Quintessential quirky English telly. Made in 1971, written and narrated by Eric Thompson of 'Magic Roundabout' fame (he did all the voices in the original). The animation is produced by Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall who went on to create 'Danger Mouse', 'Count Duckula' and 'Chorlton and the Wheelies'. However the animation here is far more inventive and wild than those later shows, using a combination of mixed media - cartoon, painting, photography etc which at times resembles Terry Gilliam's Monty Python skits.
The show's premise is similar to that of another UK kids favourite - Mr Benn. There, Mr Benn enters the fancy dress shop, changes into a costume and is magically transported to whatever world his costume represents. If he dresses as a knight - he goes on to fight dragons etc. Here in The Magic Ball, we have young Sam inside his Aunt Mil's antique shop by the sea. With the aid of his trusty magic ball he is magically whirled away to the world of whatever curious object he picks up. Off on another adventure and back home again in time for tea.
13 episodes in series one, all different adventures ranging from encounters with Cavemen to Highwaymen, Princesses to Chimney sweeps, Chimpanzees, Cowboys and flying carpets.
It's a great 'lost' kids TV program, hugely underrated and forgotten despite winning two silver medals at the Venice film festival of children's films. It is also rather psychedelic and makes great after hours viewing for adults.
A cross between 'Mr Benn' and 'Jamie and the magic torch' is a fair way to describe it. A real treat and well worth seeking out if you like this type of thing.
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