Bassie & Adriaan

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Bassie & Adriaan
Bassie & Adriaan.png
Created by Aad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Joop van den Ende
Starring Aad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Paul van Gorcum
and others
Country of origin Netherlands
No. of episodes 144
Production
Running time 25 minutes (without commercials)
Broadcast
Original channel Nederland 2 (TROS)
Original run 1978 – 1996

Bassie & Adriaan are a Dutch circus duo who star in their own television series. Bassie is a ginger-haired red-nosed clown who wears a red tartan-jacket and green trousers; he's fond of cream-cakes, and calls himself "stupid, but not smart". Adriaan is an acrobat in a blue (used to be purple) 1970s-style shirt; his philosophy is "Whatever happens, keep smiling". After a break-up of ten years the two perform together again and enjoy a huge popularity in Netherlands and Belgium.

Biography[edit]

1957–75; early career[edit]

Bas van Toor (born 1935) left school at an early age to pursue a number of odd-jobs. At 19 he joined the circus and spent a year on the road. After this, he decided to form an acrobat duo with his brother Aad (born 1942). In 1959, The Melton Brothers/The Crocksons were born.

In 1965, they embarked on what was planned to be a two-year stint abroad; they stayed abroad ten years, befriending Siegfried & Roy, incorporating the wives into their act (The Four Crocksons) and staging children's matinees in Dutch, German and English while residing in Spain for nightclub-shows. The seeds for Bassie & Adriaan were sown in 1964 when the brothers did a clown act as part of Rudi Carrell's travelling circus.

1976–82; series guide part I[edit]

De Plaaggeest[edit]

In 1975, Bassie & Adriaan went back home for what was supposed to be their last five years as acrobats; but they met Joop van den Ende, TV-producer and a theatre-owner, who suggested they make a television series. A pilot was broadcast by TROS on December 17, 1976; the series from January 10 to April 4, 1978.

In De Plaaggeest (The Poltergeist) Bassie & Adriaan find themselves abandoned by their own circus because they overslept, and with no tour-schedule in sight or any money they're forced to take other jobs but lose each. Partly responsible is The Poltergeist, who's more a prankster than a poltergeist. Their knight in shining armour, a free spirit called Douwe, looks like him without the black cape, comedy-cheeks and fool's hat. The final episode sees Bassie & Adriaan return to the circus.

Despite regretting his actions in an open letter The Poltergeist was shown the door after this series. His image and scary laughs caused many children sleepless nights.

Bassie & Adriaan were a hit and soon worked on their second series which was partly shot on location in Spain and broadcast from October 9, 1978 to May 21, 1979.

Het Geheim Van De Sleutel[edit]

In Het Geheim van de Sleutel (The Secret Of The Key) they take a well-earned holiday but find themselves chased by two diamond thieves who mistook Bassie for the go-between who came to collect the key to the vault of the stolen diamonds. Spiking their teas with sleeping drugs, sabotaging the car, overpowering Bassie at the beach and the elevator; it all makes no sense, but upon arrival at Rotterdam Airport they lure the clown and his pet bird Sweety to their car and drag him inside. After release, Bassie & Adriaan set up a booby trap at Rotterdam's Central Station; the diamond thieves are arrested by policemen in disguise.

For the third year in a row Bassie & Adriaan worked on a new series, but by now the camera-crew, led by Guus Verstraete, had left. Replacements were found but they didn't fit in so Adriaan became director.

De Diamant[edit]

In De Diamant (The Diamond) Bassie & Adriaan have a diamond named after them. Escaped from prison, the diamond thieves from the previous series attempt to steal it, dressed like Bassie & Adriaan. The real Bassie & Adriaan are arrested but soon released because their fingerprints don't match any on the crime-scene. They're given three days to prove their innocence; they do so by reading a videotaped confession. Because of their damaged reputations Bassie & Adriaan left the circus; they start their own.

This series ran from November 17, 1979 to June 7, 1980, by which time Circus Bassie & Adriaan was touring across the country.

De Huilende Professor[edit]

The early 1980s were busy times; running a circus, individual production companies (Bassie took care of the business side while Adriaan wrote the scripts and the songs) and working on a new series.

De Huilende Professor (The Crying Professor) sees a nation literally moved to tears, when Professor Archibald Chagrijn (Chagrin) exposed everyone to his tear-gas, which makes them sad and causes them to start crying. Bassie proves immune to the tear-gas as he's had an overdose of laughing gas. He and Adriaan track the professor down.

