When two dolls in a toyshop eat sweets from a magic box they grow to human size and go out to have adventures.




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Series cast summary:
Jaap Stobbe ...
 Hugo (45 episodes, 1980-1985)


When two dolls in a toyshop eat sweets from a magic box they grow to human size and go out to have adventures.

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Release Date:

29 October 1980 (Netherlands)  »

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Ferd Hugas, who portrayed the original owner of "de Poppenkraam", left after just two episodes to play a part in Dubbelpion (1982). See more »

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Hugo and Henriëtte followed Boris & Bram (in more ways than one)
5 August 2010 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

In 1980, Nico Hiltrop wrote and directed the practically completely forgotten children's show 'De Boris en Bram Show' for the KRO. On this he collaborated with Tony Eyk on the music and songs. Jaap Stobbe provided the voice (and possibly the movements) for Bram, a mischievous monkey (really a man in a big felt monkey mask) and Jan Anne Drenth portrayed Boris, a green 'long neck hippopotamus' that looked more like a cross between the Loch Ness Monster and Pete's Dragon. But after just one season the show was canceled, wiped from existence (the KRO was still at it all during the Eighties) and nowadays only a dusty old record in the back of my collection proves that the show did indeed exist.

However, it was almost immediately replaced by 'De Poppenkraam', devised by the same production team and again starring Jaap Stobbe, who this time around was allowed to show his face. Further more he was paired with pretty Belgian singer Connie Neefs. Together they were Hugo & Henriëtte, two dolls on display in a toy shop (called De Poppenkraam) who nibbled on some 'growing' sweets from a magic box and grew to human size. Thereby conveniently saving on a lot of chroma key and blue screen effects. The first thing they did was to go out into the real world, causing the shopkeeper (Ferd Hugas) to call in a policeman (Paul van Gorcum). But as soon as their disappearance was solved (the series started off as a serial, despite it being shown only once a month) Hugas decided to leave the show and take a role in 'Dubbelspion', which was probably just as well as the actor was much better suited at playing bad guys than lovable mustachioed toy store owners.

With the original shopkeeper on holiday, he was replaced by a lady (Lies de Wind) and most of the episodes became a self contained story. Usually the show would revolve around a guest star, some of which became recurring characters. Amongst these introduced in the second season were Daisy (Marlous Fluitsma) an expensive, posh doll (who conveniently was already human-size when her box was brought in) and Krengetje (Jennifer Willems), a somewhat bratty and clumsy young girl. One thing that struck me as odd when watching some of the episodes recently, is that the toyshop doesn't seem to have a cash registry. On the rare occasions that anything is actually sold, the shopkeeper instructs the buyer to leave the money on the table. I guess they expected to keep the change. All the toys that decorated the set were provided by 'Bart Smit' toy-stores and just as it was in the Eighties, it is still quite a lot of fun trying to spot which Star Wars, A-Team or Masters of the Universe action figures they have hanging about in each episode.

Come the third season, Connie Neefs decided to concentrate on her singing instead of her acting, so she was slowly written out of the series. At first Henriëtte disappeared, prompting Hugo to go out and search for her over the course of several episodes. On her return, Henriëtte decided she would rather live in the puppet museum, but did promise to come and visit the Poppenkraam from time to time, which indeed she did up until the fifth season. At the start of the fourth, store-lady Lies de Wind had also been sacked, and Hugo was now running the store, which he had 'remodeled'. That is to say the set had been drastically simplified and would stay like that for the remainder of the series. Daisy, Krengetje and a new character, Hugo's niece Annemarie (even though she was flesh and blood and he was like a Pinnochio), played by Leontien Ceulemans would alternate as his female companions (though Daisy also soon left the series).

The stories became more and more fanciful, involving all kinds of magicians, knights in shining armor and even a time traveling device. Other recurring character was Hans Otjes as Pietjewiet the scarecrow (though he also appeared as other characters) and Wim Kouwenhoven as Flip the Zookeeper, with Corrie van Gorp as his wife. This meant that several of the stories took place and were filmed in Amersfoort Zoo. When you watch some of the shows from the first and last season back to back, there is a world of difference between them (in just five years and six seasons). And unfortunately, that is exactly how the show is presented when repeats are shown nowadays on the digital channel "Familie 24". For only about 15 of the 45 episodes are still around in the archives at Beeld & Geluid. That is why Bridge Entertainment only released two measly DVDs of the series (with 3 episodes each). De Poppenkraam hasn't been wiped clean from existence like Boris & Bram were, but the entire story of how Hugo lost his Henriëtte will never be seen by human eyes again. Unless of course it turns out someone recorded the entire series on video way back then.

7 out of 10

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