopping. Since Francine and Jenna like soccer, Muffy searches for a new best friend who likes what she does.
Buster's Breathless "Buster's Breathless" 68 3a October 7, 1999
When D.W. has a brush with poison ivy, Buster tells a story about his asthma. When he learned he has it, his friends started treating him differently, thinking that he needed special attention. He educated them about it.
The Fright Stuff "The Fright Stuff" 68 3b October 7, 1999
Muffy and Francine play several pranks on Arthur, Buster, Binky, and Brain and invite them to a party at a haunted house. The boys decide to retaliate at the girls with a prank of their own and Muffy and Francine are ready with another prank. They call off all pranks when they discover a real ghost.
The Contest "The Contest" 69 4a October 8, 1999
Buster is entering the TV Schedule Magazine's contest for writing an episode for The Andy and Company Show. His friends decide to enter too with their stories styled like South Park, Beavis and Butt-Head, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, WWF, and Dexter's Laboratory amongst other things. Five years later, the kids are now teenagers when they finally found out who won the contest.
Prove It "Prove It" 69 4b October 8, 1999
D.W. becomes interested in science after she watches an episode of Nova. When Arthur won't take her along to the Exploratorium, she makes her own museum with false explanations of real-life occurrences, such as why the sky is blue or what the formula for water stands for. She challenges Arthur and Brain to "prove it" when they say she is wrong, only to have them take her to the Exploratorium after all.
The Blizzard "The Blizzard" 70 5a October 11, 1999
A blizzard hits Elwood City, leaving Mr. Ratburn, Mr. Haney, and Mr. Morris trapped in the school, Brain at Prunella's house, and several families at the Reads' house. Francine has to write a report on pioneers and bases it on her experience with the people who came over to the Reads' house and pooled their resources.
The Rat Who Came to Dinner "The Rat Who Came to Dinner" 70 5b October 11, 1999
After his roof caves in from snow, Mr. Ratburn stays at Arthur's house. Arthur is afraid that it will be non-stop homework and teaching, only to find out Mr. Ratburn is more fun than he thought. However, at school, his friends start calling him a teacher's pet.
D.W. Tale Spins "D.W. Tale Spins" 71 6a October 12, 1999
Arthur and Buster are into the Vegemorphs series which they think is better than Scare-Your-Pants-Off. D.W. says she can tell a better story than the Vegemorphs, to which Arthur disagrees. She retells The Odyssey to prove him wrong. Note: "Vegemorphs" is a parody of the Animorphs book series. Also, there is such a thing as the Vegemorphs spoof series in the real world; it is published by Troll.
Prunella Gets it Twice "Prunella Gets it Twice" 71 6b October 12, 1999
Prunella gets two Polly Locket dolls and dismisses the second one, which was from Francine. Later, she thinks that Francine spoiled the party by not joining in on the festivities. That night, The Ghost of Presents Past takes her through time to clear things up in a way similar to A Christmas Carol.
Binky Barnes, Wingman "Binky Barnes, Wingman!" 72 7a October 13, 1999
Binky is doing a project on butterflies and becomes obsessed with catching "Big Blue", a rare blue one. He eventually manages to catch it but lets every butterfly he has captured go when he is horrified by how they are kept in collections.
To Beat or Not to Beat "To Beat or Not to Beat" 72 7b October 13, 1999
When Francine enters the talent show, her friends try to tell her she is horrible when she sings and drums at the same time, even though she is a good drummer. After she hears a recording of herself, she realizes her friends had been right, but at the talent show, she surprises them without her drum set as she sings very well.
1001 Dads "1001 Dads" 73 8a October 14, 1999
Father's Day is approaching and Arthur and his friends come up with an idea to find a substitute for Buster's dad, who is a pilot and often away.
Prunella's Prediction "Prunella's Prediction" 73 8b October 14, 1999
Prunella wants Flash Pants and thinks she is getting them for her birthday, only to be disappointed by a watch instead. Arthur is afraid of being teased when wearing his dad's old Mr. Puffy jacket because he has outgrown his old winter coat. Together, Prunella and Arthur realize that they don't have to hide because of what they wear.
What is that thing "What is That Thing?" 74 9a October 15, 1999
Arthur and his friends separately find the same metal bobbin but do not know what it is. It happens to fit exactly what they need at the moment it appears. They argue over it and find out that it is Mr. Ratburn's and learn what it is at his puppet show.
Buster's Best Behavior "Buster's Best Behavior" 74 9b October 15, 1999
Buster is funny but wants to be good at something else, and Arthur wants to be vice versa. They end up acting like each other. This annoys their friends and Arthur and Buster realize that they are fine the way they are.
My Music Rules "My Music Rules" 75 10a October 18, 1999
The library is looking for a musician to perform for the children's show later in the week. D.W. suggests that they find the guy who wrote "Crazy Bus", her favorite song. Arthur and his friends are immediately annoyed, so they choose to find a musician. Francine's father suggests that they hire Joshua Redman, her uncle and a jazz musician. But then Grandma Thora takes D.W. to a concert, and she decides the one she wants is Yo-Yo Ma. Yo-Yo Ma and Joshua Redman guest star as themselves.
Luvvy duckys "That's a Baby Show!" 75 10b October 18, 1999
Arthur is put in an awkward situation, when, after arguing with D.W. because she watches a baby show, she tells him that the real baby show is Love Ducks. Intrigued, Arthur watches an episode and becomes hooked on it! He tries to hide it from his friends, which isn't easy, because it clashes with Dark Bunny, the show they are all hooked on and always talking about. When they find out initially, they tease him for it. In the end, however, they all admit they like Love Ducks.

