There's rootin' and there's tootin' but definitely no shootin'! On Monday, Jan. 20, Disney Junior will premiere its newest animated series, Sheriff Callie's Wild West (5/4c), with the voice of Mandy Moore as Callie, a calico cat who keeps peace in the tumbleweed town of Nice and Friendly Corners. Aimed at kids 2 to 7, the program comes from Denis Morella, George Evelyn and Holly Huckins, the creative team behind Disney's Higglytown Heroes. And they leave no stone — or western convention — unturned.
"We've had so much fun taking all those classic cowboy devices — from tornadoes and cattle stampedes to train robberies and the High Noon shootout — and making them kid-appropriate in order to teach lessons about sharing and forgiveness and good manners," Huckins tells TV Guide Magazine.
There's even a saloon! "But there is no liquor and no rowdy, scary drunks," promises Morella. "Ella the cow, who runs the establishment, serves up milkshakes, fruit juice and other healthy drinks — but we still slide those drinks down the bar like in the old western movies!"
The series features lots of catchy, kid-appeal music, ranging from country pop to down-home Appalachian. "Mandy Moore did such a great job for Disney in Tangled and we're thrilled to have her with us," says Evelyn. "She's the perfect voice for Callie — sweet when she needs to be but she can quickly pull out that spunk and attitude when necessary."
The team drew inspiration from many sources, ranging from homespun sitcoms like The Andy Griffith Show and Green Acres to Hanna-Barbera's Quick Draw McGraw and the classic 1950s Disney series Davy Crockett. "Davy would always do the right thing but then he'd turn around and become a super-action hero — and that's Callie," notes Evelyn. "She'll moralize and teach good social ethics, but when it's time to jump on a horse and lasso a tornado, she does it."
And, truth be told, the gentle premise of the series is not that far-fetched. "We did our research and found that the real Wild West wasn't anywhere near as wild and frightening as Hollywood's ultra-violent, gun-slinging mythology would have us believe," Evelyn says. "The West was settled primarily by people who were intent on obeying the rules, people who went the distance to help each other out — and that's the town of Nice and Friendly Corners!"
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