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The original spelling in the books was "Bony". Following the success of the television show the spelling on the covers of subsequent printings of the books was changed to "Boney" although the spelling in the text of each book was maintained as "Bony." A note found in the opening cover pages of each book read: "*Boney is the spelling preferred by Norfolk International Production in their television dramatisation of this series; Bony which is used throughout the text of this book, is the spelling preferred by Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte's creator, Arthur Upfield." See more »
'Boney' was an aboriginal policeman working in Australia, full name Bonaparte.
Although primarily aimed at kids, it had a sufficiently mature theme to draw in adults too. Each episode opened with 'Boney' dressed in tribal costume and engaging in an aboriginal dance, as some sort of ritualistic affirmation of his roots.
Originating from the early 1970's, one might have expected a great deal more racism in the show than was actually presented. In fact, the only prejudice I recollect directed towards him arose on account of him being a copper. Which was a bit of a crock, to say the least. Clearly, the censors, makers, sponsors, whatever, didn't want the truth to be shown.
That said, it had an innocent little charm all its own. Rather more intelligent than 'Skippy', but a million miles from 'Mad Max'. The actor who played the part of 'Boney' was actually a New Zealander called James Laurenson. And although he looked aboriginal in the programme, to this day I'm not sure if he wasn't simply made-up. It was a short-run series (unlike the eternal 'Skippy'), but Laurensopn has enjoyed a very long career in film and is active in British television even today.
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