25 May 2006 | rampantstupidity
Adventure Island - A Series That Completely Disappeared From View
My memories of "Adventure Island" are fragmented, yet vivid. Between the ages of 4 and 9 I was so totally enthralled by the wonderful characters of "Diddly-Dum-Diddley" that when it did finally disappear I was one of thousands who protested. Filmed entirely in black-and-white from 1967-72,(yet repeated until 1976), it was filled with magic, charm, glistening tinsel, and a basic moral that inevitably good must outdo evil. The goodies of the town were memorable characters, the mainstays being Clown, Liza, Mrs Flowerpotts and Percy Panda. The baddies included Captain Crook, Miser Meanie, Fester Fumble,Giggles Goblin, Squire Squeezm and Sir Cedric Sneak (several of these characters were played by the incredibly talented and versatile Ernie Bourne). In retrospect, the hilarity of the program lay in the fact that time and time again the "goodies" of the town, all except Clown, were unable to see through the "baddies" acts of deception until it was too late, and their lives were thrown into total disarray. Even though Clown was wise to the goings-on, he would inevitably forget at the crucial moment. As a child viewer, I was made to feel clever in being able to "unmask" a baddie so easily, and at the same time felt important at being drawn into this magical world through the art of the actors talking directly into the camera, either to stress a major point, or simply to make "me" feel included. Recently I had the opportunity of seeing several episodes of "Adventure Island" again, and I must say it made me feel terribly nostalgic. If anyone reads this who is over the age of 35, you just might remember little things like: the portraits hanging in Sir Cedric's mansion with the eyes that moved; Mrs Flowerpotts reading tea leaves in her little shop, or being transported to who knows where in a scary time machine; Liza, greeting the day with a song while watering the "plastic" flowers in her garden; Miser Meanie and his wonderful "Me-me-me" cackle; Sam the magic cat, who could appear and disappear whenever Sue (the host) clicked her fingers; the cast sitting around a big table on Fridays (after everything in the town got back to normal) to view paintings and drawings that young watchers had posted in; Clown's addiction to "jubes"; the magic house with Maxie the mouse, Troll, the two birds, Crispian Cockatoo & Gussie Galah, that used to tell jokes, and the weirdest character of all - a "line" that danced; or maybe even the final song that was sung every Friday as each character disappeared into his/her little house - aptly titled "We'll Be Thinking Of You, Dear Children." The Godfrey Philipp/John Michael Howson combination was pure genius, and the show got wackier and more delightfully camp as the years went on. Thank goodness I was a young child when I was! Children of today are missing out on so much, and sadly, the magic, innocence, purity, and other positive ingredients of "Adventure Island's" make-up (and a reflection of the times) have been lost. I do believe, however, that if the show was re-released today, and colourised, children could not help but succumb to its charms...UPDATE: To dispel any lingering doubts about the fate of "Adventure Island", over 1000 episodes still in fact exist and are kept in storage at the "National Archives" in Sydney. They are just sitting there gathering dust! One can only hope that someone who has a keen interest in the show can somehow save "Adventure Island" from extinction, get some funding happening to remaster some of the old tapes, so that this wonderful children's' favourite may once again see the light of day. Any takers????