Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Skippy-dvd.jpg
DVD cover
Also known as Skippy
Genre Children, teens and family
Created by John McCallum
Written by Ross Napier (49 episodes)
Directed by
Starring
Theme music composer Eric Jupp
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 91 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) John McCallum (1 episode)
Producer(s)
Location(s)
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Fauna Productions
Broadcast
Original channel Nine Network
Audio format Monaural
First shown in Australia
Original run 1966 – 30 March 1970
Chronology
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.[1]

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.

International Screenings[edit]

The Australian series was one of the most heavily exported programs. It was broadcast in all Commonwealth countries, including in Canada where it was adapted in Quebec for the Standard French market as : Skippy le kangourou. 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 the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, and is still being broadcast in Iran.

Cast[edit]

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[2]

Episodes[edit]

Plot and setting[edit]

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.

The series was shot in northern Sydney at the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and the adjacent Waratah Park (now known as Waratah Park Earth Sanctuary).

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.

In 1969 a movie-length Skippy and The Intruders was released.

The Adventures of Skippy[edit]

The Adventures of Skippy
Starring Andrew Clarke
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
Production
Running time 30 mins
Broadcast
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.[3]

This version also aired on Animal Planet in the United States in 1997.

Later History[edit]

In 1999, Skippy starred in advertisements for the chocolate confectionery Rolo Cookies.[4]

In September 2008, actor Tony Bonner sued the production company seeking residuals from merchandising and DVD sales from the series.[5]

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.[6]

Also in 2009, the Nine Network began to rerun the series in a graveyard slot in the early hours of the morning.[7]

Recently the series reruns on angeltwo and KTV.

References in popular culture[edit]

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. Also, Skippy was one the main characters in the Scooter's video for “Nessaja” single.

Starting in March 2014, talk show host Craig Ferguson began a recurring Skippy joke on his show The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John McCallum's Bon Bon", The Age, 12 January 1968 accessed 27 March 2014
  2. ^ As quoted on DVD 1, Making of Special extra
  3. ^ Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 44
  4. ^ "Skippy to front Rolo Cookies spot from J. Walter Thompson". Campaign. 21 May 1999. 
  5. ^ "Actor sues for share of Skippy's profits". The Australian. 22 September 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ What’s that Skip? Skippy the Bush Kangaroo returns to television, Western Australian Government Media Office, 31 July 2008
  7. ^ Fri 13 August 01:30 AM. "Skippy". Channelnine.ninemsn.com.au. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 

External links[edit]