The Choob today mourns the death of TV legend John McCallum at the grand old age of 91.
No, I’d never heard of him until today, either.
However, he was the man who created one of the Choob’s earliest and fondest TV memories – Skippy The Bush Kangaroo.
Australian McCallum, whose father had emigrated from Scotland, was an actor before turning his hand to producing. He was married to British actress Googie Withers, star of 1970s ITV prison drama Within These Walls, who is now 92 (and not dead, despite what the producers of Coronation Street think).
The Aussie-made show ran for three seasons (91 episodes) between 1966 and 1968 but was repeated regularly (in the UK at least) well into the 1970s.
The show famously featured a super-smart kangaroo who was far more intelligent than any of the human characters – all of whom could, nonetheless, somehow understand and interpret the strange clicking noises she made – and regularly saved them from the deadly situations they stumbled into week after week.
This often involved her undoing ropes they were tied up with, leading them to people trapped down rapidly flooding wells, operating complicated electrical equipment, playing the drums and piano, killing snakes, defusing bombs and so forth.
The show also, of course, had a fantastic theme tune. Here are two slightly different versions of the show’s opening titles. The second one is, I think, judging from the fact the child actors look younger, from the pilot episode which was presumably filmed some months before the show went into production:
Here are the closing titles:
And just in case you think I was joking about the amazing feats Skippy was capable of: