The only time for a mini TV addict like myself to really 'fill me boots' was during school holidays and sometimes on Sunday mornings, where hours of fun awaited. The love of all things nostalgic has ensured that most of the popular kids programmes (certainly the majority of the ones I've mentioned above) have been preserved for posterity with books, websites and\or DVDs available to relive your childhood. But what about the ones that got away?
I'm sure ITV used to save all the best stuff for weekday afternoons - and any 'ol pony they weren't sure about was palmed off on us committed Sunday viewers (anyone remember the Sunday cracker - The Funky Phantom??!). One programme I vividly remember in that slot was a mad cartoon series called 'Tomfoolery'. Even at the time I don't think many watched it, as nobody at school ever mentioned it. This surreal show featured nonsense rhymes, poems, jokes, sketches and general oddness, that could only have come from the brain of a bunch of whacked out students. In my memory it was like a cross between the Banana Splits, Monty Python and Spike Milligan's Q.
I never found another person who'd heard of this show until a chance conversation with a mate in the mid-80's. At last, someone else remembered it. Who was it? none other than Mr Planet Mondo himself! I had remembered characters such as The Yongy Bonghy Bo and The Unmbrageous Umbrella Maker, where as Mondo was keen on the weekly 'running gag' of some fella wandering around trying to deliver a large plant shouting 'Plant for Mrs Discobolus!'.... erm, you probably had to be there. My chat with Mondo got me all fired up again about this show, but in those pre-internet days, your options were fairly limited.
I'm rather ashamed to admit it, but when i very first got my hands on this new fangled 'inter-computer-web-net' thing (mid 90's?), 'Tomfoolery' was the first word I ever typed into a search engine! But it seemed that bar Mondo and me, the rest of the world had forgotten about it too, and all my searches brought up links to various on-line dictionaries and thesauruses providing me with handy definitions of the word. I continued to search for it every so often, but never with any success, and eventually, even I forgot about it.... Until this weekend that is! On Saturday I was messing around on-line and BING! 'Tomfoolery' comes into my head... no idea where that came from! So i immediately punch it into Google and... yes!! at last, people did remember it after all! Within minutes I'd gained pretty much all the info I needed..
Made by Rankin-Bass, much of 'The Tomfoolery Show' was based on poems by Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, Frank Gelett Burgess and Lewis Carroll. As well as the characters I mentioned above, others included the straw hatted and bow-tied 'Scroobious Snake', the Enthusiastic Elephant (who spoke like W.C. Fields), and the Fastidious Fish (who lived in a goldfish bowl and moved around on stilts!!). 17 episodes were made between September 1970 and September 1971, and although an American cartoon, it was actually made here in England (at the Halas and Batchelor Studios in London and Stroud). Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I found a full ten minutes worth on YouTube, complete with opening credits! I've not seen this programme for about 35 years, but as soon as I watched that clip it seemed like only yesterday - I remembered it so clearly!But the best was still yet to come... during my searches I stumbled on a Rankin-Bass historian - Rick Goldschmidt. Rick runs a website devoted to locating and preserving all of the works released by Rankin-Bass (which, as it turns out, it quite some list... they were also responsible for the Jackson 5 cartoon and the Osmonds one too). A couple of e-mails wizz back 'n forth, and within 24 hours, he's sending me a DVD containing the only 4 episodes of Tomfoolery that have so far been unearthed (Rick got these directly from the archives).
The internet may be great for shopping, blogging, keeping up-to-date with bands and global sports events, but this weekend it finally showed me its full potential.
Anyone else remember this show? Or have you got a show that only you seem to remember??