Good Night, Little Ones! (Спокойной ночи, малыши!) is a Russian cartoon that’s been on the air ever since 1964. Its website claims that it is the longest-running cartoon of all time, and three generations of Russians have grown up on it. It’s aimed at very young children.
In terms of its content, the show is part-educational, part-entertainment. The characters—all dolls—include the piglet Khryusha (Хрюша, named after the sound pigs make in Russian), dog Filya (Филя), rabbit Stepashka (Степашка), and bear cub Mishutka (Мишутка), and the show is led by a character called “the Grown-Up Person” (Взрослый человек). Other characters have come and gone over the years, including in 2014 the tiger Mura (Мура), inspired by Putin’s campaign to save the Amur (Siberian) tiger. Pinocchio also appeared for some time, as have characters from Russian fairy tales, such as Kolobok (Колобок), a talking ball.
The show was highly popular throughout the Soviet era, and many big names in the Russian theater world took part. After Brezhnev’s death, though, the show encountered some major political repression—most of the dolls were banned from the air. Gorbachev came along and saved the day, though, returning the show to its earlier glory. The show nearly ended after the fall of the Soviet Union, but a letter-writing campaign on the part of viewers managed to save it, and it was transferred to a private TV company.
The basic format has not altered much over the years. It begins with opening credits, including a song, that has changed only a few times over the years. The narrator and the dolls give some explanation about proper behavior, and then shows a cartoon to illustrate his message. In recent years, Smeshariki and Masha and the Bear have been among the featured cartoons. At the end, the characters and narrator all say good night to the children watching. The show’s visual effects have, of course, changed over the past 50 years, but its heart remains the same.
Creator: Valentina Leontyeva (Валентина Леонтьева)
Voiceover actors: Oksana Chabanyuk (Оксана Чабанюк), Natalya Golubentseva (Наталья Голубенцева), Sergey Grigoryev (Сергей Григорьев), Galina Burmistrova (Галина Бурмистрова), Igor Kapatov (Игорь Капатов), Natalya Derzhavina (Наталья Державина), Grigoriy Tolchinskiy (Григорий Толчинский)
Production company: Gosteleradio (1964–1991); TK Class! (1994–)
TV channel: Kultura (Культура), Karusel (Карусель)
One of the earliest episodes of Good Night, Little Ones!, from 1964:
And one episode from the contemporary version of Good Night, Little Ones!, 2015: