The Adventures of Snelgrove Snail (partially lost Canadian puppet TV series; 1979-1980)

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Cover of the TV series.

Status: Partially Lost

The Adventures of Snellgrove Snail is a 1979 Canadian puppet TV series. This series was created by D.W. Reid Film Company and was voiced by Helene Buwalda, Joyce Clarke, and Barrie McLean.[1] It originally debuted in Canada on CHCH-TV from September 22nd, 1979 until at least April 5th, 1980,[2][3], but it also aired in New Zealand on TVNZ and United States on syndication.[4] The series follows the underwater village of Snailsville and its gastropod inhabitants.[5] Some parts of the series were released on VHS by Mntex Entertainment, based in Prior Lake Minnesota. Additionally, some parts were released on VHS by Family Home Entertainment. These tapes are rare today, and it is unclear how much content was released on home media.

On June 12th, 2018, a YouTube user going by the name AH2 AH2 uploaded two eight-minute low-quality recordings of two segments from the show, being "Nose for News" and "The Truth About Gossip." A poster on eBay reveals that there were a total of 130 half-hour episodes made, as well as 10 half-hour specials. On August 17th, 2018, LMW user Spacegerbil got into contact with the head puppeteer and puppet builder for the show, Tom Vandenberg, who unfortunately could not provide much information on the show.

Poster revealing the count of episodes and specials. (Courtesy of eBay seller papernostalgia)

On August 23rd, 2018, user TropesAreDangerous uploaded a VHS release titled "Too Many Cooks Snelgrove Snail" under YouTube username TheBoss and to the Internet Archive. This tape runs for 24 minutes and contains the segments "Too Many Cooks," "The Truth About Gossip," and "Nose for News," at roughly eight minutes each. This reveals that the half-hour episodes were actually pieced together from multiple segments and that the existing segments for "The Truth About Gossip" and "Nose For News" were complete. It is not known whether segments were reused for different episodes or if each episode had all unique segments. If the segments are all unique, then this could translate to 390 individual segments for the regular episodes alone. However, the format for the 130 television series programs and ten specials is currently unconfirmed.

On August 24th, 2018, TropesAreDangerous uploaded a 42 minute VHS release titled "The Undersea Adventures of Snelgrove Snail: Muddy Gras in Snailsville" to YouTube under username TheBoss and the Internet Archive. It contained the aforementioned "Muddy Gras in Snailville," which was 24 minutes and is likely one of the ten special episodes. It also contained the sequences "Act with Tact" and "Mirror up to Life."

On September 4th, 2018, TropesAreDangerous uploaded a 24 minute (incorrectly labelled as "35 minutes") VHS release titled "It Takes All Kinds" to YouTube under the username TheBoss and the Internet Archive. It contained the segments "It Takes All Kinds," "Secret Admirer," and "Fishtory."

On July 16th, 2020, TropesAreDangerous uploaded a 26 minute VHS release titled "Everything Snelgrove" to the Internet Archive. It contained the segments "Everything in its Place," "What Price Heritage?" and "Handsome is as Handsome Does."

