|THE ADVENTURES OF SIR PRANCELOT|
Animated tales from the same stable that produced 'Captain Pugwash', 'Sir Prancelot' followed the exploits of the heroic but somewhat eccentric knight as he set off for the Crusades to the Holy Land.
32 x 5 minute episodes. 1972.
|ALIAS THE JESTER|
A BAFTA award-winning animated series following the exploits of Alias, a diminutive space traveller who unexpectedly lands in the magical kingdom of Houghton Bottom in medieval England. He becomes court jester to the irascible King Arthur and, together with his trusty companion, Boswell the telepathic dog, Alias' adventures begin. Richard Briers provided the voice of Alias. This series won a BAFTA Award for Best Short Animated Film.
13 x 10 minute episodes. A Cosgrove Hall Production. 1985-86
|THE ARABIAN KNIGHTS|
Created by Hanna-Barbera Productions in the USA, Arabian Knights appeared in an animated segment of the Banana Splits. Stories are set round the ancient city of Baghdad which is under the rule of the evil Sultan Bakaar who has usurped the throne from the rightful inheritance of the young Prince Turham. Whilst fleeing the city for his own safety, Turham meets a magician, Fariek, who uses his magic powers to help the young prince escape (via flying table as he is "fresh out of flying carpets."). They eventually meet up and befriend Raseem the Strong in the Caves of Doom and head for the home of Turhan's uncle, the Caliph of El Rabal, only to discover that he too has been deposed by Bakaar, who is planning to sell the Caliph's daughter, Nida, into slavery. The allies manage to free Nida with the aid of Bez, a man who can transform himself into any animal. Along with Raseem's small donkey, Zazuum, the heroic band set off on many more adventures as they set out to rid the land of the tyrant Bakaar. Prince Turhan was voiced by Jay North, the former child actor who, at the age of six, became a household name for his role as Dennis the Menace and Shari Lewis, the American ventiloquist best known for her puppet Lamb Chop, provided the voice for Princess Nida.
18 episodes of approximately 9 minutes duration. 1968 - 69.
Classic children's series that, inspite of only appearing in 13 adventures, was voted in a BBC poll as the most popular children's TV programme of all time. The stories were set in a lost and found shop owned by a Victorian girl named Emily, who would bring in various items that she had discovered with the object of repairing them and returning them to their rightful owner. To do this she was assisted by Bagpuss, a fat pink and white striped cloth cat, who would spring to life (and colour) at the sound of Emily's voice. Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss, old fat furry cat-puss. Wake up and look at this thing that I bring, wake up, be bright, be golden light, Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing. Bagpuss was ably assisted by Professor Yaffle the book-end woodpecker, Madeline the rag doll, Gabriel the banjo-playing toad, and the mice of the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ. The series was written and narrated by Oliver Postgate, who along with Peter Firmin was responsible for numerous other children's series' including 'The Saga of Noggin The Nog,' 'The Pingwings,' 'The Clangers,' and 'Ivor The Engine.' The series is often repeated and in 1999 was made available on one single three hour video.
13 episodes of 20 minute duration. BBC TV. 1974.
Following the demise of 'The Monkees', NBC put four actors into oversize animal costumes, brought in 'Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In' dancer Byron Gillian as choreographer and threw in some Hannah-Barbera cartoons, and produced 125 madcap episodes of a series first aired in the US in 1968 as 'The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.' The Splits were Snorky (a baby elephant), Bingo (a gorilla), Drooper (a lion) and Fleegle (a dog). When not racing their Buggie cars, playing 'wacky' games on a football pitch or singing to pre-recorded tracks the gang could be seen cavorting around their Banana Pad indulging in nonsensical (some might say surreal) jokes. There was a Dear Drooper spot where the wisecracking lion would answer viewer's questions before being set upon by rival pop band The Sour Grapes. In another memorable sequence Drooper would try and take the trash out only to find that the dustbin didn't want it and so it unceremoniously threw back at him. In between all this mayhem were cartoon adventures of 'The Three Musketeers,' 'The Arabian Knights,' 'The Hillbilly Bears' and 'The Micro Adventures'. There was also a live action serial entitled 'Danger Island', which can boast of having given future 'Superman' and 'Lethal Weapon's' Richard Donner a chance to cut his directorial teeth. Barry White also began his career as a singer/songwriter by penning numbers for the band. The series had a catchy theme song (One banana, two banana's, three banana's, four...) known as the Tra La La Song, written by Ritchie Adams and Mark Barkan. The series aired in the UK from 1969-71 on Saturday morning BBC and was repeated years later as part of Channel 4's 'Big Breakfast'. Hold the Bus!
125 shows of 60 minute duration. 1968-1970.
|BATTLE OF THE PLANETS|
US adaptation of the Japanese anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman of which 85 episodes (of the original 105) were adapted and given a twist to appeal to the US juvenile television market of the 1970s. The story followed the adventures of G-Force, a team of youngsters with a mission to save the Earth from the warmongering planet Spectra. The team consisted of Mark, Jason, Princess, Keyop and Tiny. The commander of the Spectra forces was the villainous Zoltar who received his orders from the "Luminous One" a ghost-like, disembodied, floating head! The main ship of the G-Force team was the Phoenix, a transporter piloted by Tiny, that could deploy four smaller vehicles, each operated by one team member. The Phoenix could also fire "Bird missiles" as well as transform into a flaming bird-shaped craft with a giant blowtorch (called the Fiery Phoenix). The G-Force members were experts in a combination of martial arts, ninja-like weapons, and were possessed of "cerebonic" powers to dispatch hordes of enemy soldiers and overcome other obstacles. Their bird-like costumes included wing-like capes that could fan out and function as "gliders". The G-Force members could stay in contact through a wrist-band communicator which also served as a way for them to change from their 'civvies' instantly into their G-Force uniforms.
85 episodes of 30 minute duration. 1978 - 1985.
|BILLY BEAN AND HIS FUNNY MACHINE|
"Billy Bean built a machine to see what it could do. He built it out of sticks and stones, and nuts and bolts and glue. The motor ran, chuttle-a-bang, ra-ta-ta-ta-ta-torator, And all of a sudden a picture appeared on the funny old cartoonerator". Like the title song suggests the puppets Billy Bean and his friend Yoo-Hoo the cuckoo operated a machine which featured such devices as a windmill, a Dorset-Faucet and a cartoonerator which drew magic pictures. The voice of Yoo-Hoo was supplied by Ivan Owen, who later went on to voice one of the Britain's best loved puppets of all time, Basil Brush.
Originally conceived by Ian Allen as a stage show in 1978, Allen adapted it into a TV series for Thames two years later. The first series of 13 programmes was transmitted in 1980. A further 6 series of 13 programmes followed, making a total of ninety-one different Button Moon adventures. The series featured the adventures of Mr. Spoon who would travel to Button Moon in his homemade rocket-ship. All of the characters were based on kitchen utensils, as were many of the props. Once on Button Moon they would have an adventure, and look through Mr. Spoon's telescope before heading back to their home on 'Junk Planet'. The theme tune was written and performed by then husband-and-wife Peter Davison and Sandra Dickinson. Narration was by Robin Parkinson. A live stage show was produced in the 1980s.
91 episodes of 10 minute duration. 1980 - 88
Monday's "Watch With Mother" offering which began in 1966 with the words "Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today ?" Then out of the rotating top would pop the "secret", which in fact was the featured character of that particular episode. Amongst the rural village's cast of characters were local gossip Mrs Honeyman, Dr. Mopp, Peter the Postman, Mrs Dingles the Postmistress, Mr Carraway the Fishmonger, Mickey Murphy the Baker and Thomas Tripp the Milkman. But without a doubt the star of the show was Windy Miller the flour maker, who was in charge of the windmill. The series was animated by Bob Bura and John Hardwick from stories by Gordon Murray and told by 'Play School's' Brian Cant. Although only 13 episodes were made they proved so successful that there were two spin-off series, 'Trumpton' and 'Chigley'
13 episodes of 15 minute duration. BBC 1966.
