Mr. Squiggle

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Mr. Squiggle
Mr Squiggle.jpg
Mr. Squiggle from the 1990s
Also known as Mr. Squiggle & Friends
Genre Children's television series, Science fiction
Created by Norman Hetherington
Starring Gina Curtis
Patricia Lovell
Jane Fennell
Roxanne Kimmorley
Rebecca Hetherington
Voices of Norman Hetherington
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 41
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format Black & White (1959–1975)
Colour (1975–1999)
Audio format Mono (1959–1979)
Stereo (1980–1999)
Original run 1 July 1959 – 9 July 1999

Mr. Squiggle was Australia's longest-running children's television series, and the name of the title character from that ABC show. The show has been presented in many formats, from five minute slots to a one-and-a-half hour variety show featuring other performers, and has had several name changes, originally airing as Mr. Squiggle and Friends.

History[edit]

Mr. Squiggle was created by Norman Hetherington, and the character first appeared on the Children's TV Club on ABC TV,[1] but was spun off into his own programme which first aired on 1 July 1959. Hetherington voiced and operated all of the show's puppets, while his wife Margaret wrote the scripts.

The basic premise of the show remained the same: children wrote in with their "squiggles" and Mr. Squiggle would turn them into recognisable drawings by connecting lines with his pencil nose. More often than not, the picture would be drawn upside down (Hetherington manipulated the puppet from above by viewing the drawing upside down), and then Mr. Squiggle would gleefully declare: "Upside down! Upside down!" – asking his assistant to turn the picture the right way up and reveal the completed drawing.

External images
Photograph of Norman Hetherington's original "Mr. SQUIGGLE" model.
Source: National Archives of Australia
Photograph of Norman Hetherington's original "Mr. SQUIGGLE" model, from the front, waving.
Source: National Archives of Australia
Photograph of Norman Hetherington's original "Mr. SQUIGGLE" model, from the side, waving.
Source: National Archives of Australia
Norman Hetherington's 1962 application to register the Copyright for the "Mr. SQUIGGLE" puppet.
Source: National Archives of Australia

The last episode went to air just over 40 years after the first, on 9 July 1999. The last episode was produced in 1996. After the show ceased production, the entire cast of puppets from 'Mister Squiggle and Friends' were owned by the show's creator, Norman Hetherington.[2] They have been loaned for display at exhibitions, such as at the National Film and Sound Archive and as part of the "50 Years of TV" exhibition at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in 2007. Hetherington and his puppets appeared on the ABC's Collectors TV series in 2010.

Characters[edit]

Mr. Squiggle was a marionette with a pencil for a nose, who visited his friends from his home at 93 Crater Crescent on the Moon, flying in his pet rocket (named Rocket). In every episode he would create several pictures from "squiggles" sent in by children from around the country. Mr Squiggle was a cheery, scatter-brained character who would often be distracted and would occasionally go for "space-walks", and his assistant would need to calm him down to get him to focus on the task of drawing.

Mr. Squiggle was helped by a human female assistant in all of the show's incarnations; they included Miss Gina (Gina Curtis), Miss Pat (Pat Lovell), Miss Jane (Jane Fennell), and later series featured Roxanne (Roxanne Kimmorley) and Rebecca (Rebecca Hetherington, Hetherington's daughter). Comedian Mikey Robins played one of the show's characters, Reg Linchpin, for a year from 1989 to 1990.[3] Other notable guest performers on the show included actor Paul Chubb and magician Timothy Hyde. One of the well-known presenters, actress and film producer Patricia Lovell, passed away in 2013, at the age of 83.

Other puppet characters that appeared in the show included:

  • Blackboard, the grumpy blackboard that Mr. Squiggle used for an easel, whose catchcries were "Oh hurrry up", "Hmmph", "Double hmmph" and "Booorrriing".
  • Gus the Snail, who had a TV for a shell and later, a flower pot.
  • Bill the Steam Shovel, who liked to tell corny jokes and belched steam out of his "nose" when he laughed.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Timeline – 50 Years of Kids TV, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  2. ^ "Mr Squiggle rockets to 50th birthday". ABC Online. 2009-07-01. 
  3. ^ Quinn, (2001).

References[edit]

External links[edit]