Home Television Kids TV Adventure Island

Adventure Island

1 9 6 8 – 1 9 7 2 (Australia)
1140 x 30 minute episodes

Adventure Island was designed for an audience of young (3 – 9 years of age) children and grew out of an earlier children’s magazine-style series, The Magic Circle Club.

Produced from the Melbourne studios of the ABC, Adventure Island was immensely popular and screened five afternoons a week.

Each episode concerned a self-contained story which took place “far across the sea” on Adventure Island in the Kingdom of Diddley Dum Diddley. The regular characters on the island were Clown, Lisa, Fifi, Percy Panda, Flower Potts (pictured) and Sailor.

adventureisland22The villains of the show were Miser Meanie and Fester Fumble (played with a suitable degree of camp by Colin McEwan and Ernie Bourne respectively), and later, Squire Squeezum (Burt Cooper).

There was also a regular cast of puppets including Maxie Mouse and Samson the Cat, both operated by Ernie Bourne.

The action was laced with songs, with Nancy Cato and (from 1969) Sue Donovan acting as narrator.

When in 1972 the ABC decided not to renew the series, intending to purchase Sesame Street from the American educational network PBS instead, there was a public outcry (extending to Federal Parliament) but the adventure was over.

Actor, writer and the show’s creator John-Michael Howson blames ABC bureaucracy for sinking the 5-year-old show:

“They made up their minds and cancelled the bloody thing without taking notice of the huge reaction”.

adventureisland0The series was broadcast from 11 September 1967 to 22 December 1972 but sadly only six episodes remain (one each from 1967 and 1971 and four consecutive episodes from 1972). Tapes of many black & white ABC-TV shows from this time were ‘recycled’ as a cost-cutting measure.

Ho ho, far away we go
To a land that’s far across the sea
Bing bong, sound the sailing gong
For now we’re leaving for Adventure Island

Narrator 
Nancy Cato (1)
Sue Donovan (2)
Clown
John-Michael Howson
Lisa
Liz Harris
Percy Panda
Jack Manuel
Dodo Panda
Marion Edward
Miser Meanie
Colin McEwan (1)
Robert Essex (2)
Fester Fumble
Ernie Bourne
Giggles Goblin
Peter Homewood
Mrs Flower Potts
Brian Crossley
Betty Bruin
Carol Walker
Squire Squeezum
Burt Cooper

SHARE