Created by author John Peterson, The Littles were a series of popular children’s novels written in the late 60s and featured a family of tiny intelligent creatures that were part-human and part-rodent (evidenced by their long tails and mouse-like ears). In 1983, they emerged from the books to star in their very own Saturday morning cartoon series on ABC called, you guessed it, The Littles.
The Littles family lived covertly inside the walls of homes inhabited by full-sized humans. They used a baby bottle hung upside down as a shower, sardine cans for their beds and teacups for sailing vessels. The elders of the Littles clan disapproved of any interaction with the big people, but young Lucy and Tom couldn’t resist and, not only revealed themselves, but befriended a human boy by the name of Henry Bigg who lived with his father, scientist George Bigg.
The diminutive duo would sneak out to accompany Henry and his father on various adventures. Because of their size, these trips often proved treacherous but Henry always kept a watchful eye on his tiny friends, keeping them safe and protecting them from detection. When they needed a little dose of wisdom, Lucy and Tom could always turn to the kind-hearted Grandpa Little, and when a bit of comic relief was needed, they could always rely on the antics of Uncle Dinky, a bumbling pilot of toy airplanes. And along the way, they learned various lessons in friendship, caring and loyalty.
Young viewers showed an affinity for the animated Littles, just as they had for the book series – which sold millions of copies over the years. The show aired on ABC for three seasons before moving to The Family Channel for another four years, beginning in 1989. In 1998, they moved to Toon Disney for another four years and have been in syndication seemingly ever since. The complete television series is also available on DVD.
And not to be outdone by other small creatures of the genre, The Littles made the transition to the big screen in the 1985 feature film, Here Comes the Littles, followed by a made-for-TV movie the next year called Liberty and the Littles.
Despite their obvious shortcomings, there is nothing small about the impact of these colorful characters, who have proved their appeal over the years, whether it be books, television, movies or toys. That’s a pretty respectable feat, but then again, The Littles were no ordinary rodent/humans.
Did you grow up watching their adventures each week? We’d love to hear your recollections in our comments section.