Earlier in the week, I was cruising around the You-Tubes watching Muppets and Sesame Street videos – Boyfriend found a Muppet Christmas special that I’d never seen, and I confess now that I watched ALL of it, despite the complete seasonal impropriety – and I was reminded of this post that I wrote waaaaaaay back at the beginning of my BeastieBlogging life.
Because it was perhaps my fifth post, it didn’t really get much of an audience. And I think that’s a shame, so I want to give it another chance now that all you lovely people have taken to calling around for a read and a chat twice a week. So, grab a cuppa and your sweet treat of choice, and let me introduce you to the monsters that made ME.
1. The Muppets
Well, after what I said in the intro, this was to be expected, wasn’t it? And I’d like to widen the net to include all the characters created by Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop – from Fraggle Rock to Mopatop’s Shop. One of my earliest TV-related memories is of watching “The Muppet Show” with my family, and I’ve been a fan ever since. And while Miss Piggy and Kermit always steal the show, it’s the antics of the monsters in the supporting cast which have kept me watching all these years.
2. Stoppit and Tidyup
Does anyone else remember this? It’s my token obscure hipster choice! Stoppit and Tidyup was a series of short cartoons, which aired the UK in the mid-to-late 80s. Each episode told a story about cheeky red fuzzball Stoppit, his better-behaved friend Tidyup and one of the other bit-part characters who lived with them in the Land of Do-As-You’re-Told. You can meet them all by watching the show’s intro… and yes, that is TV legend Terry Wogan narrating. Regular BeastieBlog readers might pick up on a bit of a Paddy and Plunkett dynamic between Stoppit and Tidyup, too!
3. The wonderful creations of Dr Seuss
I adore the illustrations in the Dr Seuss books – try as they might, those film adaptations just don’t do them justice. They’re so simple, but they capture everything perfectly. He’s especially good at showing furriness, and his not-quite-human, not-quite-animal creatures always have incredibly luxuriant fuzzy hands and feet. And those gadgets! Just look at the contraption which Sam-I-Am is using to offer his plate of green eggs and ham – why don’t restaurants have these?! My love of these characters was kick-started when my brother and I got a hand-me-down copy of The Dr Seuss Storybook from our older cousins, and from the first story (“McElligot’s Pool”, featuring pages of fantastic imaginary fish) I was totally hooked.
4. Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland”
Or, more correctly, the part of the 1951 animated film where Alice finds herself in Tulgey Wood. The multicoloured mome raths in the picture are joined by a forest-full of other nonsense creatures, including some pretty imaginative birds. I just rewatched this recently, and it still makes me smile!
5. The Creatures of Studio Ghibli
And not just the Totoros, either… although they are a great introduction to the universe of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. Most of the films feature a charming animal sidekick, a supporting cast of critters drawn from Japanese mythology or (best of all) both. Add in some beautifully-painted backgrounds and stories which manage to be heartwarming without descending into saccharine sweetness, and you’ve got a winner. Want to see more? This article handily introduces some of Ghibli’s best incidental characters.
And for real hardcore fans, there’s a whole MUSEUM dedicated to the world of Ghibli in Tokyo… It was quite literally the first attraction I visited when I went to Japan in 2009! Here is a nice dorky picture of me getting ready to buy a ticket from Totoro himself at the gate.
Ok, ok, you can stop laughing now. But what about you? Is there anything special from your own childhood that’s had a unexpected influence on your adult life? Be sure to tell me all about it in the comments!
Aaaaand Paddy and Plunkett will be back with part 2 of their Eden Project adventure on Tuesday, so stay tuned! Enjoy the weekend!
PS I claim no ownership of these images (except that last one), and this post belongs to a time when I was blissfully unaware of image crediting etiquette. Any copyright infringement is totally accidental, and if I need to credit you, please let me know!