Known Segments

# Title Status Description
1 Too Many Cooks Found In "Too Many Cooks", the children are given a special commission to build a monument in the town square. As Conrad suggests, they were probably chosen because they did the work for free. They receive suggestions from several of the adults in town. However, this turns into a "too many cooks spoil the soup" scenario, as their attempt to combine all of the ideas results in a mess of a monument.
2 It Takes All Kinds Found In "It Takes All Kinds" Constance's cousin Carrie is in town. Because she comes from the Great Western Reef, her customs, speech, and dress are different from the others. Conrad, in his usual style, proceeds to treat her like garbage, and she decides to leave town. Oh her way out, she meets Herman the Hermit Crab, who convinces her to stay. She meets her friends just in time to use her lasso to save them from being eaten by Sid the Squid. Conrad supposedly learns to be better.
3 Act With Tact Found In "Act with Tact", we begin in the classroom with Professor Periwinkle trying (so very hard) to teach the children about diplomacy. The title, "act with tact," refers to saying and doing the right things at the right time. Terry Turtle and Conrad fight constantly, on the way home. The children are then attacked by the villains of the show, Stanley Starfish and Sid the Squid. The villains propose to cook and eat the children. However, the children manipulate them into turning the whole thing into a trial of sorts, complete with a judge, jury, defence attorney, and prosecuting attorney. They manage to learn the lesson of diplomacy. The villains get so into the courtroom roleplay that they actually let the children go when the not guilty verdict is reached.
4 Mirror Up To Life Found In "Mirror up to Life", the characters decide to have a "fault-finding festival", in an effort to be honest with each other about their faults. The faults are presented based on anonymous voting. However, this quickly turns abusive towards Mrs. Van Oysterbed. As such, the festival is called off, never to be repeated.
5 The Truth About Gossip Found In "The Truth About Gossip", Constance tries to get Snelgrove's attention, but he remains focused on her cousin Carrie. Conrad is particularly fascinated by her blond hair. In an act of desperation, Constance lies that her cousin bleaches her hair, leading to Snelgrove losing interest. Snelgrove then repeats this gossip to Terry and Conrad. This leads to Conrad 'subtlely' making fun of Carrie until the chain of gossip is revealed. The characters learn that gossip is never innocent.
6 Nose for News Found In "Nose for News", Conrad is handing out newspapers. Clem approaches, proposing to sell him stories from around town. Clem learns gossip about the various members of town from each other, as they are unusually ready to tell each other's secrets. We even get a HIPAA violation from the local doctor, who reveals the condition of one of his patients. At the same time, they are mortified when Conrad prints their own stories, urged on by Clem. The lesson was apparently supposed to be to not be nosy, but it falls a bit flat.
7 Secret Admirer Found In "Secret Admirer", we start with Mrs. Van Oysterbed, who is sick with "swimfluenza". She is brought flowers by a supposed secret admirer, though she somehow knows it was Conrad. This is very out-of-character for Conrad, which is why he tried to keep it secret. However, as the secret gets out, it also gets twisted up. This leads to some characters believing that Mrs. Van Oysterbed has an allergy, and Conrad is a "sadist" who brought the flowers to deliberately aggravate the allergy. The truth comes out, and it is revealed that Conrad kept his good deed secret to protect his rough-and-rude image.
8 Fishtory Found In "Fishtory", we learn about a version of the American Revolution (complete with Yankee Doodle Dandy playing in the background) with historical figures replaced by snails. Then the children put on a play and get very into character. Conrad, naturally, ruins Mrs. Van Oysterbed's tea party in a reimagining of the Boston Tea Party.
9 Everything in its Place Found In "Everything in its Place", professor Periwinkle is teaching the usual set of snail children about organizing your workspace, thoughts, and possessions. However, Conrad, in his usual fashion, refuses to get organized. However, he pays the price when he jumbles various ingredients together into a special surprise brew. He is injured in the resulting explosion.
10 What Price Heritage? Found In "What Price Heritage?", the con artist Clem is up to his usual tricks. He persuades Mrs. Van Oysterbed that her home is a historic site. However, this will cause her to have to pay high taxes unless she chooses to restore the home to its original state. He then poorly disguises himself as a builder and some sort of government official in charge of the various permits. In the end, she spends far too much money, restoring the home and still gets hit with taxes.
11 Handsome is as Handsome Does Found In "Handsome is as Handsome Does," the various boys and men of Snailsville dress up for a handsomeness competition run by Mrs. Van Oysterbed. The winner is set to work with a famous fashion designer. All of the competitors are given advice by Constance, who is not in the competition. However, because Constance helped everyone, Mrs. Van Oysterbed declares her the winner.

TV Specials

Title Status Description
Muddy Gras in Snailsville Found "Muddy Gras in Snailsville" features the characters celebrating a Mardi Gras style holiday, complete with mentions of Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Lent. It mainly focuses on two attempts at relationships. First, Constance's cousin Carrie is in town, and Terry Turtle wants to charm her. It gets oddly adult for a supposed children's show, with Terry turtle proposing changing his shell for a different one because "Slippershells turn Carrie on." They also make an unusual production about Carrie asking Terry to take her home afterwards. This premise comes off as unusual for a children's show, especially since the main characters are in elementary school.
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A VHS-rip of the show's opening sequence.


External Link