Although Jon Arthur created and produced Big Jon and Sparkie for kids, it is a wonderfully inventive and gently humorous show that many adults will find utterly charming. It may be for its opening theme, The Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Big Jon is the regular mild-mannered father figure that loves and cares for Sparkie. “Ukie” is the pretty goofy but adventurous cabbie who is their friend.
But the show really revolves around Sparkie who sounds like a little “elf from the land of make-believe” but acts and thinks just like a real boy. In that earlier time, a “live” voice like a cartoon that was a part of a “real” show was something special for kids. It’s still special to listen to today, as Jon Arthur’s gentle and witty writing about a small town’s characters (although it’s Cincinnati!) makes this show great fun. For the record, Jon Arthur did nearly all of the voices and oversaw the show’s production single-handedly.
His use of sound effects and interlude music is exemplary. He was quoted as saying that all the ideas on the show were from real life, or were sent in by the show’s thousands of young fans. They even had a “What Does Sparkie Really Look Like Contest”, and the accompanying photo is Jon