Animation

The first eleven seasons of Arthur were animated by a South Korean animation studio, AKOM Productions. Production of Season 4 started in 1998 and ended the next year. Pre-production frames (drawings on paper) were sent from CINAR (now called WildBrain) in Canada to South Korea and were polished, colored and fully animated with watercolor backgrounds. The finalized animation was sent back to CINAR in tapes to be edited with vocals and music. The fully completed episode was sent to WGBH and home media distributors such as Random House in floppy disks to be released to the public via television airings on PBS stations and VHS/DVD releases respectively.

This season is the first to use digital ink and paint animation for episodes instead of traditional cel animation. A few cels would be made for promotional purposes, however, after the animation crew would draw movements made by characters or objects, frame by frame, by hand on paper with storyboards and character models being used as reference, a primitive digital click and paint tool would then be used for animated characters and objects that could only support 46 colors. Arthur was reportedly particularly difficult to color using the digital paint tool with it signature line breaks in its outline causing crew members at AKOM to utilize their fingers to cover them. By production of Season 5, the click to color machine would be recalibrated for the convenience of Arthur episode production.

AKOM would frustrated by the constant art style changes in Season 4 from the tradition Arthur art style to temporal deviations to other styles such the line brush art style as it was hard for its staff members to "switch gears."[3]

Backgrounds in the fourth season were still drawn and painted traditionally by hand, as they were in the previous three seasons. When painting was completed, the backgrounds were then scanned so that the colored characters and objects could deposited on them digitally.

Trivia

  • This is the first season for several things:
    • The first to use the 1999-2013 PBS Kids logos with Dot and Dash. This would last until Season 8.
    • The first season in which only 10 episodes (20 segments) were produced per season, a pattern that was not be broken until Season 20.
    • The first season to use digital ink and paint animation, allowing for clearer picture. However, the color palettes for the characters remained the same until Season 6, when they were given brighter colors.
    • The first season to feature Oliver Grainger as the voice of D.W., replacing Michael Caloz.
    • The first season to release all of its episodes in the same month in the U.S.
    • The first season where Oliver Frensky and George are listed in the credits.
    • While Francine is still announcing the Title Cards, it's the first season for Buster to announce the Title Cards replacing Binky, though Binky returns to Title Card announcing in Season 6.
  • This is the last season for a few things:
    • The last season released in the 1990s.
    • The last season to be compatible with the Microsoft ActiMates toys, as they were discontinued.
    • The last season before the CINAR scandal. It premiered and ended 5 months before the scandal began.
    • The last season in which Luke Reid voices Brain, as his voice matured even more during this season.
    • The last season to have Joe Fallon and Ken Scarborough as head writers, as they left the writing team after this season.
      • However, Scarborough would return as a writer starting in Season 9.
  • The video description was added on December 14, 1999.[citation needed]
  • Arthur's voice got slightly mature this season, due to his voice actor (Michael Yarmush) getting older, although Yarmush would continue to voice him into Season 5. Brain's voice also got even much more mature due to Luke Reid getting older, as this was the last season in which he voiced him.
  • "My Music Rules" was originally going to be the season premiere[4], but it ended up being part of the season finale instead for unknown reasons.
  • "Prove It!" and "Buster's Best Behavior" are the only episodes to not be released on Home Video.

References


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