Cult Cartoon Essentials

Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone

First appearing on The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera on 1st September 1990, Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone lasted only 13 episodes but was watched by 8.5 million in the US while 5.1 million watched the series on CBBC in the United Kingdom.

The show follows four children and Potsworth, the English Springer Spaniel dog, who live in the same neighborhood. When they go to sleep at night they turn up in the Dream Zone where, as the Midnight Patrol, they are appointed by the Grand Dozer to protect it from nightmares and other threats and are given their missions by the Snooze Patrol. Their main enemy is the Nightmare Prince.

Whilst they are in the Dream Zone, the five have special powers. Keiko has a flying skateboard; Carter can draw anything and then have it come to life; Nick is super-strong and is able to fly; his stuffed toy Murphy comes to life; whilst his cynical sister Rosie tags along. Potsworth himself acquires the power of speech which enables him to complain about the way he is treated in the real world, and make wry comments about the kids and their own attitudes and relationships.

The cartoon Potsworth had a very “English” accent, even in the American version of the programmes, reflecting his real-life counterpart’s British origins. As the character was based upon a real-life springer spaniel called Potsworth, bought from the Battersea Dogs Home by Martin and Vivien Schrager-Powell. The couple were somewhat disheartened with some of the children’s programmes being made at the time, commenting that “Six-year-olds just aren’t content to be fobbed off with ‘Mr Wizard go pouf and nasty man go away’. Stories these days have to be believable, contain some logical process”.

In 1987, Martin started writing stories about Potsworth who lives in a city in America and four young children: Carter, Keiko, Rosie, and Nick. The couple took the idea to Hanna-Barbera and suggested a 50-50 deal to turn the stories into a television series.

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