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Care Bears Nutcracker Suite facts for kids

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Care Bears Nutcracker Suite
CB Nutcracker VHS cover.jpg
Original 1988 VHS cover
Genre Animated special
Written by John de Klein (story editor)
Directed by Joseph Sherman
Laura Shepherd
Theme music composer Tom Szczesniak
Ray Parker
Jim Morgan
Acrobat Music
Patricia Cullen
Composer(s) Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Country of origin Canada
United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Michael Hirsh
Patrick Loubert
Clive A. Smith
Running time 62 minutes
Production company(s) Nelvana Limited
Distributor United States:
GoodTimes Home Video (VHS, 1988)
Original network United States:
The Disney Channel
Original release United States:
December 10, 1988
December 25, 1988

Care Bears Nutcracker Suite is the third and final animated television film to feature the Care Bears characters. Produced by the Canadian animation studio Nelvana in 1988, it is loosely based on the Nutcracker ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (adapted in turn from E. T. A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King). The film was directed by Joseph Sherman and Laura Shepherd, and produced by Nelvana's founders: Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert and Clive A. Smith.

In this special, a schoolteacher tells some children a version of the Nutcracker story which features the Care Bear Family. While helping a sad girl named Anna, the Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins meet a wooden soldier and a group of malicious rats from a place called Toyland. Entering this place, Anna and the Family learn that an evil Vizier is planning to destroy it with the help of his rodent army, and has his sights on a powerful ring that has been long hidden from the denizens.

Care Bears Nutcracker Suite premiered on video and television in December 1988 across North America, and was met with indifferent reception. The special premiered on DVD in France in 2004, and then in November 2006 by Lions Gate Home Entertainment under a new English title, Care Bears: The Nutcracker. This was Nelvana's last Care Bears production until Journey to Joke-a-lot in 2004.


Somewhere on a Christmas time in 1987, At a school called P.S. 5, a teacher named Miss Walker tells some children a version of E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, involving the Care Bear Family. As the story begins, in Care-a-lot, on Christmas time, in 1967, the Care Bears and their Cousins prepare for Christmas in their home of Care-a-lot; the two youngest bears, Hugs and Tugs, are searching for an ornament. While the others spend time in the Hall of Hearts decorating a tree, Funshine alerts them of an unhappy girl named Anna. Enlisting Grumpy Bear to go along, she takes a Cloud Mobile down to Earth.

When the two bears visit Anna, they learn that her best friend Sharon has moved away, and her younger brother Peter is more interested in adventures. As they talk about the virtues of friendship, a burst of light startles them. Eventually, a tall wooden Nutcracker doll emerges from a black portal, along with a band of rats (led by the Rat King) who are after him. When the group hides from their foes, the Nutcracker recollects some of his lost memory and explains that he arrived from a place called Toyland; the rats work for the evil Vizier who is plotting to conquer and destroy that land along with Christmas.

Funshine and Grumpy send out a signal to Care-a-lot; Lotsa Heart Elephant, Brave Heart Lion and Tenderheart Bear (along with stowaway Hugs and Tugs) later join them. Together, they send the rats back to Toyland. Before everyone follows, Hugs and Tugs are asked to stay behind with Peter, but they venture into Toyland, nevertheless, hoping to find an ornament and some adventure.

At his castle, the Vizier wants to know the whereabouts of a powerful ring worn by Toyland's former Prince, so that he can control the land. His captive, the Sugar Plum Fairy, refuses to tell him; he is more outraged when the Rat King arrives without the Nutcracker. The Vizier soon takes notice when the Nutcracker and his friends enter Toyland, and take a train through its various sights.

When they stop for the night, the friends contend with a group of toys led by the Harlequin, who also want the train, but advise them to leave Toyland. One of them later explains how they tried to save their land, after the Vizier and the rats overthrew its Prince and captured his castle. To make sure the Vizier never got it, the Sugar Plum Fairy hid the Prince's ring away. The Nutcracker is determined to end the Vizier's reign, despite the rats' barricade. En route, the train is attacked by the rats, who capture Peter, Hugs and Tugs.

Upon reaching the castle by raft, the group secretly sneaks inside and frees the Sugar Plum Fairy. With her help, the Bears, the Cousins & the Harlequin discover a walnut ornament containing the ring, but the Vizier seizes it. However, the walnut can only be opened by the Nutcracker, who refuses. Furious, the Vizier turns the Bears, the Cousins and the Harlequin into firewood, one at a time. With only Anna left, the Nutcracker reluctantly agrees to open the walnut. Peter, Hugs and Tugs, having escaped from imprisonment, manage to take the walnut, resulting in the rats chasing them. Unfortunately, they are soon recaptured, but free the Sugar Plum Fairy just as the Nutcracker opens the walnut. Before the Vizier can claim it, the Fairy grabs the ring and places it on the Nutcracker's finger, turning him back into the Prince of Toyland and reviving his memory. Restoring the Bears and Cousins to normal, they use their Stare to defeat the rats. With the Vizier also defeated by the Prince, Toyland is returned to its former glory (which means hiding it was useless). The Prince bids farewell to Anna, Peter, the Bears and Cousins, promising to always remember them as friends. He also gives the walnut to Hugs and Tugs for their special ornament. As everyone departs, Anna awakens from her bed, back in the real world - on Earth, on Christmas day, in 1967. Lamenting that it was all just a dream, she is greeted by a new neighbor, Alan Prince, who looks exactly like the Prince in Anna's dream.

When Miss Walker finishes her tale, back in 1987, one of the children wants to ask what happened to Anna. Suddenly a grownup Alan appears at the door. As he and the teacher, now revealed to be Anna, leave the stage together, the other children start rehearsing Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet. Unknown to all of them, the Care Bear Family has been listening all along (secretly supervising them all (naturally), meaning that Anna wasn't dreaming about Toyland after all.


Actor Character Source
Tracey Moore Baby Hugs
Melleny Brown Baby Tugs
Dan Hennessey Brave Heart Lion
John Stocker The Rat King
Bob Dermer Grumpy Bear, Gummy
Susan Roman Funshine Bear
Luba Goy Lotsa Heart Elephant
Keith Hampshire Rumble
Michael Beattie Alan Prince (Nutcracker form)
Mairon Bennett Holly
Tara Charendoff Anna
Stuart Stone Peter
Don Francks Evil Vizier
Abby Hagyard Miss Walker
Jim Henshaw Tenderheart Bear
Keith Knight Harlequin
Adam Simpson Chris
Sunny Besen Thrasher Alan Prince (Human form)
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