Pan Tau

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Pan Tau
Genre Children's television series, fantasy
Starring Otto Šimánek
Vladimír Menšík
František Filipovský
Jiřina Bohdalová
Karel Höger
Country of origin Czechoslovakia
West Germany
Original language(s) Czech
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 33
Editor(s) Ota Hofman
Jindřich Polák
Production company(s) Czechoslovak Television (ČST)
Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
Barrandov Studios
Release
Original release 1969 – 1978

Pan Tau (Czech for "Mr. Tau") is a character created for a children's television series. There were 33 episodes made by the Czechoslovak Television (ČST) in co-operation with Barrandov Studios and the West German TV network Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). A pilot film was shot in 1966, 33 episodes were made from 1969 until 1978. The project ended with a feature film in 1988.

The protagonist Pan Tau, who generally didn't speak and communicated through pantomime, was played by Otto Šimánek (1925–1992). The series was written by Ota Hofman and directed by Jindřich Polák. The stories were generally funny, but contained some kind of problem for a child, and here Pan Tau found the way to solve the problem.

Pan Tau always had a gentle expression and a friendly smile, he was elegantly dressed in a stroller, with an umbrella and a white carnation in the lapel. Foremost, he was famous for his magic bowler hat. By tapping on his hat, Pan Tau was able to change his appearance into a puppet, to conjure up miscellaneous objects or to do other magic. His most characteristical behaviour is that he would help children who were experiencing some sort of difficulties in-between their dreams and reality, like finding a place for skiing, settling family problems on Christmas, and even give a boy a good time at a fair when he is supposed to have piano lessons. To adults, he usually remained invisible.

Although Czechoslovakia then was under communistic regime, this never was very obvious for the viewers. And Pan Tau was a popular children program in several countries eather side of the Iron Curtain (f.i. in West and East Germany and also in the Scandinavian countries) which also applied to the adult parents in a certain degree.

Theodor Pištěk designed the costumes for the series.

Ten years after the end of the series, Šimánek again appeared as Pan Tau in a 1988 cinema film. He was also featured in Nena's 1990 music video for Du bist überall ("You Are Everywhere", from the Wunder gescheh'n studio album), which was shot in Prague.

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