Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
|Skippy the Bush Kangaroo|
|Also known as||Skippy|
|Genre||Children, teens and family|
|Created by||John McCallum|
|Written by||Ross Napier (49 episodes)|
|Theme music composer||Eric Jupp|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||91 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||John McCallum (1 episode)|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Fauna Productions|
|Original channel||Nine Network|
|First shown in||Australia|
|Original run||1966 – 30 March 1970|
|Related shows||The Adventures of Skippy|
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo is an Australian television series created by John McCallum, produced from 1966–1968, telling the adventures of a young boy and his intelligent pet kangaroo, and the various visitors to the fictional Waratah National Park in Duffys Forest, near Sydney, New South Wales.
Ninety-one 30-minute episodes were made over the three seasons of production. At the time of first screening, Australian television was still in black and white, however, the show was filmed in colour on 16 mm film to increase its international marketability, especially in the United States and Canada, where it aired in syndication between 1969 and 1972. The Nine Network readily repeated the series several times after Australian television switched to colour transmission in 1975.
The series was dubbed into Spanish in Mexico, where it is known as Skippy el canguro, and has been distributed to most Spanish-speaking countries, including Cuba and Spain, where it became very popular. The series crossed the Iron Curtain and was aired in Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, and is still being broadcast in Iran.
The main characters were:
- Ed Devereaux as Matt Hammond, the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park
- Garry Pankhurst as Sonny Hammond, Matt's younger son
- Ken James as Mark Hammond, Matt's elder son
- Tony Bonner as Jerry King, flight ranger (helicopter pilot) (exit No.78)
- Liza Goddard as Clarissa 'Clancy' Merrick (entry No.9 exit No.75), the teenage daughter of a ranger stationed at another section of the park. When her father is transferred to a park in northern New South Wales, Matt invites Clancy to stay with the Hammond family so that her music studies are not disrupted by the move north.
- John Warwick as Sir Adrian Gillespie, Head of the NSW National Parks Board
- Elke Neidhardt as Dr. Anna Steiner, a German doctor and playing a support role
- Morgan Brain as Sgt. Bernard Gillies
- Skippy was played by at least nine different kangaroos
Plot and setting
The show's star was Skippy, a wild female Eastern Grey Kangaroo befriended by Sonny Hammond, younger son of the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park. The stories revolved around events in the park, including its animals, the dangers arising from natural hazards, and the actions of visitors. The boy's mother is said (in Episode 48 "The Mine") to have died shortly after Sonny was born.
Permission to film and build structures in the park was given by the then NSW Premier, Tom Lewis AO, before the Skippy series began filming in 1967, to showcase the new NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service government department he had just established.
The sanctuary has much of the original film set including the 'Ranger Headquarters' and descendants of the kangaroos used in the series. The series appeared in over 80 countries and its theme tune, composed by Eric Jupp, is one of the best-known and recognisable Australian tunes. The lyrics of the extended version (the B side on the record) were written by Ted Roberts.
The clicking sounds made by Skippy are vocal sound effects, rather than the natural vocalisations of a kangaroo, with chocolate, chewing gum or grass (and in some cases, an elastic band around the lower jaw, used to make Skippy move her mouth. Between nine and fifteen kangaroos were used for each show. The apparent manual dexterity was often achieved by using separate arms in the hands of human operators.
The Adventures of Skippy
|The Adventures of Skippy|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Running time||30 mins|
|Original channel||Nine /Animal Planet.|
|Original airing||26 March 1992|
The series was revived in 1992 as the short-lived The Adventures of Skippy using an entirely new cast including Andrew Clarke and Simon James, plot and location with several children, including Craig 'Tommy Lee' Di Topp, as the stars.
On 17 September 2009, a documentary Skippy: Australia's First Superstar was broadcast on the ABC in Australia and the BBC in the UK. The documentary was produced by WA-based documentary production company Electric Pictures.
References in popular culture
The original series was parodied in a recurring sketch as part of the British comedy series Goodness Gracious Me under the title "Skipinder, the Punjabi Kangaroo": the parody redubbed scenes from the original Skippy. Its writer, Sanjeev Bhaskar, tried to put Skippy in Room 101.
- As quoted on DVD 1, Making of Special extra
- Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 44
- "Actor sues for share of Skippy's profits". The Australian. 22 September 2008.[dead link]
- What’s that Skip? Skippy the Bush Kangaroo returns to television, Western Australian Government Media Office, 31 July 2008
- Fri 13 August 01:30 AM. "Skippy". Channelnine.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- Skippy at the Internet Movie Database
- Classic Australian Television -Skippy
- "Skippy" - Memorable TV
- http://aso.gov.au/titles/series/skippy/ Speaking of Skippy
- Skippy the Bush Kangaroo at the National Film and Sound Archive
- Documentary - Skippy: Australia's First Superstar - ABC Documentaries and Electric Pictures, 2009
- Skippy the Bush Kangaroo at TV Tropes