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Toonhound presents...






It's A Puppet!

Mumfie - a Neliphant not an Elephant!

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   Here Comes
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  producers: Mary Tuner and John Read
                      for ITC Entertainment
       puppets: string and radio-controlled puppets
      episodes: 52 x 10mins



     "Here comes Mumfie!"

    Mumfie was a Neliphant - not just an elephant, as you may have thought - and he
    had numerous exciting adventures with his best pal Scarecrow (who was indeed,
    a talking Scarecrow - nothing more, nothing less). Scarecrow had a hanky in
    one of his coat pockets and a pet mouse called Panky living in another. Mumfie
    and Scarecrow regularly visited Uncle Samuel E Phant who lived in a big blue
    beached boat-turned-house. There was also a moustached tramp called Nutty Sax,
    so named because he swapped his motorcycle and sidecar for Scarecrow's
    "natty socks". Other characters included some spiv-like Weasels and the
    best-avoided evil Witch who wanted nothing more than to snare Mumfie and
    drain him dry of his politeness and niceity. You see, our Mumfie talked a kind
    of Mary Poppins style mockney-cockney and he was always terrribly polite in
    the company of adults...

       Mumfie and Scarecrow...   

    Mumfie was brought to life by puppet-masters Mary Turner and John Read,
    who had previously brought us the definitive tv-adaptation of Rupert Bear
    and went on to produce The Hound's most-favourite-ever series Cloppa Castle.
    The Mumfie books had been written by Katherine Tozer and first published
    in 1930. They make for fascinating reading, actually. In the first adventure, we
    learn that Mumfie was actually a present from Santa Claus, given to a young
    boy called Tommy. When he discovers that his pal Scarecrow isn't with
    him any more he sets off in search of him. There's an Oz-like tone to the tales,
    with much magic and curious proceedings and a pervading atmosphere of
    melancholy. There is also a notable cruel streak to the tales, as is frequently
    exhibited in Enid Blyton's Noddy books, and indeed, in the Rupert stories
    too. Mumfie is regularly blamed and chastised for bad deeds and occurences
    which he clearly isn't responsible for - poor thing...

       The Mumfie Puppeteers at work...  Mumfie brochure

    The scans above have been provided by Mumfie puppeteer Sue Dacre.
    They show the Mumfie Puppet crew constructing the puppets for the show,
    and then, on the right there is the cover of a "Mumfie" brochure showing Mumfie,
    Nutty Sax and Uncle Sam on and about the latter's big blue boat house.

    Sadly, like "The Adventures of Rupert", the Turner/Read Mumfie has seemingly
    been overlooked by the current rights holders. Mumfie's were snapped up by
    Brit Allcroft a few years back, and their animated adaptation, "The Magical
    Adventures of Mumfie" has proven to be a worldwide hit. One suspects that
    whilst the new version endures the original will be kept tightly under wraps.
    But "Here Comes Mumfie" is simply a  gem of a series, calling out for a
    DVD revival someday. Let's keep our trunks crossed, eh?

   "Mumfie.. you are... an elephant who's
    bound to... go far.. Down in Pinetree Forest...
    the star you are - Mumfie!"

    Mumfie episodes

    Missing Clock
    The Naughty Gingerbread Man
    Trouble with Noise
    Tom Tom the Tinker
    An Hour to Spend
    Things that go Bang


     an ATV colour production

     from the characters and stories by Katherine Tozer

         Mary Turner

             Marcia Webb           
      title song:
        Tat Meagre and Miki Anthony
      sung by:
          The Mumfie Gang
        Judith Shutt, Susan Dacre,
                            Tricia Brummer, Christopher Covington
                Alan Verndell
            Chris Mutter
John Read
      camera op:         
Paul Marwaha
             Cyril Brown, Clive Coker
        Judy Bennett
                            Charles Collingwood


     On the web

     Marcia Webb
     Mumfie's story queen...


     Photos and info here...

     Off the Telly 
     TJ Worthington has contributed this excellent Rupert/Mary Turner article
     to an equally-excellent tv site - well worth a read....

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© ITC Entertainment / Mary Turner & John Read / F2010