Classic but crudely animated children's series from John Ryan relating the tales of Captain Horatio Pugwash, podgy skipper of The Black Pig. The stories were told over several or more five minute episodes, most of the time Pugwash and his crew were pitted against the notorious, black bearded pirate, Cut Throat Jack. Ryan was later accused of including deliberate sexual innuendo in the scripts, a charge that he strenuously denied. There seems to be something of an urban myth about dubiously named characters such as Master Bate, but closer scrutiny does not bear this out (the character in question in this case was actually called Master Mate). Peter Hawkins supplied the voices for this and several other BBC shows, including 'Bill and Ben', and perhaps more famously, the Daleks in 'Doctor Who.' Such was the success of Pugwash that a regular cartoon strip appeared in the Radio Times, the original series was colourised and a new set of 26 episodes were created in 1999 at a cost of £1.5 million!
86 seafaring episodes of 5 minute duration. B&W. BBC 1957-66 and 1974-75.
|CHORLTON AND THE WHEELIES|
Puppet series with a funny and zany cast, created by the makers of 'Noddy.' Chorlton the happiness dragon and his companions the Wheelies, little wheeled characters who inhabit Wheely World, combine to combat the wicked with Fenella who contrives to keep Wheely World shrouded in sadness. Created by Cosgrove Hall for Thames Television and named after the location of the studio, Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester (in fact, Chorlton gets his name in the series because the legend "Made in Chorlton-cum-Hardy" is found written on the inside of his egg).
39 episodes of 11 minute duration.
Another successful childrens series from the writing/production team of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, The Clangers were a clan of pink, woolly, mouse-like aliens who lived on a small blue moon. They wore suits of body armour to protect themselves from frequent meteor showers and took their name from the sound made when they battened down their dustbin-lid hatches. The Clangers -Major, Mother, Grandmother, Small and Tiny- communicated with eachother with musical whistles and ate Blue String Pudding. Other inhabitants of the their asteroid were the Soup Dragon and the Froglets, and they also enjoyed visits from the Iron Chicken that lived in a nest in space. Although only made as a five minute filler, the Clangers became a firm children's favourite and expressed a clear anti-materialistic theme. In one episode "Treasure", a supply of gold coins landed on the blue moon causing the Clanger family to become avaricious and mutually resentful, each building their own secret hoard. Only when Tiny discovered that the coins were made of chocolate did the Clangers return to their harmonious existence.
27 stories of 5 minute duration. Smallfilms 1969-74.
With the voices of David Jason, Jack May, Brian Trueman, Jimmy Hibbert, Barry Clayton and Ruby Wax, 'Count Duckula' was a major production from Cosgrove Hall which was developed with Nickleodeon. The looming form of the magical Castle Duckula has been home to a long line of fearsome vampires, Counts of Duckula. But the present Count has broken with family tradition and become a vegetarian - not to everyone's satisfaction! The show often centres around Duckula's adventures in search of riches and fame, assisted by the castle's ability to teleport around the world. The show also features a cuckoo clock whose bat-like Russian-accented characters would come out and make jokes about the current situation; the clock is also a vital part of the castle's travelling mechanism, and even has the ability to turn back time.
65 stories of 22 minute duration 1988 - 93.
|CRYSTAL TIPPS AND ALISTAIR|
The style of animation on this children's cartoon series might well have been influenced by the Beatles full-length animated feature 'Yellow Submarine' which had come out a few years earlier. To many, the almost psychedelic look and feel of the series was enough for them to dub it 'Crystal Trips with Alistair.' Creator Hilary Hayton certainly invented a land where everything seemed fab and groovy and where best friends Crystal and Alistair lived in a pop-art world that one could easily envisage being a part of John Lennon's 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.' And just like Lennon's trip into the world of 'LSD' so Crystal and Alistair's world included tangerine flowers of yellow and green as well as tangible rainbows and giant bubbles that enabled them to float up to the sky. When they needed more conventional (?) forms of transport Crystal had her own big-propellered biplane. There were no words uttered between the characters, the pictures told the stories clearly enough and to accompany the vivid images there was an equally-expressive score from composer Paul Reade.
