1 9 7 4 – 1 9 7 5 (Canada)
30 x 30 minute episodes
This highly visual children’s show from CBC featured fast-paced segments featuring jokes, burlesque, old movie clips, popular music, verbal gags and satire with a Monty Python-style flair.
The storyline centred on nine-year-old Billy Meek (Robin Eveson) who sends off for a computer aid he sees advertised in a Dr Zonk comic book to help with his homework.
He accidentally makes two robots from the computer and he names them The Zunkins – Dunkin and Zooey. The Zunkins then introduce Billy to all sorts of characters, including Dr Bob, Miss Lonelykid, Lovestory Man, Ms A Vaughn, Goomba, and Honest Ralph the salesman.
The regular cast included Second City Revue members Gilda Radner, Rosemary Radcliffe and John Candy, which allowed for a lot of ad-libbing and extemporising in the sketches and skits. The Zunkin puppets were created by Nina Keogh.
The series ran from September 1974 to April 1975, airing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the late afternoon but was not particularly well-received. It was criticised for its excessive rambunctious pratfalls and attempts at comedy that just didn’t come off.
Most tellingly, a CBC viewers’ survey told the producers that children found the program “too childish.” Several of the cast members moved on the following season to the CBC sitcom, Coming Up Rosie, which was targetted at older kids