Saturday, 7 January 2012

You Little Tinker Tingha!

I realise that my Alphabetical Tourist slot is long overdue and I started some research today to make amends.   But...I've got distracted sufficiently from my research about Australia to collect enough material  to write about something else,  My post  has a definite Ozzie theme but was in fact is about  a thoroughly British creation.

When I was little I had two koala bears that I think were made out of kangaroo fur. I'm also a bit unclear about how I came to own them but I believe that they had been sent as a present from down under by a distant relative.  Now I loved these bears to bits - literally.  I cried almost inconsolably when a bit of Tinker's plastic foot fell off when I was about seven.  He was the smaller cuter bear,  The other was called Tucker and he didn't have problems with loose digits because his own appendages were make of more study leather.

Now these toys were named after two characters from a TV show.  However,  a previous halfhearted Internet search for their famous counterparts hadn't yielded any results.  I was beginning to believe that they may have been a figment of my overactive imagination.  After all, they'd never come up in our alcohol fueled reminiscence sessions about kid's programmes like the Clangers, Hector's House and Crystal Tips and Alistair that we'd often engaged in during our meaning filled younger adult lives.   But the problem has now been solved.  Tinker should have been Tingha, the name of a town in New South Wales.  Along with Tucker he had his own show, a TV club with a membership pack, salute (right forefinger placed vertically to the nose and the head then bowed), password (Woomerang, Boomerang), motto (Bear in Mind to be Good) and  a President, the plummy pommie presenter,  Jean Morton.  Really I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

One look at YouTube has convinced me that my tastes have changed over the years.  It takes more than the antics of these fluffy creatures, controlled  in traditional  fashion  with the hands of a mystery man under a table up their jacksies to entertain me.  And frankly the recorder playing Willie Wombat  is rightly assigned to history  The more recent CBeebies offering the Koala Brothers is really much more entertaining than watching someone reading bible stories to puppets.   But I'm still pleased to hear that in their time, these bears were enormous stars.  Their club had a membership of 750,000 and  ATV postbags were so inundated with fan mail that their overwhelming popularity was  allegedly  responsible for their demise in 1970.  The 'boys' made an album with covers of Beatles songs and famous guests joined them on the TV show.  Ted Heath, the former prime minister made a guest appearance as an old sailor and cop this clip of a youthful Cliff Richard . My my!

Apparently, according to Wikipedia, the puppets were stolen from storage, never to be recovered.  Whoever nicked them must have been to my childhood home.  For whatever Papa Lovelygrey says to the contrary, I categorically state that my moth eaten pair of koalas  DID NOT leave home with me when I went to university.  They too have disappeared without trace!


  1. Ugh, ugh, that clip! Something really creepy about it (for which I thank you -- I like creepy stuff). The magic boomerang and the salute, shudder, all so wrong.

  2. I've got Tingha and Tucker glove puppets I bought at an antique fair. They are pretty moth eaten and old, but I washed them and they still look cute, although one of them has lost part of his black nose. I wonder if they are the stolen ones?!?