50 episodes of 5 minute duration and 1 of 20 minutes.
Dangermouse was a British Secret Service Agent who worked out of a postbox in London's famous Baker Street. Just like James Bond, Dangermouse was often called on to protect Queen and country from a whole host of dastardly villians including the megalomaniac toad, Baron Greenback, a group of Mafioso like crows and Count Duckula, a vegetarian vampire who proved so popular that he was spun off into a series of his own. Dangermouse, and most of the supporting characters in the series was voiced by David Jason, whilst his sidekick, Penfold (catchphrase "Crikey!"), was veteran comedian Terry Scott. The series came from British cartoon experts Cosgrove Hall and was sold to over 31 countries and to the USA in 1984.
145 episodes of between 5 and 10 minute duration. 1981-87. 1991-92.
Deputy Dawg was, without doubt, Mississippi's laziest lawman. The only thing that could rouse him was the shenanigans of Musky the Muskrat, Ty Coon, Pig Newton and Vince van Gopher. And whenever he found those pesky varmints unlawfully at large in other folks’ chicken coops and melon patches he'd spring into action with a cautionary "just a cotton pickin' moment!" The only human cartoon in the series was DD's boss, the white moustachioed sheriff who just about put up with his incompetent underling. 'The Deputy Dawg Show' began in October, 1960, on only a few dozen stations in the USA. But it quickly caught on, and was soon popular across the whole of America. Most of the character voices (based on stereotypical southern characteristics) were supplied by Dayton Allen, a prolific Hollywood voice actor who voiced many Terrytoons characters in television and theatrical shorts in the 1950s and 1960s. The show gave a professional animation debut of Ralph Bakshi of 'Fritz the Cat' fame.
7 minute episodes. CBS 1960. Shown in the UK from 1963. Dagnabit!
|DOGTANIAN AND THE THREE MUSKEHOUNDS|
Co-produced cartoon series made by of BRB Internacional of Spain (Spanish title: D'Artacan y los tres Mosqueperros) and Nippon Animation of Japan that drew from Alexander Dumas' classic story The Three Musketeers. Dogtanian was en route from Gascony to Paris when he joined the King's Own Guard, fell in love with the beautiful Juliette and then ultimately teamed up with master swordsmen Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Shown on Children's BBC in 1985, four years after it was originally made, the series became something of a minor classic picking up numerous international awards. The partnership between BRB and Nippon Animation worked so well that they collaborated on another animated series called Around the World with Willy Fog in 1983. In 1989 BRB produced a second series/sequel; The Return of Dogtanian consisting of 26 episodes with the co-operation of Taiwanese studio Wang Film Productions and British television company, Thames Television. It was less well received.
26 episdoes. 1981 - 82.
Based on the 1966 live action movie of the same name, Fantastic Voyage is the animated US TV series from 1968, created by the world famous animation studio Filmation (He-Man, She-Ra, Flash Gordon, Batman, Superman) and produced by renowned animators Lou Sheimer and Norm Prescott. The series follows the adventures of C.M.D.F. (Combined Miniature Defence Force), a secret government organisation that possesses the ability to reduce people to microscopic size for 12 hours only. Using a flying submarine called The Voyager, they do battle against unsuspecting enemies of the free world (both criminal and germinal matter). While the series was in production, Aurora Model Company developed a plastic model of the Voyager, releasing it only months before the series cancellation was announced. Due to the short run of the show, this kit received only one press run, and as a result is one of the rarest kits to find of the Aurora line with boxed versions exchanging hands on eBay for up to 700 USD.
