90s Cartoons Wiki
90s Cartoons Wiki
Hey Arnold!
Hey Arnold Title Card
Genre Dramedy
Slice of Life
Format Animated Series
Created by Craig Bartlett
Starring Toran Caudell
Phillip Van Dyke
Alex D. Linz
Spencer Klein
Jamil W. Smith
Francesca Marie Smith
Justin Shenkarow
Christopher P. Walberg
Christopher Castile
Jarrett Lennon
Benjamin Diskin
Sam Gifaldi
Anndi McAfee
Olivia Hack
Dan Castellaneta
Tress MacNeille
Craig Bartlett
Maurice LaMarche
Country of Origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of Seasons 5
No. of Episodes 100 (List of Episodes)
Running Time 22 minutes (approx.)
Production Company(s) Games Animation
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Original Channel Nickelodeon
First Shown 1996
Original Run October 7, 1996 – June 8, 2004
Status Ended

Hey Arnold! is an American animated television series created by Craig Bartlett for Nickelodeon. The show's premise focuses on a fourth grader named Arnold who lives with his grandparents in a large city. Episodes center on his experiences navigating big city life while dealing with the problems he and his friends encounter. Certain episodes focus on the lives of supporting characters, such as the tenants of the boarding house that Arnold's grandparents own.

Bartlett's idea for the show is based on a minor character named Arnold whom he created while working on Pee-Wee's Playhouse. The executives enjoyed the character, and Bartlett completed the cast by drawing inspiration from people he grew up with in Portland, Oregon. He created the pilot episode in his living room in 1993, and official production began in 1994. The animators worked to transform Arnold from clay animation to cel animation.

The series aired on Nickelodeon from October 7, 1996, until June 8, 2004. Hey Arnold! received generally positive reviews, with many critics praising its character development and the quality of its animation. Over the course of its eight-year run, the series aired 100 episodes. A feature film based on the series, Hey Arnold! The Movie, was released in 2002 to generally negative reviews. Hey Arnold! is currently being released on DVD and rerun on the TeenNick block "NickSplat”.


The show stars fourth grader Arnold, a boy who lives with his grandparents, Phil and Gertrude, proprietors of the Sunset Arms boarding house, in the fictional city of Hillwood. In each episode, Arnold often helps a schoolmate solve a personal problem, or encounters a predicament of his own. The show also frequently focuses on Arnold's classmate, Helga, who often treats Arnold cruelly and bullies him constantly. However, a recurring theme of the show is the fact that Helga only pretends to dislike Arnold to hide the fact that she has possessed a profound, Shakespearean-in-magnitude love for him for years.

Many episodes involve urban legends usually told by Arnold's friend, Gerald. These episodes often feature over-the-top events such as those that involve superheroes or headless horsemen or his Uncle Buck.


Arnold Shortman (voiced by Toran Caudell in season 1 and two episodes in season 2, Phillip Van Dyke in seasons 2 and 3, Spencer Klein in seasons 4 and 5, and Alex D. Linz in two episodes in season 5) — Arnold is a dreamer and an idealist who always tries to see the best in people and do the right thing. Whenever he sees someone in trouble, Arnold goes out of his way to help them out, even if it is not sensible to do so an example being when he tried to protect some of his classmates, who had mooned the school principal. Arnold often acts as the stable center to those around him, whether he is around his family in his grandparents' boarding house, or around his friends at school. Arnold's last name is never explicitly mentioned, and a running gag throughout the show is, whenever somebody attempts to announce his name as written, they are unable to make out the last name, after which somebody points out that it must be the Arnold, as he's the only person in the entire school named Arnold. In other instances, a character may mention Arnold's last name, but the audience is prevented from hearing it because of noise interruption, such as a car horn.

Helga Pataki (voiced by Francesca Smith) — Helga is nine years old and in fourth grade. She is in love with Arnold because he was the first person to notice her and show her kindness when they were very little, but she struggles to keep her affections a secret. She constantly berates and ridicules Arnold in an attempt to hide her true feelings. In her spare time she writes poetry mostly about Arnold and collects various items belonging to Arnold so that she can add them to her Arnold shrine in her bedroom closet. She is neglected by her parents and refers to them as Big Bob and Miriam, because she does not believe they are worthy of being called Mom and Dad. On the surface she resents her older sister Olga, an overachieving perfectionist, but Helga will occasionally show warmth toward her. Helga is emotionally insecure and puts on a mean tomboyish front as the school bully.

