Tuesday, 4 May 2010

More Tufty

A while back I posted about a series of stop-motion public information films from the seventies promoting the Tufty Club, an organisation teaching children about road safety. Since then I've found two related films, both of which can be found on the Charley Says Volume 2 DVD.

The first, titled simply Tufty Club, is a cel-animated short. Being black-and-white it clearly predates the colour stop-motion films.

"This is Tufty Fluffytail, the red squirrel!"

"'Look out, Tufty, look out! The roads are dangerous for little children!' said Mr. Wise Owl."

"'What's going on here?' asked Mr. Policeman Badger."

"We must start a club for little children, and teach them how not to get hurt on the roads.'"

"That's a jolly good idea. We'll call it Tufty club, and Tufty Fluffytail will be the first member."

"So his mother took Tufty to join the club. Wise Owl gave him a picture book to read, and Policeman Badger gave him a badge to wear."

"For the cost of half a crown you can join the club too, and receive your picture book and badge. Mothers - you can find out about the Tufty Club at your council houses."

The second film is titled The Brown Rabbits - Pills and Bottles and never mentions Tufty or even road safety, but clearly ties in with the Tufty Club films. It uses a similar visual style - albeit with more sophisticated puppets - and its characters are presumably related to Tufty's friend Bobby Brown Rabbit; a portrait of a squirrel woman resembling Tufty's mum can also be spotted towards the end. A Tufty spin-off? Hmm...

One interesting thing to note: the film uses lipsync (of a very simple mouth open/mouth closed variety); this sets it apart not only from the seventies Tufty films, but also from most of the British stop-motion series being produced at the time. The effect is, to be frank, slightly creepy, but the short is otherwise quite charming.

"Do you know what tummy-ache feels like, children? Bessie and Betsy Brown Rabbit. They found some strange bottles, and some strange pills that looked just like sweets, so they tasted them to see what they were like."

"And now look! They've got the most awful tummy-aches."

"Oh, my little dears! Didn't you know you should never eat strange sweets or drinks?"

"Mrs Brown Rabbit is putting them to bed with a hot water bottle, and then is going to get Dr. White Rabbit."

"Dr. White Rabbit says, 'Luckily they didn't eat or drink much of that medicine. Ooh, but it was a very dangerous thing to do.'"

"Mrs. Brown Rabbit says, 'Children, you will never touch any strange drinks or sweets you may find, will you?'"

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