From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
1 IT STARTED WITH SKATEBOARDING

Skateboard video directors Christian Jacobs, 38, and Scott Schultz, 38, were each new dads when they hatched Gabba in 2001. Stuck watching uninspired preschool shows, says Schultz, "we had that naive idea that so much more could be done."

2 THE CHARACTERS HAVE DISNEY DNA

The show airs on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., but the characters are played by "mascot dancer" vets from Disneyland. "We always try to use the same people in the costumes," says Jacobs (who voices robot Plex). "Kids can tell if something's off."

3 DJ LANCE ROCK IS NO WILLY WONKA

The show's peppy host was going to wear a Willy Wonka-inspired outfit with a top hat. "But I couldn't move around in that," says Lance Robertson, 45, a real deejay, who opted for an orange tracksuit. "I feel like a superhero when I'm wearing that!"

4 IT'S MORE THAN JUST A TV SHOW

A 60-city Gabba U.S. tour kicked off Aug. 27 ("You can feel the bated breath as kids wait for it to start," says Jacobs. "Then it's this rush of joy"), and there's talk of a movie. "We want it to be a fun family experience," says Schultz, "like seeing Toy Story 3."

5 STARS GO GAGA FOR GABBA

Celeb fans include Gabba guest star Jack Black and Brad Pitt, who donned a DJ Lance costume last Halloween. "Now," says Nickelodeon animation president Brown Johnson, "we just have to get Angelina to dress up as Foofa!"