Throughout 2006 Alan Keeling has kept us in touch with some classic TV shows, many of which may have been lost from our memories forever had it not been for his specific selection.
Since the early years of TV, thousands of programmes have been canned, never to see the light of day again. But a handful have managed to entertain another generation of viewers, with a select few becoming classics. Throughout the Christmas and New Year period we have a little catching up to do with more from Alan's pick of the past, and to begin with, one of Prince Charles's all time favourites, the Goons:
"In 1959 the old premises of a firm called On-The-Spot-Lighting Ltd. was used for the filming of an ambitious pilot of a new puppet series. The pilot was produced by Tony Young and Wendy Danieli and was entitled The Lost Colony. Having proved successful, The Telegoons, a series of 15 minute monochrome puppet films commenced production in 1962 until 1963, and on a Saturday in October 1963 the BBC screened the programme at a suitable 5.40 pm slot for the first time.
"The puppets' characters were based on Spike Milligan's doodled impressions of how he thought they may have looked in reality. Milligan, one of the original Goons, was also the show's writer and provided voices for those unforgettable characters such as Eccles, Moriarty, and Minnie Bannister. Two of the other original Goons chipped in with Harry Secombe as Neddy Seagoon, and Peter Sellers as Bluebottle, Bloodnok, Henry Crun and Grytpype Thynne. The puppets themselves were made by Ron Field and Ralph Young and filming was carried out at Kensol Road, Westbourne, London. The Telegoons were a huge success and wooed both adults and children alike, and were a must-see for early Saturday evening viewing.
"From puppets to a well known animated character called Felix the Cat. I was recently looking through my TV memorabilia and came across an April 1956 Midland TV Times, and to my surprise noticed that ATV were screening the 1920s Felix cartoons on Mondays at 5.30 pm, followed by another old favourite, Hopalong Cassidy. These old monochrome cartoons were based on Kipling's The Cat who Walked by Himself, and were the copyright and creation of Pat Sullivan. The clever animation was by M. J. Winkler. Felix didn't hand around for long and bowed out from ATV screens just prior to the 1958 screening of the Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons. But Felix wasn't done and dusted and returned to Television in the 1960s, this time in colour, and was the main character in made for TV animation five-minute cliff hanger episodes in which our feline hero spent all his time trying to escape the clutches of a mad professor. In the end King Features Syndicate produced 200 of the cartoons which were shown right across the ITV network.