Posts Tagged With 'Late 1970s'

Words and Pictures

Posted in W is for... by TV Cream | 22 Comments »

BASIC ALPHABET and sentence tuition, featuring floating spongelike cartoon CHARLIE, and scary stop-motion stories with the words lighting up on the screen as they were spoken. Set in a public library; the “We’ve got a new book in” introduction set up the theme of the show. Funny how this herd of unsupervised kids just turned up out of nowhere, though. HENRY WOOLF was nominally in charge, later replaced by VICKI IRELAND. Stuck in our minds are animations like Lazy Lion, Cool Cat (who played a double bass with such gusto that in true cartoon style he drove the spike through the ground which gave way below him, causing him to fall down the “Acme Bottomless pit type 1 UK issue”) and various other alliterative animals. The format was always the same – a basic loop of the animal in question, with that jazzy, laid back tune, pause – “Cool! Cat!”, ba-dum, bum, bom – and round it went again. And again. Plus the magic pencil, displaying in great detail how to write a particular letter: “Top to bottom, over…and down”. Those scary model ones (the central ‘story’ of each show) included various folktales; the butcher and his wife whose every wish comes true – ‘I wish your nose was a sausage!’ – cue rather alarming visual representation of same; the Jack O’Lantern pumpkin that came alive and hobbled to people’s doorsteps on a staff-and-boot combo; that one about a mouse/man thing who walked for hundreds of miles and met various ‘travelling tinkers’ (their expression) who offered him a new pair of shoes, a new pair of socks, and, hideously, a NEW PAIR OF FEET (he just unscrewed the old ones); and the infamous Frog and Toad animations, which we think also turned up on Play School from time to time. They were scary, though – it was the way the eyes rolled around and the long pauses between sentences. The kids meanwhile got on with making things and doing stuff, all under the watchful eye of Charlie, although he inevitably got a bit carried away with whatever activity they were doing and ending up covered in paint/glue etc – cue presenter and kids en masse: “Chaaaaarlie!” And it was always Halloween – much apple-bobbing, and so on: “We’re witches of Halloween, wooo-oo/Our faces are yellow and green, wooo-ooo.” Words and Pictures also turned up in, of all places, THREADS, educating post-bomb survivors in basic literacy. A chilling thought, in more ways than one.

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Once Upon A Time… Man

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The Reformation? Check! Old Beardy cracks a howler about Hegelian dualism

WELL-REMEMBERED if pretentiously-titled Gallic cartoonery, aiming to encapsulate all of human history in now-serious, now-jokey cartoon form. Educational value somewhat in doubt, as regular characters throughout time, according to this show, included a hyperactive monkey, an old bloke with a white beard that covered his entire body, and a calendar with limbs and eyes. Boasted officially the scariest title sequence of all children’s television, as, to the cheery sounds of Bach’s doom-laden Toccata and Fugue, the evolution of life was squeezed into 60 terrifying seconds beginning with amoebas in the dust and ending with – aaaargh! – a man running for his life to climb into a space rocket and escape the full-blown fuck-off total destruction of earth.

What's Barnaby doing here, then?The long march beginsLeg it!Too late!

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Emu’s Broadcasting Company

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Petulant puppetry at its most potent Look, the bird is trying to speak

TAKE ROD HULL, a fake plastic arm, a bit of Goodies slapstick here, a bit of Python media parody there, and a good amount of Kenny Everett-style mayhem. Stir liberally in Television Centre. Hey presto: EBC-1, complete with a mock ‘handover’ from a Beeb announcer before each programme, with tea lady and brown-coated cameraman/technician (top turn BILLY DAINTY) and witty spoof shows like Doctor Who with pedal bins as Daleks, ‘Yesterday’s World’ (Tomorrow’s World with spoof fried-egg titles sequence), Open University pisstakes Open Emuversity/Closed University (“And that’s how this bridge was made. I’ll just run over that again”), endless ads for multi-purpose miracle product Scunge, frequent technical difficulties caused by Emu’s stab-happy approach to the control panel, and much mayhem of the sort viewers were familiar with from numerous Parky and Royal Variety Show appearances. Rod would go out on location (school canteen, village fete, etc.) and Emu would, inevitably, cause messy chaos. Remember him this way!

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Two-Forty Robert

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ON-THE-ROAD CB-RELATED crimefighters employing a truck and a helicopter to get their “man”.

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Battle of the Planets

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IN SOME vague future, Earth was defended from aliens by a kerazee team of helmet-and-cape sporting animated types calling themselves G-Force. In full: bland leader Mark, love interest Princess, shady Avonesque Jason, ironically-named Tiny (he was fat!) and “delightfully politically incorrect” chinless stuttering kid, Keyop. Floaty, be-caped control robot computer (at “Centre Neptune”) was called 7 Zark 7 for no reason, and there was also an R2D2 comic relief robot dog, 1 Rover 1. The ship was the Phoenix, which could “transmute!” into a…spaceship on fire. What use this was was anyone’s guess, but such is the way of this sort of caper. The aliens were headed by pointy-helmeted (and slightly camp) Zoltar, who in turn reported to a weird floating blue blob known only as “O, Luminous one”. Needless to say, well-nigh impenetrable to the casual viewer. The show was actually a heavily edited and sanitised version of “Science Ninja Gatchaman”, one of the first adult orientated Japanese cartoons. Zoltar was actually a hermademphorite who kept on changing sex, explained in the kiddie edit by pretending Zoltar’s female body was his “sister”. Also, Jason swore a lot and punched everybody, including Princess – gasp! The last few episodes were never translated as they were too violent and miserable (ie, good): Jason got a bad brain injury, started losing control of his body, was captured by Zoltar and shot in the head many times with a machine gun. Zoltar then got depressed and commited suicide, by hurling his/herself into a pit of lava when the rest of the team confonted him (“Die,everybody! DIE!”) Also 7-Zark-7 wasn’t in the original, he was animated by the company who dubbed it and slipped in at bits of the show for sappy moral puke.