This series was shown from April 4 to December 6, 1982, but the year was not good. Van den Ende handed the circus off to others in order to run his theater. The circus closed down although the name was resurrected for indoor arena-shows. Bassie & Adriaan split with Van den Ende, and TROS split with Bassie & Adriaan.

1983–89; series guide part II[edit]

Shorties & Radio-plays[edit]

Bassie & Adriaan made eight educational shorties for Belgian television; Dutch viewers took notice and by the end of 1983 Bassie & Adriaan were back on TROS. In 1984, they made the first of 38 radio-plays introducing new characters; the Baron who thinks of himself as a genius, Vlugge Japie a dodgy underworld geezer whose quickness of hand deceives the eye and Ping Poen a stereotypical Chinaman. Bas and Aad voiced all characters together with Dick Engelbracht.

Het Geheim Van De Schatkaart[edit]

After another string of shorties and returning to Circus Herman Renz on a part-time basis, Bassie & Adriaan spent 1986 taping a new series featuring the new crooks, except that Ping Poen was replaced with B2 whose poor hearing kept him in prison when B1 and BB (acronym for Boevenbaas or Crook Boss) escaped.

In Het Geheim Van De Schatkaart (The Secret Of The Treasure Map) Bassie & Adriaan buy a painting with a treasure map on the back. Chased by the Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 they go to Lanzarote where the ebony treasure-box is stuffed with pepper.

Both Bassie as Adriaan played two roles in this series. Bassie also played Vlugge Japie, and Adriaan played the Baron. It was shown from January 2 to April 17, 1987.

De Verdwenen Kroon[edit]

The same year, Bassie & Adriaan worked on their sixth series and their first since The Poltergeist not to be filmed abroad. Adriaan found it too exhausting to play two roles as well as directing the series; Paul van Gorcum (Archibald Chagrijn during The Crying Professor and the museums warden from The Diamond) took over the role of the Baron.

In De Verdwenen Kroon (The Lost Crown) the Baron, Japie and B2 escape from prison to steal a crown from a museum. Bassie & Adriaan are instructed to bring the ransom money but they're heading for a booby trap, leaving them accused of pocketing the cash. Payback time.

The series was shown from January 5 to February 23, 1988.

De Verzonken Stad[edit]

De Verzonken Stad (The Drowned City) was taped in Greece in 1988 and shown from October 6 to December 1, 1989. In this series, Bassie & Adriaan are taking a mind-easing holiday, an idea shared by the three crooks. Bassie discovers an ancient stone with mysterious hieroglyphs that translate to 'wise man', 'power' and 'whoever possesses this is the world's richest man'. The Baron, Japie and B2 steal the stone and try to solve the rest of the hieroglyphs. However, thanks to Bassie & Adriaan lookalike dolls (mixed with the real thing) they hand themselves over to the police.

1992–94; series guide part III[edit]

De Geheimzinnige Opdracht[edit]

In 1990 they started producing De Geheimzinnige Opdracht (The Mysterious Assignment), which was a trip through the European Community to find mysterious parcels, following cryptic assignments. This series had an educational element about the countries and their origins.

The Baron, Japie and B2 disband upon release from prison; in true history repeats-mode B2 didn't hear that he was free to go and stayed behind bars. Japie, fed up with seeking revenge on Bassie & Adriaan and being set to prison time after time, flees to the other side. The Baron recruits Handige Harry and an anonymous trenchcoat-wearing geezer who adopts the codename B100 because he's the Baron's 100th employee. Finding Bassie & Adriaan is no problem for B100 and his infallible nose, but staying alert proves to be another matter; consequently the Baron crushes the phone every time he receives bad news. Harry, for his sins, struggles to master the art of making bombs and nearly gets strangled for doing so. The crooks assume that Bassie & Adriaan are on another treasure-hunting trip. However, instead, they find that inside the parcels there are only jigsaw-pieces in the shape of the countries they visited.

The series was shown from February 7 to April 25, 1992.

De Reis Vol Verrassingen[edit]

For their next move Bassie & Adriaan filmed on location in the United States and the Netherlands Antilles throughout 1993. De Reis Vol Verrassingen (The Journey Full Of Surprises) was shown from January 7 to May 13, 1994.

In De Reis Vol Verrassingen Bassie & Adriaan embark on another parcel-hunting trip in Curaçao. It is a booby trap set up by the Baron, Harry and B100 after the latter saw the Spain-episode of The Mysterious Assignment. Japie, now residing on the island, spoils everything by nicking the parcel and literary going up in smoke. Back home the penniless crooks stage a burglary and spot Bassie taking part in a television quiz; he wins a trip through the United States.

