A few years ago I wrote a silly list post on a whim about my favorite puppet TV shows from the 90s. Lots of people find the site by looking for shows on that list, but one in particular brings in lots of curious people: Eureeka’s Castle. Eureek’s Castle was a great show that ran from 1989-1995, but for some reason Nickelodeon seems to have forgotten about it.
Many classic 90s Nickelodeon shows are now on Netflix, Hulu, and/or Amazon Prime, but where’s Eureeka’s Castle? What gives?
Eureeka’s Castle had a lot going for it from the start. For one, it was co-created by R. L. Stine, the creator of the popular Goosebumps series of books for which I had a ton. The designs of the puppets were great. The setting and story was cool. It’s no wonder it was a very popular show. I watched a lot of Nickelodeon as a kid, and this show is definitely one of the shows I think about the most. Especially because it’s not available on DVD or streaming. I think about it a lot, you guys.
Probably the most remembered part of the show is Magellan, the big adorable dragon. Magellan the dragon was voiced by Noel MacNeal, who is probably most known for voicing Bear in Bear in the Big Blue House, but we all know that Magellan is much cooler (and could surely win in a fight).
Other characters include Eureeka, Batly (who looks like a puppet/bat version of David Cross), and Bogge and Quagmire. The show was mainly live action with puppets, but it also had animated segments. No wonder I loved it so much. (Seriously, a puppet dragon? Sign me up)
There is an interesting article over at the AV Club where they interview RL Stine specifically about the show, and in the article he mentions how Barney was the downfall of Eureeka’s Castle:
And, of course, what happened was we had this wonderful show and had this amazing two-level puppet set that was just fabulous and these incredible puppets. The Magellan puppet took two people to operate. Noel [MacNeal] was inside and he had a fan and a TV monitor inside so he could see what he was doing, and there was someone else to work the tail. It was so complicated and they were just so lavish with their imagination when working things out.
Then Barney came along. This simple, stupid puppet, this purple, blobby thing and everyone loved it. We had this amazing masterpiece, this incredible set and these fabulous puppets and all these Henson-trained puppeteers and then there was this blobby purple thing bouncing around.
It sucks that something as simple as Barney could make something as awesome as Eureek’s Castle fail. Stupid Barney.
The Merchandise (or lack thereof)
I think one big thing that makes Eureeka’s Castle such a nostalgic and even mysterious memory from the 90s was the lack of merchandise. If the show had been licensed as much as the Ninja Turtles or Garfield, it would be a lot harder to forget about it. But, some toys from Pizza Hut and a few books and puzzles is about all you can find of the show, even on ebay. I love collecting kids books from the 80s and 90s, and I’m just waiting for the say I find one based on Eureeka’s Castle.
Eureeka’s Castle will always be one of the most nostalgic shows for me, and I hope sometime soon we get all the episodes on DVD or streaming, so that one day my kids can watch it with me.