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Animal Kwackers (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000148138
Added by: Stuart McLean
Added on: 15/4/2012 19:02
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    Review for Animal Kwackers

    6 / 10

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    Anyone who has marvelled at the popularity of Hanna Barbera's late sixties hit TV show 'The Banana Splits', with its moth-eaten costumes and half-baked narratives will be shocked to discover that 'Animal Kwackers' was a 'poor man's' version of that show. As if such thing could happen and make it on air. But it did. I assure you. And actually for quite a run - three series from 1975 through to 1978).

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    With costumes less impressive than the Krofft's (read 'even saggier' and 'less animated'), music less psychedelic and more bovver-boy glam, and cartoons that didn't have the decency to move at all, 'Animal Kwackers' had no reason to be as popular as it was.

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    Here's an unofficial clip. The Network release is loads better - no burnt-in-time-code for starters!

    Produced by Yorkshire Television for the pre-school slot, Animal Kwackers were a four piece pop band. There was Rory, a lion; Twang, a monkey; Bongo, a dog; and Boots, a tiger.

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    After a really low-rent 'animated' title sequence, with stop frame animations of felt-penned visuals, we see the group appear to land on earth from a space-ship, though this is rarely if ever mentioned in the show's narrative.

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    The format was simple enough. Mainly cover versions of popular tunes (with the costumed band miming) were interspersed with Rory telling a story, which often featured the characters in a themed story using illustrations, 'Jackanory' style. ("Rory Rory tell us a story, Rory Rory tell it like it is"!)

    Each episode had a particular subject theme, like 'sweets' or 'school' and the music and story was tentatively weaved around that.

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    The show proved popular enough to warrant the release of a gate-folded double-album (now much sought after and which I proudly possess) which has the original music (like theme song and so on). Highlights include a particularly groovy version of 'The Beatles' ode to LSD, 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', which must have been a big hit amongst the pre-school fans of the show. The 'band' toured a bit too playing to over 250,000 kids during their run.

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    This excellent compendium from Network includes all surviving episodes (a complete run bar two episodes) and whilst viewing one after the other is definitely a case of diminishing returns, an occasional dip-in will definitely provide a warm glow of nostalgia for those in its limited window.
    Picture quality is understandably variable throughout but perfectly acceptable, despite the opening sequence looking worn out with a hair in the gate on every airing. I can only think it must have originated that way - unimaginable today!

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    Whatever your thoughts on the series, thanks should go to Network yet again for digging it out of the archives, dusting it off, and making it freely available.

    Keep Kwacking.

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