Wednesday, February 2, 2011
It's not every day that my little pirate gets to meet Captain Hook -- and on the Disney Studios lot at that -- but CC and I came face-to-face with the infamous character (and his vocal counterpart!) at a D23: Disney's Official Fan Club advance screening of new animated show "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," premiering Feb. 14 on the new Disney Junior channel.
The kid-friendly show, about a trio of tykes named Jake, Izzy and Cubby, explore their pirate island hideaway and try to outwit the familiar (but much softer) Captain Hook and his faithful sidekick Smee.
We caught a couple of 11-minute episodes -- "Hide the Hideout!" and "The Old Shell Game" -- which will make up the Valentine's Day premiere on Disney Junior, formerly Playhouse Disney.
Complete with jaunty music, courtesy of The Never Land Pirate Band (aka Loren Hoskins and Kevin Hendrickson), sassy characters (femme Izzy's catchphrase is "Ye Hey No Way"!), fun quests and an awesome hideout, this looks like a fun show for the kiddos. CC certainly enjoyed it.
I won't give too much away about the first episode, but the kids get adventurous while keeping their super-secret hideaway a real secret from the Captain and his mate, while flying with Pixie Dust and earning gold doubloons for their treasure chest. They also track down a colorful, wandering shell on their little island, and that search offers kids at home a chance to sort shapes, colors and patterns on screen.
After the screenings, the D23 audience got a real treat, as members of the voice cast joined executive producer Rob LaDuca and producer Mark Seidenberg up front for an informal Q&A session. Corey Burton, who voices Captain Hook, has been lending his voice to the legendary role for more than 30 years. Jeff Bennett (Mr. Smee), who also has voiced "Johnny Bravo" for Cartoon Network, offered up a fun repertoire of past voices alongside Burton.
While the coolness of their jobs was, I think, a little lost on CC, she did enjoy the pair riffing on past characters -- and stories of how Burton once ordered food at a drive-thru while using a Yogi Bear voice.
We'll definitely be tuning in to the new show. I'm always happy to have fun options for the kiddo that also offer opportunities to learn, whether it be math concepts in counting doubloons, sorting various seashell shapes -- or just learning to say "Ah, coconuts!" when frustrated.
("Jake and the Never Land Pirates" image, bottom, courtesy of © Playhouse Disney / Disney Channel)