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The old thirties and forties cartoons weren’t broadcast for long. Very few Greek channels brought newer series mainly made in Europe. I was in fourth grade and it was kind of a letdown, because the emotional singing and sentimental representation of love, friendship and other concepts was gone. Clearly, each cartoon reflects the period it was made and the sixties was a revolutionary era bringing changes in society, politics, and music.

Some of the animations were trying to teach important life lessons, like sharing and fighting for a greater cause. Others were just pure entertainment and kind of odd to watch.

Like Nu, Pogodi! {Ну погоди! – Well, Just you Wait!} a Soviet/Russian cartoon broadcast from 1969 to 2006. The series, created by Felix Kandel, Arkadi Khait and Aleksandr Kurlyandsky reminds a Tom and Jerry fighting. The wolf – Volk – is the villain who tries to catch the hare – Zayats – who at a first glance seems like a girl but he is actually a boy. Rarely no one talks in the show except from Volk, who usually says “Nu, pogodi!” whenever his plans to trap Zayats don’t go well.

nu-pogodi-5

The show received negative criticism of setting the bad example for children. For instance, Volk’s character is frequently depicted smoking and drinking, he breaks the law, he is a vandal and a bully – in other words, a hooligan. Zayats has also been criticized for being a boy depicted with feminine traits, like his long eyelashes and rosy cheeks. Nevertheless, the show is still valued greatly in Russia and other European countries.

I had a lot of fun watching it, although at times it was weird, and no, I didn’t end up a vandal, smoker or drinker! I love the music in the opening credits. So 60s right??

Two other USSR films have also remained in my memory. It took me so long to find these gems but here they are!!

meshok-yablok-a-bag-of-apples

 A Bag Full of Apples {Мешок яблок – Meshok yablok} (1974), which I was searching for yeeeaaars, teaches the art of giving, even if at times you have very little to give. The goodness you have done will return to you, even if you are in a moment of need. The short was directed by Vitold Bordzilovsky.

wild-swans-1962

The Wild Swans {Дикие лебеди – Dikiye lebedi} (1962), based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, definitely brought me back a lot of memories from Disney’s Silly Symphonies, mainly due to the animation style. It was a very good Soviet film and too bad I can’t recall other similar films being broadcast at that time. The film was directed by couple Mikhail Tsekhanovsky and Vera Tsekhanovskaya.

Probably the ones that were broadcast the most here in Greece came from Poland. Bolek and Lolek {Bolka i Lolka, 1962-1986}, created by Władysław Nehrebecki and Reksio (1967-1990), created by Lechosław Marszałek, were all time favorites not only here in Greece, but also in other European countries.

Reksio had had guest appearances in Bolka i Lolka.

Reksio, the doggy, had had guest appearances in Bolka i Lolka.

Both Bolek and Lolek and Reksio have their own monuments in Bielsko-Biała, Poland:

Bolek_and_Lolek_monument_

reksio-monumentBolek and Lolek, also known as Bennie and Lennie or Jym and Jam in English, follows the silly adventures of two brothers. The success of the series generated educational and feature films, games, toys, postcards, coloring books, etc. Themes like friendship, solidarity and travelling are often portrayed.

Reksio was not that famous as Bolek and Lolek, but I liked it more because I’m a dog lover and animal characters were always more appealing to me than human characters. Reksio also had a somewhat educated character, but it was mostly involved with the doggy going on adventures with other animals as his friends. Here is an adventure of my lovely pal:

Up to this point you may think, “Polish and Russian cartoons were great, but whatever happened to the American ones?” Well, for some reason I can’t remember any broadcast except for one, which was very briefly on TV. The rest were dubbed, so I couldn’t know their country of origin.

In elementary school, Batfink was a great way to practice my English and also kept me good company in the afternoons. I believe it was the only one not dubbed in Greek, so maybe that’s the reason they cut it.

batfink

Batfink, the superhero bat with the wings of steel, aired 100 episodes on the American TV in 1966. Created by Hal Seeger, Batfink tries to protect the city from the villain Hugo A-Go-Go, always accompanied by his sidekick Karate. Pretty much it was like a Batman and The Green Hornet spoof, since both Batman and Batfink started airing at the same time (1966). For example, Batfink has a Battillac opposed to Batman’s Batmobile and Karate’s utility sleeve mocks Batman’s utility belt.

Surely funny to watch:

The last and the most dramatic cartoon series of my childhood is The Animals of Farthing Wood, which was originally aired from 1993 to 1995 and distributed by the European Broadcasting Union. It started as a book first published in 1979, authored by Colin Dann and much later it was adapted into a television series.

the-animals-of-farthing-wood

It was kind of shocking to watch because it had more drama than comedy. Actually no comedy at all and, to be honest, it kind of traumatized me a bit. Maybe I wasn’t able to grasp the essence and the significance of the show, however I can clearly see now how the series wasn’t traumatizing, but merely reflected reality and passed a great message about the importance of nature and the devastating act of humans upon it.

The show follows the Farthing Wood animals and their attempt to find a home, the White Deer Park, after humans destroyed their forest in order to build houses. As the adventures gradually culminate, some characters die which made my heart ache. Up then, I’ve never experienced a cartoon character dying and never coming back, so I was always waiting for them to return at some point! They never did… 😥

Now why would you do that to kid??

Now why would you do that to a kid??

You can feel the feels at the very first start of the video:

Do you remember any classic cartoons from other countries?

Do you feel modern cartoons carry important messages for children nowadays?

And which ones you prefer? Leave me a comment and your own bouquet of childhood cartoons! 🙂

Missed the first part? Even older recollections here.

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