June 27, 2019 in Dag

When things from your past are weirder than you think

This week, I’m going to continue on my nostalgia kick. But I’m going to go even further back. Back to the days when I was a tiny little fellow, way before even school kicked in. Back to what I realise now was surely one of my formative influences.

I’m usually quite coy about giving away too many personal details, including exactly how old I am, but I have to say the clip displayed below is a bit of a giveaway. It’s an episode of an old Australian television show called Adventure Island that dates from the late 60s/early 70s. So any attentive readers out there should get a pretty good fix on how many years I’ve been kicking around for.

It’s funny, but not that many people of my generation are familiar with Adventure Island. Mainly, that’s because it was broadcast on the ABC – the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (i.e. the national public broadcaster). We were an ABC kind of family – my parents didn’t approve of us watching anything on those nasty commercial networks. So when most kids my age were watching the mainstream cartoons of the era, I was watching – this.

I can’t even remember why I decided to search for these old Adventure Island clips. I think I must have been discussing it with some work colleagues and they weren’t sure that such a program even existed. So of course I had to prove it to them.

But one thing I did find out once I watched a couple of episodes was – my goodness, this is seriously whacky stuff. It was way weirder than I remembered it to be. The characters, the costumes, the dialogue – it was like watching something from another planet. Sure, many aspects of it reflect the values of a different time, and a local television industry still finding its feet. But my goodness, what a strange, strange place to come from.

Watching these clips so many years later does explain a few things. Adventure Island was probably the first television program I really got into as a little kid. I remember to this day how absorbed I was by the stories, and particularly how terrifying the villains – Miser Meanie and Squire Squeezum – were. If this is the kind of stuff that seeped into my conscious from a very young age, it’s no wonder that I’m a little…odd.

I’m not sure that the day will ever be right for a rerun of Adventure Island. It seems so much of its time that it’s probably best it stays there. But in a funny kind of way, I’m quite pleased to have it as part of my past. Just another one of those strange influences that have made me the person I am.

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Dom February 28, 2020 at 11:33 am

Similar upbringing – never allowed to watch commercial cartoons. Miser Meanie gave me nightmares.

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Jonathan Gould March 1, 2020 at 5:49 am

Oh that Miser Meanie was seriously scary.

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