diamond geezer

 Sunday, March 23, 2003

nostalgiafestThat was then...

Vision On: Probably the most innovative children's programmes of its time, Vision On ran in the UK from 1964 to 1977. Often quite surreal, with quirky animation, it was also unique in that it was designed for hearing and non-hearing children alike. The series was essentially art-based but would often go off on extreme tangents. Click away on the links below and transport yourself back to Thursday teatimes past.

• The show was hosted by the inimitable Tony Hart (interview here), later to achieve immortality with Take Hart and Morph. Alongside Tony was former actress Pat Keysell, who had been working with the deaf for a number of years, teaching drama and mime.
And now here's The Gallery. Thank you for all your pictures. I'm sorry we cannot return any to you, but we give a prize for all those we show.
Wilf Lunn designed the weird and wacky inventions, then later also appeared in Jigsaw (1979-1984) (ahhh, Jigsaw...)
• Another Vision On character was the Prof, often to be found climbing ladders into thin air or sitting in a deckchair while the tide came in over him. Actor David Cleveland is now busy running the East Anglian Film Archive, and also hosts an excellent website with classic Vision On music playing in the background.
• Strange that a programme for the deaf should have had such fantastic and memorable music. If you need to hunt any of that music down, the theme to the Gallery was Left Bank 2 by the Noveltones (listen here), while the cuckoo clock animation music was Gurney Slade by Max Harris.

Krazy comic: Easily the best comic in the history of the world (well, 1976-78 anyway). Chock-full of witty asides, tiny printed jokes and illustrations tucked between the panels, and every week the back cover was 'disguised' in some ridiculous way, the first issue like a maths exercise book, the second like a naff place mat, etc. Top characters included Handy Andy (we're talking shadow puppets here, not DIY), Birdman and Chicken (the boy blunder). Ray Presto (the magician) and, of course, the Krazy Gang. Every issue also featured a pull-out 'Badtime Bedtime Book', where the excellent Leo Baxendale would illustrate some twisted updated fairy tale. I bought every issue of Krazy comic until its demise, but alas I only kept four of them. They may none of them be the first edition of Superman, but they're priceless to me.

The bubble burst: After your five minutes of fame is over, expect to end up here. Catch up on Aled Jones, Betty Boo, Rick Astley, Gordon the Gopher, the Rentaghost crew, the Littlest Hobo and Fred Housego, amongst others.

Relive TV opening credits: Wow.

...but this is now

Just in case you think I live in the past too much, here's three excellent blog-type sites that keep me in touch with today:
the custard: listings, news and gossip about all the TV programmes people really watch.
lowculture: don't be ashamed, we all prefer low culture to high culture. Even Karl Marx said so.
popjustice: no ageing rock dinosaurs here, just plain unadulterated modern pop.


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