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Pumuckl statue in Luitpoldpark in Munich

Pumuckl is a Kobold from a German radio play series for children. He is a descendant of the Klabautermänner. He is invisible to people around him except for the master carpenter Eder with whom Pumuckl lives.

Pumuckl was invented by Ellis Kaut for a radio play series of the Bavarian Radio in 1961. Later on it was turned into a very successful TV series. Three movies and a musical also deal with the adventures of the little kobold.

Pumuckl is one of the most popular characters in children's entertainment in Germany and several generations have now grown up with the cheeky but funny little Kobold.


How Pumuckl and Master Eder met[edit]

Being a descendant of the Klabautermann people, who were sailors, Pumuckl loves everything that has to do with the ocean, especially sailboats. For reasons unknown, he gets lost in Bavaria, where no ships are to be found. He doesn't like neat and clean places, so he takes refuge in a carpenter's untidy workshop. The workshop belongs to elderly Meister Eder. It is precisely the fact that the workshop is untidy which seals Pumuckl's fate. He gets stuck on an overflowing pot of glue. It is a rule among Kobolds that whenever one of his kind gets stuck to something manmade, they become visible, and according to the rules of their ancestors, must stay with the human who sees them, in this case Meister Eder. On the show and in the books, Pumuckl is always visible if nobody other than Meister Eder is present. However, he turns invisible when other people come into view. At first, Meister Eder is reluctant to take in the kobold, since he is quite content on his own, but Pumuckl makes it clear that he has no other choice. A deep friendship soon blossoms between the elderly man and the cheeky kobold.

Note: Meister Eder's profession is given as "Schreinermeister" in the original German, which means that he makes and repairs furniture, which is also shown on the show (and mentioned in the stories / radio plays). The term "Meister" means that Eder has the qualification to take in apprentices. In Germany at the time, it was common to refer to handymen by their professional title and their last name, the way it is still done with doctors.

A typical Pumuckl story[edit]

There are several ways for a Pumuckl story to begin. These include:

  • Pumuckl feels bored in the workshop, so Meister Eder tells him to go out to explore, but not get into trouble. Naturally, Pumuckl gets into trouble.
  • Pumuckl is bored and sneaks out of the workshop without Meister Eder's approval. He meets the people in the neighborhood, eavesdrops on them and occasionally plays a practical joke on them or else tries to help them (with varying levels of success).
  • A client enters the workshop who has something Pumuckl fancies.
  • A client enters the workshop and discovers a belonging of Pumuckl's (typically one of the tiny pieces of furniture that Meister Eder has made for him); he/she wants to purchase it at all cost.
  • A conflict between Meister Eder and his sister or his cleaning woman is shown. Pumuckl tries to help.
  • Meister Eder and Pumuckl go on holiday or on a day trip.
  • Meister Eder is ridiculed by somebody (usually because he believes in Pumuckl), and Pumuckl tries to make things better.
  • Meister Eder presents Pumuckl with a gift
    Note: Usually, this ends with the gift being withdrawn.
  • Pumuckl discovers something in Meister Eder‘s household (e.g. matches) and plays with it.

At the end of each episode of the 1980s TV show, Pumuckl and Meister Eder usually reconcile. However, some episodes end with Pumuckl being punished. At the end of one episode, in which Pumuckl tries to make chocolate pudding without Meister Eder's permission, Eder confines Pumuckl to the balcony and eats the pudding alone. Other episodes end with Eder‘s withdrawal of something he gave to the little kobold. The two-part story "Der große Krach" ("The big dispute") has the first part ending with Eder throwing Pumuckl and his bed out of the workshop. But by the end of the second part, the two have reconciled.

Main characters[edit]

Pumuckl's character is usually childishly immature and mischievous. Since the Pumuckl stories are aimed at children, we presume that he was written this way so that children can relate to him. Pumuckl's age is never mentioned. He had a life before he became visible, but it was very different: he didn't have to eat and was immune to cold and heat.

Meister Eder sees Pumuckl as a child and usually appears as his guardian. He often tries to teach him some morals, not always with the desired result. For example, he never really manages to suppress Pumuckl's urge to steal things, though he always makes him give back what the little kobold has taken.

