"The Amazing James Crabb" Starts Friday

08/02/2015 11:13

The original "James Crabb: Hermit Crab Adventures" series, was produced by the then new D-Dowd Productions from 2003 to 2005, for three seasons. This series, about a super-hero hermit crab loosely based on the concept of James Bond, was rather ridiculous, but that's part of what makes it so funny to watch today and a favorite of the AMPCorp crew. It also was an important series in the development of what AMPCorp would end up turning into.

Charlotte Ferris' first project at AMPCorp was an AMP Productions pilot series, "Peter and Avery Mysteries," which never took off beyond two pilot episodes in 2002. Later that year, Ferris and Martin and Peter Groff began to work on "James Crabb," which had been an idea long on Martin Groff's mind, coming from playing with pet hermit crabs and watching them climb. The first episode, "James Crabb and the Disappearing Horse," featured James Crabb as a giant-sized hermit crab fighting small models and action figures, but by episode two, "James Crabb in Asson Chop," it became established that James Crabb was a regular sized hermit crab in a world of full-sized people, but his special abilities allowed him to save the day. Ferris appeared in four episodes of season one, and thus became a regular at AMPCorp and executive producer at D-Dowd Productions, a status that has lasted until today, where Ferris stars in her own sitcom, "The Charlotte Ferris Show."

Philip Krieg was introduced to AMPCorp in 2000 when he starred in GK Star Trek,  which his father and Martin and Peter Groff's father produced. Krieg first appeared in "James Crabb" for episode three, "James Crabb and the Bad Dump Truck Dude." This was the first project that Krieg and the Groffs produced together independently. This producing team would eventually go to work on the Philip Krieg, Agent 07 films at GK Productions, the first of which was actually inspired as a replacement for "James Crabb," retaining the James Bond action elements from that series, but with a much more serious and realistic premise.

Finally, Brian and Emily Smiths' first appearance in any AMPCorp project was a brief cameo in the fourth episode, "James Crabb in Evil Never Dies," but they became highly involved in the show in its second season (2004) after working on one season of "What a Witch" the year before. This established them as regulars in the mainstream project at AMPCorp, and their involvement would eventually expand to include music and many films and series.

"James Crabb: Hermit Crab Adventures," despite being rough in quality and weak in plot, was thus an important project for AMPCorp as a whole, establishing those who would become the main members and producers at group for years to come. This is the reason the franchise was chosen for a reboot in celebration of AMPCorp's 15th Anniversary, and will be D-Dowd Productions' contribution to the LEGACY 15 series of special edition projects.

But the reboot of "James Crabb" is far from the original. The original series started as a serious attempt at action and suspense, and retained this to some extent throughout the series, even as it began to take itself less seriously towards the end with more comedy and ridiculous characters. But "The Amazing James Crabb," the new series, will be a total comedy through-and-though. Here are a few details from the original series that will be satirized in the new series, providing laughs for those who haven't seen the original episodes just as much as those familiar with them.

First is the simplistic separation between "good guys" and "bad guys." The "good guys" include Avery, who in the original series was often rescued by James Crabb. The was married to James Bond, who by this time apparently was wealthy and no longer in the secret service, and they had a cat, LeCatze. James Bond will be reference but will not appear in the reboot, but LeCatze will be transformed into a spoiled type of character, out of the control of Avery, her overly-permissive mother.

Peter Signfelt, played by Peter Groff, and a small hermit crab named Crusty, appeared in the original series as authors who wrote about their experiences with James Crabb and became famous through it. They will make brief appearances in the reboot, along with Police Chief James, played by Brian Smith.

Then there is Abby, who in the original was a talking fish who ate too much candy and was James Crabb's incompetent secretary. This will be a major theme in the new series, as Abby was always a favorite comedic character in the series original run. Then there was Sandy, James Crabb's girlfriend and later wife. Though these two hermit crabs had a functional marriage in original series, things won't be so good in the reboot. In the first three episodes of "James Crabb," Sandy did not have a name; James Crabb always simply called her "girlfriend." This is used as a basis for their relationship in "The Amazing James Crabb," to add comedy to the show. Sandy will be voiced by Emily Smith.

Finally, there is James Crabb, who was always a rather useless character in the original show. After all, what could he really do? In most episodes he was the brains behind the operation, since it was simply too hard to get a hermit crab to "act" and play a major role in the show's action. usually the human characters were central, with the show's namesake taking a back seat. This will be satirized in the reboot, though James Crabb will not always be at the forefront. His bossiness and selfishness, however, will make it clear that he isn't much help to the organization after all, even though he keeps it well in his control.

Now onto the "bad guys." Only a few of the original series' original antagonists will appear in this new show. The main one is Asson, originally played by Peter Groff, and the central antagonist from the original show. Asson was originally a surprisingly dynamic character, fighting with his own draws between good and evil, and his relationship with his wife Leigh. Most of this is removed from the new show, making Asson a much funnier character, focusing instead on his tagline "Asson Chop!" and his poor battle techniques which often allowed for the survival of "good guys" in the original show.

Leigh the witch will also appear in the new series. Originally played by Emily Smith, she will now be portrayed by Robyn Moore. Leigh was an evil witch who, confusingly, was turned into a famous dancer by her brother Jenkins (a warlock), while he sought a boyfriend for her. After finding Asson, he turned Leigh back into a "bad guy," and they were married, but Asson accidentally killed her during battle shortly thereafter. However, when Asson temporarily decided to become good, the power of goodness brought her back to life. Asson later struggled with his draw to be good or evil, due in large part to Leigh. In the new series, Leigh and Asson's relationship is just as quick moving but as such, rather dysfunctional. Plus, Leigh claims to be a witch but does not appear to have any magical powers in the new show.

The Bad Dump Truck Dude, originally played by Philip Krieg, tried to kill James Crabb by dumping him out of a dump truck in season I. Though he appeared in later episodes, he never uses a dump truck again, but retains the original name. He makes a brief appearance in the new show, played by Peter Groff, since Krieg was not available for filming.

Finally, there's Bob (not Zack!) who was originally played by Peter Groff and will now be portrayed by Ben Carpenter. In the original show, Bob tried to kill James Crabb and the gang, apparently for calling him by the wrong name, though this is never explained in detail. This will be delved into in the new show, adding hilarity to the character and the overall situation of this reboot.

D-Dowd Productions hopes you will tune in to see this new series, and laugh along with us as we celebrate 15 years of AMPCorp with this reboot of the show that was so influential to us, despite its ridiculousness!