Songs from the original Adventure Island

We can count on you

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We'll be thinking of you

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Videos from the original
Adventure Island

Adventure Island - Episode 1 (excerpt)

Friday Closer

History of Adventure Island

The original series of the popular Australian television series for children screened on the ABC from September 11 1967 to December 22 1972, with repeats running from 1973 to 1976.

A pantomime-style series set in the land of Diddley-Dum-Diddley, Adventure Island was produced by Godfrey Productions and broadcast on the ABC from their Melbourne studios.

Hostesses were (Nancy Cato 1967-1968 and Sue Donovan 1969 - 1972). Regular characters included Liza (Liz Harris), Clown (John Michael Howson), Flower Potts (Brian Crossley), Percy Panda (Jack Manuel), Dodo Panda (Marion Edward), Betty Bruin (Carole Walker), Fester Fumble (Ernie Bourne), Miser Meanie (Colin McEwan 1967-1968, Robert Essex 1969 - 1972), Captain Crook (Ernie Bourne), Giggles Goblin (Peter Homewood) and Squire Squeezum (Burt Cooper).

The show was created by John Michael Howson and Executive Producer Godfrey Phillipp, with Howson writing the majority of the scripts and also appearing in each episode. Howson also wrote four storybooks based on the show.

Phillipp had studied television abroad, and his main influence in the format of Adventure Island had been The Mickey Mouse Club with it's part adlib, part scripted style.

The scripted part of the show usually involved the inhabitants of Diddley-Dum-Diddley being set upon or tricked in some way by one or more of the resident "baddies". On many occasions the lovable dimwitted Clown (with sawdust for a brain and an appalling memory) would save the day with his uncanny ability to see through disguises.

A notable feature of the show was the music. Nearly every moment of the show was accompanied by instrumental improvisation. Each episode also contained two original songs written by musical director Bruce Rowland, who later went on to find fame writing scores for movies such as The Man From Snowy River.

As colour television was not introduced in Australia until 1975 no episodes of Adventure Island were broadcast in colour. Many viewers believe they saw the show in colour, but this was mainly due to Production Designer Paul Cleveland's brilliantly designed sets and the fact that colour photographs of the show have been published since.

The show's closure, announced in mid l972, was highly controversial and was met with an unprecedented flood of public protest. A group of MP's headed by David Kennedy formed a "Save Adventure Island" campaign during which questions were asked in Parliament. However the campaign was unsuccessful and the final episode, number 1175, aired on December 22, 1972.

John Michael Howson and Bruce Rowland have united again to bring the New Adventure Island to the children of today. A mixture of pantomime, song and dance, Adventure Island - The Next Generation has all new stories and music, but still has the same sense of fun and core values of the original show. The DVD has been released and information about live shows can be found on our website.