As we once again delve into the world of vintage children’s TV, I am sitting here in bed watching the two programmes I am talking about today. I have certainly been enjoying watching these old shows again, reminding me of a time when children’s TVv was simple yet so enjoyable.
First up this week is Bagpuss. Much like the Flumps, this was a programme that seemed to run for years and years but again only thirteen episodes were ever made. Bagpuss was a show that has always stayed with me, I remembered every character and their quirks. I remembered the opening credits and the closing ones too.
Bagpuss himself was a stuffed toy cat who belonged to a little girl named Emily. The other characters were all either toys or ornaments in the shop where Bagpuss lived. The musical toys were a singing rag doll named Madelaine and a banjo playing frog called Gabriel. There was also the ‘Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ’ which was an old musical theatre which had carvings of mice on it. And finally my favourite was Professor Yaffle, an old carved woodpecker bookend who had some wonderful sayings such as ‘Fiddlesticks and flapdoodle’ and he made a wonderful noise each episode which is impossible to describe or put into words, it was a sort of laugh but it was unique. All the characters would come to life when Emily spoke her magic words.
‘Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss. Old fat furry catpuss. Wake up and look at this thing that I bring. Wake up,be bright, be golden and light. Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing.’
The show followed a traditional format of songs and stories which all revolved around the object that had been brought into the shop that week. It was usually dirty or broken when it was brought in and the toys would mend it or clean it and then leave it in the shop for the owner to come and collect.
With the other shows I have talked about I remembered watching them but I could never ever remember any specific episode of each show. With Bagpuss there was one episode which I vividly remembered. There was a mill which made chocolate biscuits from breadcrumbs and butter beans. It wasn’t a particularly spectacular episode but for some reason I always remembered it.
My second choice for this week is another Hanna-Barbera creation, the legendary Hong Kong Phooey. Hong Kong Phooey was the ‘Number One Superguy’. He was a superhero, solving all the crimes in the town but no-one knows his real identity. Each episode starts in the same way. Rosemary, the police telephone operator takes a call from someone reporting a crime and goes to tell her boss Sergeant Flint all about it. Meanwhile, the station janitor Penry is working nearby and hears all about the crime and dashes off to the vending machine. He slips behind it and jumps into a filing cabinet and after his cat Spot frees him from the sticking top drawer, he emerges as Hong Kong Phooey. He drives the Phooeymobile which can change into any vehicle when HKP rings his gong.
HKP is not the smartest of superheroes, in fact it’s mostly Spot who solves most of the crimes but everyone thinks it’s HKP. He uses The Hong Kong Book of Kung Fu which usually comes up with some crazy named move suitable for that specific criminal but as with everything else, HKP usually gets it wrong or gets tangled up and Spot usually intervenes so HKP still manages to pull off the capture of the villain and thus ensures HKP remains the greatest superhero of all time. Sarge thinks HKP is amazing although thinks his alter ego Penry is useless, and Rosemary has a bit of a crush on HKP and runs his fan club, even going so far as to make up their own fan song Hong Kong Phooey, we love youey, whoo whoo whooey!’ I swear to god I don’t make this stuff up.
Hope you enjoyed the latest installment of my childhood heroes and I’ll be back next week with some more.