Earlier in the week, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle hit headlines by becoming Sony’s all-time No.1 movie in the US – ending Spider-Man’s 16-year reign. Of course, the success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle no doubt means that we’ll be seeing a lot more from the franchise over the coming years.
But, this isn’t the first time that Jumanji has captured the imagination of audiences. Outside of the original book and the 1995 Robin Williams movie, Jumanji has previously existed as a popular animated series.
Running from September 1996 to March 1999, Jumanji (aka Jumanji: The Animated Series) comprised 40 episodes spread across three seasons. The show utilised characters from the movie, but also introduced new concepts and characters along the way.
Below is a guide to Jumanji, highlighting the key points of the series. As with yesterday’s guide to Dungeons & Dragons, this edition of The Great Stampede offers up a brief run-through of the show for those looking for the highlights.
1) The core cast of Jumanji included most of the characters featured in the movie: Alan Parrish, Aunt Norah, Judy and Peter Shepherd and the villainous hunter, Van Pelt. Bill Fagerbakke voiced the character of Alan Parrish, while Melanie Chartoff, Debi Derryberry, Ashley Johnson and Sherman Howard voiced the characters of Norah, Judy, Peter and Van Pelt, respectively. Tim Curry had a recurring role as Jumanji’s resident trader, J.H. Slick.
2) While the movie and the animated series shared similarities, there was a key difference. The main crux of the cartoon was that Alan was trapped in the world of Jumanji, while Judy & Peter were regularly transported into the game. One of the ongoing story beats in the series was the fact that Alan did not know how to get home and needed to solve an unknown riddle in order to escape.
3) When Alan meets Peter and Judy for the first time, he claims he has been trapped in the world of Jumanji for 23 years. It is later revealed that he entered the game in 1965, which means based on the date the show first aired, he was actually trapped for 21 years.
4) Alan wasn’t the only person trapped in the world of Jumanji. Children’s toys seen within the game suggest other kids have been trapped at some point too. In the episode, Robo-Peter, Peter is temporarily replaced by a robot from Jumanji. The robot’s main objective is to lure more children into the game.
5) A recurring theme throughout the first season of Jumanji is Peter’s constant cheating. As punishment Jumanji regularly transforms Peter into an animal – a story beat also used in the movie.
6) One of the creepiest characters in Jumanji is The Stalker – a Grim Reaper-like character who is feared throughout the world of Jumanji. In the episode The Gift, The Stalker enlists the aid of various villains to (attempt to) kill Peter, Judy and Alan.
7) In the episode Law of Jumanji, Peter (temporarily) kills Van Pelt. With Van Pelt removed from the game, Peter slowly takes on the characteristics of the hunter.
8) In the episode, Stormy Weather, Alan is struck by lightning and killed. Distraught, by what’s happened, Judy & Peter use a time travel device to try and prevent Alan’s death. It takes various attempts before they succeed.
9) In The Master of the Game, Alan, Peter & Judy meet another player trapped in the game – the self-dubbed ‘Master of Jumanji’. During the course of the episode, the gang inadvertently solve the ‘Master’s’ riddle, releasing him from the game.
10) Although his parents never appear in the series, Alan mentions that his father is a hunter, just like Van Pelt. In the original movie, Jonathan Hyde played two roles – that of Sam Parrish (Alan’s father) and the part of Van Pelt.
11) In the final episode, Goodbye, Jumanji, it is revealed that Alan’s previously unseen riddle is as follows: ‘An act of kindness where there is no light, will help to save you from your plight.’ During the course of the episode, Alan pulls a thorn out of a lion’s paw, which turns out to be the act of kindness mentioned in the riddle. The lion is the same lion that chased Alan when he first arrived in the game.
12) Once Alan is safely back in Brantford, Peter asks Judy what they should do with the Jumanji game board. They both decide it would be best to burn the game and bury it to stop it causing any further mischief. However, as the series comes to a close the game board remains intact in Peter and Judy’s attic.