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Here I was ready to make 'The Ten Commandments' and they were asking us to work with puppets!''
Gerry Anderson,
The Adventures of Twizzle
Twizzle
Production
Released by AP Films
PublisherBanty Books
Producer Roberta Leigh
DirectorGerry Anderson
Director of PhotographyArthur Provis
Art DirectorReginald E.Hill
Special EffectsDerick Meddings
Details
MediumBlack and White
Episodes53
Duration13 Minutes
Original Air Date13th November 1957
Series Guide
Previous Next
- Torchy The Battery Boy

The Adventures of Twizzle was the starting point for AP Films, set up by Gerry Anderson and Arthur Provis. Though not particlarly keen to enter the uninteresting genre of puppet series due to a lack of work and 'needs must'; an offer was made and accepted and the team set to work with Anderson raising the bar fom the very start. The Adventures of Twizzle was a hit and Anderson led Provis, the crew and voice actors onwards and upwards through a genre that was perceived to be a bread and butter career at best. Fifty years later after that first episode aired, the puppets of Gerry Anderson are still watched around the world and probably will be watched for many years to come.

HistoryEdit

Gerry Anderson's new company at Maidenhead, Buckinghamshire, was failing before it had a chance to begin. With no work from day one, the company's staff were working individually to make ends meet until the phone rang. Six months later, just as money was running out, it finally did when Roberta Leigh and her colleague Suzanne Warner were shopping for a company on behalf of Associated Rediffusion, to work for low budget. A chance to finally start working as a company, as a team, and more importantly a cash injection of £450 per episode meant that beggars can't be choosers. The offer was accepted and the team set to work. Due to Anderson's desire to improve standards the deadlines would be tight to actually prove profitable; models had their finishing touches applied in the morning and were in front of the camera by the same afternoon making last minute improvements close to impossible.

ImprovementsEdit

Anderson was aware that puppets up till then were quite grotesque looking, and without personality as well as static in as far as eye movements and facial expressions were concerned. Despite the lack of appeal to be associated with such a project, Anderson decided to raise the standard even though the budget and schedule depicted otherwise. Together with Art Director Reg Hill, Anderson decided to add more details to the sets, cuts and close ups would be introduced; all techniques used on films and as yet unheard of in a puppet series. Other improvements were the shift away from traditional manipulation and instead of the puppet operators working the strings from behind a backdrop, where they had to lean forward to see the puppets faces, they were now located on an overhead bridge 12 feet off the studio floor. This eliminated the need for one-dimensional sets and did away with shadows that were reflected onto the background of other puppet series. In order for the puppeteers to see what they were doing from so high above, Anderson bought a new lightweight camera that had just come onto the market. He rigged it up to form a device that became known as 'Video Assist,' a brilliantly innovative technique that involved attaching the new camera to the movie camera in such a way that whatever the movie camera saw was relayed to monitors anywhere on the set. The method was soon adopted by the film industry worldwide.

By now the team working on Twizzle were a compliment of twelve, and more were needed. Derick Meddings was approached by Reg Hill who took the job only to earn some extra money. Meddings considered working on a puppet series to be of no real value at first. The skills that Meddings honed over the years working on Anderson produced series made him one of the most sought after SFX men.

The Adventures of Twizzle was so well received that A-R wanted another series from Roberta Leigh and Gerry Anderson. Another puppet series. Gerry Anderson's career was beginning to take shape.

PlotEdit

Twizzle is a living toy that had the unique ability to 'twizzle', which meant that he could stretch his arms and legs and lived in a toy shop with his other toy friends. Concerned over his future Twizzle escapes and wins over many friends during his daily adventures of helping and rescuing other toys. He becomes friends with them and they all end up living in in log cabins in Stray Town which the toys create from scratch and where all the stray toys in the world are welcome. From time-to-time they are visited by the Toy Inspector, who ensures that the toys are in good condition

CharactersEdit

Characters (Happy Families and Snap Cards)Edit

Characters from the series were portrayed in a card game by Ariel Productions Ltd.

Voice CastEdit

  • Nancy Nevinson
  • Denise Bryer

EpisodesEdit

  1. Twizzle And Footso
  2. Twizzle And Footso Get Caught
  3. Twizzle Saves The Doll
  4. The Breakdown Van
  5. Footso Is Stolen
  6. Twizzle And The Golliwog
  7. Jiffy And The Chawky Quarrel
  8. Footso Disappears
  9. Twizzle And The Broken-Down Toy
  10. Twizzle Builds Stray Town
  11. A Flag For Stray Town
  12. Jiffy's New House
  13. Twizzle And Footso Go Fruit Picking
  14. Twizzle Has Some Fun
  15. Twizzle And Candy Floss Open A Cake Shop
  16. Twizzle Saves The Broken-Down Toys
  17. Twizzle Gets Lost
  18. Jiffy Opens A Barber Shop
  19. Another Racing Car
  20. Twizzle And His Friends Go To The Circus
  21. The Toys Go To School
  22. Bouncy The Ball
  23. Jack-In-The-Box
  24. Twizzle Catches Cold
  25. The Naughty Girl
  26. Jiffy's New Twigs
  27. Twizzle And The Snowman
  28. Twizzle And The Thin Teddy Bear
  29. The Lazy Broomstick Man
  30. Twizzle And The Polly Moppet
  31. Footso And The Magic Seeds
  32. Jiffy And The Polly Moppet Quarrel
  33. Footso Gets A New Tail
  34. Twizzle Is Naughty
  35. Twizzle Is Stolen
  36. Chawky Gets A Present
  37. Twizzle And The Toy Inspector
  38. Twizzle And The Naughty Breakdown Van
  39. Orange And The Banana Tree
  40. Jiffy's Birthday
  41. Polly Moppet Disappears
  42. Naughty Polly Moppet
  43. Footso And The Naughty Girl
  44. Stray Town Thief
  45. Twizzle Papers The Cabin
  46. Twizzle And Footso Go Camping
  47. Twizzle Goes To The Seaside
  48. Twizzle Goes To The Fair
  49. Twizzle Goes To The Army
  50. Twizzle Goes Fishing
  51. Twizzle Goes To The Zoo
  52. Candy Floss's Birthday
  53. Footso Has A Toothache


SoundtrackEdit

  • Lyrics: Roberta Leigh
  • Music: Leslie Clair
  • Arrangement: Barry Gray
  • Conductor: Barry Gray

CreditsEdit

MerchandiseEdit

TriviaEdit

  • Most of the character voices on Twizzle were performed by actress Denise Bryer, former wife of TV personality Nicholas Parsons, who also voiced future Anderson produced projects. Parsons also offered Anderson work once his own career had taken off.
  • Roberta Leigh wrote songs for the show but with no musical background she employed a composer to whom she would hum the tunes to. He would then score these songs. Barry Gray went on to become one of the most prolific TV and film composers in the industry.
  • The first episode of The Adventures of Twizzle was broadcast on November 13th 1957 at 4.30pm. The AP Films crew were still hard at work filming the series' later episodes but they afforded themselves the luxury of a launch party. The party marked the beginning of the relationship between Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Thamm
  • 'Candy Floss Has A Birthday' was transmitted 7 months after the original series ended its run. It is not known why this episode was held back or temporarily overlooked.
  • Only one episode of the series is known to survive, that being the first episode which was discovered in a 16mm print along with the complete series of Roberta Leigh's puppet series Space Patrol and is included as an extra on the DVD set.

ReferencesEdit

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