Gerald Johanssen (voiced by Jamil Smith) — Gerald is Arnold's african-american best friend and is usually present when Arnold's latest escapade happens. Gerald is the occasional voice of reason when Arnold needs it and the storyteller for the schoolyard legends. He has a crush on Phoebe, who shares the same feelings for him.

Phoebe Heyerdahl (voiced by Anndi McAfee) — Phoebe is Helga's best friend and a sidekick. She is very intelligent and is the most academic of the children in her grade, she always tries to be the first one with an answer and does not appreciate when someone does better than her in school. Like Gerald does for Arnold, Phoebe often acts as Helga's voice of reason and helps her out of various predicaments. Phoebe has a crush on Gerald.

Harold Berman (voiced by Justin Shenkarow) — Harold is the bully of the group, although his bark is usually worse than his bite. Harold is assumed to be 13, based on the traditional age one receives a bar mitzvah. However, Harold was shown in preschool at the same time as Arnold, though he has mentioned that he has been held back. Harold is friends with Stinky, Sid, and Patty.

Stinky Peterson (voiced by Christopher Walberg) — Stinky is best known for his southern drawl. He has professed to have feelings for Helga, Gloria, and even Lila. He lives with his father in a dilapidated shack with a country-like interior. He once turned down the opportunity to make a million dollars as the Yahoo Soda "spokeskid" after he realized they only wanted him because people gawked at his "hick" ways. In addition to growing large pumpkins, he can play the Alpenhorn.

Sidney "Sid" (voiced by Sam Gifaldi) — Sid is often seen as Gerald's "lead-in" man; when Gerald is about to tell another urban legend, Sid introduces him, usually mentioning how the story has been passed "from kid generation to kid generation." He is best recognized for his backwards green baseball cap and his long nose.

Rhonda Wellington Lloyd (voiced by Olivia Hack) — Rhonda is the self-proclaimed fashionista of the school. Rhonda's greatest interest is fashion design and trends. She criticizes her classmates and friends regularly for not matching colors or rotating their daily choice of clothing. She is quick to show off new fashion accessories or shoes she gets to her peers. She is also very snooty, vain, and a bit of a queen bee.

Eugene Horowitz (voiced by Christopher Castile and Jarrett Lennon in 1997, Benjamin Diskin from 1997-2000) — Eugene is a good friend of Arnold. He is very kind hearted, outgoing, willing to help others, and is known for being a jinx. His appearances usually involve him being the cause of or involved in accidents, such as causing a parade to crash, dodgeballs hitting him in the face. In the episodes starring Eugene, Arnold seems to actually cause most of Eugene's problems, such as killing his goldfish, ruining his birthday, and destroying his bike.

Lila Sawyer (voiced by Ashley Buccille) — A new student at P.S. 118 in the same class as Arnold and Helga. She originally lived in a farming community before moving to the city with her father (her mother's absence is never explained). She is best known as being a very friendly and outgoing young girl who gets along with everyone she comes into contact with. She is also one of the few people who knows that Helga loves Arnold. Helga confessed this to Lila in order to get the lead role in the school play, Romeo and Juliet, so that she could kiss Arnold. However, Arnold has a crush on Lila, which bothers Helga tremendously.

Grandpa Phil (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) — Arnold's good-natured and cheery grandfather, Phil runs the Sunset Arms boarding house. Arnold often looks to his grandfather for advice, and even though he tends to respond frivolously to Arnold's problems, he does on occasion provide Arnold much-needed wisdom.

Grandma Gertie/Pookie (voiced by Tress MacNeille) — Arnold's fun-loving and eccentric grandmother. She is often seen performing various nonsensical tasks around the boarding house, or role-playing as a fictional character in over-the-top scenarios. Like Arnold's grandpa, his grandma tends to be too silly to be of much help to him when he asks for it, but she does come through for him in other ways.


