Wednesday, April 08, 2009
My Reunion with Skippy
When i was a wee bairn in the bonnie hills of Pedregal in Mexico City, I was exposed to my first television shows. This being Mexico and pre-cable, I found myself being exposed to the odd mish-mash of programming that the Mexican network execs passed off for programming. There was Odisea Burbujas (Bubble Odyssey) an oddly educational show involving Frog, Lizard, Mouse and Bee Furries who are led across the stars by a red-headed "Professor". Bizzare, yes? Certainly reminiscent of H.R Puffnstuff. There was Disney's world of Color "De Colores", and of course classic American shows like Dukes of Hazzard, Hawaii 5-0, and the Love Boat. All of which were dubbed in Spanish by the same 5 actors who I think are still doing it. It was weird having Captain Stubing have the same voice as Roscoe P. Coltrane, but you're a kid and you go with it.
However, there was one show that blew my infant mind. An Aussie import based on the same insanity that made Flipper and Lassie such hits, but with a certain Outback/Colony feel to it that made it absolutely mesmerizing. The name of the show was SKIPPY THE BUSH KANGAROO. Basically, the premise is that in an desolate Ranger station in the outback a child with no friends ends up making friends with a genius Kangaroo that communicates with clicks. Not only this, but Skippy had bizzare animal friends like an Emu, and a Wombat who would not only help her (Yes, like Lassie) rescue people in the outback, but would even seek out and apprehend criminals. I KNOW! Your mind is blown.
When we moved to the US in 84, I was absolutely thrilled at American Teevee. Yes, there was already cable in Mexico at the time. I was getting all the latest BETA movies from my dad, grandparents and anyone who stepped foot in the US, along with Happy Meals, Legos and Star Wars toys none of which were available in Mexico at the time (I was as far as I know, the first kid in Mexico to have The Ewok Village). Nothing, could have prepared me for the magical panoply that was Saturday Morning Cartoons. The littles, The Smurfs, The Biskitts (Essentialy Dog-Smurfs), Go Bots, etc. ad nauseum.
Something was amiss, however. No Skippy. Furthermore, whenever i tried to explain Skippy to my Elementary School peers, I was met with the sort of worldly and embracing attitude that can be expected from second graders in Colorado Springs, as they are being told of a Rescue-Kangaroo by the first Mexican they've ever encountered.
Needless to say I dropped Skippy, and adopted the more socially acceptable GIJoe and Transformers. However, in my heart lay a dormant Kangaroo named Skippy.
Fast forward to 2005. I am working at Paradigm Talent Agency, and an Agent (Frank Balkin) is talking to me about TeeVee shows. Out of nowhere, jumps this fantastical tale of Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, and wouldn't you know it, the Internets has arrived. After that magical moment, where for the first time I was able to share Skippy with my co-workers I have waited for the audience and the clip that would encapsulate the entire Skippy experience.
Friends, you are the audience. And here is the clip:
More, you say?
The theme as rocked out by a rock band named the Bush Rangers, who dress as the Kelly Gang. Frankly, I almost pooped. Skippy plays the drums.