Crusader Rabbit, which aired in first-run syndication, is the very first made-for-TV cartoon.
Alex Anderson and Jay Ward conceived this shoestring-budget series featuring an altruistic little rabbit who in the first crusade enlists a circus tiger, Ragland T. Tiger ("Rags" for short) to help stop the elimination of his fellow rabbits in Texas. The rabbit, named Crusader, and Rags would venture off in many stories fighting bad guys, most notably their regular enemy Dudley Nightshade. Fifteen to twenty serialized episodes made up a story arc.
In 1951, Anderson and Ward lost the rights to the characters to Jerry Fairbanks, who bankrolled the series. Fairbanks would start up a color series of Crusader Rabbit episodes through Capitol Enterprises. These were animated by Creston studios and TV Spots. This second series was available as twenty 5-minute serialized episodes or edited as a 45-minute movie (usually under titles different than the official serialized title--e.g.: the story "Sahara You" was edited into movie form as "Sahara Today, Gone Tomorrow").
Jay Ward would produce two pilots after leaving Fairbanks Productions, one being Dudley Do-Right, the other being The Frostbite Falls Review. The second pilot would become Ward's classic series Rocky and His Friends (which in turn would become The Bullwinkle Show).
Crusader and Rags would appear in 1990 in the bumpers for Fox's Saturday morning kids shows.
|Ge Ge Pearson||*|
|Vern Loudon||Ragland T. Tiger||*||*|
|Russ Coughlan||Dudley Nightshade||*||*|
|Season One||October, 1949||June, 1950||195|
|Season Two||September, 1958||August, 1959||260|
There are no current official DVD releases of the series. Previously, Rhino Video released several editions of the original series on VHS. Any DVDs being released are either public domain prints or distilled from the Rhino tapes.