Aussie 80's-90's TV at it's best!

Thursday, May 06, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

Is it just me, or does everyone else agree that the Australian Logies always seems to be lost in a time-warp? Watching this years logies got me thinking about my most loved Aussie shows of the 80's-90's.....which were mostly children's shows!

Mr Squiggle (ABC) aka 'the man on the moon' was one of Australia's longest running children's TV shows. Mr Squiggle, a marionette with a pencil at the end of his nose, lived at 93 crater Crescent on the moon. Each episode he would fly in his silver rocket to meet his friends Gus the snail who had a TV or flower pot for a shell and Bill the steam shovel, who would often tell corny jokes. Viewers (children) would send their scribbles for Mr Squiggle to turn into recognisable pictures/drawings, while his female assistant (Jane, Rebbecca) would try and guess......sometimes things appeared to be "upside down, upside down" the grumpy 'blackboard' would say, or "Hu-rry-u-p".

Agro's Cartoon Connection (Seven) Played on weekday mornings, Agro's a brown puppet with a mono-brow and red nose, who often made snide remarks and jokes to his female assistant (Ann-Maree, being the most re-memorable). The show consisted of competitions (always wanted to win the Nestle yellow car!) full of treats like art supplies, gaming devices, Agro's food like Agro chocolates and ice-creams. The Newspapers would often run colouring competitions for the show too. Agro's cartoon connection also played the best cartoons like; Teenage mutant ninja turtles, Samurai Pizza cats, Sailor moon, Sonic the hedgehog, Scooby doo and The Mask.

In Agro's final years it lost it's viewers to Cheez TV (Ten)! Cheez TV was like the 'older Gen' cartoon variety show, which also aired weekday mornings. Hosted by the goofy presenters; Jade Gatt and Ryan Lappin, who both often overdone facial expressions when they spoke. Cheez TV aired lots of Marvel based cartoons such as; X-Men, Transformers, Batman, Poke'mon, Dragon Ball-Z as well as; Biker mice from Mars, Inspector Gadget, Men in Black etc.

Host Jade Gatt, later went on to hosting late night music show; Ground Zero (Ten). Ground Zero consisted of music video clips and live appearances. Remember the green cage square background? Speaking of music shows, I cannot forget Recovery (ABC), the ultimate music show of it's time....oh and rage. Recovery aired every Saturday morning, hosted by Dylan Lewis (eyebrow ring, black pointy hair..) Jane Gazzo (Channel [V]) and the mysterious alter-ego 'The Enforcer'. Recovery included music video's, interviews and film/music reviews and often made references to the Japanese series Monkey, which ironically was aired in it's spot during non-ratings season.

Younger audiences were treated to shows like Plasmo the lovable shape-shifting red clay stop-motion alien (Aussie Gumby rip-off). There was also The Power Rangers, Playschool; the big clock and choosing a window is what kept me interested! Spot the dog, had all the books too, Johnson & Friends toys who came alive in a boy named Michael room when he was asleep. Each episode would convey messages about sharing, cheating complaining etc. Johnson was a pink Elephant, McDuff a blue and yellow concertina,
angry red diesel truck...called Diesel, Alfred the green fusspot hot water bottle, Robot squeaky and Victoria the orange Dinosaur.

"Mulligrubs me, Mulligrubs you, can you find a Mulligrub too? Pre-school show of different coloured or white screen, showing just the eyes and bright red lips. Some found it creepy, but to me it was memorising! Not many people seem to remember this or the show Hunter, an educational show that we would watch in Primary School, it was about a detective that lived in an orange house, who had a pet mouse (Albert) and would go around investigating things on his bike....hmm triangles were in it a lot too...."what, why, where and when, That's Hunter".