Pumuckl is occasionally very selfish, and sometimes this leads to actual wrongdoing. However, when Pumuckl realises that he has hurt somebody, he feels genuine remorse and does everything he can to help that person.

In the TV show Pumuckl is usually dressed in a yellow shirt and green trousers. He wears those clothes right from the first time Meister Eder sees him. Only one episode, "Der Wollpullover" ("The woollen sweater"), deals with Pumuckl's occasional need for other clothes. The kobold always is barefoot.

In the audio plays and TV show, Pumuckl was voiced by actor Hans Clarin.

Meister Eder[edit]

He appears to be the exact opposite of Pumuckl. The little kobold likes to get in trouble, but the elderly carpenter prefers to stay out of trouble and keeps to himself. He spends most of his time with Pumuckl. However, he has a couple of friends, elderly handymen like himself, whom he regularly meets in the local pub to have a beer. Meister Eder, whose Christian name is given as "Franz" on the TV show, has a sister and two young nieces, Barbara, nicknamed Bärbel (as seen in the episode "Eder bekommt Besuch"/"Eder gets visitors") and Monika (as seen in the episode "Pumuckl und die Ostereier"/"Pumuckl and the Easter eggs"). Furthermore, he has a nephew named Dieter (as seen in the episode "Die Bergtour"/"The hiking tour"). Meister Eder's sister is concerned because her brother has never found a wife and spends a lot of time alone, which occasionally leads to conflicts between the siblings. Other family members are his cousin Irma and her son Fritzl (as seen in the episode "Der verhängnisvolle Schlagrahm"/"The fateful whipped cream"). Although his workshop is often in disorder, Meister Eder likes a clean living space (he lives in a flat above his workshop), which is why he has a cleaning lady, who serves as a supporting character in several stories. Being very different from Pumuckl, Meister Eder is presented as a law-abiding citizen who is meticulous on the job and always polite. He also completely fails to have sympathy with Pumuckl when the latter steals things. When the little kobold plays a minor practical joke, his behavior is sometimes condoned by Eder, because it made him laugh or think.

In the TV show, Bavarian actor Gustl Bayrhammer played Master Eder.

Supporting characters[edit]

  • Mrs. Eichinger - She is Meister Eder's cleaning lady. She is incredibly superstitious and constantly tries to persuade Meister Eder to believe in the same things she does, for instance by reading him his horoscope. Meister Eder usually reacts in a dismissive way, but that doesn't keep the cleaning lady from trying again.
  • Mr. Bernbacher - a welder and best friend of Meister Eder. Bernbacher is the one who always teases Meister Eder about Pumuckl. In several episodes, that results in an indignant Pumuckl pulling pranks on Bernbacher.
  • Mr. Schmitt - runs a small car repair shop. He's another friend of Meister Eder's.
  • Mr. Wimmer - a person who never appears on the show in person, though he can be heard occasionally during phone conversations. Wimmer operates an antique store which Meister Eder sometimes repairs pieces of furniture for.
  • Mr. Schwertfeger - an elderly acquaintance of Mr. Eder. Appears in the film and in a few episodes. His trademark is wearing two glasses at once, one on the nose and one on the forehead.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Stürzlinger - the caretakers of the house in which Mr. Eder lives and works.
  • Mrs. Hartl - Eder's nosy and capricious neighbor.


1961: Radio plays[edit]

Pumuckl's character was invented in 1961 by the German novelist Ellis Kaut after she wrote a short story about a naughty demon for a radio drama series at the Bavarian Radio. The first episode of the show was broadcast on February 21, 1962 and the last episode was broadcast on December 30, 1973. A total of 90 episodes were created.[1] Pumuckl's naughty character was an immediate success among the young audience.

1965: Books[edit]

In 1963[2] a competition was held at Munich's graphic art academy which focused on the creation of Pumuckl's appearance. The winner was Barbara von Johnson.

In 1965 Pumuckl's first book was published. The book consisted of illustrations made by Johnson. Between 1965 and 1978, ten books which consisted of 60 stories were published by the publisher Stuttgart-Herald.[3] Only in 1991 an eleventh book was published which consisted of six more stories. Thus a total of 66 stories have been published in book form until today.

