The Raccoons and the Lost Star is the third Raccoons special before the coming of the regular series in 1985.
It premiered in December of 1983. In Canada, CBC showed it in its full hour-long form; in the United States, it was shown in two parts either across two days (as it was on KNBC in Los Angeles, which aired the parts on December 1st and 2nd), or one week (as was the case with WNBC in New York City, which showed them on December 13th and 20th). "Lost Star" was also ran several times on the BBC, as well as the Disney Channel when they aired the Raccoons series in the early '90s. It was also available on VHS from Embassy Home Entertainment, which also released The Christmas Raccoons, The Raccoons on Ice and The Raccoons: Let's Dance!.
As told by Rich Little, with songs performed by Dottie West and John Schneider, The Raccoons and the Lost Star is an adventure story involving The Raccoons family of characters, including Schaeffer the Dog. On a far-away planet, Cyril Sneer plots his takeover of Earth. With the help of his Pig Generals, an army of Bears, and a special star, he has very carefully devised a plan to imprison all of the animals and attack Earth. Schaeffer the earth dog, is mysteriously transported to Cyril's planet and, with the help of the Raccoons, Sophia and Broo, Sneer's evil plan is thwarted, saving Schaeffer's home on Earth.
"Lost Star" is an interesting departure from the other Raccoons specials and the series. The story begins typically, however, as we first join Dan the Forest Ranger (voiced by John Schneider), Julie (voiced by Tammy Bourne), Tommy (voiced by Hadley Kay) and Schaeffer (voiced by Carl Banas) in the Evergreen Forest by a campfire. At the children's insistence, Dan begins to tell them a story, but gets interrupted by a car horn. Dan tells his kids it just might be a surprise, and they leave, leaving Schaeffer alone to sleep until he is awoken by a nearby bang. Now faced with a curious situation of his own, Schaeffer wanders into the forest to find the source of the noise. Eventually, he discovers a strange glowing plane and is startled by a radio message ordering it back. So he ducks into the passenger's seat to hide, and ends up on the mysterious plane's flight out of the forest... and out of the Earth itself
Whisked to a far-away planet, Schaeffer finds himself in a hollowed-out mountain fortress of machines, rocketry, and numerous Bear Soldiers. Three Pig Generals (voiced by Fred Little, Len Carlson and Nick Nichols) meet the plane's Bear Pilot to recieve reconnaissance data for their "Imperial Commander", who of course turns out to be Cyril Sneer (voiced by Michael Magee). However, when they discover the "Earth dog" that stowed away on the flight, their plans are temporarily interrupted as they give chase. Schaeffer escapes for the moment, and we soon learn the purpose of Cyril's mission. Seems that he had calculated the falling of one perfect star that would power all of his weaponry, yet his generals failed to retrieve it because of some unseen bungling. Since then, Cyril is determined to find the star so he may prepare to launch an invasion against Earth. To the end he has captured almost all of the animals populating their planet to see if any of them have the lost star.
In the meantime, Schaeffer has escaped into the jungle and meets up with a seemingly familiar face in Sophia Tutu (voiced by Sharon Lewis), only this Sophia acts like she just met him. One new friend he does meet, however, is Sophia's puppy, Broo (also voiced by Sharon Lewis), who looks very much like Schaeffer, except for a certain "starry thing" hanging across his neck. Schaeffer tells Sophia of his dilemma, and she in turn suggests that her boyfriend and his "influential father" could help (Little does she know that the "influential" Cyril is telling his son Cedric Sneer (voiced by Fred Little) that there will be no time for worrying about "social climbing dames" where he's going). While they do so, Schaeffer, Sophia and Broo are suddenly swept by a net trap set by Ralph (voiced by Bob Dermer), Melissa (voiced by Dottie West) and Bert Raccoon (voiced by Len Carlson), who are the only animals to evade capture and are thus slow to trust newcomers at first. However, when Schaeffer and Sophia plead their innocence, the Raccoons realize that they all share a common threat from Cyril and become fast friends with the other animals (although Schaeffer again feels as if he knew the Raccoons from somewhere). They then agree to come up with a plan to free the captured animals and to keep Cyril Sneer from taking over the Earth. Well, at least Ralph, Melissa, Schaeffer and Sophia agree. Bert, on the other hand, would rather perform a daring sneak attack.Differing techniques aside, the Raccoons, Schaeffer, Sophia and Broo manage to raid Cyril's hideout on numerous occasions afterwards, but it seems that no matter how many times they try, Cyril quickly recaptures the animals after they're released. But the trouble is only starting; when Cedric notices that his girlfriend Sophia is among the intruders, Cyril demands to know more. It is then that he discovers that Broo is the one who has the lost star, and is determined to capture the Raccoons and their friends once and for all. He starts by capturing Sophia after his army sabotages her date with Cedric, and Bert, Ralph, Melissa, Schaeffer, and Broo soon follow when they try to rescue her. With his opposition caught, Cyril claims the star for his own and sends the animals into a maximum security prison cell. However, Broo manages to get away and obtain plans to the war room from Cedric, who presumably wants to make up for Sophia's capture. All that's left now is to find the star and set the animals free. Can little Broo do such a monumental task on his own? And if so, will the Raccoons and their friends find their way out of Cyril's mountain hideout? And how will Schaeffer ever get back to Earth?
- Aardvark workers (Do not speak)
- The Bears
- Other Animals
- The Pigs
Cuts and ChangesEdit
In the two-part serialized version, some scenes were cut out.
- There was a cut in the scene where Schaeffer approaches the Sneer place (After the "Very odd, very suspicious, and more than a little scary..." narration). In the original, we see him actually sneak near the plane before the Pig General calls on the radio. In the rerun, they just cut to when Schaeffer is actually by the plane and hears the radio.
