Saturday, May 14, 2011

Arthur! and the Square Knights of the Round Table

Back in the '60s and '70s the Australian animation industry pretty much existed as a place where American studios can have tons of footage produced under low budget. King Features and Hanna-Barbera in particular took advantage of this.

Eventually though, the folks down in the southern hemisphere decided to create their own cartoons for their television. The first of those was Arthur and the Square Knights of the Round Table, produced by a company called Air Programs International (API) and broadcast starting 1968.

The show was syndicated throughout the world, including the United States where it was distributed under 20th Century Fox. Unfortunately it was unsuccessful in US. This may be the result of the show's style and humor being very similar to that of the Jay Ward cartoons produced in the 'States. It's a shame because it's actually quite enjoyable. The animation, while crude, is very bouncy and fun, and the dry humor appeals to me. I also love the "comic strip"-like character designs. The show was directed by Zoran Janjic, who originated from Zagreb, which partially explains the style.

Here are some videos:


Pokey said...

The humor is amzaing to me,too. API actually did some more shows seen in US and at least ONE collaboration with Hanna-Barbera: 1971's "Funky Phantom". Their own 1972 show "Around the World in Eighty Days", broadcast a century after Jules Verne first got that clasic story published, was also shown in the United States as well.)

Steve C.
(Kepper of probaly the ONLY blog about the originaL 1950S-1960s Gumby series, of special interest to those who love the clayboy as the show sounded and looked originally.) Click name and icon..

Brubaker said...

I believe Hanna-Barbera eventually bought API and renamed it Hanna-Barbera Australia Pty. Ltd. It later became a separate company and renamed Southern Star (they currently own Arthur! right now)

Will Finn said...

I vaguely remember this playing on Sunday mornings on an indie channel in the 70's.

For some reason I thought it was from Canada, like that funky OZ show...

Yowp said...

I must have seen them years ago because I remember the theme. It owes a debt to Hoyt Curtin.

Brubaker said...


Looking around at the Google News Archive, the show aired on CBC on Thursday afternoons. That's probably where you saw it.

rodineisilveira said...

Charlie Brubaker,

This cartoon series is very reminded here in Brazil. It was aired in the late 70s/early 80s by Globo TV, and in the late 90s/early 2000s by Fox Kids (afterwards Jetix and nowadays Disney XD).

Matthew Koh said...

Hi, I'm from Australia (well actually, I'm a Singaporean-Australian), and I have to say that this is the most wild and wacky animation on television.

Pokey said...

Yowp, funny thing you say that re:Hoyt Curtin..because
1. As you may well know, API who made this and H-B teamed up later, and HB bought out API..

2.The Same composer did a lot of API work.. John Sangster.

He had a jazzy vocal group, and they're heard on "Funky Phantom"[Hanna-Barbera's debut with API] and in API's own "Around tghe World".

Interestingly.... for a post-1960s group of shows, these had excellent theme songs as the one shown here, predating Hanna-Barbera's 1971 teaming up with Air Prog. [1971 was not the FIRST time that HB HAD worked with an overseas or even an Australian some fans of 1967's "Abbott and Costello", RKO-Jomar, animation by Eric Porter alledgly, will show.

Steve Carras..
Animation researcher, oldies message board poster, cruise ship fan, and sometimes just all around vintage pop culture nut.:-)

rodineisilveira said...


Another Brazilian TV network which also ran this series, was Record TV (during the 80s).