The Adventures of Rupert Bear
Rupert Bear was a character created in the 1920s by the talented Mary Tourtell. Originally he was merely a cartoon for the Daily Express newspaper. He rapidly gained a huge following and the cartoon strip then became a series of books, annuals released each year around Christmas time (I may be wrong with that fact but for I always got a Rupert annual for Christmas - since 1965, I have been collecting them). The adventures of Rupert bear was shown on ITV in 1970. It was a puppet series made in a similar format to Mumfie. Each of the 150 or so episodes would last approximately 10 minutes. It was typically shown around midday for the younger children. I do not remember Rupert moving into the 1980s in the puppet series format and my TVTimes do not show him appearing on television after 1975 so it may only have lasted five or so years. Each episode would begin with a woman (presumably the mother) reading a Rupert story to her child, who lay in bed (you never actually get to see the child's face though). Then the great theme tune would start.
Click here to listen to one of the best ever soundtracks to a children's television program (525kb Wav)
There's a little bear
Like you've never seen before
Who's a lot of fun
Children everywhere grow to love him more and more
He's the number one
There's a million stories to be told
Of the things that he's done
And he's gonna share them all with you
So come along
Rupert, Rupert the bear
Everyone sing his name
Rupert Rupert the bear
Everyone come and join
In all of his games
Jackie Lee also sang the theme to White Horses (click here to listen to it) which is perhaps the greatest of all theme music (well in my opinion anyway). Jackie's wonderful voice was perfectly matched for children's television irrespective of target age group. The theme music, combined with the superb narrating talents of Judy Bennett, made Rupert an absolute gem of a children television program. No wonder it was such a hit with young kids and is so fondly remembered by big kids today.
Rupert even made into the GAF View-Master series where three discs of images were presented for the stereo picture viewer.
Three stories were presented:
Rupert and the Flying chariot
Rupert and Raggety
Rupert and the Unknown
Sadly many of the Rupert episodes have been lost and it is not clear how many still remain intact and in their full colour format. A real shame that the creative ideas and design that went into this fabulous little adventure series could be lost so easily by a television company.
|Rupert and the
|Rupert and Raggety|
Rupert and the Flying Chariot
Today Rupert who likes adventures and helping people does both things and wins an unexpected reward.
Rupert and his dad (Mr. Bear) are outside the house in the garden. they have put together a small go-kart. Rupert is very happy with the final model and is busy painting it. Once it is complete Rupert goes into the house to ask his mum (as all children should) if he can take the cart out to show his friends. Mrs. Bear suggests he take it shopping in Nutwood as he (Rupert) can help with the shopping. Rupert if very pleased and takes it off to show Bill Badger and Edward Trunk on the Common. They think the go-kart is absolutely smashing. Rupert has to leave them though as he has a lot of shopping to get for Mrs. Bear. He continues on but eventually has to stop at the bottom of a small hill. There he sees a man in a yellow coat thumping the lid on a suitcase nearby.
Rupert wonders why he is dressed so and wanders over. As he gets close to the man, he hears a voice from the suitcase "Let me out" it cries. Rupert asks the man if he can help. The man introduces himself as "Drizzle" and asks Rupert to sit on the suitcase. He wants to keep something inside the suitcase. Rupert being a nice kind bear lets the creature out and it turns out to be Willy Wisp - a streak of light who has a very childish like (impish) manner. Willy Wisp thanks Rupert and then vanishes out of sight. Rupert decides it is getting late and he really must be going. Drizzle has other ideas though. He takes Rupert, pushes him into the suitcase and shuts the lid.
Drizzle then takes of his hat and it suddenly starts to get bigger. Rupert is placed inside and then the hat starts to rise into the air. Drizzle explains that they are going to the Land Beyond the Weather. At the top of the, wherever it is they are heading for, there is a castle - The Wizard of the Wind's castle. They are soon standing before the Wizard himself. He demands to know where Willy Wisp is. Drizzle tries to explain about his boot and the case and...the Wizard dismisses them as mere excuses. The Wizard apologies to Rupert and then waves his magic wand and a table full of food appears in front of Rupert.
Drizzle is not very happy about this and tells the Wizard that Rupert let Willy Wisp out of the case. Rupert is told that he must recapture Willy as he is needed for the weather programme. Suddenly Rupert is back where he started from and in front of him dances Willy Wisp. Rupert tells Willy of the events leading up to where he is now and Willy sort of takes pity on him. In a flash they are both back a the castle and Drizzle and the Wizard try to catch Willy. Willy is far too quick and grabs the hat off Drizzle. It expands again and Rupert is able to climb inside and head back towards Nutwood. He lands very gently beside his go-kart closely followed by Willy Wisp.
Rupert is a little worried as he has not done him Mummy's shopping. Willy suggest that Rupert use the hat to fly to the shops but Rupert reminds him that the hat belongs to Drizzle. Willy Wisp dances over to the go-kart as he has a better idea. "I'm going to give you a present" he says. Willy casts some kind of spell and the Rupert's amazement the go-kart becomes a magic flying chariot. Rupert is thus able to get all the shopping and fly back home landing perfectly in his front garden.
An so would end a peach of a puppet series. Although Rupert went onto greater things and was transformed several times into still pictures with narration, followed by animation, nothing could really capture the wonder the original series gave to a generation of kids. And so just like Barnaby, Rupert is another little bear who will not be seen on our screens again.
|Rupert Based on the character created by||The Daily Express|
|Story adapted by||Anna Standon|
|Script Editor||Ruth Boswell|
|Music and Lyrics by||Ron Roker & Len Beadle|
|Rupert theme sung by||Jackie Lee|
|Puppetry||Christine Clanville, Sheena Lane, Rowena White & David Ross|
|Art Director||John Jelly|
|Assisted by||Terry Blackall|
|An I.T.C. Production for World Wide Distribution||MCMLXXI|
|Rupert and the
|Rupert and Raggety|