Li’l Elvis and the Truckstoppers is an animated television series set in a small Australian outback town, about a young Australian Elvis impersonator.
Li'l Elvis has a gift for music, a talent for trouble and a desire for only two things – to find out who he really is and be a normal kid again. He spends his days entertaining truck drivers at his parents’ roadhouse by playing Elvis Presley songs, but he is sick of the music and of his mum’s insistence that he is “the King” reborn.
He's determined to establish his own identity and so, with his friends Lionel and Janet, creates a sound uniquely his own – Didgibilli Rock. But when greedy millionaire WC Moore hears the band play, he sees an opportunity to make a fortune by transforming Li’l Elvis’ town into a 1950s-style theme park. Now it’s up to Li’l Elvis to foil the evil WC, or his town will be lost forever.
Li'l Elvis is a 26 part half hour comedy adventure for years 2-5. Produced for the ACTF by Australian animator, Peter Viska, making it an excellent resource to teach about the history and production process of animation; as well as for its insights into popular culture.
Caught in a Trap
Li’l Elvis wants to break out. He’s sick of playing the King’s music and sick of the four o’clock show. He’s sick of everything. So when obnoxious Janet Rig moves in to share his room, it’s just the icing on the rhinestone-studded cake. But when Janet provides Li’l Elvis and Lionel with a beat, the didgibilli sound is born. Maybe she’s not so bad after all. The Truckstoppers are formed just in time to save the town of Wannapoo from the clutches of billionaire Berkonium baron, WC Moore.
WC reveals his plans to transform Wannapoo into a 1950’s style theme park, based around the Truckstoppers and call it Li’l Memphis. When WC promises to bring Goondianna Smith, Li’l Elvis’ hero, to the official renaming ceremony, everyone is overjoyed - everyone except Li’l Elvis. So as WC Moore’s machines fly in buildings and transform the town, Li’l Elvis vows to rid the town of WC’s influence. But first there’s the matter of a million year old Bog Man to attend to....
Li’l Memphis P.T.D.
It’s Parent Teacher Day and while most kids busily work on their projects, Janet is busy pretending she doesn’t care that her mum never shows up. But when someone says the wrong thing, Janet literally brings the Roadhouse down around everyone’s ears. Now Len and Grace have no choice but to sign with WC to build them a new roadhouse. Meanwhile, as an excuse for her mother’s absence, Janet relates the myth of the dreaded skull truck, the demonic scourge of all honest truckies. Dismissed by most as crazy outback hokum, it turns out the skull truck is frighteningly real... or is it?
WC Moore’s plans to put Li’l Memphis on the map are in full swing. He’s planned a live televised performance of the Truckstoppers to be beamed throughout the world. Lionel’s grandfather, Dex, an ex-country singer himself, gives the kids a “pep talk”, but Li’l Elvis and the Truckstoppers find the story so scary that they are overcome with stage fright and disappear into the desert. They might be lost but the Truckstoppers are doing a lot better than their rescuers who, led by WC Moore, are having a hard time battling the elements.
I Hate My Own Birthday
Li’l Elvis hates his own birthday. Since he was found on the anniversary of the King’s death, Li’l Elvis has had to share the day. So when WC Moore announces that the famous hypno-interviewer, Dick Collingwood from, “48 Minutes Plus Ads” is coming to cover the party for TV, Li’l Elvis jumps at the chance to use Dick to get the truth of his origins from Grace and Len. Meanwhile, Janet and Lionel work overtime to make Li’l Elvis’ other birthday dream come true. He wants to go surfing - no easy task in an outback town surrounded by desert.
You Can’t Buy the Playground
Li’l Elvis really wants to make the school football team. But there are a few things that he has to master first like kicking, running, passing, etc.... It looks like Li’l Elvis will never make it and it’s affecting his on-stage performance, which is affecting WC’s wallet. So WC comes up with a brilliant idea, a remote control football that makes Li’l Elvis look like a champion. And just for insurance, WC bribes the other players to stay out of Li’l Elvis’ way. Li’l Elvis learns the truth just as he’s about to play the big match against the Noxious Weeds. Can he justify his place in the team?
Goondianna Smith, The Wonder Years
The town of Li’l Memphis is buzzing with the news that those archaeological action adventure stars Goondianna Smith and Scotty are coming to Li’l Memphis to film “Goondianna Smith, the Wonder Years”. More importantly for Li’l Elvis, he and Lionel land the roles of the two heroes. But when Goondi declares himself more important than Scotty, who is a mere sidekick, the whole town is divided. The likelihood of getting the movie finished is looking rather remote...until both groups get themselves into deep trouble and some real heroes are required.
