Under the Umbrella Tree (partially lost Canadian children's live-action/puppet TV series; 1986-1993)
The main cast. From left to right: Gloria Gopher, Holly Higgins, Iggy Iguana and Jacob Bluejay.
Status: Partially Lost
Under the Umbrella Tree (Sous l’arbre parasol in the French dub) was a Canadian children's television series that originally aired on CBC from 1986 to 1993 for 280 episodes, which also reran in the United States on The Disney Channel from 1990 to 1997. The show revolves around three animal puppets (Iggy Iguana, Jacob Bluejay, and Gloria Gopher) and their human roommate Holly Higgins, who all live in suburban Ontario. Each episode revolves around different themes (e.g; holidays, exercise, dancing) with several life lessons and family values mixed in with the overall humor of the show. The show was created by Noreen Young, who built the majority of puppets that were used in the show, as well as performing Gloria Gopher.
Holly Laroque, who plays Holly Higgins on the show, won a daytime award for her performance on Under the Umbrella Tree. She also made a cameo appearance on Fred Penner's Place, and hosted two of her own Christmas specials, Christmas Holly, and Holly Larocque: It's About Time. From 1999-2001, she was the host of the syndicated reality series, Homes by Design. From 2005-2006, she starred in The Big Band Broadcast. Her website is currently not up to date at the moment, so it's implied that she may be on a possible hiatus.
In 2006, after Disney’s rights to the show expired, the show’s creator Noreen began to sell DVDs of the show on the official UTUT site, which later shut down in 2012. 36 episodes were released on an 8-volume DVD set, some of which also featured new introductions at the beginning of each episode with the three main puppets. Although the DVDs have been long out-of-print, several episodes still remain on YouTube, some of which were uploaded from the official Noreen Young Productions channel, as well as VHS rips from various other users. Since March 2018, full episodes of the show, both in English and French, have been made available to watch on the YouTube channel "Encore+"; a channel developed by the Canada Media Fund and Google Canada, which is devoted to retro Canadian film and TV series.
As of October 2018, there are currently 28 episodes each of the English and French versions on Encore+. However, the episodes listed are completely out-of-order, especially since most of episodes available are ones that aired much later during the show's run. The French dub also seems to have a completely a different order of episodes than those of the English ones.
Despite this, most of the earlier episodes of the show are much rarer than those that have already resurfaced online. Some noticeable differences in these episodes include a pink-colored title card, no episode title right after the main titles, and Iggy having a slightly deeper, more laid-back voice. Also, on rare occasions (such as "The Bird from Gaspe"), Gloria was shown with a perm as opposed to her normal pigtail hairdo. Her pigtails were also much more curlier compared to how straight and curvy they'd be later on during the show's run.