Remember Dinosaurs TV show, the 1990s children’s sitcom about a suburban nuclear family of Jurassic creatures? Like many 90s kids movies, Dinosaurs was perhaps underrated. Today, it is fondly remembered as one of the most iconic shows on ABC’s famous TGIF lineup. Dinosaurs was a visual feast and relic of its time.
The puppetry and animatronics were stunning, and watching it today provides a rush of nostalgia like none other. To make Dinosaurs so striking, a lot of work had to be put in behind the scenes, which lead to a variety of facts and stories that happened during the making of the show. Here are 10 things viewers probably didn’t know about it.
Updated on March 25th, 2022, by Alex Gentile: In the early 2000s, nostalgic 90s shows weren’t easy to get a hold of. As interest in the final decade of the 20th century grows in passing years, more obscure series, like the Dinosaurs TV show, have become easily accessible to the next generation thanks to streaming services. Reexamining shows like Dinosaurs often makes audiences want to look back, or even question if the show aired as they remember it. This list has been freshened up with new things audiences might not have known about the development of the cult hit show.
Jim Henson Thought Of The Show In The Late 80s
Legendary puppeteer and television producer Jim Henson tragically passed away in 1990, one year before the Dinosaurs TV show aired its first episode on ABC. However, the show still sprouted from the man’s creative mind, as he came up with the idea back in 1988 whilst developing technology making for some of the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie moments.
Unfortunately, Henson did not live long enough to see his dino-vision come alive on screen, but the Muppets creator’s influence is still all over the series, from the one-of-a-king aesthetic right down to the irreplaceable humor.
The Dinosaurs’ Names Are Oil Companies
The primary family in the Dinosaurs TV show is the Sinclair family, transparently named after the Sinclair oil company whose gas station mascot is a giant green dinosaur. Kids were perhaps able to pick up on that one but probably missed how several of the other dinosaurs’ names came from big oil corporations as well.
Roy Hess, B.P. Richfield and Grandma Ethyl Phillips were all characters on the show. Reading their names today, we cannot help but notice a pattern, a cryptic nod to what these prehistoric beings would slowly turn into over a few million years.
Famous Guest Stars
The Dinosaurs TV show might be known for its quirky characters, but several famous faces lent their voices to the show during its run. Although not in the main cast, Tim Curry plays several characters in the series, from Henri Charles Poupon to the Devil himself.
Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander can also be heard playing different characters like Stu Boomird and Gus Molehill. Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Arrested Development‘s Jeffrey Tambor also made their way onto the series.
The Baby Shared A Voice Actor With Elmo
Ever noticed that the iconic Baby dinosaur in the Sinclair family had a familiar voice? One that sounds similar to that of a certain little red monster on Sesame Street? Well, such is probably because the Dinosaurs TV show’s “The Baby” was voiced by Kevin Clash, the man best known for voicing Elmo.
Clash created Elmo’s signature falsetto tenor and worked as the character’s primary puppeteer from 1985 to 2012. Between 1991 and 1994, he made time to voice The Baby as well. He also performed in Labyrinth, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and several of the best Muppets films, more than giving back to the Jim Henson Company that launched his career.
It Was Edited For Streaming
Unfortunately for fans, when nostalgic TV shows come to streaming, sometimes they lose their edge. Series like Malcolm In The Middle have had controversial dialogue stripped from uploads to streamers like Hulu, and the Dinosaurs TV show fell victim to the powers that be.
In one episode, Mr. Richfield sings a Jimmy Hendrix song while indulging in some herbal intoxication. Netflix and Hulu edited this sequence and replaced it with a different track playing. Furthermore, the original airing of the show had a laugh track which was nixed when uploaded to streaming.
The Simpsons Tried To Mock The Series
In 1992, the Dinosaurs TV show got jabbed at by another iconic family sitcom, The Simpsons. At the beginning of The Simpsons‘ season 3 episode “Black Widower,” the titular family is watching a show that resembles Dinosaurs on their television.
Bart exclaims, “It’s like they saw our lives and put it right up on screen,” suggesting heavy-handedly that the Dinosaurs TV show ripped off The Simpsons. In reality, as we know, Henson conceived Dinosaurs in 1988, one year before The Simpsons aired its first episode. Still, getting mocked on The Simpsons is somewhat of a badge of honor, even if that badge is factually unwarranted.
There Was Almost A Movie
During the Dinosaurs TV show’s fourth and final season, Disney was considering a feature film spinoff for the show. Unfortunately, the series was facing declining ratings at this point in its run, leading to its cancellation and no movie. Plans for the film were still just developmental by the time it got scrapped, so fans have no idea what it would have been about, or whether it would have been a theatrical release or a television special.
From the likes of The Muppets Movie, though, audiences know that the Jim Henson Company usually does a fantastic job transitioning from TV to the movies. Seeing what they could do with Dinosaurs would’ve been a sure treat.
Nintendo Considered A Video Game
The Dinosaurs movie was not the only alternative media spinoff considered for the Dinosaurs TV show. For a while in 1993, Nintendo was contemplating making a video game based on the series for its Super Nintendo console.
Discussions for the game took place at a time when many popular TV shows were getting video game adaptations. These games rarely succeeded, though, often straying from their television source materials and facing scathing reviews. Thus, the TV-to-game model of the 1990s passed by the time Dinosaurs reached its height, and Nintendo lost interest in the project.
Baby Got A Music Video
It is hard to argue that Baby Sinclair isn’t the star of the Dinosaurs TV show. From Baby’s catchphrases to his cheerful demeanor, he is nothing short of the show’s mascot. But do most audiences remember his singing voice?
Fans perhaps don’t know that Baby Sinclair became so popular, he starred in his own music video during the show’s heyday. The song is unsurprisingly called, “I’m The Baby (Gotta Love Me).” The video is a time capsule, filled with a 90s aesthetic and references to early MTV as it repeatedly presents some of the show’s memorable tropes.
The Finale Was Planned From The Beginning
The Dinosaurs TV show’s harrowing final episode remains far too vivid in many fans’ childhood memories. During the finale, Earl’s company accidentally wipes out all vegetation on earth and then creates a global winter. The episode ends with the Sinclair family huddled in their freezing home as the outside world becomes an ice age.
This is the end of dinosaurs everywhere and watching it perhaps frightened the show’s young target audience. To make matters more disturbing, this ending was planned from the show’s very beginning, as the creators always knew that extinction was on the horizon for the dinos and could not imagine wrapping up the series without depicting it.
NEXT: 10 90s Movies Based On TV Shows From The 1960s
Moon Knight: Why Oscar Isaac Was Hesitant To Join MCU After Star Wars
About The Author