Children’s show salutes Coast Guard in Grand Haven

by Krystle Wagner | Grand Haven Tribune

While Lake Michigan’s white beaches draw thousands of visitors each year, it was the Coast Guard station that brought a film crew from California last week.

Cast and crewmembers from the second volume of “Charlie & Company” recently filmed at Coast Guard Station Grand Haven. For the past week, the group filmed in locations throughout West Michigan. The episodes will be available for purchase on School Zone Publishing Co.’s Little Scholar® tablet.

After filming several takes outside Coast Guard Station Grand Haven, Danielle Augustine, who plays Miss Ellie, took time to pose for pictures with Charlie.

The crew spent 10 days filming the second volume of “Charlie & Company,” a children’s series available on School Zone Publishing Co.’s Little Scholar tablet. The new episodes will be available to purchase online this fall.

In addition to Grand Haven’s Coast Guard station, they also filmed at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Knickerbocker Theater in Holland, a West Michigan hospital and an art studio. In September, they will be filming at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.

Barbara Peacock, managing director of the Grand Haven-based School Zone Publishing Co., said they try to take children on adventures in each episode. She said the Grand Haven visit is a way to celebrate the Coast Guard’s 225th anniversary this year.

The live-action and animated series is aimed at teaching kids in preschool, kindergarten and first grade. It helps them learn colors, how to count, measure and more.

The show follows the adventures of Charlie, a golden retriever, and his friends. Charlie’s best friend, Miss Ellie, is played by Danielle Augustine.

Peacock said they worked with a London-based research firm and a focus group to make improvements over what they offered in the first volume.

Although Charlie is a real dog, School Zone employees in Grand Haven create the animated version of Charlie.

Charlie’s animated friends include Socrates, an owl; Levi Cottonwood, a beaver; Autumn Red Squirrel, a squirrel; Jahzara Komali, a tiger; Lily Longlegs, a frog; Nestor Fields, a mouse; Violet Ringtail, a raccoon; and Oba, a bear.

Chief Warrant Officer Paul Roszkowski, the motion picture and television office liaison for the Coast Guard, said his role on the set was to ensure everything is accurately portrayed about the Coast Guard.

Roszkowski said his office works on more than 100 productions in any given year. Since typical productions include major motion pictures and television shows, working with “Charlie & Company” offered him a chance to reach a new audience.

“It’s an interesting opportunity to participate in something we usually don’t get to do,” Roszkowski said.

Children’s show salutes Coast Guard in Grand Haven