Was also shown the shows Lift-off and Kaboodle at Primary School, normally in the Library. You can buy Kaboodle now on DVD and it has a very young Rove Mc Manus in it! 
Kaboodle, an anthology series that included short stories in animation or live action. My favourite stories being; The Great Detective ('claymation', Watson the dog) and Penny Pollard's diary. A girl who was crazy about horses and would often visit an age-old home and eat heaps of yummy creamy sponge cake. Lift-off had backpacks that would come to life and talk, Rocky the lizard, crazy characters at 'Wakadoo cafe' and the main girl would carry around a white canvas doll (EC) that had no facial features also now available on DVD. Lift-off had everything, it was a mixture of; live action, animation, science, documentary, drama, music etc. Also starred that fat crazy curly blonde quiz show host, who starred in every kids show like; Round the twist, Ship to shore and Genie down under(now playing on ABC3 along with fave teen drama Heartbreak High). These being my ultimate fave show along with; Wayne Manifesto! Please bring this back ABC3! Wayne was played by (Bronson) Jeffrey Walker from Round the twist centered around 12-yr old Wayne and how he wishes the world was like Vs how it really is. It shone light over the hard adolescent times that we all face.



Last but not least....sigh Aussie game shows! Amazing competitive school team sports, figure out the answer to a riddle, write it out on the big keyboard, look for the letters of the word in the jungle, toy shop, treasure chest, near the penguins. If you found a key you got extra prizes! Double Dare was similar included physical challenges, lots of slime....an older age version was It's a knockout for the smart geeks we had Now you see it which was a quiz show that featured science, maths and word puzzles. Prizes where normally a computer or educational books. For the romantics there was Blind date, for the sport crazy, Gladiators!

Phew! I could go on, what were your most loved Aussie 80's-90's shows?

8 comments

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Anonymous
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May 13, 2010 at 6:43 PM delete

These brought back memories.. i used to watch Hunter in primary school too. I loved Round the twist and the theme song to it.

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May 13, 2010 at 7:11 PM delete

Wow! Great to hear that someone finally remembers Hunter!....was starting to think I imagined it!

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Anonymous
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May 18, 2012 at 3:45 AM delete

Cool, I remember all these shows, had to look on youtube for a remnder of some though (the ine video of Hunter was uploaded by the actor's son!). But I have to say that stop montion came out well before Gumby did, so I don't think Plasmo was trying to rip it off (plus it was a sci-fi). Mark Mitchell is the actor who played Mr Fish/Mr Gribble/Otto in Lift Off/Round the Twist/Genie from Downunder, better know as Con the Fruiterer. Nice post, sorry for the necro

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May 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM delete

Thanks for letting me know these details. Always great to hear from another who enjoyed these amazing shows. I hope more get released on DVD in the future. I would really like a copy of Wayne Manifesto. Since writing this post two years ago, The Genie Down Under has been aired again on Aussie TV!

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Dott Leibel
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January 13, 2013 at 10:37 PM delete

Great selection of old shows. Some of them I'll have to look up. I remember Mulligrubs vaguely but I was about 3 or 4 when I saw it... I'm wondering if you or anyone reading this blog could help me. I remember seeing a live-action show, which featured a man with ginger(reddish) hair, who I remember singing in his pj's. His name sounds like Francis... but that's all I can remember. He did a live show once in Queensland. let me know if you can help me out. Thanks, and great list.

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Anonymous
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December 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM delete

Anyone remember an English Children's TV show about a brother and sister who ? own an old shop in England and develop magical powers with Egyptian artifacts, ?the lion statue the same one on the Queens coat of arm and l think they lived on a barge/boat on a river. Its driving me nuts as l really would like to see it again and cant remember what it was called

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December 22, 2013 at 1:32 PM delete

Hi! Hope you enjoyed this post and in gave you some great memories. I think the show you are trying to remember is called C.A.B. Would this be correct? Hope it helps. here is a cool website I found dedicated to it. http://cabhq.50webs.com/

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Anonymous
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December 23, 2013 at 11:53 AM delete

OMG thank you so much, l have been trying to figure it out for a few years now. AMAZING.

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