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He's curious about science

September 04, 2006|From the Associated Press

He's flown a kite, traveled in a space ship, become a movie star and had a long friendship with a tall man in a yellow hat.

Now he's coming to public television, and the creative team behind his new children's series is hoping precocious monkey Curious George will help turn kids into budding scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

The series, premiering today, is based on the classic books by Margret and H.A. Rey and is geared to children ages 3 to 5.

Narrated by actor William H. Macy, the show will air locally on KCET weekdays at 4 p.m.

The series starts off with "Curious George Flies a Kite," followed by "From Scratch," in which the clever monkey uses detective work to prove a cat is innocent of scratching up booths in a restaurant.

Producers of the television show are hoping to piggyback on the success of the "Curious George" movie, which was released in February and grossed nearly $60 million. The series is being produced by Imagine Entertainment, WGBH-TV in Boston and Universal Studios Family Productions.

Curious George and his constant companion, the man in the yellow hat, were creations of the Reys, German Jews who were living in Paris when the imminent invasion of the Nazis forced them to flee.

Riding on bicycles that Hans had assembled from spare parts, the two pedaled to freedom. One of the items they carried with them -- ultimately to where they settled in Cambridge, Mass. -- was a manuscript that featured the character Curious George.

The Reys wrote their first book, "Curious George," in 1941 and the last of their George adventures, "Curious George Goes to the Hospital," in 1966.

Over the years, there have been other Curious George books besides the original Rey editions, but this is the first time he'll be starring in his own TV series, a representative for publisher Houghton Mifflin said.

The writers for the series picked as many story lines as possible from the original seven books, but head writer Joe Fallon needed to write others in the same spirit.

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