Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Magic Circle WOW!

I promised to tell you about my recent (though expensive) success on eBay...

a 1965 program to a stage production of the "Magic Circle Club", surely my favourite Australian television show from my very early years!

This purchase arrived on Monday, by registered post, but the notification card came to my home address instead of to work, where I wanted to be able to sign for the package. I was finally able to collect it today.


Magic Circle Club

Godfrey Philipp's "Magic Circle Club" was a national children's television show, which I watched on a then-fledgling Channel TEN-10 in Sydney (from 23rd January 1965 till 1967). The channel was so new we had terrible reception. It ran for 550 thirty-minute episodes and had its roots in live pantomime and classic fairy tales. The show was the talk of the playground when I was in Year 1 and Year 2, and featured amazing song and dance production numbers and original songs by none other than John-Michael Howson.

Being a Sydney boy, I hadn't heard of this particular version of "Magic Circle Club" before: a specially written episode called "The Stolen Smile". It was performed live on stage at Melbourne's Tivoli Theatre (from December 27, 1965 for the summer school holidays). In this adventure, evil Sir Jasper Crookly and Gaspar Goblin had banished Clocko the chief clown and Spangles the trapeze artist from a circus - and had also taken away Clocko's smile. Appearing on stage with Max (Max Bartlett) and hostess Nancy Cato were Fredd Bear, Fee Fee Bear (John-Michael Howson), Mother Hubbard, Curley Dimples, Crystal Ball, Hep Cat, Montmorency James Rabbit and bird puppets, Cassius Cuckoo and Leonardo de Funbird, all played by the regular TV cast.

One of the reasons I was so determined to obtain this program was for the cast and crew names that were sure to be mentioned. Although my memory was fairly good, I had many gaps - and so do (or did) places such as Wikipedia. For example, this production was stage managed by some now well-known Aussie names: Sue Nattras, Simon Wincer and Jim McElroy. I'd also forgotten that Leonardo lived inside the IKAN (Instantaneous Knowledge Accumulation Network) computer. (In 1965? Surely a zany computer to predate the Bat-computer of TV's "Batman"!)

Here's an excerpt from the program, featuring the three characters and performers I remembered the least about:

Cast of the Magic Circle Club, part d

More excerpts soon!

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