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Salty's Lighthouse

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Salty's Lighthouse is a children's series created by Nina I. Hahn and produced by Sunbow Entertainment, seen on the TLC network (During "Ready Set Learn"). It was first broadcast in 1997 and ended in 2002. The show featured cartoon animated segments of a boy named Salty with his animal friends in a lighthouse, as well as live action segments made from edited and re-dubbed TUGS footage. Music for the series was composed by Chase Rucker Productions. The series was produced in association with the Bank Street College of Education, New York. 40 ten-minute episodes were produced.

The series is currently in ownership of Sony Music in the US and Canada, and M4e in the rest of the world.

Comparisons with TUGS

  • The original plot lines of TUGS, aimed at an older audience than Salty's Lighthouse, were not used in the series. Instead, the existing footage was re-edited and dubbed into newly-written stories, relating to the moral lesson of the episode it featured in. As a result from different TUGS episodes being edited together, continuity errors are visible, including characters' barges differing in sequential scenes, Sunshine's model constantly changing from his original white paintwork to his yellow paintwork, smoke retreating back into stacks in reversed scenes, daylight scenes in nighttime scenes, and abrupt weather changes.
  • The original setting of TUGS, Bigg City Port, becomes Snugboat Harbor.
  • The stories were modernized, with all the tugs having diesel engines instead of boilers. The soundtrack was also altered to include hip-hop music.
  • Multiple impossible events occur, such as the tugboats using Captain Star's megaphone, boats willingly sinking themselves without any structural damage, and lifting sunken boats by pulling them horizontally from the surface using a small tow rope. This was due to the limit the crew seemed to have with the amount of footage they had.
  • The Star Fleet and the Z-Stacks, originally 2 rival fleets in TUGS, become friends in Salty's Lighthouse this is mostly noticeable with Captain Zero not acting like a gang boss. However, the old rivalry is sometimes shown (mostly portrayed with Zorran).
  • Sunshine, Captain Star and Little Ditcher are portrayed as female characters, presumably to appeal to a wider audience of children.
  • Ten Cents and Sunshine are brother and sister, respectively.
  • Sea Rogue becomes evil.
  • Captain Zero is given a personality that mirrors Captain Star's in some respects, although they're still portrayed as sometimes having a rivalry.
  • The Z-Stacks are always known as the Zero Fleet.
  • While many characters in TUGS have varied British accents (such as Glaswegian, Cockney, South Welsh, British Midlands, Lancastrian and Liverpudlian), in this series the characters have varied Northeastern American accents (such as Bronx, New Jersey and Brooklyn).
  • Big Mac becomes Big Stack (possibly to avoid legal trouble with McDonald's over the name of their famous burger).
  • O.J. becomes Otis (possibly to avoid confusion with O.J. Simpson, whose trial was still a hot-button topic at the time).
  • The Coast Guard and his messenger are presented as the same character, Cappy.
  • Zebedee becomes Zeebee. His original nameplate is left uncovered, implying that his name was misinterpreted.
  • Puffa is called Chooch.
  • Big Mickey becomes Bigg Basil (possibly to avoid confusion with Disney's famous cartoon character, Mickey Mouse).
  • Jack the Grappler becomes Scoop.
  • Burke and Blair become Mr. Boffo and Mr. Socko, and are portrayed as movie producers instead of scrap dealers. Their original nameplates are left uncovered.
  • Johnny Cuba becomes Steamer and Nantucket becomes Tramper (Possibly not to avoid confusion with the place name in Cape Cod, Massachusetts) and are portrayed as friendly characters.
  • The Fultan Ferry has a speaking role, despite not having a visible face or megaphone.
  • Izzy Gomez speaks with an American accent, despite the obvious sombrero and Mexican flag on his stack, most likely to avoid complaints of sterotyping.

Animated Characters

  • Salty - The main character who loves using his imagination to commiserate with human and animal friends alike, learning all sorts of lessons.
  • Ocho - Salty's octopus friend.
  • Claude - Salty's crab friend.
  • Sophie and Sadie - Two girl seagulls.
  • Aunt Chovie - Salty's aunt who owns the lighthouse.
  • Aurora - A talking lightbulb at the top of the lighthouse who narrates the Tugs segments.
  • Seymour - A pair of binoculars who helps the gang watch the tugs.
  • The Clams - Five clams who always have fun.
  • The Clock - A yellow-faced clock that announces the "Salty's Song Time" segments that are sung by some of the cast and featured clips from old Black & White films some of which were from Charlie Chaplin & included specially added animation for some scenes in the songs.

Episode List

  1. Mixed Signals
  2. Too Young to Be Included
  3. Who Took My Crayons
  4. High Spirits
  5. Taking My Turn
  6. Backward Day
  7. Banana Splits
  8. Clear the Decks
  9. Claude in Charge
  10. The Favorite
  11. Strike Up the Band
  12. Blankety Blank
  13. Last of the Red Hot C Gulls
  14. Farley Frog
  15. Some Guys Have all the Luck
  16. Dream On
  17. Treasure Hunt
  18. Big Birthday Bash
  19. Boss Man
  20. Sophie Come Home
  21. Salty Come Lately
  22. It's Magic
  23. No Strings Attached
  24. Sound Off
  25. If the Clue Fits, Wear It
  26. Let's Wing It
  27. Bivalve Music
  28. Taking Off
  29. Blackout
  30. Eight is Too Much
  31. One Bad Day
  32. Hands Off!
  33. Colossal Crab
  34. Who Turned Off the Lights?
  35. Let's Party
  36. Guilty Gull
  37. Count on Me
  38. Desperately Seeking Sadie
  39. Bivalve Blues


Cartoon Segment Cast

  • Rhys Huber as Salty
  • Kathleen Barr as Ocho and Aunt Chovie
  • Janyse Jaud as Sophie and Sadie
  • Andrea Libman as Claude

TUGS cast

Home Media Releases

In 1999, Salty's Lighthouse was released on the Video Buddy Interactive VHS format through Sony Wonder, 3 releases were made, making a total of 6 episodes released in the US and Canada. In addition to the episodes, they contained interactive segments and music videos.

On May 13, 2003 a VHS inculding 6 episodes was released in the UK by Maverick, and in 2005, a children's preschool compilation DVD titled 'Toddler Time' was released that included two episodes.

The series was also briefly on the free streaming site 'Kidobi' the series has of now been taken down.

All the episodes have been uploaded to YouTube by "Ziggyy Family Entertainment" a company owned by M4E.


  • The show was dubbed to Asturian Spanish and aired in Asturias in North-west Spain, where it was known as El Faru D' Illán.
  • Episodes were paired together when airing on PBS and TLC.
  • The series aired on Playhouse Disney in Taiwan. 
  • A Spanish dub of the series was made called El Faru D' Salty.
  • Most of the songs in the show can be seen in more than one episode.
  • Despite using animation for the lighthouse scenes the show shares some similar features to Shining Time Station
    • Both shows use model stories that were made by David Mitton [TUGS and Thomas & Friends]
    • Both shows make music videos using clips of old films [Cartoons with Shining Time Station, Silent Black & White Live Action films with Salty's Lighthouse]

See Also



Salty's Lighthouse Intro01:14

Salty's Lighthouse Intro

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