Tuesday, January 21, 2014

His - Living in America - TV Shows from My Childhood

As any parent, or for that matter anyone who has seen Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network in the last 10 years can tell you, children's television programming has changed a lot from when I was a child. Instead of having Looney Tunes, Transformers and the Smurfs we now have the likes of Spongebob and his friends to entertain the children of today. I recently discovered that many of the TV shows that I grew up with are ones my American friends have never heard of. Here are a few of the shows that Aussie kids of the 80's enjoyed but you probably have never heard of:

Mr. Squiggle:
Mr Squiggle was an unusual character as he looked like a wooden puppet but he had a pencil for a nose. He lived on the moon but was come down to earth in his rocket ship that was just big enough for him. Children would send in squiggles (which were just a few random lines on paper) and he would turn them into a drawing. The kids watching the show would try and guess what he was drawing and it was often hard to figure out as he would often draw the picture sideways or upside down. The paper that the drawings were done on were held up by a blackboard that was alive and he would often tell Mr Squiggle to "hurry up" if he was taking too long. It was a simple show but it was fun to watch as a child as we tried to guess what the drawing was before our friends or siblings did.

Play School is one of Australia's longest running and most popular children's programs. It is geared mainly to younger children and has a mix of games and learning. The show had a great cast of characters including several toys like "Big Ted", "Humpty" and "Jemimah". The show teaches children many things including how to tell time and how to count while being entertaining. The format is somewhat similar to "Sesame Street" but focuses more on playtime and playing together while having fun. It is an excellent show for children and I am happy to see that it is still on the air in Australia.

Fat Cat, Romper Room, Humphrey B. Bear, Agro etc.
In addition to Play School and Mr Squiggle there were many other shows including
  • Fat Cat and Friends: A big cat who entertained pre schoolers with various games and craft activities.
  • Humphery B. Bear: A big bear who is also aimed at pre schoolers. He and his friends took many adventures and enjoy singing and dancing among other activities.
  • Romper Room: Similar to versions broadcast in the U.S, Romper room has different things to engage the children including Mr Do. Bee who taught children what was right and wrong.
  • Agro's Cartoon Connection: Agro was a brown puppet who often had an gruff attitude. He hosted a show that had popular cartoons for older children and was very popular when it was on the air. 
 Big dog says Goodnight to all the Girls and Boys:
Each network station had a mascot. One of the better known ones in our area was NBN's "Big Dog". To help parents put children to bed the station would broadcast a short 30 second clip of Big Dog going to bed and encouraging children to do the same. This still happens today as we saw it on the TV on our most recent trip to Australia last year. I am not sure if the children actually go to bed at 7:30pm when Big Dog does but its a nice idea.

There are many more children's shows that I used to watch when I was a child but that is for another post. What was your favourite show when you were a child?


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