Monkey Sea, Monkey Do
Li’l Elvis wants a pet - badly. But Grace rejects his pleas for a dog, cat or highly disciplined earwig. He’s just too irresponsible. Then Li’l Elvis discovers Sea Monkeys, the perfect low maintenance pet, and only twenty bucks. Meanwhile, everyone gathers to watch Herb “Brittle Bones” Petrankovic’s latest attempt at the land speed record. When tragedy strikes, and Herb is blown sky high, Li’l Elvis is sent to buy a wreath and instead buys his Sea Monkeys. But he abandons them when he realises they’re just wriggly bits of algae. He falls asleep, only to find himself somehow transported into the sea monkey world. And the Sea Monkeys are determined to make him pay for his neglect....
Li'l Elvis' favourite sporting hero is Roy Reno, the sultan of sweat, the pontiff of pain. WC Moore, desperate for merchandising opportunities, learns of this and he brings Roy Reno to Li’l Memphis to play a big game and meet Li’l Elvis. Li’l Elvis is excited and WC is dreaming of the profits. But the meeting between Li’l Elvis and Roy Reno turns into a fiasco when Li’l Elvis discovers that Roy Reno isn’t the tough guy he’s cracked up to be. In fact, Roy’s caught in a trap of his own, and Li’l Elvis has just the thing to get him out - a teddy bear.
It’s A Dog’s Life
Li’l Elvis decides to foil WC’s plan to chain up Anzac by secretly re-training the savage junkyard dog to be nice to tourists. At the same time, WC convinces Grace that unless the Truckstoppers do more shows at the roadhouse, they’ll become video game junkies with bad attitudes and wasted lives. The exhausted Truckstoppers work day and night to transform Anzac into a tourist friendly mutt, only to learn you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Fortunately, Anzac’s old tricks, like chasing WC, are just fine...
WC Moore hatches his sleaziest plot yet to take control of Li’l Elvis’ career. He hires reptilian lawyer, Rhonda Rorts to convince the kids of Li’l Memphis to divorce their parents. Rhonda’s promises of freedom from homework and junk food diets get the kids on side and in court. Then Li’l Elvis discovers WC plans to adopt him when the trial is over. Trapped in a mine tunnel by the evil Rhonda, can Li’l Elvis get back to the trial before the judge hands down his verdict?
Duncan’s Big Day Out
On the way to a concert, the Truckstoppers convince Duncan to make a detour to his old hometown. But they are surprised when the irate citizens of Greensburg turn on them on sight. They learn that WC Moore has sucked the town dry in an effort to find Berkonium, the rarest mineral on Earth, and Duncan was his willing accomplice. Or was he? And what does WC’s obsession with mining Berkonium mean for Li’l Memphis?
Fun in Acapulcolypse
Now Willard Kurtz was once the world’s greatest Elvis impersonator; some say more like the Man than the Man himself. When Li’l Elvis discovers that Willard was not only passing through town on the night of his arrival, but that Len went to see his show, he believes Willard is the key to his true identity. Despite his parents’ misgivings, Li’l Elvis recruits Lionel and Janet and they make the treacherous journey along labyrinthine mine tunnels to Willard’s last known whereabouts - the Dark Heart Bar.
WC Moore hires a pair of incompetent Slumbagen Marines to kidnap Li’l Elvis, so that WC can save him and become a hero in the boy’s eyes. But while WC Moore is busy grandstanding for the media, his plans are quickly unravelling, as Lionel and Janet go looking for clues and Li’l Elvis proves himself more than a handful for his abductors.
Good Boy, Cruel World
When a curfew is imposed by WC Moore’s newest employee, the gigantic Doris Glumhoffer, Li’l Elvis decides that maybe the town is better off without him. Li’l Elvis hits the road, only to find himself magically transported to Mooreville, a version of Li’l Memphis in which he never existed, where WC has complete control and is making plans to marry Grace! Li’l Elvis realises he’s the only thing that stands between Li’l Memphis and toxic doom. Meanwhile, WC has made a discovery of his own - a stone chip from a statue is actually pure Berkonium.
In his constant quest to find Berkonium, the rarest mineral on Earth, WC plans to launch a rocket to sniff out Berkonium deposits from space. He convinces the townsfolk that the rocket is actually a satellite to transmit Li’l Elvis’ music to the world. The kids overhear WC Moore’s nefarious plan, but before they can do anything about it, they are accidentally blasted out into space.
WC Moore enlists the help of Dr. Rankenphile, a mad scientist, to build a worker drone robot capable of digging for Berkonium day and night. The robot doesn’t dig very well, but it does do a great imitation of Li’l Elvis. Suddenly Elbot supersedes the Truckstoppers and WC Moore’s now got an automated moneymaking machine. It sings, it dances, and best of all, it doesn’t ask questions - or does it?
