On August 11th, it will be 25 years to the day that Nickelodeon first aired the 1991 original pilot for their hit cartoon series, Doug. The show, while not common in the minds of many young people today, somehow always seems to find a way to bring those of us who watched every single episode back to the days of marathons in front of the TV in our cozy pajamas, relaxing on a quiet Saturday afternoon. Now please forgive me while I get the theme song stuck in your head for the next twenty-two hours.
Doug spent its first four years on the screens of the widely beloved (and better) '90s Nickelodeon. When the show became too expensive for the network to produce, ABC bought the rights, which were transferred over to Disney when the company acquired ABC in 1996. Disney aired an additional three seasons from September 1996 to June 1999. Disney released Doug's 1st Movie following the conclusion of the series in 1999. Although the film received near total negative reviews, it was still a box office success for Disney, making $19.4 million dollars on a budget of $5 million.
So, What Has The Cast Been Up To Since?
Many of the original cast members (those from the Nickelodeon series) moved on to bigger and better things. Some you may not even realize you see and hear in shows you watch today. For example:
Billy West (Douglas Yancey "Doug" Funnie / Roger M. Klotz)
Billy West departed the series when it transitioned to ABC with Disney citing that he had become too expensive to keep on due to his increasing popularity on shows such as Ren and Stimpy. You may also recognize him as the voice of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in Space Jam. While he no longer voices Bugs, he still remains the current voice actor for Elmer Fudd, last appearing in the Cartoon Network series, The Looney Tunes Show. He's probably best known to audiences now as the voice of time traveling delivery boy, Philip J. Fry on the recently (too soon) departed Comedy Central/FOX series, Futurama.
Fred Newman (Mosquito "Skeeter" Valentine)
Newman never really found much work outside of Doug. He lent his voice to a couple of films, a few direct-to-video movies, and the occasional animated show where his main job was to provide background noise. His most prominent role to date is in 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit as one of Judge Doom's moronic weasel henchmen, Stupid.
Constance Shulman (Patricia "Patti" Mayonnaise)
Stage actress Constance Shulman was one of the few actors who kept on with the series after it transitioned from Nickelodeon to Disney. Her resume, though not that large, has quite the variety attached to it. She had a small supporting role as Kathy Bates's nosy friend in Fried Green Tomatoes and a few other films in the late '80s/early '90s. Though what she's best known for now — I speak for a lot of us when I realized this (wow) — is her supporting role as Yoga Jones on Netflix's hit original series, Orange Is the New Black.
Alice Playten (Beebe Bluff)
Alice Playten, like a few of her co-stars, hasn't really shined all that much outside of her early work. She didn't continue with Doug when it moved to ABC in 1996, but she did return to her role for the movie after the series ended. She's best known for her role as Blix in the 1985 Ridley Scott fantasy film, Legend, where she starred alongside a young Tom Cruise (and his original teeth).
Does Doug Have a Future Back on TV?
Sadly, there have been no attempts by either Disney or Nickelodeon to revive the series to date. Billy West stated back in 2013 that he would like to return to the character, but only if it was turned back over to Nickelodeon. Many of the cast members (the most vocal being Constance Shulman) would probably agree with West on those terms. Shulman said, of the series while at Disney, that their takeover somehow took the magic out of doing the show. Creator Jim Jinkins agrees with the majority of fans who say the original four seasons were the best:
"They were quirkier and just all around better than Disney's later three."
But, who knows. With Hey Arnold! getting the reboot treatment in the form of a TV movie, maybe we'll once again see classics such as Rugrats, Rocko's Modern Life, and even Doug, find life again on Nickelodeon as they attempt to entrap and reclaim the nostalgia seekers of the 1990s.
What are some of your favorite memories from Doug? Would you like to see a reboot? Or maybe another movie? Let me know in the comments section below!