Lo, There Shall be … a Villain!

Dudley was the last dragon.

Dudley’s quest was to find another dragon.

In the world of Dudley the Dragon, this would be an easy accomplishment.  The forest was magical.  It had Chloe, a fairy godmother.  It had at least two wishing wells.  Dudley could wish on a shooting star or pick a four-leaf clover.  A genie was on the loose.  The Troll could spin a spell.  The Pumpkin King could grant the wish.  Or Mother Nature could tell him, as could Grandpa Robin, who’s been around the world “seven times plus two.”

But no, this was the final episode.  Time to get tough.  Time to give our hero one last challenge. One that would be insurmountable.

For the sake of drama, Dudley needed something to hinder him in his quest.  He needed someone who would give him a challenge, someone who would raise the stakes, someone to force him to pay a terrible price for his fondest wish. He needed … a villain.

But wait.  This was the world of Dudley the Dragon.  In it, “Our villains are misguided rather than evil,” said Jean Morphee-Barnard, the show’s educational consultant.  She had been involved with Dudley since The Conserving Kingdom, all the way to “The Last Dudley.”

A misguided villain?  Not this time.

Prior to this story, Alex Galatis had written a trilogy of episodes involving a couple of witches.  One of those episodes, “The Pumpkin King”, was a takeoff of The Wizard of Oz.  Galatis was likely inspired by the character of Professor Marvel, the fortune-telling con man.

Dudley’s nemesis would be a fortune-telling con man, albeit one far more menacing than Marvel.  His name:  The Great Mezmra.

Who would play the role?  Who would be the final special guest star of the series?  Who would give Dudley a run for his size 13 triple E sneakers?

Source:  Justin Smallbridge, Maclean‘s, February 19, 1996, “Dudley is No Dud; Children Love the Goofy Canadian Dragon,” p. 62.