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Mr Squiggle and Friends – Cheer Up (1990)

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‘Everything is upside down’

Original classification rating: G. This clip chosen to be G

Clip description

The tea party was ‘worth making a song and dance about’ but Rebecca (Hetherington), Blackboard and Mr Squiggle (both operated and voiced by Norman Hetherington) are waiting for Gus the Snail to arrive. In the meantime, it’s time for a squiggle or two.

Curator’s notes

In this sequence Mr Squiggle uses his pencil-nose to create recognisable drawings from children’s squiggles, often drawing them upside down. ‘Everything is upside down’, Mr Squiggle is often fond of saying. But when I previously spoke with the Everingtons at their home, Norman the puppeteer told me:

Well, of course that’s the right way up to me. In the earlier days, if we were doing three or four in the program I’d draw one the right way up, one sideways and one upside down. Then I took the easy way later – just did them all upside down. Occasionally, I’d forget what I’d planned to make out of the squiggle and have to make it up then and there. I had to get a variety – couldn’t draw six elephants, had to draw one elephant and one tiger and one something or other. They were mainly animals, I don’t know why but that’s the way it turned out.

Another key to the success of Mr Squiggle and Friends is the genuine interactivity represented by the use of children’s squiggles, which are credited on the program. In this clip, Rebecca tactfully teases Mr Squiggle with the suggestion that 'the subject matter could be more interesting’ for a young girl than a drawing of a set of golf clubs. He then ingeniously turns the golf clubs into a face with top hat. It’s hard to know for sure whether this part of the scene was improvised or unfolded as planned, but the transformation is inventive and amusing. The significance for children is that, with imagination, ordinary squiggles can be turned into interesting drawings.

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This clip is available for download for the limited purpose of criticism and review in an educational context. You must obtain permission from editorial@aso.gov.au for all other purposes for use of this material.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described here and elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions. ALL rights are reserved.

You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading this clip:

When you access ABC materials on australianscreen you agree that:

  1. You may download this clip to assist your information, criticism and review purposes in conjunction with viewing this website only;
  2. Downloading this clip for purposes other than criticism and review is Prohibited;
  3. Downloading for purposes other than non-commercial educational uses is Prohibited;
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