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Top Hat Rabbits, The

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SHORT ANIMATED series of Czech extraction shown by the BBC depicting the adventures of two white rabbits named Bob and Bobby, often revolving around their disastrous attempts at taking on jobs more commonly associated with humans. Underpinned by an infuriating electric piano theme tune that repeated itself throughout the cartoon’s duration.

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Ticket to Ride

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SUNDAY TEATIMERY featuring KEITH CHEGWIN and future squeeze MAGGIE PHILBIN visiting places of interest in a GO WITH NOAKES kind of way, except without the whinging.

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Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle

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THE EDGAR MICE-BURROWS (according to the Ed “Stewpot” Stewart annual) story subject to the usual Filmation cut ‘n’ paste treatment. Usual stymied adventures, often on straight after BIG JOHN, LITTLE JOHN. “Aheoeoeeahhh” call and monkey sidekick bloke present but far from correct.

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Go With Noakes

Posted in G is for... by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

NO THANKS.

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George of the Jungle

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THICKO TARZAN-ALIKE and his well-spoken English gorilla chum (“Somebody within stone’s throw again!”) do the usual crap Jay Ward wisecrackery.

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Great Big Groove Horse

Posted in G is for... by TV Cream | 7 Comments »

#714 IN LIST OF extinct erstwhile 1970s species: the rock musical. This was in your strict Godspell-esque mode of matching ancient witterings (the Trojan Horse myth) to contemporary stylings (disco beats) with present day threads thrown in for good measure. May have starred MICHAEL “CLAYPOLE” STANIFORTH. Or at least someone very like him.

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Groovy Ghoulies, The

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UNRULY AND indeed unwelcome animated argy-bargy from America ripping off ROWAN AND MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN stock gimmicky, something which obviously had bags of resonance over here. Titular ensemble goofed and gooned through 20 minutes of overloud sound effects, shitty animation, laughter tracks, baddies-as-goodies, pratfalls, slapstick and all the sodding rest, linked together with that characters-opening-doors-within-giant-wall-to-deliver-shit-joke business (“Why didn’t the skeleton go to the ball? Because he had no body to go with!”).

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Mole, The

Posted in M is for... by TV Cream | 2 Comments »

STRIKINGLY BAFFLING East European export about a cartoon gibberish-spouting mole and his woodland friends, underthreat from city developers.

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Maths Topics

Posted in M is for... by TV Cream | No Comments »

AGAIN WITH the adding, and as the title suggests a far more sombre affair than the previous two. Animated diagrams demystify trigonometry and statistics with a profusion of yellow-on-brown stencils. Once more, an ace theme tune (what was it with school maths shows and superlative title music?) FERGUS O’KELLY did the voice.

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Looks Familiar

Posted in L is for... by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

SQUIRE DENIS of NORDEN helmed this assortment of archive clippage, paraded in front of a panel of brilliantly-named “nostalgia experts”, who were in reality ageing micro-celebs, for identification, conversation and putrefaction. Excerpt from The Empire Strikes Back in title sequence was cynical ploy to keep schooldodging kids watching, and never turned up in the actual programme.

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London Bridge

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STULTIFYING SUMMER holiday morning yawnathon for inner city tykes only, hosted by the posh and incredibly dim MICHAEL WHALE, most notable for commenting of a gold-plated statue, “That must be worth more than money!”

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Ludwig

Posted in L is for... by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

MASTERFUL FIVE-MINUTER, often trundled out in the hallowed pre-NATIONWIDE slot, featuring an ovoid eggy jewel thing out of which “things” came, like a helicopter rotor, arms, legs, wings, gadgets etc. It lived in the forest, and every episode some upset would occur to the loveable dumb animal occupants which would require Ludwig to come to the rescue by opening up a limb and extending a gadget. Then at the end of every episode, triumphant, it would extend a baton and conduct one of Mozart’s Horn Concertos which played for the duration of the credits. Perenially spied on by faceless deerstalker-clad birdwatcher with huge binoculars.

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Lynn’s Look-In

Posted in L is for... by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

NO RELATION to the above, here was some other Lynn, hailing from the Tyne-Tees weatherbeat, tramping her way through a regional Saturday morning filler before the whole country sucuumbed to TIWWAS. Theme song laid things bare for all to see, and how bare: “It’s Saturday morning and it’s Lynn’s Look-In, Lynn’s Look-In” went the words, over three-chord idling. Lynn was sensible host, with “wacky” sidekick MALCOLM GERRIE (future head man on THE TUBE) who dressed in teddy boy gear and played the fool. Usual mix of guests, videos and games ensued. Gerrie was later replaced by yet another Tyne-Tees reporter/producer/buffoon, ALASTAIR PIRRIE, who would go on to take credit not only for RAZZAMATAZZ but THE ROXY.

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Whittaker’s World of Music

Posted in W is for... by TV Cream | 3 Comments »

ATTEMPTING TO stretch his musical scope beyond ol’ Durham town, ROGER WHITTAKER sang and hosted this lunchtime music’n’quiz engagement (including all-expenses-spared set and giveaway housewifey audience) in a variety of inappropriate cravats. The Bee Gees and Mary Hopkin turned up, The Clash did not.

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White Light

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EARNEST TEEN magazine of the kind that multiplied around the late 70s (see SOMETHING ELSE, THE OXFORD ROAD SHOW et al), boasting the usual discussions on censorship and awkward performances by new wave bands. Main personnel forgotten, with the exception of an early Gary “MERSEY PIRATE” Crowley.

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