Thursday Top Ten: Nostalgic Collection Of The Best Old-School Hungarian Cartoons
Robert Velkey 2017.02.02.
In Hungary Today’s weekly series “Thursday Top Ten” our readers can learn about the most interesting things one can find about Hungary in connection with a given topic. Following last week’s article about those buildings and architectural sights of Hungary that were constructed during the Communist era (1945-1990), now we collected the top ten most iconic Hungarian cartoons.
Do you like tales, puppet-shows and animations? Do you remember to the „good-old” times of the Hungarian cartoons and old-school animations? Unfortunately, Hungary doesn’t make cartoon-series like that old times today. It is worthy of note, in the late 70s and 80s it was a very well functioning, and running business in Hungary with great results. If you remember to the old Hungarian cartoons you will love this nostalgic collection…
Süsü a sárkány / Süsü the dragon
Süsü, a sárkány (“Süsü the Dragon”) is a Hungarian Hand Puppet television series also called puppet-musical. Nine episodes were created between 1976 and 1984, the first being an 53-minute pilot, followed by eight 30-minute episodes. It follows the adventures of a young dragon who was exiled from the dragon kingdom for being too gentle, and accepted into the royal family of a nearby human kingdom.
Originally the story is from Miroslav Nastosijevic Serbian author. His radio-show about the one-headed dragon became interpreted and made as a puppet-cartoon by the Hungarian television.
Frakk a macskák réme / Frakk the terror of cats
We could name it as the Hungarian Tom & Jerry because the story is based on an unsolvable opposition. Frakk is a dog living his life with a typical, sometimes ironically depicted family. Frakk shares a home with Uncle Charles (Károly bácsi) and Aunt Irma (Irma néni), two Hungarian pensioners along with their two cats, Lucretia and Serena. Due to an old rivalry, the three constantly get into fights which are exacerbated by the strict attitude of Aunt Irma, who favors the two cats as opposed to Uncle Charles, who takes the dog’s side.
The show was created by Ágnes Bálint in 1971. The first season began in the same year, while second season was added in 1972, then a third came later in 1978. The cartoon was very popular in Hungary and is considered one of the top animated shows that defined the decade of the 1970s for Hungarian children.
Next Please! – Dr. Bubó
Dr. Bubó, an owl and a natural-born bachelor who fancies fine cigars, operates his consulting room in a lair. The ruling principle of his philosophy is that the body’s illnesses are rooted in psychosomatic reasons, so he seeks the help of psychology, but his diagnoses are always way off. His assistant, a gold-hearted bear named Ursula, is deeply in love with Dr. Bubó, and often protects her Platonic sweetheart from enraged patients. The amazing cartoon mocks psychological and social problems in a clever way, thus it’s more than consumable for adults. Speaking of psychological problems, the forest’s inhabitants deal with hillarious hardships: the elephant suffers from an inferiority complex, the flea is a megalomaniac, the goose is a hypohondriac, the pig is a drunkard, and so forth.
The Series of the healing owl contains 3 seasons. The first two were on the program of the Hungarian television from 1974 and 1975. The third season was played between 1982 and 1983.
Mekk Elek – Master Mekk
The Hungarian puppet-show was made in 1973. All of the Hungarian channels were put it on their programs, the M1, M2, Duna TV, and Duna World also. The main character is Master Elek the goat. He thinks he is a man-of-all-work and he accept any kind of works but it turns out he is not as good handyman as he thought.
Zénó the plasiticine man – and the voice of Goofy
Zénó is the protagonist of the Hungarian clay animated series of the same title. The character was made of single- colored plasticine and filmed with stop motion animation. Zénó is a clumsy guy, who always tries out something new, but at the end all the things go wrong. In the 1980s, these kind of animations were really popular in Hungary. Zénó was the one that was not only for children, but for adults as well, due to its content that are mainly related with them
Another interesting fact that there was no speech in any of the shows, only gibberish (or sometimes short phrases in English, notably in Zénó). The voices were done by the Hungarian actor and voice actor Gyula Szombathy, who’s also known as the regular voice of Goofy and Mung Daal from Chowder.
A Nagy ho-ho-horgász / The Great Angler
The iconic cartoon series kicked off in 1982, and had another season in George Orwell’s favourite year, 1984. The story is centered around the fishing adventures of The Great Angler and his main man – or rather main crawler -, the Boss Worm.
The cartoon depicts the beauty of being passionate about what you love, and presents how enthusiasm and perseverance help to defeat obstacles.
The Tales of Pom Pom
Written by István Csukás and Ferenc Sajdik, and drawn by the latter, Pom Pom is based on a series of ever-popular books courtesy of the same duo of artists. The main characters are Pom Pom, the cutest talking mop-wig hybrid of all time, and Picur (Kiddo), a schoolgirl. Pom Pom tells tales relevant to the happenings of Picur’s life, introducing a number of lovably odd creatures in the process such as Gombóc Artúr (Arthur Dumpling), a chocolate-craving bird with Garfield’s appetite and body fat percentage.
Pom Pom has only had two seasons – in 1980 and 1981 -, but, just like Cat City and The Mézga Family, reached the pantheon of cartoons within a blink of an eye, and is often referenced and quoted to this day.
The Tales About King Matthias
King Matthias is the most popular historical hero in the folklore, in Hungary, but his figure also appeared in the folk tradition of the neighbouring peoples as well. The tales about King Matthias adapts the Hungarian king’s instructive stories about justice and goodness. The historical cartoon-series were made between 1981-1983.
The Strange Adventures Of The Mézga Family
The Mézga Family is the Hungarian version of The Simpsons. The weird family first appeared on TV in the late 60s, and had two more seasons in 1974 and 1978. The series portrays a seemingly typical middle-class family consisting of Géza, the clumsy father playing second fiddle to his wife, Paula; Aladár, a 12-year-old boy who happens to be a child prodigy, and Kriszta, a girl in her teens showing all the antics associated with her age.
There is an unexpected family member from the future too. MZ/X, the family’s 30th-century descendant with whom Aladár made contact. MZ/X tries to make the life of his ancestors easier by sending various high-tech gadgets through time and space, but, as the aphorism states, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maffia, the cat, Blöki (Zorro), the dog, and Dr. Máris, the cynical neighbour also contribute to the storyline.
According origo.hu in 2016 the Mézga Family became the favorite cartoon-series of the Hungarians by the results of a survey about cartoons and animations.
Magyar Népmesék / Hungarian Folk Tales
The series of Hungarian Folk Tales cartoon is an adaptation of the old Hungarian tales. The cartoon based on the old Hungarian folk tales mostly on the collection of writings of Elek Bendek. By the way Elek Bendek was one of the founders of Hungarian literature for children. Most kids have grown up on his fairy-tales.
The cartoon of the Hungarian Folk Tales became the most famous and well-known cartoon in Hungary. There is not a Hungarian who doesn’t know the title song of the cartoon. The creators (including Marcell Jankovics) paid special attention to using Hungarian folk motives in the episodes.