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The Mobile Tree

Since Mr. Crabby Tree was a plant, rooted to the ground, he couldn’t go anywhere.  He couldn’t go to the action.  The action had to come to him.

In Season Three, “Mr. Crabby Tree’s Really Great Adventure” changed all that.  By wishing on a shooting star, he was magically released from the ground, and he spent the rest of the episode doing all the things he wished to do for umpteen years:  play tag, hockey, hide-and-seek, dance, do gymnastics, fish, and surf on a whale, of course.

Terry, Julia, Sally, Matt and Sammy the Frog were amazed—not just because the tree was mobile, but because he wasn’t crabby!

Alas, Mr. Crabby Tree had wished for just one day to be ground-free.  That day ended.  He had to stick himself in the dirt again, the poor fellow.  But this was the world of Dudley the Dragon.  Here, dreams come true.  And so it happened another shooting star appeared and Mr. Crabby Tree could make another wish.  “Here we go again,” said Dudley.

That was the last time Crabby was stuck.  The next time we see him, in Season Four, “Dudley and the Tiny Raincloud,” a four-leaf clover has enabled him to walk.  In “Good Knight Dragon,” he’s moving around after wishing on a lucky rabbit’s foot.  After that, in “Mama Crabby Tree,”  Crabby became mobile after throwing a penny in a wishing well.  In his next two appearances he’s fully mobile, with no explanation. His independence was a fait accompli.

But the Crabby Meister had yet another wish.

One Two Three on Crabby Tree

One night by a campfire, Dudley the Dragon wrapped up a game with little Julia, who recently joined the cast.  Nearby is Terry, another newcomer, who’s gazing at the stars through a telescope.  And next to him is Mr. Crabby Tree, who wants to play a game.  But, being anchored by his roots, he can’t play tag or hide-and-seek.

“I’m stuck in the ground,” he complains.  “And you know how that makes me feel?”

“Crabby?” says Terry.

“That’s right,” the tree bellows.  “CRABBY!”

Luckily, a shooting star streaks across the sky.  Julia tells him if he wished upon a shooting star, you might get what you wish for.

Does Mr. Crabby Tree get his wish?  Find out.

Beneath the Bark, an Actor

Graham Greene played Mr. Crabby Tree for some 13 episodes.  At the time he was best known for his work in Dances With Wolves, for which he was nominated Best Supporting Actor in the Oscars in 1990.  In 1992’s Thunderheart, Greene played—oddly enough—a gruff cop on an Indian reservation.  He played a Rambo-type soldier named Cherokee in Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, Episode 2, “Wardogs.”  But Dudley fans of all ages will forever remember him as the irascible tree whose bark covered a heart of … sap.

“With Mr. Crabby Tree, there was lots of ad-libbing and adding to the story,” Greene told The Lethbridge Herald.  “We’d act really stupid until the kids came on set, and then have to settle down and act like adults.”

Executive producer Peter Williamson told The Vancouver Sun, “He really likes this job. He’s really enthusiastic.  He actually phones us and says, ‘When are you shooting?”’

“I just love doing it,” Greene said to the Toronto Star after spending four hours in the rubber tree outfit.  “You can be as broad and as cheap as you want to be.  I can act out, go crazy . . . and I get recognized now. Not for Dances With Wolves or Die Hard 3, but as Mr. Crabby Tree.”

Seven years later, in 2005, Greene told an audience at Humber College, “I bust my tookus with all these major roles and they give me an award for being a goof in a tree costume.  Two of them.”

Indeed, in 1994, Greene won a Gemini (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy) for Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series.  He won again in 1998 for performing Crabby in the episode, “The Tiny Raincloud.”

For Greene’s 1994 victory, Williamson said, “I couldn’t resist it.  I’ve told him it was the first time an actor has ever won an award for being wooden on stage.”

Sources:  Bob Sokolsky, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA, June 26, 1995, “Dragon’s Show is Taken Off Endangered List,” p. B5; Greg Quill, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, June 1, 1997, “Dudley the Dragon Fires Up Cast and Crew Shooting Final Season of This Hit Children’s TV Series is Both an Art and a Business,” p. B8; Kathy Kasner, The Lethbridge Herald, December 4, 1994, “Letting the Genie Out of the Bottle,” p. 3; John McKay, The Vancouver Sun, June 29, 1996, “Dudley Does Right in U.S. Market,” p. C12.

Kindle Journey

Children’s book writer Lupe Fernandez has self-published an ebook, The Wooden Men. He’s making it available through Amazon’s Kindle Direct service. He discusses his journey into Kindle publishing at The Pen and Ink Blog. An interesting account.

First Sale

I sold my first magazine today!  267 items, most of them Star Wars-related, are now available for purchase.  Some include coverage of Star Trek and other science fiction productions.  Other publications-for-sale feature cars, models, and other hobbies.

Click on the “Shop” button, then the “Catagories” button, and select the category closest to your interest.  Thanks for shopping!

Almost There

Hello, everyone!

Construction of this website is almost complete.  Fantasy artist Diana Levin is doing the nuts and bolts of the website design, and I’m grateful for her help.

John Grusd is a producer, director, and gifted photographer who took my pictures.  You’ll see the corner photo change every time you visit the home page.

Special thanks to Mark Lewis for his help and advice.  Mark is a talented animation professional and you’ll know this by visiting his website.