Marc Brown Celebrates 20 Years of Arthur

20 years ago, Marc Brown‘s series of children’s books about an aardvark named Arthur, was turned into a TV show. He not only authored the series, he illustrated it as well. Some of the most beloved characters and stories we know today are all because of him! I remember reading the books when I was little and ever since then, Arthur has been a part of my life and many others’. The first Arthur book written by Brown was published in 1976 and the the TV show verison of Arthur debuted in 1996.

Marc Brown

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When the cable was out, or nothing was on TV, Arthur always was. I remember that I didn’t know Arthur was an aardvark until a long time after I had been watching the show. I think I thought he was a bear, or an anteater, but obviously those don’t make sense! 

According to PBS, where the show airs daily, “ARTHUR’s goal is to help foster an interest in reading and writing, and to encourage positive social skills.” Arthur is the longest-running animated children’s show in history. 

Arthur, Francine, Buster, and many more were our favorite characters. They were both relatable and funny. They taught us valuable lessons and encouraged us. Marc Brown told Boston Magazine

The characters are based on real people, people in my life and my childhood, I think that somehow has made them a little bit stronger and they’ve resonated in a deeper way with kids. I also think Arthur has done something that I don’t believe any other children’s animation shows have done, and that’s to allow kids to get to know these characters in very complex and deep ways. I made it very, very clear when we began the show that I didn’t want these shows to always be about Arthur. I kind of came to it more as an ensemble cast. I wanted everyone in Arthur’s world to have an equal weighting so that it became more like real life.


It was a time before Spongebob and The Fairly Odd Parents, where TV actually taught you something. Arthur‘s the type of show you watch on Saturday morning while curled up on the couch in your pajamas. It has a ‘feel good’ feeling to it and it has shaped a lot of our childhoods.

The theme song to the show, ‘Believe in Yourself’, originally performed by Ziggy Marley, encourages us to accept everyone and work together to make this world better:

Everyday when you’re walking down the street, everybody that you meet
Has an original point of view
And I say HEY! what a wonderful kind of day. 
Where you can learn to work and play 
And get along with each other

You got to listen to your heart
Listen to the beat 
Listen to the rhythm, the rhythm of the street
Open up your eyes, open up your ears 
Get together and make things better by working together
It’s a simple message and it comes from the heart
Believe in youself (echo: believe in yourself)
Well thats the place to start (to start)

And I say HEY! what a wonderful kind of day
Where you learn to work and play
And get along with each other

In addition to all of the success, there have also been a million memes created from Arthur. Honestly, some aren’t really funny, but a lot of them are. When asked about the memes, Marc Brown told Boston Magazine

I find it amazing and wonderful that these young adults who grew up with Arthur and the characters still find them somehow relevant within their lives and their experience. They are trying to figure things out or are using them in ways to work through things perhaps in their own lives.

This one, has to be the best. It went viral. I’ve seen so many versions and they never cease to amaze me. So many emotions in one fist. 

Images courtesy of CollegeHumor

Images courtesy of KnowYourMeme

Here’s Chance the Rapper’s amazing version of the Arthur theme song! 

The series is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new season, which began on Monday! Happy Birthday Arthur! 


Featured image courtesy of Goliath