Once upon a time, there were three little girls. They were the children of Russ Harris, and they didn’t know it at the time, but they were the “cat-alyst” for Crawford the Cat and www.crawfordthecat.com.
We had been making mostly half-hour animated holiday specials aimed at families, but had always wanted to make a series of some kind. We were at a point in our careers where just making another show wasn’t enough. We wanted to do something that might make a bit of a difference in the world, and recognized the Pre K-2 age group was the perfect age for our sensibilities. Besides, we had a built in “focus group” with Russ’s kids! They kept us focused, anyway.
Crawford was to provide life lessons taught in a light and fun way. One of the most important decisions we made was that there would never be negative behavior displayed on the screen. We would present our subjects in a positive way. Harder to write, yes, but this forced us to think differently and created a very safe world for our characters to live in, and for the children watching. So, we made 13 “Crawford’s Corner” shorts but soon found that 13 weren’t enough for the major U.S. television networks.
Then our friend, Fred Seibert, stepped into the picture. While he continues to have a hugely successful career in television (Fairly Odd Parents is one of his many shows), at the time he was just venturing into the internet himself and suggested that, since “Crawford” wasn’t on television, we should put the shorts on the internet and “see what happens….”
So, we did. We created www.crawfordthecat.com, eventually adding a few games, puzzles and so-forth. What did we expect to happen? Maybe a few parents would find the site for their kids. And, that did happen, but it wasn’t all that happened.
Teachers found us, too, and started using Crawford in their classrooms, to the tune of nearly 10 million page hits. That is, by far, the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us in our careers.
We feel like we have come home. We are overwhelmed by the positive emails we have gotten from educators all over the country and are gratified that students love Crawford as much as we do. It’s our best work, I know that, and where we were meant to be.
More recently, we have assembled a talented team to grow awareness of the little green cat and provide marketing expertise, while at the same time, exploring new strategic alliances with educators and sources of funding for new Crawford endeavors.
Russ’s “little” girls are not so little anymore but their childhood legacy lives on in “Crawford’s Corner.” As we look down the road, we’re excited by the opportunities we see to spread our positive messages even further as we grow the website and supply bona fide curriculum with the planned “Crawford’s Kids Health.”
We hope our message inspires you to learn more about Crawford the Cat. Please join us as a sounding board for our work.
G. Brian Reynolds,