- In the scene when Schaeffer sees Sophia by the waterfall, there are a few seconds of him going through the forest cut out.
- Cedric and Sophia's date begins with Cedric telling Sophia that she's a little late. In the original, he greets her by giving her flowers.
- The "Lions and Tigers" scene is also cut short. In the rerun, after the Raccoons and Schaeffer's first raid, they simply go to the part that begins with "No sooner were the animals free, Cyril's army quickly rounded them up again." Actually, the song went on a little longer, as we see scenes from more raids (in which the same stuff happens).
- There is a bit chopped off in the beginning of the scene where Cedric meets Sophia before they are interrupted by Cyril's army. In the rerun, Sophia is coaching Broo on how to do a backflip; in the original, we first see him actually trying it.
- The entire "Fallin, Fallin" sequence is deleted. It happens after Sophia is captured and Cyril declares (Wicked Witch of the West style), "I'll get your little dog, and I'll get those Raccoons, too!". The sequence involves a "blue outline" style animation of Sophia being locked in the dungeon. In the rerun, all that's left of "Fallin, Fallin" is the opening melody, which carries over to the next scene.
- After the Raccoons, Sophia and Schaeffer are put in maximum security, the rerun beings the next scene closer to when Bert talks about how he always wanted to fly a plane. There is a little more footage before that in the original.
- Finally, the end credits in Part II are shortened in the rerun, with some of them cut out. The original has more actual credits, as well as more pictures in the usual "slide show" that ends most Raccoons episodes. Moreover, the song "Friends" goes on longer as a result.
- After Sophia tells Schaeffer that "I'm the only me I know", there's snipped dialogue where Schaeffer explains how he came from Earth. They also cut the end of the scene, where Sophia admits that she never met Cedric's father, but assumes that he must be just as wonderful as he is.
- When Cyril is chiding the Pigs and Bears for failing his recon mission, they leave out Cyril talking about how he can pardon his pilots but not his generals.
- When Cyril talks to Cedric, they cut out Cyril talking about his plans to leave their "rinky dink planet" for Earth, as well as Cedric asking if they could at least take Sophia with them. Also gone from this scene is Cyril feeding the remnants of his globe to Snag, along with the narration explaining the irony of Schaeffer seeking Cedric's father's help to get back to Earth, when he wanted to go there for different reasons.
- When Schaeffer, Sophia and Broo get captured by the Raccoons, there's missing dialogue where Schaeffer demands that they let them out, but Bert refuses to oblige, saying "So you can capture more animals? No way Shaggy!" When Bert tells Ralph and Melissa how he doesn't trust Sophia because "she looks like one of Cyril Sneer's bunch," Schaeffer thoughtfully repeats the name "Cyril Sneer" in the original, continuing the notion that he does in fact know everyone from somewhere. The end narration that poses Schaeffer's question, "How was it that he knew Sophia and the Raccoons, yet they didn't know him?" is cut short before the narrator adds that he decided not to worry about it, just being glad to be with friends, whether they were new or old.
- In the rerun, when we see the Raccoons and Schaeffer plan their first raid, it begins with Bert declaring himself "Bert Raccoon, dueling ace!" However, in the original, he declares beforehand, "Just wait till I meet Cyril Sneer now!" with Bert threatening an imaginary and invisible Cyril Sneer.
- When Cyril tells Raccoons, etc. how nice it is "to have them all here", Melissa retorts, "The pleasure is not mutual!" When Bert and Ralph tell him that he has no right to keep them there, Cyril warns them, "Don't bother trying to appeal to my conscience; I have none!" In the rerun, they skip from Cyril's "greeting" to Schaeffer asking what he wanted with him and his friends.
- The scene where Broo comes back with the map of Cyril's fortress begins (in the original) with the narrator saying, "The night wore on, and as the dawn neared, so did Cyril Sneer's final countdown..." This is not present in the rerun.
- When Ralph finds that Broo brought back a map to the war room, Bert cries, "Whoopee! All we have to do is follow the map and get the star! WE'RE SAVED!!!" In the rerun, though, he only says "We're saved!"
- After the Raccoons, etc. have escaped Cyril's fortress, the rerun starts with Ralph exclaiming, "Oh, it feels good to be on home ground again!" But in the original, this is preceded by a view of the mountain ruins as we hear Cedric ask, "Hi, Pop, time to leave for Earth yet?" To which Cyril replies, "AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
- First appearances of Broo (voiced by Sharon Lewis) and the Pigs.
- This is the first time we see Sophia, Ralph, and Melissa wearing their everyday clothes like in the then-upcoming series. Also, Sophia is now given blue eyeshadow.
- This is the only time we see Melissa having a tan underbelly. (Unless one counts The Raccoons: Let's Dance! and a brief moment in The Evergreen Grand Prix.)
- This is the last Raccoons production to be narrated by Rich Little. This is also the last time his brother Fred would voice Cedric.
- This special considered by many to be closest to the regular series in terms of tone, characterization, etc.
- This special is twice the length of the other specials. As such, it was separated into two parts for some TV broadcasts, with a couple of scenes edited out, due to timing.
- The Raccoons and the Lost Star was inspired by Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It was originally meant to be a full-length feature, but was made into an hour-long special, due to a lack of funding.
- The music score for this special would later be reused for the upcoming "The Raccoons" TV series.
- Clips from only this special were used during the music video for Lisa Lougheed's "Run with Us". They had a blue tint added to it.
Variety praised the third special, The Raccoons and the Lost Star, calling it a rollicking good adventure filled with space-age animation, high-tech gadgetry, lilting tunes, a lovable sheepdog, and the delightful Raccoons team.