‘Arthur’ creator reflects on show’s meaning for kids


(NewsNation Now) — It’s the end of an era, and for some the end of their childhood. The beloved hit PBS show “Arthur” will air its final episode this month after 25 seasons.

“Arthur” features an animated aardvark of the same name and the lessons he learns about kindness, empathy and inclusion from friends and family while growing up in the fictional Elwood City.

The show, which debuted in 1996, is the longest-running animated children’s TV series in U.S. history, and it has won four Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program as well as a Peabody Award.

Creator Marc Brown told “Morning in America” that the idea for the show happened during one of the worst periods of his life.

“I was teaching at a small college in Boston, and the college closed. And I didn’t know what I was going to do for a job. And that night, my son asked for a bedtime story,” said Brown. “I’m so glad he did because I was searching the pantheon of children’s literature for underserved animals and aardvark popped up. And I told him a story about this little aardvark. And then it became my career for the last 40 years.”

Brown penned his first novel in the “Arthur” adventure series in 1976. Since then, he has written more than 25 books and illustrated countless others.

“Arthur” on PBS Kids (Credit: AP)

“Kids asked me that question so often about, ‘Where did these ideas come from?'” Brown said. “I explained to them that there are ideas around us every single day, we just have to keep our ears open and our eyes open. And they’re there for us to think about and to play with. And so that’s my job. I look for those stories that happen in real life.”

The show’s final season was announced in July.

After 25 years on air, “Arthur” has had to adapt to the changing times, but Brown believes the last lessons from the show are applicable at any time.

“Arthur really isn’t going anywhere. We’ve created over 600 stories about him over the years,” Brown said. “PBS is committed to play these shows for many years to come. I think we deal with subjects that are relevant for kids, they’re not going to become dated. So Arthur will be around for a while”

However, Brown said he still can take away one singular message from the titular character.

“To be patient, and I loved your spot earlier about kindness and the program that you’re doing for people about kindness, because I agree with you 100%,” Brown said to NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert. “If each of us just look for one thing every day to do that was an act of kindness for someone else, the world would be a lot better place.”

Brown said the last episode will show the characters grown up. He has a new book, “Believe in Yourself: What We Learned from Arthur” out this year.

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