Fred Penner's Place is a Canadian children's musical television series that aired on CBC Television from 1985 to 1997. It stars Fred Penner as a fictionalized version of himself, as well as an array of puppets, musical numbers, and occasional guest stars. Internationally, it aired on Nickelodeon in the United States beginning in 1989, and later on Odyssey Network. The show was positively received by audiences and critics, and won or received nominations for several awards including a Juno Award in 1989 and a Gemini Award in 1994.
After the series' cancellation in 1997, Penner admitted to being a "little bit lost" in the succeeding years as he continued to perform at concerts and give keynote speeches, but was waiting for the "next big thing to come along". Beginning in the mid-2000s, he began to reconnect with the generation of children that watched Fred Penner's Place as they entered adulthood. He has performed several sold-out concerts at universities and pubs across the country, and receives positive reactions and feelings of nostalgia from the overwhelmingly millennial audiences.
Series overviewThe series was created in the mid-1980s by its eponymous namesake Fred Penner, who viewed it as an opportunity to "[provide] an alternative to advertisement-and violence-filled programming" for children. The series educates children in different subjects including the teaching of French, one of Canada's official languages.
The series is very musical in nature, with Penner playing several musical pieces on his acoustic guitar throughout most episodes. Aside from the variety of puppets that shared the screen with Penner, a number of special guests appeared on the show throughout its run, including Holly Larocque as the character she portrayed on Under the Umbrella Tree, another CBC children's television series that aired during the 1990s.
Fred Penner's Place is noted for its distinctive title sequence, featuring a theme song written and performed by Penner himself. The sequence shows Penner walking along a beach and into a forest, observing several wild animals in their natural habitat, and eventually crawling into a hollow log and exiting out the other side, where he introduces himself and greets the viewer.