Little Einstein (partially found pitch pilots of Playhouse Disney animated series; 2003-2004)

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Little einsteins pilot logo.jpeg

The logo from the first pilot.

Status: First Pilot: Partially Found / Second Pilot: Partially Found

Little Einsteins is an American animated preschool series that ran on Playhouse Disney from October 2005 to December 2009, for two seasons and 65 episodes. The show focuses on a group of children: Leo, June, Quincy, and Annie, who fly around the world in a rocketship named Rocket to complete missions, while teaching art and music appreciation.


On November 6, 2001, The Walt Disney Company bought Baby Einstein for $25 million dollars. In a press release following the acquisition, Disney announced that among their first plans with the company was to turn the brand into a multimedia franchise, making new products that could appeal to an older audience. The first of these products would be "Little Einstein", a series targeted at preschoolers. Disney stated the series was intended to be launched in late 2002. However, numerous delays led to the series not being released until 2005.

First Pilot (2003)

Status: Partially Found

The Little Einstein trademark was filed on November 16, 2001. According to various other trademarks, the original vision for Little Einstein was to feature characters from the original Baby Einstein line of videos. However, this idea was scrapped early on. It was then decided to create entirely new characters for the show. As such, the premise of the series would revolve around four kids, which stuck around for the remainder of its development. In 2003, a pitch pilot was made for the series, and was a success with Disney, leading them to greenlight the series, now scheduled to premiere in 2005 on Playhouse Disney.

In 2004, the pilot was made into a 30-second trailer, and was included on several Baby Einstein VHS and DVD releases from that year. This trailer showed off the earliest incarnation of the series, and although the general framework of the final series can be seen, it utilizes different character designs, an unused theme song, and lower-quality animation.

  • Leo has brown eyes and a differently shaped nose. He wears a mint green shirt with a stripe near the bottom, orange shorts similar to the ones he wears in the final show, and blue sneakers. The pilot depicts him similarly to the final show, as the leader of the group who guides the other characters and the viewer through their missions. However, he occasionally consulted a laptop to research facts relating to their missions. His full name in the pilot is Leonardo, meaning Leo was just a nickname used by his friends.
  • Annie has freckles on her cheeks and paler skin. Her pigtails are longer and appear to be braided, held with two red hair bands. She wears a white shirt under a navy blue denim dress, and large red boots. In the pilot, she was originally depicted as a Southern girl with a thick, stereotypical cowgirl accent. She's also seen as more arrogant and pouty, which was toned down significantly in the final show, as all traces of her Southern roots were removed. Additionally, she was the driver of Rocket in the pilot, whereas in the final show, it was Leo.
  • Quincy has lighter brown skin and a larger tuft of hair. He wears a cream shirt, a cyan hat, green jeans, and simple red shoes. In the pilot, he is presented as a nervous worrywart who is easily scared by many things; in the final show, Quincy is much braver and his only major fear is the dark. He was originally named Wolfgang (nicknamed Wolfy by his friends), but a couple of lines in the pilot's script indicate the name Byron was also considered. He originally owned Cuddly Dudley, a stuffed toy dog who acted as a security item to calm him down whenever he became anxious. Cuddly Dudley was scrapped from the final show.
  • June has a fairer skin tone and red blush marks on her cheeks. She has long side-swept black hair, tied into buns with two blue hair bands. She wears a sleeveless pink dress with a flower print on the front and a red strap around it, and blue slippers. In the pilot, she is depicted as a drama queen who loves to joke around, while the final show presents her as an elegant dancer. Additionally, she was originally named Isadora, with the script for the pilot using this name.
  • Rocket, originally named the Cosmobile, is a crudely-rendered 3D model, consisting of an oval shape with a red texture on the bottom half and a glass dome-like top half. He also has various features in the pilot which are not present in the final show, such as a computerized voice (in the final show, Rocket communicates through xylophone noises), the "Where-Oh-Where Arrow", which was used to decide where the Little Einsteins would go, and the ability to camouflage. The Rocket Room was not included in this pilot, and as such, the children instead met up at a neighborhood park.

Second Pilot (2004)

Status: Partially Found

By late 2004, the series was overhauled, better resembling the final product. The logo and character designs were updated to their final incarnations, and various new elements were added; however, the theme song heard in the previous trailer was kept here (this theme song was last used in February 2005, on the "Little Einsteins Demonstration DVD", and replaced by the one used in the final show). Another pilot was made, and was once again pitched to Disney, who approved of the changes. As with the 2003 pilot, this pilot was made into its own trailer included on various Disney DVD and VHS releases in early 2005. Shortly after this, the series adopted its final name of Little Einsteins, which we know it as today. This was the final pitch pilot made for the series, as it would make its official debut in August 2005 with the direct-to-DVD movie "Our Huge Adventure", and would later premiere on Playhouse Disney in October 2005. The pilot is sometimes referred to by production members as the "Starry Night Test", likely attributing to the feature of the Starry Night painting in the pilot.

The designs in the second pilot are near identical to the final show, outside of a few minor changes, such as Quincy's colorway being different.

The Little Einstein trademark was abandoned on August 10, 2006.


For over fifteen years, the pilots fell into relative obscurity, with the only remnants of their existence during this period being the aforementioned trailers, which were included in 2004-2005 Baby Einstein home media releases, and the show's website at the time, which was archived via the Wayback Machine, which included another early version of the show's logo. Though the 2004 pilot still remains mostly undocumented, multiple things from the 2003 pilot have resurfaced in recent years.

In late 2021, several crew members attributed with working on Little Einsteins during its early stages were contacted. Some of them were able to provide a collection of screenshots from the 2003 pilot, which gave a better understanding of its contents. In 2022, a demo reel of the 2003 pilot was found, showing a few mute clips of Rocket flying around (some of which were used in the 2004 trailer). In late 2023, a model sheet for the characters and script from the 2003 pilot were found. The script in question was dated June 11th, 2003. Also in late 2023, Mike Luzzi, who did work for the second pilot, provided some Flash models of the characters with their designs from the pilot. Some parts were corrupted and replaced with other .swf file parts.




A promo for the show that was included on various DVDs.

Second version of the first pilot.

See Also

Little Einsteins

Disney Channel

Playhouse Disney

Disney Junior

Toon Disney

Disney XD


External Links