1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 7 (Australia)
The Magic Circle Club was a massively popular Australian TV show for children.
Such was the programme’s innovation that it received a prestigious Penguin award and a special Logie award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Television in the first year of broadcast.
The show was videotaped at the studios of ATV-0 in Melbourne (as was Prisoner: Cell Block H many years later).
Hostess Nancy Cato would introduce and close each episode with help from Fredd Bear (Tedd Dunn, who was also the senior wardrobe designer at ATV-0), Fee Fee Bear (John Michael Howson), Mother Hubbard (Fred Tupper), Max (Max Bartlett), Sir Jasper Crookley (Ernie Bourne) and Gasper Goblin (Colin McEwan).
Nancy Cato was replaced by Liz Harris after being injured during production in 1967.
In 1969 ATV-0 capitalised on the popularity of Fredd Bear to create a morning TV breakfast show for kids and adults called Fredd Bear’s Breakfast-A-Go-Go. It had a radio breakfast show feel and was a forerunner of the Today-style programmes, a strange mixture of news, cartoons, competitions, pop clips, and live interviews.
Hosted by Judy Banks (pictured) and Fredd Bear (who, like all good TV bears, didn’t speak but could convey plenty with body language when Tedd Dunn wasn’t happy), the show also featured Colin McEwan – the voice behind Cassius Cuckoo and Leonardo de Funbird – and a new handsome newsreader at the station called Michael McCarthy (something of a Bert Newton lookalike and a giant hit with the female viewing audience).
When The Magic Circle Club was cancelled (for cost reasons) the production team created a new show called Adventure Island for the ABC.
It used the same basic formula and was another huge success, running until 1972.
Fee Fee Bear
John Michael Howson
Sir Jasper Crookley