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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

John McCallum, Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo


Creator of Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

John McCallum, the man behind the children’s television show Skippy, died aged 91 on February 3, 2010.The Australian, who also acted in films of the 1940s and 50s, was best known writing, directing and producing Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo from 1966. An Australian, John was born in Brisbane in 1918 and began his career in theatre in London. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and worked with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and the Old Vic. His theatre work both in the UK and Australia continued through the 1950s and into the 60s, while much of his big screen work involved working with his wife, Googie Withers. Then the Nine Network in Australia booked 91 episodes of Skippy over the three seasons, the popular show with the catchy theme tune being syndicated around the world and sold to 128 countries. The show is still shown in Australia to this day. In a recent interview, he said: “Lee Robinson came up with the idea of a boy and a kangaroo. It was really his idea. And we worked on that – I wanted to call it ‘Hoppy’. “He said, no, Skippy. Skippy had a better ring to it for the children. And so three or four of us put in $5,000, we made a pilot, took it round the world, sold quite a few countries, including England.” In 1992, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to drama and theatre. He was survived by his wife.

posted by Monique at 12:39 pm  

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