1969: records[edit]

33 LPs were created since 1969 which were based on the radio show, however, there was way less dialect than on the radio showes. On the records Pumuckl was played by Hans Clarin and Master Eder was played by Alfred Pongratz. After the death of Alfred Pongratz six more LPs were produced, each with two episodes, in which Gustl Bayrhammer played Master Eder and Harald Leipnitz was the narrator. After the success of the movie and the first TV season, a complete new edition was created which consisted of 86 episodes in cassette format in which Gustl Bayrhammer played Meister Eder.

1982: Feature film "Meister Eder and his Pumuckl"[edit]

Between 1979 and 1982 the first Pumuckl feature film was released under the title "Meister Eder and his Pumuckl". Pumuckl appears in the film and in all the subsequently films and TV series, as a cartoon character in a real environment.

1982-1988: TV series "Meister Eder and his Pumuckl"[edit]

Genre Animation
Created by Ellis Kaut
Starring Hans Clarin (Pumuckl), Gustl Bayrhammer (Master Eder), Erni Singerl (Mrs. Eichinger, the maid), Toni Berger (Anton "Toni" Schmitt), Willy Harlander (Georg "Schorsch" Bernbacher), Carlamaria Heim (Mrs. Bernbacher), Werner Zeussel (Mr. Stürzlinger, watchman), Ilse Neubauer (Mrs. Stürzlinger), Helmut Fischer (Dr. Schredlbach), Karl Obermayr (the landlord)
Country of origin Germany
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52
Running time 24 min. approx.
Original network BR 3/ARD
Original release 1979 – 1988
External links
Website www.pumuckl.de

The first season of the series was broadcast on Bavarian television as a German-Hungarian co-production during 1982-1983 and consisted of 26 half-hour episodes. Many well-known German actors like Willy Harlander, Erni Singerl, Toni Berger, Wolfgang Völz and Helga Feddersen had appearances in the series. In addition, it featured many one-time guest appearances of famous German actors like Lisa Fitz, Gisela Uhlen, Helmut Fischer, Barbara Valentin, Gaby Dohm, Klaus Schwarzkopf, Georg Thomalla, Barbara Rudnik, Iris Berben, Fredl Fesl, Karla Bonoff and Rolf Zacher. The series was directed by Ulrich König.

The second season of the series which was broadcast during 1988-1989 consisted of another 26 episodes.

1994: Feature film "Pumuckl and the blue Klabauter"[edit]

Gustl Bayrhammer died in 1993. Because of his death before the completion of the film, Bayrhammers voice was dubbed in the remaining segments of the film by the actor Wolf Euba.

1995-2007: TV show "Pumuckl TV"[edit]

In 1995 ARD started to broadcast "Pumuckl TV". Hans Clarin played the villain in this series.

1999: TV series "Pumuckls Abenteuer"[edit]

In 1999 another 13 episodes were broadcast on the Children's Channel, under the title "Pumuckl's Abenteuer". Due to Bayrhammer's death, the plot occurred aboard a ship and focused on Pumuckl and the ship's cook.

This third season did not reach the popularity of the first two seasons of the show broadcast in the 1980s.

2000: Musical "Meister Eder and his Pumuckl"[edit]

On October 21, 2000 a Pumuckl musical called "Meister Eder and his Pumuckl" started to play in Munich. The musical has had over 250,000 spectators.

2003: Feature film "Pumuckl and his circus adventures"[edit]

The film "Pumuckl and his Circus Adventure" was produced between 1999 and 2003.

Episodes of the series[edit]

First season (1982/1983)[edit]

