What was your favourite TV show when you were a child?
Great Memories of a Great Show
Without a doubt, my favorite show growing up was Zoobilee Zoo. By the time I became a fan, it was in reruns. Every weekday afternoon between the ages of three and five, my grandmother would sit me in front of the television with some candy (half a bar of white chocolate that she had cut up) and I would be entertained for the next thirty minutes.
What is Zoobilee Zoo? It’s hard to explain. It was a live-action show produced from 1986-1987. Basically, it was seven adults dressed as animal characters called “Zoobles.” They sang, danced, told stories and taught life lessons. Each character had their skill. Only sixty-five episodes of the show were made and Hallmark apparently owns the rights to them.
My favorite character was “Whazzat Kangaroo.” She was a pink kangaroo who danced ballet and who also played music. She was very cheerful and giggly. I always considered her the baby of the group. As I’m the baby of my family and took ballet lessons, perhaps that explains why she was my favorite.
Though she was friends with all of the characters, her best buddy was “Lookout Bear.” He was an adventurer who drove a jeep. He was very brave. If there was any exploring to be done, he was the bear to go to.
“Van Go Lion” was the artist of the gang. His house was a shaped like an art palette. He always sang or hummed while creating his masterpieces.
If a Zooble had anything to be fixed, they called on “Bill Der Beaver.” He was a handyman who invented things. His workshop had tons of funky tools. There was a hand that came out of the wall when he needed “a helping hand.”
The theatre owner was “Bravo Fox.” He was very melodramatic. He put on plays and entertained the Zoobles. He believed himself to be the best actor who had ever lived.
Were it not for “Talkatoo Cockatoo,” no Zooble would have any news to read. She was the writer of the group as well as the resident chef. She also had a tendency to go on and on hence the name.
The leader of the group was “Mayor Ben.” He was a leopard. He opened and closed every show. If anyone needed advice, all they had to do was call him on the “Zooble Phone” and he’d tell them a story that inspired them to take the right action.
The show’s set was pretty basic. Even at four, it was apparent that it was taped on a stage. Every Zooble had their special space with appropriate props. The most complex set was the “Tunnel of Surprise.” The Zoobles would get into a white tube and be sent on a track to their destination. The best way I can describe this is by saying it resembled a large white monorail with bright lights around it. You didn’t watch the show to see the scenery though. You watched to hear the music and the stories.
I loved the show because, unlike cartoons, you could easily imitate what you saw. It felt more real. Though it was evident they were just actors in costumes, they were singing and dancing and doing things I could do. I credit them for giving me a love of the performing arts.
To think that Zoobilee Zoo was cancelled and the mindless kids’ shows of today thrive is upsetting. This show both entertained and informed. It seems that the kids’ shows of today can do one or the other, but not both. I’m glad I got to see this show. If I had only the shows put out today to watch, I don’t know if I would be an artisitc person.
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