The World of David the Gnome


November 17, 2013 by briantshock

Every so often I get an old cartoon theme song from my childhood stuck in my head. Usually it’s something awesome, like Gummi Bears or Duck Tales or Gargoyles, and I get distracted thinking about how I enjoyed those shows. Sometimes it’s something a little more obscure, like Dumbo’s Circus (which is hilarious in its own right). One song that I think is more remembered for its great theme song rather than its content is “The World of David the Gnome” or just “David the Gnome” as pretty much everybody remembers it.

Man this song is sweet. There’s all sorts of badass stuff going on in here that makes absolutely no sense to me now, like David shooting rainbow magic from his hands or him and his wife Lisa sailing on a little boat through what appears to be a stream of lava. He’s also riding all over the place with his fox friend Swift, cracking wise on all these ugly trolls. Now I really want to see what happens in this episode, “Good Medecine”.

Now that the internet is a thing, I’m able to actually learn more about this show that I was once confined solely to Nick Jr. to know about. The theme song has a credit that says it’s based on a book so I got that much. What I never knew was that this was originally a Spanish animated series, but kids never thought about things like that. Twenty-six episodes were produced and it was brought over to the US in 1987 to Nickelodeon after significant editing, like removing all scenes with mucus coming out of the trolls’ noses (I’m serious).

Here’s a excerpt directly from the Wikipedia page about the gnomes themselves:

“Gnomes such as the main characters live in pairs in comfortable caves or holes under trees (in their case in the company of a pair of mice and a cricket). Their diet is mostly vegetarian. They are helped by the animals of the forest when traveling long distances or when they need to arrive quickly at a specific location. Gnomes work in various ways to repair the damage inevitably caused by humans. They also have the power of telepathy and mind control.”

Wait, what?!

“They also have the power of telepathy and mind control.”

Since when could gnomes do that? I guess that’s the rainbow magic happening in the intro. David is essentially the gnome Charles Xavier. Now I want to see some kind of crossover where the X-men team up with David the Gnome to fight the trolls, who are being aided by Mr. Sinister or something. I mean, hell; Wolverine has teamed up with everybody else already.

I think I may be looking through the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia with this one though, as I watched an episode about five years ago or so and it was terribly boring. Now, I acknowledge that I am about 20 years past the target demographic, but that isn’t usually a problem for other old cartoons like that like Goof Troop which remains entertaining on a very stupid level.

I only remember parts of a few different episodes. For all I know each part was the whole episode; that really wouldn’t surprise me. There was one that went into great detail about the structure of the gnome’s house in the tree, including showing some trapdoor near the entrance to trap and entomb squirrels, or whatever they said was the natural predator to the gnomes (aside from the grotesque trolls). There was another one about them blowing glass or something and making a bunch of different shapes. The ending credits kind of show this too, but I think there was more detail about it in the actual episode. There was a long discourse on how their hats were made, and how each color held some kind of great significance. David’s was red because he was the big gnome on campus, I think. The last episode I remember was probably the most bizarre, and sounds incredibly like a misrecollection, but it involved David needing to climb a ton of stairs for whatever reason, and it showed his shoes wearing away from all the activity. Truly a more demanding change of pace from his usual routing of glass blowing and mind control, or whatever.

Did you know this show actually had an ending? I feel like many childrens shows didn’t, so they could potentially keep the kids thinking it was just a repeating cycle of adventures to keep up the merchandising. David the Gnome did, however, and it was pretty dark! Looking back at the wiki page it looks like they made a lot of edits to get this show on American TV, so with that in mind this is not that surprising. I feel like it’s okay going into this here because the statute of limitations on spoilers for this show is way, way past its expiration.

In any case, it goes a little something like this: David and Lisa have realized they are too old and need to move on soon, since gnomes can only hang around the Earf for so long. They get a letter from Caspar, another old-ass gnome, who doesn’t want to die alone so they decide to just make a day of it. They all go to this mountain where the gnomes say goodbye to Swift, who cannot understand why he can’t go with them, and everybody is crying (apparently this sad scene is even LONGER in the original release but was edited for US broadcast). Eventually Swift takes the hint and leaves, and the gnomes head off into some clearing. Swift immediately changes his mind and runs back to find them, only to see all the gnomes turn into trees, effectively dying (but trees are also alive, so…?). Swift is pretty bummed out but he immediately meets another gnome riding a female fox so he gets over it pretty quickly.

I had looked this up a while ago, but I made the mistake of watching this just now on YouTube to refresh my memory in a clip tastefully labelled “David the Gnome Kicks the Bucket” so now I’m sad again. But that’s okay, I know David lives on, in every wish and dream and happy home and Travelocity commercial.


4 thoughts on “The World of David the Gnome

  1. grimfell says:

    I just remember him being like a forest doctor and thought that was kind of cool as a kid.

  2. […] like David the Gnome, is another one of those 80′s cartoons that arguably was best known for its incredible theme […]

  3. Lisa says:

    Hello, here in Spain the show was extremely popular, and I can’t tell you that a lot of children (including myself) cried in front of the TV, watching the last episode. And as you said, our version was even sadder than the English one.

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