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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Childhood Flashback

When I was a small boy there was a program on the tv called Shirl's Neighbourhood.
Having watched these clips it's obvious they were trying to recreate some of the knockabout fun of the Muppets, and I think they managed that very well.
Shirl was Shirley Strachen, an ex plumber who became a rock star in Australia with his 70s band Skyhooks.
After Shirl's Neighbourhood Shirl returned to plumbing, and presented DIY tips on a lifestyle program for several years until he died in a plane crash.
The show was a big influence on me.
The puppets were, like the Muppets, very cartoony which was very appealing to me as a kid.
I've been able to dig up a few clips on Youtube, and although it's mostly bloopers, there's always something entertaining about hearing puppets swear, especially puppets with strong Aussie accents.
Anyone who watches these clips will see the character of Claude the Crow, who was the neighbourhood grouch.
Claude had a remarkable segment on the show, where kids would send him in used bandaids, scabs and toenail clippings, which he collected.
Hard to imagine something like it today, but this was of course the early 80s, a time in Australian television where things were very casual and very entertaining.
Shirl's Neighbourhood ran a remarkable 900 episodes from 1978 to 1983.
Also of interest is that the characters were designed and performed by well known artist Ron Mueck.
If you don't recognise his name, you'll recognise THIS character, who Jim Henson hired him to perform.

1 comment:

Matt J said...

Mueck is wasted in the Fine Art sector-they need him for the FRAGGLE ROCK movie!

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