It seems strange that we now look back at TV programmes in the same way as we look back at old forms of transport, or the industries that once made the Black Country great. But television is now verging on veteran status, and those early pioneering programmes that were viewed on the little box in the corner, and filled countless living rooms with laughter and sobriety, news and information, have reached the status of nostalgia.
Since we featured a few early television sets a few weeks ago, that were available to buy or hire at the time of the Queen's Coronation, Alan Keeling of Walters Road in Oldbury has kept us busy with more TV memories. Who remembers the fabulous Foo Foo cartoon? Well Alan does, and he has kindly provided a cartoon montage of the little character that made it to the television screens back in the sixties. He told us:
"The first fully animated British cartoon series made for the small screen was produced in 1960 at the studios of Halas and Batchelor in London. The twenty-six five minute films featured a character named Foo Foo. He was a character very much in the style of the great Charlie Chaplin and the love of his life was a large-bosomed lady called Mi Mi. The story line couldn't be complete without an arch enemy, and in Foo Foo's case it was the black-bearded Go Go. The cartoon was shown early on Saturday evenings at 5.15 pm under the title "Meet Foo Foo," first by ABC-TV in the Midlands and the North, and later networked in other areas. There was even a comic strip of this popular character that appeared in the 'TV Comic.'
"In the early sixties BBC and ITV commenced programmes at 5 pm, and in those days they started with a flourish. For instance, on Midlands ITV (transmitted from Lichfield), after a lengthy period of just a blank screen on the box, a timing card would appear accompanied by a specially composed piece of music. The music was entitled "Sound and Vision" and the composer was Eric Coates. The tune was similar to his famous Dambusters march. There would be a point later on during the musical interlude when the timing card would fade slowly from the screen to be replaced by the animated ATV logo, and at the same time the station announcer's voice stating in rather refined English. 'This is ATV, broadcasting on Channel 8 from the Midland transmitter of the Independent Television Authority.'
"The announcement sounded grand and authoritative and must have been exciting, especially for any children watching as they knew within minutes some of their favourite programmes, such as Zoo Time, Robin Hood and Fury would be filling the screen of the little box in the corner. As a TV historian Alan Keeling has set out his stall by sending us some wonderful TV nostalgia from the past; and we would welcome other Bugle readers' memories of the Television of yesteryear.