Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Lubomír Beneš & Vladimír Jiránek "Pat and Mat"

Pat & Mat created by Lubomír Beneš and Vladimír Jiránek first appeared in 1976 and is still being produced from the Prague Studio patmat s.r.o. run by Marek Benes, Lubomír's son. Lubomír died in 1995. Lubomír had a background in puppet theatre whereas Vladimír was a cartoonist and illustrator. Their characters are general repair men whose ingenuity is not matched by their common sense or dexterity. Their first episode Neighbours is typical of the sort of dilemmas they face. Mat (or is it Pat) has a loose tap that swings over to the side and the edge of the kitchen cabinet basin. Solution: move the unit. They share an egg for breakfast. It has to be exactly divided into two. Solution: pencil, scissors, saw and axe. Alternatively, Water (Voda - 1982) has our intrepid pair constructing a garden. When they discover there is a need to water the plants, the well seems to have dried up so they hit on the only possible solution really, they break the dam and have a plentiful supply water, a veritable deluge to be honest. There are over 70 episodes and very popular they are too on the European mainland. With well designed sets, thoughtful scripts and skilled animation, the series is given greater appeal with the cheery music of Petr Skoumal. Those of you who do not know the series (and it is not that well known in the UK) will perhaps recognise the bouncy theme tune (thanks Jürg) It is hard to obtain a legitimate DVD collection as the excellent and informative Swiss based fansite run by Jürg Schaeppi explains; episodes are however plentiful on YouTube. Finally a footnote to an earlier post I made about The Mole. Two children of my acquaintance were introduced to the series on my recommendation with the three year old distraught at the "demise"of the snowman; even the six year old had a tear in her eye. I can't say Pat or Mat score highly on the compassion front but they are very funny and addictive: classic.

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