Sunday, 18 September 2016

When Kids TV was cool part 2

Hey everyone

I continue my stroll down the childhood memory lane this week with two more of my adored shows from yesteryear.

First up is The Flumps.  This was a series that seemed to be on the TV forever but in actual fact, only 13 episodes were ever made, the BBC just kept repeating them regularly but us being naive little kids never actually realised we were being duped.  We just enjoyed seeing them again.

The Flumps were, well I’m not sure what they were actually, they were just Flumps.  They weren’t flumps as in the marshmallow sweets you can buy in the shops, but that was the name of their race.  My best description of them would be pompoms on legs.  There were 6 Flumps in the family.  Grandpa Flump was the oldest and he spent most of his time sleeping or playing his Flumpet (a trumpet like instrument).  There were the parents Mother Flump and Father Flump.  Mother Flump was an excellent cook and usually spent her time in the kitchen, Father Flump could be found in either his workshop inventing things, or in the garden growing vegetables.

There were three children Flumps.  Perkin, a boy flump and Posie a girl flump.  I don’t think it was ever specified if they were twins or not but they looked around the same age and then there was Pootle, who was my favourite (and quite possibly a lot of other people’s favourite too).  He was the youngest Flump and was always getting into mischief, getting his words mixed up or getting confused with the things the other Flumps said to him.

The episodes tended to follow the usual kids TV format of a main story line featuring the Flumps and a song about the theme of the episode.  All the episodes were narrated and sung by British actress Gay Soper and the iconic theme tune was played on a trombone by George Chisholm.

My second show this week I remember with great delight was the incredibly crazy Wacky Races.  Made by Hanna-Barbera and unlike my previous shows, came from America.  I remember this being shown quite a lot when I was a child.

Each episode featured the same characters, eleven race cars in total all competing to be crowned the World’s Wackiest Racer.  Each race crossed a different state and each competitor had their own unique vehicle.

Car number 1 was The Boulder Mobile and was driven by The Slag Brother, Rock and Gravel.  They were cavemen and their car resembled a large rock. It’s powered by the brothers hitting it with their clubs, although it’s special power features being carried through the air by a large Pterodactyl.

Car number 2 was called The Creepy Coupe and was driven by the Gruesome Twosome.  This car was like a Haunted House on wheels featuring an array of various horror themed characters such as witches, ghosts, dragons and snakes, all of which are used to speed the car along.  The drivers themselves are Big Gruesome who resembles a Frankenstein type creature and Little Gruesome who is a vampire.

Car number 3 is the Convert-A-Car driven by Professor Pat Pending.  His car can convert into almost any vehicle or even moving objects such as a drill or giant bow and arrow in order to get past any obstacle thrown in his path.

Car number 4 is the Crimson Haybaler driven by The Red Max.  Max is an ace flying pilot and his car is a mix of both car and plane.. It mainly drives along the road with the other racers but is capable of flight for short periods, again usually to get over any obstacles in the way or occasionally to leap into the lead.

Car number 5 is the Compact Pussycat driven by Penelope Pitstop.  Penny is the only female driver in the race and is a stereotypical Southern belle, always maintain her appearance during the race and her car has all sorts of beauty gadgets installed.   The Pussycat and Penelope’s outfit are a very girly pink and the car is a convertible sports car.  All the other drivers are very polite to Penny (with the possible exception of Dick Dastardly although even he is less mean to her than the other racers).  Peter Perfect has a bit of a crush on Penny and she finds him charming and sweet.

Car number 6 is the Surplus Special driven by Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly.  The vehicle is an army tank which uses the cannon to blast itself forward to give it extra speed.  Blast and Meekly are, as their names suggest, two soldiers.  Meekly drives whilst Blast shouts the orders from the cannon tower.

Car number 7 is the Bulletproof Bomb driven by the Ant Hill Mob.  The mob are seven miniature gangsters called Ring-a-Ding, Danny, Rug Bug Benny, Mac, Kirby, Willy and their leader Clyde.  The car is a sedan and in order to gain extra speed, the Mob resorts to Getaway Power which is done by the mob sticking their feet through the bottom of the car and running, carrying the car along.

Car number 8 is the Arkansas Chuggabugg driven by Lazy Luke and Blubber Bear.  The drivers are just like their names suggest with hillbilly Luke in the driver’s seat, most often found asleep and steering the vehicle with his bare feet. Blubber the bear is his pet grizzly bear but is far from grizzly.  He never speaks but whenever their vehicle malfunctions (which is often), he blubbers and cries.  Their only form of improving their speed seems to be by pouring various types of liquids into the tank which usually cause the aforementioned malfunctions.

Car number 9 is the Turbo Terrific driven by Peter Perfect.  Peter is a very gentlemanly driver and rarely resorts to any kind of cheating or dirty tricks to win.  He considers himself the best driver with the best car, a dragster but the car often falls apart during the races.  He will often stop to assist his crush, Penelope Pitstop.

Car number 10 is the Buzzwagon driven by Rufus Ruffcutt and Sawtooth.  Rufus is a giant lumberjack and Sawcutt is his pet beaver.  The buzzwagon is put together from logs and the wheels are buzz saws.  They don’t have any form of boosting their speed but the wheels tend to cut through anything in their path, even the other vehicles on occasion.

Finally the last car is numbered 00 and is driven by Dick Dastardly, a moustache twirling villain and his sidekick Muttley, a dog of unidentifiable breed who doesn’t speak but laughs wheezily every time his master’s plans go wrong.  Dastardly actually owns the fastest and best car by far and if he wasn’t busy trying to cheat his way ahead or hold up the other racers with his dastardly schemes, he could likely win most of the races fair and square.  As it turns out, Dick Dastardly won a total of zero races, quite apt considering his car is numbered 00.

With the exception of Dick Dastardly and Mutley, all racers won more than one race and the results are as follows

The Ant Hill Mob    4
Luke and Blubber Bear 4
Penelope Pitstop 4
Peter Perfect 4
Gruesome Twosome 3
Professor Pat Pending 3
The Red Max 3
Rufus Ruffcutt & Sawtooth 3
Sergeant Blast & Meekly 3
The Slag Brothers 3
Dick Dastardly & Muttley 0

Whilst there was no theme tune specifically, each episode started with the narrator introducing the racers.

These are my shows for this week, I’ll be back next week with two more classics from the archives of children’s TV.

1 comment:

  1. As a lover of Hanna-Barbera I cannot believe I have never heard of that one! We have to watch that next time I come to your place.