The Hound says "Welcome to Toonhound!" Toonhound logo
  cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK  Union Jack


  british toon
  news & chatter
  animated films
  & shorts

  animated series

  animation studios

  & people

  string, hand
  & finger puppets

  characters, strips
  & comic books

  British animators
  & illustrators


Toonhound presents...






It's A Puppet!

Hector's House

    small spacer
    Hector's House       (1967-1973)
   small spacer

puppet style: hand puppets  
Georges Croses
78 x 5min episodes


    "I'm a great big old hector!


   Hector is a pompous, bowdlerising dog. He lives in a country house with his
   charming feline friend ZsaZsa, and the duo get up to much merriment and fun
   in and around their walled garden with their mutual friend and neighbour Kiki
   the frog (or 'Mrs frog' as Hector prefers to call her). Kiki is regularly found
   spying on the duo from her ladder, perched against their wall. She then enters
   their property via a small door hidden in the base of the wall. But this strange
   behaviour doesn't appear to irritate Hector or ZsaZsa. Mind you, Hector is usually
   so full of his own pomp and circumstance he probably doesn't have time to
   consider her strange behaviour. Together these three speculate the world,
   construct things, take up new hobbies and games, and sing songs - usually
   in a kind of mock operetta fashion. Come what may, at the end of each
   escapade our Hector will eventually turn to camera and inform us that he's
   just a big "pompous" old Hector, or "foolish" old Hector, or whatever suits
   the occasion.
   "Hector's House" feels wonderfully, eccentrically British in concept, but it isn't
   really British at all. It's yet another import to these shores, brought in from France
   adapted for and adopted by UK viewers, just like Magic Roundabout. The series
   was created by Georges Croses and was originally titled "La Maison de Toutou".
   Unusually, the French title is still present in UK broadcasts, with our own English
   title presented top and bottom. Hector, ZsaZsa and Kiki are hand puppets,
   extended in length to encompass the operator's arm within their body. The
   puppet hands and forearms are quite rigid, but even so, the operators skilfully
   generate much movement and character from this restricted design.

   Funnily enough, although the title refers to Hector's house, the action always takes
   place in that there garden, in the pond, down the well, up in the fruit trees, outside
   Hector's shed, or by his garden gate but never actually in the home. Indeed, the
   most we get to see is when a character appears in one of the front windows of
   la maison.

        Hector's feet!

   Speaking of "seeing", Trivia Hounds should track down the episode called
   "Playing Tag" in which we finally get to see Hector's sneaking feet!

   The very first episode is a cliff-hanger. It's called "A Mysterious Visit" and it
   introduces us to Kiki. She has a fondness for hats, it seems, especially the little
   pink checked number that she accidentally drops in Hector's garden. Hector
   meanwhile, sniffs an intruder, and in the following episode "Good Morning Frog"
   he takes up his shotgun, determined to tame the ruffian. But Kiki is already
   "tame". She works for the Weather Forecasting Bureau in London, apparently.
   But she never actually seems to go to work at all. Likewise Hector and ZsaZsa,
   who never to refer to any employment of their own. Nor do they ever reveal the
   nature of their strange relationship. Strangely, we come to learn more about
   Kiki than the other two. Hector irregularly refers to her not just as "Mrs Frog",
   but also as "Mrs Frambert". And in the episode called "The Letterbox" she
   shows us and them a postcard from her friend Rebecca who works in the
   Weather Forecasting Bureau of New York...

       Kiki on her ladder

   The show's Gallic origins rarely intrude, but Trivia Hounds will note the sign
   on Hector's shed in the first episode; "Interdit aux chats". Hector adds a second
   sign below it in the episode titled "The Funnel". This one reads "Et aux grenouilles".
   Kiki introduces her friends to a very odd French boardgame in "Rainy Day Games".
   The garden flora and fauna is Gallic too. The characters climb nut trees, and
   listen to the chirruping mockingbird (who also features at the start of each
   Hector loves to make things in his shed, or adapt existing apparel. In "Deep
   Sleep" he makes himself a kennel; somewhere for him to meditate, apparently.
   Then in "Silence is Golden" he paints it light blue and adds air conditioning (!).
   Hector loves his jalopy-style motor car. He becomes a racing driver for a wee
   while. Then in "Hector the Brave Fireman" the pontificating pooch transforms
   the same motor car into a bright red fire engine.

   "Hector's House" was a hit both on and off screen. Numerous tie-in products
   and apparel were produced including a series of fabulous BBC tie-in books
   featuring stills from the series. Fans should track down the BBC Annuals too.
   These were splendidly illustrated by David McKee. Hector remains as popular
   today as ever, and indeed, he's even starred in a recent retro ad campaign
   for The One/RBS...

Hector sings by night!

   "Don't you know that after dark, under threat of violence,
    You are not allowed by law, to disturb the silence...'


     Hector's House on DVD

     UK DVD Hector's House
                Region 2 / Contender / April 2004


    created by Georges Croses

    music by Francis Lai

    original voices:  Jacques Morel, Lucie Dolene, Agnes Vanier
    british version:   Paul Bacon (Hector) , Denise Bryer (Kiki)


     On the web

Little Gems

       The Gems present a great guide to the first thirteen episodes
, with
       plenty of screen grabs spread over four pages - top stuff!

       Dave the Wave
       A fine page with plenty of screen grabs, and useful series info.
       Leads to a second page featuring some Hector merchandise...

      index »   previous »    next »

© Europe Images SA 1965 / F2006