Wednesday, 11 July 2007

"Birds Bees and Storks" Peter Sellers & John Halas

"Birds Bees and Storks" narrated by the late Peter Sellers is a comic masterpiece and classic. Produced in 1965 it features a very embarrassed father attempting to explain the birds and the bees to his son. It was inspired by the cartoons of Gerard Hoffnung. The link is to the excellent BBC’s Screenonline. However in case you are unable to view it the alternative is the liketelevision site. Naturally a full 4 minute version is posted on YouTube, the previous versions being rather shorter. "Birds Bees and Storks" was directed by Peter Halas whose claim to fame was that he directed the first British animated feature film "Animal Farm". He also created other lovely, traditionally British animations in the during the Second World War and beyond. I plan a feature shortly on the company he set up with his wife, Joy Batchelor, Halas & Batchelor . "Birds Bees and Storks" features a middle class Englishman in the mould of Arthur Lowe from Dad's Army explaining (and suffering) about the facts of life. He is seated in an armchair and as he grows more and more embarrassed his face blushes and sweats. This redness contrasts with the otherwise grey pencil drawings. "It's all perfectly clear"says Sellers, and "no problem for an intelligent father". Cartoonist and actor in perfect harmony because this is hilarious, not the least because it perhaps captures a period in our history, a certain class and a certain honesty. Nowadays, of course, parents are spared the ordeal and leave it to teachers.

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