  • 1. "Spuk in der Werkstatt" / "Spook in the workshop" (with Mona Freiberg, Maria Stadler)
  • 2. "Das verkaufte Bett" / "The sold bed" (with Katharina de Bruyn)
  • 3. "Das neue Badezimmer" / "The new bathroom"(with Anton Feichtner, Lisa Fitz, Franz Muxeneder and Maria Singer)
  • 4. "Das Schlossgespenst" / "The ghost in the castle" (with Margot Mahler, Wolfgang Völz, Hugo Lindinger and Gisela Uhlen)
  • 5. "Die abergläubische Putzfrau" / "The superstitious cleaning lady" (with Helmut Fischer)
  • 6. "Pumuckl macht Ferien" / "Pumuckl goes on holiday"(with Franziska Stömmer)
  • 7. "Der Geist des Wassers" / "The water ghost" (with Franziska Stömmer)
  • 8. "Pumuckl und die Schule" / "Pumuckl goes to school" (with Gustl Weishappel)
  • 9. "Pumuckl und der Pudding" / "Pumuckl and the pudding" (with Elisabeth Karg)
  • 10. "Der rätselhafte Hund" / "The mysterious dog" (with Hugo Lindinger, Rosl Mayr and Gila von Weitershausen)
  • 11. "Pumuckl und der Nikolaus" / "Pumuckl and St. Nikolaus" (with Maria Stadler)
  • 12. "Pumuckl auf heißer Spur" / "Pumuckl on a hot trail" (with Rosl Mayr, Rolf Zacher and Barbara Valentin)
  • 13. "Das Weihnachtsgeschenk" / "The Christmas present" (with Kathi Leitner)
  • 14. "Der erste Schnee" / "The first snow" (with Heide Ackermann and Annemarie Wendl)
  • 15. "Der Wollpullover" / "The woollen sweater" (with Kathrin Ackermann, Marianne Brandt, Helga Feddersen)
  • 16. "Der große Krach" / "The big fight" (with Helga Fleischhacker and Frauke Sinjen)
  • 17. "Der große Krach und seine Folgen" / "The big fight and its consequences" (with Mona Freiberg)
  • 18. "Eder bekommt Besuch" / "Eder receives visitors" (with Elisabeth Karg)
  • 19. "Das Spanferkelessen" / "The suckling pig feast" (with Ludwig Schmid-Wildy and Hugo Lindinger)
  • 20. "Pumuckl und Puwackl" / "Pumuckl and Puwackl" (with Marianne Brandt)
  • 21. "Pumuckl und die Angst" / "Pumuckl and the fear" (with Anja Krettner)
  • 22. "Der verhängnisvolle Schlagrahm" / "The fateful whipped cream" (with Ursula Reit)
  • 23. "Pumuckl im Zoo" / "Pumuckl in the zoo" (with Gaby Dohm and Wolfgang Völz)
  • 24. "Die geheimnisvollen Briefe" / "The mysterious letters" (with Trude Breitschopf)
  • 25. "Pumuckl und die Ostereier" / "Pumuckl and the Easter eggs" (with Rolf Castell and Elisabeth Karg)
  • 26. "Der erste April" / "April Fool's Day" (with Ludwig Schmid-Wildy, Volker Prechtel and Rosl Mayr)

Second season (1988/1989)[edit]

  • 27. "Das Spielzeugauto" / "The toy car" (with Helga Feddersen, Ulrich Elhardt and Matthias Elhardt)
  • 28. "Pumuckl und die Obstbäume" / "Pumuckl and the fruit trees" (with Fritz Straßner and Hans Stadtmüller)
  • 29. "Pumuckl und die Maus" / "Pumuckl and the mouse" (with Max Nüchtern)
  • 30. "Das Segelboot" / "The sailing boat" (with Kurt Weinzierl, Oliver Stritzel and Ossi Eckmüller)
  • 31. "Die Bergtour" / "The hiking tour" (with Walter Feuchtenberg)
  • 32. "Die Blechbüchsen" / "The tin cans" (with Michaela May)
  • 33. "Die Schatzsucher" / "The treasure hunters" (with Hans Stadtmüller)
  • 34. "Das Gespenst im Gartenhaus" / "The phantom in the summerhouse" (with Ursula Luber)
  • 35. "Die geheimnisvolle Schaukel" / "The mysterious swings" (with Maria Singer)
  • 36. "Pumuckl und die Katze" / "Pumuckl and the cat" (with Eva Astor)
  • 37. "Pumuckl und der Schnupfen" / "Pumuckl and the runny nose" (with Klaus Schwarzkopf)
  • 38. "Eders Weihnachtsgeschenk" / "Eder's Christmas present" (with Georg Thomalla and Hans Stadlbauer)
  • 39. "Pumuckl ist an gar nichts schuld" / "Nothing is Pumuckl's fault" (with Hans Brenner and Elisabeth Karg)
  • 40. "Ein schwieriger Kunde" / "A difficult customer" (with Enzi Fuchs, Wilfried Klaus and Veronika von Quast)
  • 41. "Der blutige Daumen" / "The bloody thumb" (with Max Nüchtern)
  • 42. "Pumuckl und die Kopfwehtabletten" / "Pumuckl and the pain killers" (with Monika Baumgartner)
  • 43. "Ein Knüller für die Zeitung" / "Sensational news for the paper" (with Christine Neubauer, Henry van Lyck and Barbara Rudnik)
  • 44. "Pumuckl geht ans Telefon" / "Pumuckl answers the phone" (with Harald Dietl and Towje Kleiner)
  • 45. "Pumuckl will Schreiner werden" / "Pumuckl wants to become a carpenter" (with Iris Berben and Horst Sachtleben)
  • 46. "Der silberne Kegel" / "The silver pin" (with Egon Biscan, Christine Neubauer and Hans Stadtmüller)
  • 47. "Das Spiel mit dem Feuer" / "Playing with fire" (with Michaela May and Josef Schwarz)
  • 48. "Pumuckl will eine Uhr haben" / "Pumuckl wants to have a watch" (with Harald Dietl, Veronika Faber and Elisabeth Volkmann)
  • 49. "Die Plastikente" / "The plastic duck" (with Karl Dall and Helga Feddersen)
  • 50. "Pumuckl auf Hexenjagd" / "Pumuckl on witch hunt" (with Monika Baumgartner)
  • 51. "Hilfe eine Aushilfe!" / "Help, a temp!" (with Beatrice Richter)
  • 52. "Pumuckl und die Musik" / "Pumuckl and the music" (with Fredl Fesl, Christine Neubauer, Fritz Straßner and Hans Stadtmüller)

Pumuckl's Adventures (1999)[edit]

  • 1. "Pumuckls allerschönster Traum" / "Pumuckl's most beautiful dream"
  • 2. "Pumuckls luftige Reise" / "Pumuckl's journey in the air"
  • 3. "Pumuckls freche Hilfe" / "Pumuckl's cheeky help"
  • 4. "Pumuckls böser Klabauter-Feind" / Pumuckl's evil klabauter enemy"
  • 5. "Pumuckls stille Post" / "Pumuckl's Chinese Whispers"
  • 6. "Pumuckls stürmische Seereise" / "Pumuckl's adventurous sea journey"
  • 7. "Pumuckls gestohlener Fisch" / "Pumuckl's stolen fish"
  • 8. "Pumuckls große Musikshow" / Pumuckl's big music show"
  • 9. "Pumuckls listige Tricks" / "Pumuckl's sly pranks"
  • 10. "Pumuckls nächtlicher Spuk" / "Pumuckl's night-time spook
  • 11. "Pumuckls rotes Bild" / "Pumuckl's red picture"
  • 12. "Pumuckls Abschiedsfoto" / Pumuckl's farewell picture"
  • 13. "Pumuckls neues Heim" / "Pumuckl's new home"

Pumuckl Controversy[edit]

According to Reuters News, April 11, 2007, Ellis Kaut is going to court in a dispute over the impending marriage of Pumuckl. The illustrator, Barbara von Johnson, is supporting a local TV show's contest to design a girlfriend for Pumuckl. The winner will get to visit von Johnson's Munich villa and take part in a "wedding" staged for the popular fictional character.

According to the same Reuters article, von Johnson said Pumuckl deserves a girlfriend but, Kaut said the character must stay true to his spirit nature.

According to Spiegel Online, January 10, 2008 the verdict was: Pumuckl may marry - at least he could now if he wanted to. [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sendeliste: Pumuckl im Radioprogramm - Die Pumucklhomepage". Pumucklhomepage.de. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  2. ^ "BarbaravonJohnson.de Pumuckl - Wettbewerb". BarbaravonJohnson.de. Retrieved 2013-07-09. 
  3. ^ "Pumucklbücher - Die Pumucklhomepage". Pumucklhomepage.de. Retrieved 2013-07-09. 
  4. ^ Panorama. "Urteil: Pumuckl darf heiraten - Panorama - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten 10. Januar 2008". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 

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