Animator Craig Bartlett graduated from Anacortes High School and obtained a degree in communications from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.[1] During high school and college, he studied painting and sculpture at the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, and his first job after college was at Will Vinton Productions, a claymation house.[1] Originally, Bartlett intended to become a painter "in the 19th-century sense", but he became interested in animation during a trip to Italy.[2] In 1987, while working on Pee-wee's Playhouse, he created claymation cutaways about a character named Penny and her friend Arnold. Six years later, Bartlett was teamed up with five writers from Rugrats to develop animation projects for Nickelodeon.[1] These meetings were generally difficult and the writers became frustrated; Bartlett recalled: "Our ideas were okay, but such a large and motley group couldn't get far at pitch meetings. Network execs got migraines just counting us coming in the door."[1] As a last resort, Bartlett played the "Penny" tapes, intending to highlight the Penny character. However, the executives were more impressed by Arnold, despite him being a minor character.[1]

After the meeting, the group began developing Arnold, creating his personality and evolving him from claymation to cel animation. Bartlett stated: "We did a lot of talking about who Arnold is. We came up with a reluctant hero who keeps finding himself responsible for solving something, making the right choices, doing the right thing."[1] After creating ideas for Arnold, Bartlett began work on the supporting characters, drawing influence from his childhood: "A lot of the characters are an amalgam of people I knew when I was a kid. The girls in Hey Arnold! are girls that either liked or didn't like me when I was in school."[2] He created the first episode of Hey Arnold! in his living room, and showed it to producers at Nickelodeon. A year later, the network decided to begin work on the series.[2] The character was previously featured in a trilogy of clay animation shorts from 1988 to 1991: Arnold Escapes from Church (1988),[3] The Arnold Waltz (1990),[4][5] and Arnold Rides a Chair (1991), the latter having been aired as a filler short on Sesame Street in 1991, as well as an eight-minute short, titled Arnold (1996), shown in theaters before Nickelodeon's first feature-length film, Harriet the Spy.[1]

Hey Arnold! was pitched to Nickelodeon in the fall of 1993, a pilot was produced in the spring of 1994, and the series was greenlit in January 1995. Hey Arnold! was in production continuously from 1995 to 2001, culminating in a TV movie originally titled "Arnold Saves the Neighborhood", which ended up being released theatrically as Hey Arnold! The Movie in June 2002. Production of the Hey Arnold! series wrapped in May 2001.[6] Hey Arnold! (along with fellow Nicktoons Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys) aired their final episodes, unannounced, on June 8, 2004.

The show aired in reruns on "Nick on CBS" from September 14, 2002 until September 17, 2005. In September 2011, TeenNick brought Hey Arnold reruns to "The 90's Are All That" programming block.


Hey Arnold! has a total of 100 episodes spread over 5 seasons that were produced from October 1996 to June 2004. Most half-hour episodes contain two seperate 11-minute segments, however several contained only one 22-minute segment.

Feature Film[]

In this 2002 feature film, Arnold, Helga and Gerald set out on a quest to save their old neighborhood from a greedy developer who plans on converting it into a huge shopping mall. This film was directed by Tuck Tucker, and featured guest voice talents of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Sorvino, and Christopher Lloyd.

TV Movie []

A made-for-TV film titled Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie is set to premiere on November 24, 2017. The plot involves Arnold and his friends travelling to San Lorenzo to find his missing parents. The film will resolve the cliffhanger at the end of the one hour episode "The Journal". 19 voice actors from the original series will reprise their roles and there will be 11 new voice actors in the film. 


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Levesque, John (October 7, 1996). "'Hey, Arnold!' Toons in to Nick's Family Hour Seattle Native's Animated 9-Year-Old Debuts Tonight on Nickelodeon ". . Hearst Corporation. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-64672808.html. Retrieved on 2012-11-25. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Unmacht, Eric (November 9, 1999). "Here's How They Make a Cartoon ". . Christian Science Publishing Society. http://www.csmonitor.com/1999/1109/p18s1.html. Retrieved on 2012-11-25. 
  3. James, Caryn (October 14, 1988). "Review/Film; Animated Works From All Over ". . The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1988/10/14/movies/review-film-animated-works-from-all-over.html. Retrieved on January 27, 2014. 
  4. Hicks, Chris (May 8, 1990). "Film review: XXII International Tournee of Animation, The ". . Deseret News. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700002051/XXII-International-Tournee-of-Animation-The.html?pg=all. Retrieved on January 27, 2014. 
  5. Bevilacqua, Joe K. (December 1998). "Craig Bartlett's Charmed Past Life ". . Animation World Magazine. http://www.awn.com/mag/issue3.9/3.9pages/3.9bevilacquabartlett.html. Retrieved on January 27, 2014. 
  6. Tladi, Tumelo (January 3, 2011). "Nickelodeon's Five Best Animated Shows ". . MultiChoice. http://www.dstv.com/Pages/News/731/Nickelodeon's-five-best-animated-shows. Retrieved on 2012-11-25.