17 episodes of 30 minute duration. 1968 - 69.
'Foo Foo' was created for ABC Television in the UK by Halas & Batchelor, who had been producing films since 1940. John Halas and Joy Batchelor met in Paris in 1932 and moved to London just before the outbreak of the Second World War. They initially made a living illustrating posters, books and magazines and later found work with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, which set them up in their film unit at Bush House, London. They founded Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films and married shortly after. By 1950 the studio had produced over 100 films. In animation terms Foo Foo was simplicity itself. The character had a square body with a large round head and bulbous nose. Arms and legs were simple straight lines. The charm of the cartoon came from the characterisation. Foo Foo had a love interest called Mimi, but a rival for her affections in the shape of Gogo. The series proved enough of a hit to be sold for syndication to the USA becoming the first British animated series to be sold to America. The studio was sold to Tyne Tees Television in the early '70s, resulting in Halas and Batchelor making popular Saturday morning cartoons like 'The Jackson Five' (1972) and 'The Osmonds' (1973).
33 episodes of 6 minute duration. 1959-60.
|HECKLE AND JECKLE|
Cartoon magpies created by Paul Terry one of the most prolific film producers in history having produced over 1300 cartoons between 1915 and 1955 including the many Terrytoons cartoons which also included Mighty Mouse, Gandy Goose, Sourpuss, Dinky Duck and Deputy Dawg. Heckle and Jeckle (whose names were inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's literary character Dr. Jekyll) first appeared in the 1946 short The Talking Magpies. Heckle had a Brooklyn accent and referred to his partner as 'chum' or 'pal' whilst the British spoken Jeckle referred to his friend as 'old chap.' The last original cartoon appeared in 1966.
1946 - 1966
French series known in its native country as 'La Maison de Tu Tu', Hectors House featured a sad eyed dog, Zaza the cat, and Mrs Kiki the frog. The catchphrase for this particular show was the star's "I'm a great silly Hector." The episodes filled a spot (like 'Magic Roundabout') just before the early evening news. Another show that has generated an urban myth, this time that myth being that actress Joanna Lumley voiced Zaza the cat. The story became so widely known that it was accepted as fact. But the truth is, that the lovely Ms Lumley had nothing to do with the show whatsoever as she confirmed herself when the question was put to her. "It would have been lovely wouldn't it?" She said. "But no, it's not true.'
50 episodes of 6 minute duration. France. 1968.
With the magic word "Herbidacious" the gate to the garden of Sir Basil and Lady Rosemary would open revealing such wonderfully named characters as Dill the Dog, Sage the Owl, Aunt Mint, Tarragon the Dragon, Mr Onion the Schoolteacher and his pupils the Chives, Bayleaf the Gardener, Pashana Bedhi and Belladonna. However, the most famous of them all was a large headed lion by the name of Parsley, who proved such a hit that he was spun off into his own series ('The Adventures of Parsley'). Created by Michael 'Paddington Bear' Bond and transmitted in the Watch With Mother slot, the puppet series was directed by Ivor Wood who had previously worked on The Magic Roundabout.
40 episodes of 15 minute duration. Filmfair (UK). 1970-72.
