Thursday, January 08, 2009

Change of pace: early TV Moomins

I don't think I've much talked about my fascination towards the Moomin books and graphic novels (or actually comic strips) by Tove and Lars Jansson. (Sister and brother, in case you didn't know.) I've been reading them for over 30 years now (I think I read the first already before going to school in 1978 (which was, by the way, 30 years ago - last Fall, that is) and still enjoy them very much. I hope you all have some time to take off from pulps and paperbacks and find the Puffin paperback translations there are plenty of. (A graphic novel publisher did all the comic strips a while back - now, I can't bring my mind to it now. Anyone..?)

That's a whole lot of brackets. Okay, to the actual point. There are also plenty of television shows and movies made from the Moomin books. The best-known hails from Japan starting with a feature film in 1992, but there was also a very good puppet-animated series from Poland, made in the seventies. However, the first one came, also from Japan, already in the early seventies. The short series never caught on and the Janssons famously hated it for being too cruel and violent. The Masaaki Osumi-directed series seems also vanished in the air and it's not on YouTube nor are there comments on it in the IMDB.

Today, however, skimming through books and scanning photos for a coming book of mine, I found a picture from the series, and since it's the only one I've ever seen I thought I'd scan and upload it. It looks perfectly like the Jansson Moomins (even though Moominmama's ears seem a bit too long). This is a familiar scene: sneaking into a witch's hat, Moomintroll is transformed into a strange thing and no one recognizes him. Until Moominmama looks him straight in the eye and says: "Yes, I know you - you're my Moomintroll." It's a scene that waters your eyes.

Sorry, in black & white only.


Anders E said...

The first adaption of any kind actually seems to have been made in West Germany as early as 1959:

There was also a Swedish TV series (although most actors were from Finland) in 1969, using live actors in costumes:

This one had one of the weirdest scenes ever in one of the first episodes, where the Moomins took their heads off - only to reveal the actor's heads! I guess it was too uncomfortable and simply impractical to have the actors try to act wearing those gigantic costume heads. Still, how utterly bizarre it was.

Word verification: bangals. An 80s pop group, I think.

Juri said...

Thanks, Anders, and sorry, Anders. I remembered that Swedish series with Finnish actors (who share some of the same actors who impersonate Moomins' voices in the more recent animated series, i.e. Elina Salo as Lilla My), but not this time, it seems. I know a guy who has some of these - but on Beta videotapes, and his recorder is broke down!

And hey, The Bangals! They used to play at Calsi, down at Hurramph, Nevada. [This is getting pretty esoteric.]

Todd Mason said...

I'm up for Bangles puns, but Calsi?

Juri said...

Don't know myself, Todd, just wanted to continue Anders's joke about the verification words.

Which are nice: What kind of music did The Darytiqs play?