Cyberchase: The Poddleville Case (partially found pilot of PBS Kids animated educational series; 1999)

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Matt, Jackie, and Inez in the Pilot's Portal sequence

Status: Partially found



The pilot of the 2002 Nelvana animated program Cyberchase originally was a 1999 Pilot made by Curious Pictures, known as the Poddleville Case. It was initially distributed privately in schools around May [1], then publicly premiered in August 1999 through September 1999 on NSF shows on KTCA. [2] The pilot was digitally edited, completely redubbed, slightly rescripted and reused as Episode 7 for the final 2002 series

History

For a long while, most info was speculation based on how radically different the animation for Season 1 Episode 7, "The Poddleville Case" was compared to the rest of the series, in addition to the different Live Action Actor, Kareem Blackwell, compared to the rest of the series using Matt Wilson and Bianca DeCroat. Some recall Hacker not being voiced by Christopher Lloyd, while others think the pilot initially was called the Poddleville Caper, thought to air on March 2000

On May 20, 2018, One of the Pilot's Storyboard Cleanup Artists, Gino Patti, posted on his Instagram several camera shots of the Pilot, including the end Credits and VHS video track length. [3] Notably the credits feature far more developers of Curious Pictures, and a completely different cast of voice actors

In particular, voice actors Joanna Rhinehart and Thom Christopher both have confirmed their roles indirectly, with Joanna voicing Jackie in the pilot as noted on her portfolio[4], and Thom coincidentally voicing Hacker AGAIN in the PC Cyberchase games [5]

On January 21, 2019, Wnet's Official Facebook Released the original 3 minute Promo used for the pilot back in 1999. [6] Several users have noted differences for scenes, redone script, and completely redone dubbing compared to the Season 1 episode "Poddleville Case" that reused some footage.

Contents

Despite the Pilot being recycled for Episode 7, there are many differences;

Script

For the Mayor panicking over the missing Pods, several of his lines were changed. All references to eggs were changed to Pods as well, the "Five-sie" Poddle's line is mixed a little later, and the kids have added exclamations when chased by the Poddles

Version Transcript
Pilot Mayor: No! Not Again! Hurry! We must do the official Poddleville Egg count, before we lose all our Cyber power!

Pod1: One, Two, Three, Four, all eggs accounted for

Pod2: One, Two...*gasp* Ah! no! They got our darling Three! Three has been stolen!

Pod3: Five-sie! Our fives gone!

(they see Jackie with one of the Eggs)

Jackie: Oh no!

Pod4: She took them, she has our eggs!

Jackie: No no, it's not what you think-

Mayor: Aliens. ALIENS have landed!

Pod background noise: (Angry crowd)||

Final Mayor: No Not Again! There's an alien in our midst! Find him before we lose power, and then get TWISTED into oblivion!

Pod: One, Two, Three, Four all Pods accounted for

Pod2: One, Two...*gasp* Oh! no! They got our darling Three! Three has been stolen!

Pod3: Five-sie! Our fives gone!

(they see Jackie with one of the Pods)

Jackie: Oh no!

Pod4: She took them, she has our Pods!

Jackie: No no, it's not what you think-

Mayor: Aliens. ALIENS have landed!

Pod background singular: Catch the Pod Poochers!||

In addition, Hacker's lines when walking off the chair were changed

Version Transcript
Pilot Hacker: Now where was I? Oh yes!....Being wonderfully.. Evil....
Final Hacker: Now where was I? *Gasp* YES, Hahaha!....Being wonderfully awful

Visuals Despite all vocal audio being redubbed being a major change, there were many scenes edited, either Digitally masked, completely reanimated, or flat out transferred wrong

Logos

Interestingly the Promo/Wnet Site used the Ice Age Font a couple years before the Blue Skys Studio Movie

A comparison of logos from the 3 minute promo and Site till Final. Note that the Pilot logo uses the same font as final...Just more 90s styled

Hue Edits

Two scenes from the pilot in final had the Hue tweaked. This leads to inconsistencies of scenes where it isn't, such as any instance we see Matt's orange hair, Hacker's orange engine for the Grim Wreaker, and most Poddleville houses being orange

Filter

The filter seems nice though

Hacker scenes specifically in final have an added spotlight filter

Masking

The masking artifacts on Jackie

Some scenes use the original animation, but then digital remove then restitch the characters on altered backgrounds. Here it was to add shadows

Added Camera Movement

This causes us to not see the full frame

Before the characters get to their last frame of animation for the scene in final, it starts to rotate and zoom in for added effect

Reanimation

Due to the amount of information, we'll be going scene by scene in comparison of the 3 minute Promo, and the Final 2002 edit

CG galore in final
The characters look awfully more on model here in final

The portal sequence in the Pilot used 2D animated shapes, with the outside portal looking more like a vortex. Final used CG shapes, no color cast, and the outside is a flat disc like other episodes. One major thing to note is that final's sequence is roughly twice as long!

Hello Flatter perspective

Final for whatever reason reanimated this scene. Jackie incorrectly was made shorter than Inez, and both shading and perspective for the background was decreased heavily

Brighter set

As noted, Hacker's scene is cut short in Final. It was also reanimated, probably to keep the camera pan still, as the Pilot it moves to reveal Buzz and Delete. This would have ruined continuity in Final

Glass crash inversion

Besides being reanimated in a different angle, there's an invert effect for right when the villains crash through the glass. Potentially this is due to censorship, or just a way to make the crash more dramatic

Everyone is miscolored
Wonder why the egg was changed

The crowd cheering in Final has a discrepancy. Right before that scene we see unaltered footage from the pilot of them all in the correct colors. So recoloring them for the reanimation creates an inconsistency. Besides that, there are numerous coloring errors for the eyes and some of the Poddles' hands. Flags went from Green Red Blue to just Blue. And since this scene wasn't meant to be zoomed in, the main character's low detail is horribly shown final with the added zoom effect

For the next scene, unlike the Pilot where everyone blinks at regular intervals, Matt is permanently stuck in a half lidded expression. The Podling's pupil got bigger, the Egg the egg it's holding also got recolored, and the background is digitally redone

Debunking and Questions

- I thought this was called the Poddleville Caper?

Nothing in the referenced May report, the 3 minute Promo, Gino's Personal Tape, and the referenced WGBH archive ever refers to it as anything BUT the Poddleville Case. This incorrect title was all speculation from forums as early as 2003. Though they were partially right in the pilot not having Chris Lloyd

-What about the Live Action Segment?

Surprisingly Not in the 1999 pilot

User SonikkuAorDatH has personally contacted Gino Patti about where the Live Action footage came from. His response was he didn't recall any Live Action scene

The Pilot notably has the track Length of 24:15. Final is only 22:30 for animation, with Over 3 and a half minutes for the Live Action segment, bringing to to a full 26 minutes. So the Live Action Segment most likely was made later, sometime in 2000. *This is up for debunking if more evidence is supplied

-How come Curious Pictures doesn't site this as one of their works?

Again, User SonikkuAorDatH asked Mr. Patti why Curious Pictures themselves didn't cite this as one of their works (despite WNet and Nelvana always mentioning). Gino responded:

The main producer, Kris Greengrove, left Curious Pictures after the pilot. They wanted to change the look, so they moved to a new team. Also different teams worked on production because of cost

So executive shifting and knowledge that other companies would pick up the show caused it to be ignored for self crediting

External Links

Videos showing comparisons of footage from the Promo and Final, and note of Voice actors;

Theory of other digitally edited/reanimated scenes:

References