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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Magic Roundabout Annual 1977


Viewers of the Nickelodeon series "Pinwheel" (which ran on the cable network from 1977 to 1990) are probably familiar with "The Magic Roundabout." This was a stop-motion animated series featuring a shaggy canine named Dougal.


If you didn't know the characters from watching the show "Pinwheel," there's a good chance you may have seen them somewhere else.


"The Magic Roundabout" was created by Serge Danot back in 1963 in France. The series had its initial run on French TV from 1964 to 1971.


The show was also broadcast on the BBC in the United Kingdom, with new scripts and voices, from 1965 to 1977 (the year of this Annual). This version was shown on "Pinwheel."


Dougal and his colorful, cheeky friends had all sorts of imaginative adventures.


My family did not have cable, but I was able to watch Nickelodeon with neighborhood kids that did have the channel.


Lots of kids in America probably talk about having "a spot of tea." It seems like there are many popular animated shows imported to the United States from England. One of my favorites was "Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings," which was shown on "Captain Kangaroo." I still remember the theme song--"Well, you know my name is Simon, and the things I draw come true..." Nickelodeon also showed "Danger Mouse" and "Count Duckula." I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, but after watching all these shows, I think I could blend in pretty well in Birmingham, England.



A computer animated "The Magic Roundabout" theatrical feature was made in 2005. In the United States, it was called "Doogal," and it was recast with different actors and re-written in places. I've never seen this movie, but I do remember that there was a set of "Doogal" toys at McDonald's. I don't think the CGI "Doogal" did very well in the States. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

2 comments:

  1. I loved Pinwheel, though my memory of it is sketchy. I especially remember the marionette bugs and a snail I think, and the song, which my brother and I were always making up alternate lyrics for. Don't remember Doogal, though I certainly think I would have remembered McDonald's Happy Meals featuring him- wierd. I also loved Danger Mouse, and to a lesser extent Count Duckula. I often find that my fondest childhood TV was not the new stuff being produced at great expense, but the imports and reruns that probably was the cheapest programming on air.

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  2. Hey Eric! My memories of Pinwheel are also limited, but thanks to YouTube, you can see some short clips of the show. I always thought the marionette bugs and snail were pretty impressive.

    The "Doogal" Happy Meal was at McDonald's in 2006. I don't think it was heavily promoted. I got Doogal (a plush toy) and the train character, but I gave them away.

    I agree with you--some of the best TV is low budget. I love that the stop-motion "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" special is still a big hit, and typically outdraws its newer competition.

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