WELCOME TO INSPIRIA
Ronald J. Fields
It’s crazy! How could the most enduring and endearing film in the history of Hollywood, The Wizard of Oz, never have inspired someone to grab its rainbow buckets and create a show at least a wisp of the original? But no one has. Well we intend to change that. We got our own Wizard…well Mayor anyway.
Each episode starts with two young, adorable live-action kids: Pixel, a very independent, self-assured, young gal with a fearless curiosity, and her sidekick, the next-door neighbor boy, Chip, a considerably more cautious, young guy whose timidity often sabotages his always noble intentions. Whenever either one of them confront the ever-present pugnacious peccadillos of growing up (bullying, parental misunderstandings, even issues of war and peace on a kid’s level) a dilapidated and a mystical shed shows up in the middle of an empty lot at the end of Pixel and Chip’s block. A lean-to only Chip and Pixel can see; and it appears only when the kids need answers to their childhood dilemmas. The shack houses memorabilia from early Hollywood.
The place also holds a threadbare, dusty stage. Behind the dusty. torn curtain. a blinking state of the art computer sits on a pedestal. Pixel pushes some buttons on the device and she and Chip get caught in a vortex that lands them in a brilliantly bright land called Inspiria, populated with wonderful characters. A talking squirrel, pond, tree and a tall lanky artist known as Remy Brandt make up just some of the characters all presented as puppets. The ring leader of the once solved the shack disappears and the pair have no memory of it except for the solution to their episodic perplexity.
Pixel and Chip’s neighborhood drones on day after day as a fairly typical, dull middle-class enclave with cookie-cutter homes. In our pilot episode, we find that Pixel suffers from near terminal boredom. While walking around the neighborhood Chip, tries all he can to drag her out of her ennui.
They eventual walk to the empty lot at the end of their block where they discover that weather-beaten, dilapidated and very scary looking structure. At first swipe, Chip figures the place is a flop house for ghouls and goblins. That gets Pixel ready to explore. She’s going to do it! Of course, not alone. She will drag a very reluctant Chip on her exciting adventure. If they don’t do this, they will suffer another boring Summer day. Scared, Chip argues that boredom can be fun. She drags him to the shack.
At the shed’s door, Pixel looks frightened but determined. Chip looks fearful but…well…really fearful. They reach the door and Pixel pushes and peeks inside. Not unlike Dorothy entering “Munchkin land,” she seems in awe, while Chip, not unlike the lion, covers his eyes in extreme trepidation. As Pixel pushes the door wider, creaks and groans punctuate the cobwebbed, dusty interior. They enter in to what looks like a storage facility of some kind; a back room of a library or museum. She and Chip see a plethora of scrapbooks and posters from a bygone era. Chip points out a poster of a funny looking juggler from stage and tells Pixel that the juggler looks familiar. Pixel says that he looks kind of like one of her uncles.
Behind the props and posters, masks and wigs, juggling balls and over-flowing steamer trunks, and the yellow-aged scrap books from old time films and vaudeville shows, stands what looks like a theatrical curtain closed tightly. Pixel approaches it, and sees faint colors seep from underneath the gray, dirty curtain. Chip warns Pixel but she yanks the curtain open anyway to find a computer sitting on a shelf. “Look!” She yells, “It’s an old computer, that’s all.” Chip relaxes, then they both hear a raspy voice of subtle indignation coming from the computer, “What do you mean, ’that’s all’ ."
Suddenly, the old grey shed starts spinning in circles. Sunlight seems to hit where it has never been before. Then the spinning stops. The shed’s walls have vanished. The place literally blooms, revealing a secret world of vivid colors! Nothing looks like their dull neighborhood anymore. Bright reds, greens and yellows fill the environment. By magic, they have arrived in this glorious secret world, called INSPIRIA! They stand in the town square.
At the town square the residents of Inspiria stop and stare. Pixel notices a lovely fountain perched right in the middle of the quad. Chip sees nothing - he has his eyes closed. In no time the citizens of Inspiria introduce themselves…including the fountain! The Inspirians represent an incredibly eclectic bunch of individuals living in this land of imagination. Their apparent leader, whom we will discover holds the self-appointed position of Mayor, struts a lot, and always carries his podium (you never know when a speech is in order). He exhibits the eternally-loveable qualities of the ersatz rogue, W.C. Fields. In this case, the Inspirians will show Pixel and Chip how to overcome boredom.
The Mayor acts as Pixel and Chip’s self-appointed host, introducing the other residents, which include: Butch F. Snugglesworth, a three-foot fuzzy grey rabbit with dancing feet and a “can-do” attitude; Elliot Nessie, the cute Lock Ness monster sort of character, who just loves good gossip; Remy Brandt, an artist who seems to be the longsuffering brains of Inspiria, and a host of others. All of these citizens of Inspiria offer their talents to help the kids find artistic solutions to any problems, questions or probes to which the kids want answers.
WELCOME TO INSPIRIA is dedicated to helping children learn how to use their imagination and the ARTS to solve their daily conflicts.
(The show consists of large rod puppets, artistic sets, fun projects or storyboards, and toe-tapping music and songs. W.C. FIELDS: THE WIZARD OF INSPIRIA recounts Pixel and Chip’s extraordinary adventures in a magic land reminiscent of OZ but with considerably more surprises. The puppets are made, the sets done, and the puppeteers want to get moving. Let’s do this thing.
Psychologists explain children’s incredible attraction to “lovable rogues” in literature, films, and television as a product of latent mischievousness inherent in all of us, particularly in our youth. That’s our MAYOR…the imp inside us.
The history of the “loveable rogue” (and its close cousin the “lovable incompetent”) populate children’s entertainment like no other characters, i.e., Miss Piggy, Elmer Fudd, Mr. Magoo, W.C. Fritos, etc. The last two admittedly inspired by the comedian that Conan O’Brien, no less, dubbed, “The funniest person who ever lived.” With his grandson, Primetime Emmy award winning writer/producer and NYT best-selling author, Ronald J Fields, we have secured the exclusive rights to use a caricature of the famous comedian.
Jerry Seinfeld called Fields “perfect.” Just a month ago John Landis praised Fields’ film, IT’S A GIFT, as one of the funniest ever made.
We believe by combining the ever-endearing and enduring “King of the Golden Age of Comedy,” W.C. Fields, with the eternally-popular WIZARD OF OZ, WELCOME TO INSPIRIA will garner a large and loyal children’s audience generating golden ratings.
THE ARTISTIC TEAM
Unlike Mr. Rogers’ finger bending puppets, these malleable mannequins have green-screened adults artistically manipulating their moveable parts. This troupe of incredibly accomplished puppeteers, led by the nationally recognized multi-talented puppeteer and puppet maker, Dennis Lancaster, has dazzled audiences nationwide. Now he has dedicated himself to get his puppets on air.
To that end, Dennis courted seasoned and experienced broadcast team including the aforementioned Ronald J. Fields, Ronald has also written primetime sitcoms for NBC and Paramount Studios. Charles Rudnick brings to WELCOME TO INSIPIRA veteran writer/director/producer of numerous productions, including the Leonard Nimoy popular series “In Search Of…” And Sheryl Lancaster, producer/director of innumerable stage and video productions.
Wizard of Inspira Gallery
Click on each thumbnail to view a sneak peak of the filming.
RONALD J. FIELDS
Ronald J. Fields, a critically acclaimed writer, motion picture Executive Producer, a playwright, New York Times Best Selling Author, a Primetime Emmy Award Winning Writer/Producer and he is also the grandson of the legendary W. C. Fields.