Lionel is a man with a mission - to beat the high score on the pinball machine set by Blind Magnus McApplecamp. Guided by Junior, his Seeing Eye frog, Magnus was an ace crop duster and pinball wiz. But there are more than high scores at stake when Lionel discovers WC Moore intends to level One Tree Hill. The Hill is Magnus’ final resting place, and WC plans to transform it into WC’s Wacky Watch and Wash World. Lionel realises the only way to save One Tree Hill is to break Magnus’ record. How does he know this? Well, a ghost frog told him so...
Big Top Brouhaha - Haha
The Circus comes to town, but Li’l Elvis learns there’s more to the Tingling Sisters’ outfit than clowns, trapeze and cute expectorating llamas. For a start all the performers are, in reality, undercover agents on the trail of the notoriously pungent wildlife smugglers, the Zabaglione brothers. Unfortunately, no one will believe Li’l Elvis that the Zabaglione brothers plan to blow the circus to kingdom come at that night’s performance. Maybe it’s that little white lie he told about the UFO. Or that one about the ghost...
A huge flying dome lands on the outskirts of town. Hubert Howes, mysterious billionaire industrialist, has arrived. WC Moore is convinced that Howes has discovered his secret Berkonium mining activities and has come to cash in. While he and Duncan desperately try to infiltrate the sealed dome to confront Howes, Li’l Elvis manages to gain an audience with the world’s most reclusive man and learns his secret - he’s a ten year old boy who has no one to play with. In the process, Li’l Elvis confirms that WC is in fact mining under Li’l Memphis, and he must be stopped.
The Truckstoppers are booked to play at the opening of a new children’s hospital in Li’l Memphis. The only trouble is, Li’l Elvis is nowhere to be found. He’s busy trying to win a football card from Spike. It’s the rarest footy card of all, the Roy Reno card that is rumoured to be cursed. Li’l Elvis will do ANYTHING for that card; play for it, pay for it, fight for it, even make a deal with WC Moore. And that’s only for starters.
WC Moore hires 8 year old psychic Dusty Hoffman, supposedly to predict upcoming fads in music and fashion for the Truckstoppers. The real reason for Dusty being in town is to help WC Moore locate Berkonium. Dusty has her own plans however - she wants to be a Truckstopper. Li’l Elvis strikes a deal. Dusty can join the band if she helps them find out more about WC Moore’s secret Berkonium mining. But something strange happens to Dusty down in the mine when she comes face-to-face with the ghost of Ol’ Man Izard....
The Good, The Bad and the Hanky
It had to happen. Li’l Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers impersonators. But when Willard and his crew offer their services to relieve the kids, do they have something more nefarious in mind? When the King’s sacred hanky disappears from its glass case, Li’l Elvis is immediately accused. His resentment of the hanky is well known and he has threatened to trash it before. Has he really gone and done it this time?
The people of Li’l Memphis are revolting and WC finds it disturbing. They accuse him of not being interested in the town any more, and everyone is suffering. In an effort to divert their attention from his secret mining activities, WC hires the world-renowned theatrical impresario, CamShaft, to stage a production of the 50’s musical “Schmiko”. It’s full of hot rod cars, rock n’ roll and hair grease, and Li’l Elvis is a natural choice for the lead. Unfortunately, it means he will have to kiss Janet, who plays Schmiko’s girl, Gloria, and who wants to kiss a drummer?
Minors in the Mine
Ol’ Man Viska is not sleeping very well. He’s haunted by the constant sounds coming from the mineshafts beneath Li’l Memphis. Is it the ghost of Ol’ Man Izard? He decides to find out. It’s the beginning of a journey that leads the Truckstoppers to WC’s Berkonium Super-Mine and an army of vicious robotic digging drones. The Truckstoppers barely make their escape, but when the half-crazed billionaire seals off the mine it seems certain that the Truckstoppers’ have played their final note.
The Meanie From Down Under
Something strange is happening to Li’l Memphis. The buildings are starting to disappear, as if the ground is swallowing them up. Gradually, the whole town and all its occupants end up underground in the clutches of WC Moore. Faced with failure after failure and almost broke, WC has gone completely off the deep end and plans to keep them there forever, or until he finds Berkonium - whichever comes first. Only Li’l Elvis dares challenge the lunatic billionaire and they have their final showdown - a marble game for all the marbles and the future of the town.
Related online teaching resources are available in The Learning Centre.
Winner: Annecy International Animation Festival - France
Winner: Itheme 99 - France
Winner: Chiarra D'Assisi Children's Television Prize - Italy