Charley Says...

Charley Says...
As Vic Reeves would have said... "You wouldn't let it lie...".

Brace yourself for a nostalgic rant...

Don't you find it depressing how many reboots there are...

They take something that worked in the past...

And "bring it up to date".

Uggghhh.

It could be a film e.g. Mary Poppins...

It could be a television programme e.g. Hawaii-Five-O...

And almost without exception the remake is pants, with none of what made the original work.

It shows a hideous lack of creativity as far as I'm concerned... and frequently it's an insult to the original.

Why oh why?

Anyway, as you can probably guess, I have a particular example in mind.

And it's one which shows how times have changed since I was running around in shorts...

Do you remember the "Charley says" public information films for the the 70s and 80s?  

Charley was the whiney-voiced cat, who used to eat fish in the same "old-fashioned typewriter" way that everyone in cartoons seems eats sweetcorn.

Incidentally... and this is one of those fab facts that I discover as I research these pieces... do you know who did the voice for Charley the cat?  He was very famous back in the day... invariably being described as "zany".  

Go on... try and guess... I wouldn't have got it in a month of Sundays.

The answer's further down in this post.

Anyway, in each episode (there were 6) Charley would often half-kill himself and then teach his mop-haired boy owner how to avoid one of the perils that faced us children back then.

- falling in the water
- dangers in the kitchen (when cooking sausages!)
- playing with matches
- telling mummy where you're going (the one with the fish-eating!) aka don't just go off with Vera and Dave - love those names - even when Mummy's nattering with the milkman (if ever a sentence encapsulates how times have changed, it's that one)
- beware hot tea (especially when there are plates of fish around!)
- don't talk to strangers (without a doubt the single message that was drummed into us more than anything else back then)... features the typewriter fish trick again!

You can see them all here: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/1964to1979/filmindex2.htm

Prepare yourself for something really exciting...

In 2006 the Charley series was voted the UK's favourite public service announcement according to the BBC...

OOOOOOOOooooooohhhhhhh...

It beat such classics as "Disused fridges" (number 19)... that's not an old fridge, its a
 

DEATH TRAP!




And amazingly that classic "Rabies Warnings" was only number 20... who'd have thought?

The Charley Says series also featured in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Cartoons...

Yes really...

But only at number 95.

Oops...

Anyway, so far so good...

So good in fact that in 2014 Electrical Safety First (formerly known as the Electrical Safety Council but which had clearly needed "rebranding" because that old version made it so confusing what the body was about.... NOT!) decided to reboot Charley and make 2 new versions to reflect life 40 years after the originals.

So now we have "don't overload power sockets" and, I suppose because Electrical Safety First will only pay for films directly related to their remit... 

"The perils of buying counterfeit karaoke machines from markets."



I know... what a relief that one of the greatest perils to small children in the 21st century has been highlighted like this.

Sadly the original voicer of Charley is no longer alive...

Kenny Everett... did you guess?

So instead ESF (as I'm sure the people at Electrical Safety First probably like to call it, unless they've rebranded it again to something like "Make Electricity Great Again!") blew their budget on another "celebrity" (he's an award-winning actor, comedian and author as we are constantly being told)...

The self-styled new "Roald Dahl"... 

I think not.  

(Can you tell I'm not a fan?)

The new Charley versions are tripe as far as I'm concerned.  Horrible on so many levels.

See what you think... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RwX5SNc-xE

They should have let it lie.

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Nostalgic Meanderings
Hello David McKee sadly died about a month ago.  He was 87, which is a good innings in anybody's book. You're probably thinking... who? To tell the truth, I'd have been doing the same. ... [Read More]
Almost 50 years later this still sends shivers down my spine... and not in a good way. It's in the same category as scraping fingers down the blackboard for many people (which strangely I don't m... [Read More]
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