|HERGÉS ADVENTURES OF TINTIN|
Created in 1929 for the Belgian weekly Le Petit vingtième, Tintin was the creation of Georges Rémi, alias Hergé, from his initials "R.G." (as pronounced in French), and became a cult figure around the world. The famous cub reporter and his dog Snowy (Milou in French) made their TV debut in 1961 in a series of breathless five-minute episodes, complete with cliffhanger endings, and arrived in Britain a year later dubbed into English by Peter Hawkins, who also provided voices for Captain Pugwash and Doctor Who's Daleks. Tintin fought his way through 50 episodes based on the original Hergé books, 5 of which were adapted for the small screen, The Crab With The Golden Claws, Star of Mystery, Red Rakham's Treasure, Black Island, Objective Moon and The Calculus Affair. Amongst Tintin's legion of fans were the U.S. artist Andy Warhol and French president Charles de Gaulle, who said of the comic strip character: "Deep down, my only international rival is Tintin! We are little fellows who won't be had by big fellows." A whole host of characters accompanied Tintin on his adventures, including the grog-swilling Captain Haddock, two inept Scotland Yard detectives -The Thompson Twins (who gave their name to a 1980's pop group), and the audibly challenged Professor Cuthbert Calculus. In 1986 Tintin and Alpha-Art, the last and unfinished adventure of Tintin was published, three years after the death of Georges Rémi. Deceptively complex in both writing and design, despite the illusion cast by the apparent simplicity of Hergé's characters, the world in which Tintin inhabits is a truly original and instantly recognisable creation that has consistently continued to capture the imagination and hearts of young and old world-wide. Although Hergé is no longer with us, the legacy of wonder, excitement and adventure embodied by his iconographic characters, remains to entertain future thrill-seekers of all ages and nationalities.
Tele-Hachette (France) 1961-62
|HONG KONG PHOOEY|
Mild mannered janitor Penry Pooch works at police headquarters in offices nearby Sergeant Flint and switchboard operator Rosemary. This comes in very handy because whenever Rosemary takes a crime report, Penry can jump into action. Well, he actually jumps into a filing cabinet - but this is where he changes into his alter-ego of crime-busting hero Hong Kong Phooey. Penry has learned his martial arts through a correspondence course and keeps his instruction book, "The Hong Kong School of Kung Foo" with him at all times. Phooey gets into his Phooeymobile and uses the "bong of the gong" to turn it into whatever sort of transportation best suits the current situation. He is also assisted by Spot, the station's striped cat, but the "Sarge" and Rosemary are not privvy to his true identity. Phooey was voiced by Scatman Crothers, who was also the voice of Scat Cat in Disney's 'The Aristocats.' Sergeant Flint was voiced by Joe E. Ross, best known as Rupert Ritzik comic foil to Ernie Bilko in 'The Phil Silvers Show' in the 1950s and Officer Gunther Toody in the 1960s series 'Car 54, Where Are You?.' As Flint, Ross revived Toody's famous "Oooh! Oooh!" exclamation.
31 episodes. ABC. 1974 - 76.
Like the 'Six Million Dollar Man', Inspector Gagdet was an ordinary human until an accident armed him with a whole host of in-built secret weapons. As a result of this he was promoted from rookie cop to inspector in order to wage war on crime, and in particular his arch-enemy Doctor Claw and the evil agents of MAD. Gadget was based on the 1960's series 'Get Smart', and he was voiced by agent Maxwell Smart himself, actor Don Adams. Like Smart, Gadget is totally inept at what he does and mostly solves crime more by luck than judgement as well as a helping hand (or paw) from his nieces dog, Brian. A weak attempt at transferring the series to the big screen was attempted using real life actors, with Matthew Broderick in the lead.
|IVOR THE ENGINE|
5 minute animation series from the prolific team of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin which concerned itself with the adventures of a small green railway engine running out of the Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company, which was, according to the narrator, "In the top left-hand corner of Wales." Ivor was driven by Jones the Steam who worked alongside his colleagues Owen the Signal and Dai Station, the man who looked after Llianog Station. Ivor's boiler was fired by Idris the dragon and the little engines ambition was to sing in the choir like his friend Evans the Song. All the films were made in the barn of Peter Firmin's 18th century farmhouse near Canterbury, the cowshed acting as his studio whilst Postgate was assigned the pigsty. According to Postgate the shows airing at 1.15 in the afternoon clashed with board meetings at Associated Rediffusion, but not wishing to miss a single episode the board members ordered a television be wheeled in, the meeting stopped whilst they watched Ivor and then the television was wheeled out again and the meeting resumed. The series moved to BBC in 1976.
Approx. 50 episodes of 5 minute duration. Smallfilms. ITV 1959-63. BBC 1976-77.
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