The tour is throughout the U.S. with an added visit to the joint island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten where Bassie & Adriaan hand the Baron, Harry and B100 over to the police.

It was shown from January 7 to May 13, 1994 and was the brothers' swansong series.

1995–97; series guide part V[edit]

Liedjes Uit Grootmoeders Tijd[edit]

In 1995 three episodes were taped devoted to ancient children's songs. TROS' initial scepticism was soon proven wrong by viewing numbers and the sales of VHS-tapes and DVD-discs. Due to the huge success of this franchise move the songs became a part of their regular repertoire.

In Liedjes Uit Grootmoeders Tijd (Songs From Times Gone) the two explore the Netherlands and sing classic children's songs. In contrast to the interpretation of songs in earlier series these are accompanied by various children's dance groups and choirs.

Other programmes[edit]

1980–89; circus shows[edit]

Throughout the 1980s Bassie & Adriaan taped several circus shows for TV-broadcast, including the ones from 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1989.

1986–05; one-offs[edit]

In 1986 Bassie & Adriaan were given an item in children's traffic programme Stop & Stap Show; highlights are now available on DVD. Their 100th television appearance (shown on December 25, 1987) was a trip to Davos, Switzerland for a Christmas party; while underway they look back on previous adventures.

Late 1990 while working on The Mysterious Assignment, Bassie & Adriaan paid a visit to Belgian children's show Samson & Gert, the former being a canine puppet equally inspired by Adriaan's dog Lara and Bassie's mispronuncations.

In the 1990s Bassie & Adriaan hosted the weekly afternoon programme Wonderland; In 1992 there was the TV-special Brieven aan de Koningin (Letters to the Queen), which was dedicated to charity and children's drawings for the queen. In 1994 TROS celebrated its 30th anniversary by devoting an entire evening to this happening. For this occasion Bassie & Adriaan taped a short TV-special called "De Verdwenen Tros-ster" (The Disappeared TROS-star) in which Japie, still not keeping a clean sheet, stole the star-shaped TROS-sign.

In 1997, Bassie & Adriaan celebrated their 40th anniversary in Circus Herman Renz; Highlights from the event (during which they received a knighthood) were broadcast on October 16, 1997.

In 1999 Bassie & Adriaan were guest-celebrities in soap parody Pittige Tijden (Rough Times) and in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 the two were part of the St. Nicolas fest "Het Feest van Sinterklaas" which played once a year in theaters.

Throughout the decade they were touring with a new show; the 1999 leg was taped for release on three DVDs (2002's Live, 2003's 25 Jaar Theater and 2005's Lachspektakelshow).

2002–2011 end of an era[edit]

Farewell tour and cancer battle[edit]

In October 2002 Bassie & Adriaan announced their farewell-tour that was to last till January 4, 2004; it prematurely ended on July 31, 2003. Adriaan was diagnosed with cancer and at the end of the show, when relatives brought flowers, he burst into tears. "You want more?" he asked as usual. "Well so do I, but unfortunately I'm sick; I have to go to hospital". Adriaan is now a cured and retired man living part-time in Spain.

In between treatments Adriaan hosted a 24-hour marathon of episodes for Nickelodeon on Old Year's Day 2003 and New Year's Day 2004; reruns of the series turned out to be a huge success for the channel during the whole of 2003. On July 1, 2004 the brothers opened a three-month exhibition at the TV Toys Museum in Dieren.

In 2006 Bassie & Adriaan's career was chronicled in a documentary (Profiel: De Herfst van Bassie & Adriaan / Profile: The Autumn Of Bassie & Adriaan ) for the public channels.

2012-present continuation[edit]

Mid 2012 a video game was released in which Bas and Aad provide the voices for Bassie and Adriaan again. Between February and December of 2013 an exhibition is held displaying props from the television series and merchandise, and at the same time Bassie and Adriaan start performing again. Between the end of 2013 and early 2014 a documentary series was released which shows stories behind the scenes entitled Bassie & Adriaan: 35 Jaar Op TV! (35 Years On TV!). In September 2014 the theme song "Hallo Vriendjes" became a huge internet hit. Due to the popularity of the song a single release followed. In 2015 a feature film will be released to theaters in which Bassie and Adriaan are kidnapped by the grandson of The Baron. Despite his popularity among viewers actor Paul van Gorcum has not been asked to reprise his role as The Baron.

References[edit]

External links[edit]