Salty's Lighthouse is a television 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 1998. 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. Forty 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.


  • 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 group 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 and included specially added animation for some scenes in the songs.

Episode List

  1. Mixed Signals (October 3, 1997)
  2. Too Young to Be Included (October 10, 1997)
  3. Taking Off (October 17, 1997)
  4. Let's Party! (October 24, 1997)
  5. Blackout (October 31, 1997)
  6. Eight is Too Much (November 7, 1997)
  7. One Bad Day (November 14, 1997)
  8. Hands Off! (November 21, 1997)
  9. Salty Come Lately (November 28, 1997)
  10. It's Magic (December 5, 1997)
  11. Count on Me (December 12, 1997)
  12. Knot So Nice (December 19, 1997)
  13. Taking My Turn (December 26, 1997)
  14. Backward Day (January 2, 1998)
  15. Banana Splits (January 9, 1998)
  16. Clear the Decks (January 16, 1998)
  17. Claude in Charge (January 23, 1998)
  18. The Favorite (January 30, 1998)
  19. Strike Up the Band (February 6, 1998)
  20. Blankety Blank (February 13, 1998)
  21. Last of the Red Hot C Gulls (February 20, 1998)
  22. Farley Frog (February 27, 1998)
  23. Boss Man (March 6, 1998)
  24. Sophie Come Home (March 13, 1998)
  25. Who Took My Crayons? (March 20, 1998)
  26. High Spirits (March 27, 1998)
  27. Some Guys Have all the Luck (April 3, 1998)
  28. Dream On (April 10, 1998)
  29. Sound Off (April 17, 1998)
  30. Treasure Hunt (April 24, 1998)
  31. Who Turned Off the Lights? (May 1, 1998)
  32. If the Clue Fits, Wear It (May 8, 1998)
  33. Desperately Seeking Sadie (May 14, 1998)
  34. Colossal Crab (May 15, 1998)
  35. The Big Birthday Splash (May 22, 1998)
  36. Stop the Music (May 29, 1998)
  37. Let's Wing It (June 5, 1998)
  38. No Strings Attached (June 12, 1998)
  39. Guilty Gull (June 19, 1998)
  40. Bivalve Blues (June 26, 1998)

Salty's Song Time List

  1. Don't Clam Up
  2. There's Always Another Game to Play
  3. Ask for Help
  4. Let's Party
  5. Whistling in the Dark
  6. Dressin' Up
  7. Turn it Around
  8. I'm Sorry
  9. Can I Play Too?
  10. It's Magic
  11. You Can Do It
  12. Imagining
  13. Make Your Own Music
  14. New to You
  15. Shake it Up
  16. We Can Do it Together
  17. Listen
  18. Let's Give a Cheer For Me
  19. I Love The Sound of a Band
  20. Let's Think of Something
  21. Your Turn
  22. Let's Get Silly Now
  23. See What we Made
  24. Busy Busy Busy
  25. Let's Think Back
  26. By My Side



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


Home Media Releases

In 1999, Salty's Lighthouse was released on the Video Buddy Interactive VHS format through Sony Wonder; three releases were made, making a total of six 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 including six episodes was released in the UK by Maverick, and in 2005, a children's preschool compilation DVD named "Toddler Time" was released that included two episodes.

A DVD for the US was planned but it was scrapped shortly after the rights were lost.

The series was also briefly on the free streaming site "Kidobi", but the series as of now has been taken down due to lost rights.

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

Comparisons with TUGS

  • The original plot lines of Tugs were not used in the series (at least in their entirely) due to run time for segments. Instead, the existing footage was re-edited and dubbed into often loose shorter versions or even newly-written stories. As a result from different TUGS episodes being edited together, continuity errors are visible which include 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 sometimes the other way around, and abrupt weather changes.
  • Bigg City Port is renamed Snugboat Harbour.
  • The stories were modernized, with all the tugs gaining diesel tug engines and horns rather than boilers and whistles. The soundtrack was also altered to include hip-hop music.
  • Multiple impossible events occur, such as the tugboats using Captain Star's megaphone, the tugs willingly sinking themselves without any structural damage, and lifting sunken boats by pulling them horizontally to the surface using a small tow rope. This was due to the limit the crew seemed to have with the amount of live-action footage they had.
  • The Star Fleet and the Z-Stacks, originally two rival fleets in TUGS, become friends in this show. 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.
  • Ten Cents and Sunshine are brother and sister, respectively.
  • Sea Rogue becomes a evil tug in Top Hat's dreams, differing from how he was a real tug and only stealing for his uncle's safety originally.
  • Captain Zero is given a personality that mirrors Captain Star's in some respects, although they're still portrayed as sometimes having a rivalry.
  • 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).
  • Their are several name changes to characters:
    • Big Mac becomes Big Stack, possibly to avoid legal trouble with McDonald's over the name of their famous burger of the same name.
    • 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 simply called the Train. He was once called Chooch, and once called his original name.
    • Jack is renamed Scoop.
    • The two scrap dealers, Burke and Blair become Mr. Boffo and Mr. Socko, and are portrayed as movie producers. Strangely, their original nameplates are left uncovered.
    • Johnny Cuba becomes Steamer and Nantucket becomes Tramper and are portrayed as friendly characters.
    • The Fultan Ferry speaks in this show, despite not having a visible face or megaphone. She is also referred to as male. But in one episode she is her original gender and voiceless.
    • The Quarry Master was named Stoney in one episode.
  • Izzy Gomez speaks with an American accent rather than a Mexican one, despite still having a few Mexican features. This could have been most likely done to avoid having a stereotypical Mexican character in the American showing.


  • In the early 1990s, there was going to be a US dub of the original Tugs TV series, but it oddly never came to be, unlike Thomas & Friends. This TV show was most likely created as a replacement, except it uses edited footage of TUGS, as well as edited names and genders of some of the characters.
  • In Spain, the show was dubbed to Asturian Spanish and aired in Asturias in Northwest Spain, where it was known as El Faru D' Illán.
  • Episodes were paired together when they aired on PBS and TLC in the USA.
  • The series aired on Playhouse Disney in Taiwan. 
  • Most of the songs in the show can be seen in more than one episode after the twenty-sixth episode.
  • Old Rusty appears twice and Warrior bumps into him twice.
  • Due to the limited footage the crew had from the original thirteen episodes most of the Tugs segments often repeat a certain plot often taken from the original Tugs episodes like the tramper stuck on the rocks in Trapped, Top Hat's dilemma with the railway bridge in High Tide, or Sunshine getting stuck in the logs in Up River.
  • Robert D. Cardona is the only crew member involved in TUGS to receive credit for his work for TUGS in this series, while director David Mitton and all the others who were involved with the original series are not credited at all.
  • Some characters from Tugs such as the Fire Chief, Sea Rogue's Uncle, Big Mickey, Scuttlebutt Pete and Pearl, either did not appear in Salty's Lighthouse with speaking roles or at all.
  • In 1999 Salty's lighthouse was mentioned in the book "The Encyclopedia Of Animated Cartoons Second Edition".
  • Despite using animation for the lighthouse scenes, as well as edited footage of TUGS, original storylines, edited names and genders for some of the TUGS characters, the Salty's Lighthouse show shares some similar features to Shining Time Station, the show that introduced American audiences to Thomas the Tank Engine:
    • Both shows have music videos using clips of old films. [Cartoons with Shining Time Station, Silent Black & White Live Action films with Salty's Lighthouse].
    • Both shows begin their segments with a character announcing their beginning [Seymour the pair of binoculars in Salty's Lighthouse and Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station.]



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