Thursday, 4 December 2014
First watched : Uncertain
The other ITV programme I may have seen around Christmas 1969 was this old Oz favourite, a massive hit all around the world.91 episodes were made between 1967 and 1969. It had a short lived revival in 1992 as The Adventures Of Skippy which I'm not sure got shown over here
Skippy was a tame kangaroo living with a family ( including young Brit Liza Goddard ) in a fictional national park near Sydney . She was rescued as an orphan by Sonny Hammond , the son of the widowed Head Ranger - and thereafter hung round the ranch of her own free will as was often stated to get around the awkward fact that pet kangaroos were illegal.
Skippy was an odd blend of reality and fantasy. The dramatic situations , lost hikers, bush fires , snake bites etc, were natural enough but Skippy's versatility certainly wasn't . While being fairly easy to tame, kangaroos are pretty stupid animals and certainly can't be taught to open doors, untie ropes or operate radios. Each 30 minute episode required around a dozen 'roos to produce the shots needed. Even so there are plenty of times when only Skippy's arms are in shot and they were usually disembodied. Skippy's famous clicking "speech" which the regular cast could translate is an utter fiction bearing no resemblance to the marsupials' actual vocalisations.
But none of this really mattered. The kids could accept it all and adults were willing to overlook the nonsense for the glimpse of Ozzie sunshine the series provided, the shimmering mirage of an alternative lifestyle only available to a lucky few. I think I probably only saw a handful of episodes at most but I can understand the appeal.