Wednesday, 25 April 2018

HAVE YOU HEARD OF HECTOR'S HOUSE? YOU HAVE NOW...



Oh, you lucky peeps.  Managed to find the time to dash off a quick post - hopefully it's one that you'll think was worthwhile.

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A couple of years or so back I was in a shop with someone I know and got to talking about TV shows for kids with the two female shop assistants (who, I guess, were in their 40s).  It was a sort of card/gift shop and there must've been some item or other that kick-started the discussion.  We briefly talked about BAGPUSS and various other shows, and I mentioned HECTOR'S HOUSE, which elicited an interested enquiry from the pair.  As I started to explain, the guy I was with suddenly ejaculated in an exasperated manner "For Pete's sake, Gordie, they're far too young to have ever seen Hector's House!"  I put his remark down to an attempt to ingratiate himself with the women by indulging in a bit of fawning flattery, and calmly continued my discourse.  However, as we were leaving, my companion looked at the duo with an apologetic expression on his kipper and said "Sorry about that!"  I considered his remark patronising (to the women) in the extreme, and insulting to me, so I said to them "Well, you've heard of Bagpuss - he's Sourpuss!"  (I presume their rejoining laughter indicated their agreement.)  As you may have gathered, I wasn't best-pleased with his obnoxious attitude.

Now, here's an interesting fact.  Bagpuss was first screened in 1974 and Hector's House, though first broadcast in Britain in 1968, was still being regularly repeated by the BBC up until 1975.  Both shows are readily available on DVD and YouTube, and have most likely been shown at various times on TV over the years.  Many parents purchase DVDS of old TV shows for their kids, whether they actually watched them themselves when young or not.  My point being that those two women were just as likely to have seen - or not seen - one show as the other.  Going by the logic of my companion, I shouldn't have heard of, never mind seen, FRANKENSTEIN, which was made in 1931, or DOUBLE INDEMNITY, made in 1944 - or anything else that was issued prior to my arrival in the world.  You see the flaw in his thinking?  To assume that because someone wasn't born when a movie or TV show was first shown means they can't possibly have heard of it, is extremely condescending - and blinkered.

On another occasion we were in a comics shop and, during my enquiry to an assistant (the manager actually) about a publication with some DALEKS strips, I referred to TV CENTURY 21.  "Gordie, he wasn't even born then, so there's no point going on with that!" this same fellow interjected.  I ignored him and continued, "TV21 was a comic in the '60s that published comic strips based on GERRY ANDERSON puppet shows."  My way, the guy learned a snippet of information that may prove useful in dealing with future enquiries from others, the other guy's way, he remains ignorant and clueless about a landmark in British comics publishing.  That's assuming that he hadn't actually heard of TV21 of course;  the fact is, it's unlikely, because the shop sold various books reprinting strips from the comic and he's bound to have seen the name at one time or another.  (Granted, whether it made any impression on him or not is a different matter.)

If you pay people the compliment of assuming that they're at least as informed as you are on a subject, they may (and fairly often do) live up to your assumption - if not, they'll soon let you know and you can then take the opportunity to bring them 'up to speed'.  The point is, knowledge is for sharing.  If you share your knowledge, you enlighten others;  if you assume that everyone else is mired in ignorance and keep your knowledge to yourself, then if that's how they are, that's how they'll remain.  Don't know about you, but I know which approach I prefer.             

14 comments:

Standby4action said...

I have heard and greatly enjoyed Hector's House in the late 60s, but I'd been without a telly for 3 years so that might explain it! I still don't know why I liked it, but its quirkiness certainly helped.
On the topic, I think that anyone who claims to know about UK comics scene would know Eagle, TV21, 2000ad and many others whether they were around or not - especially as the Net allows them to see a lot of these comics in their original form! After all I've read Prince Valiant, Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Krazy Kat and enjoyed them immensely

Kid said...

Hector's House and The Magic Roundabout were 'cult' viewing amongst the pupils of my secondary school in the early '70s. One teacher wouldn't let us leave the room until we had given a vocal rendition of The Magic Roundabout theme in class one day.

Yup, most adults are aware of many things that pre-date them. To automatically assume that people won't know of something because of their age is ignorant folly. The two women knew about Bagpuss so could easily have known about Hector's House too. The fact that they didn't is merely down to a 'roll of the dice'. Not everyone can know everything.



McSCOTTY said...

I used to watch all those 5 -10 minute fillers that were on just after (or was it before?) the news in the late 60s early 70s (BBC and on ITV) . Hectors House and the Magic Roundabout were probably the most famous but there were quite a few others that I seem to recall that filled that TV slot like “Paulus the Woodgnome” , “Jungle ted and the lazy button poppers” (had a great theme tune if nothing else) the “Enchanted House” etc but my favourite was “The Little Grey Men” from about 1975ish (it wasn’t called that but can’t recall the name of the programme – very strange title from memory - but it was based on that book) my main memory was of the stunning artwork, plus I like stories about gnomes as a teenager.

I know what you mean regarding people saying “ oh they’re too young to remember that etc” as it happens more and more to me but as long as you explain it (like you did) it sound acceptable to me to mention these things

Anonymous said...

Back in the '80s when I asked various people if they'd watched Hector's House, nobody could remember it. Even I could only remember the name but nothing about the programme.

My mother was once talking about some actress from the '40s and she said "You won't know her" to which I replied "I DO KNOW" - I felt insulted and annoyed that she'd assume I'd never heard of somebody who was famous before I was born.

But some people think it's oh so clever to say they've never heard of people from the past. They think it makes them sound modern and cool when, of course, they just display their ignorance.

Kid said...

Regarding The Little Grey Men, McS, I read it years ago as a kid and again as an adult (at least a couple of times). There was also a sequel called Three Little Grey Men Go Down The Bright Stream, which was also a good little read. Never heard of any of the other shows you mention though. The ones I remember are Jackanory, Mary, Mungo & Midge, Noggin The Nog, and (of course) Camberwick Green, Trumpton, and Chigley. Oh, and The Herbs, and Parsley. No doubt there were others (I've got loads of them on DVD), but I can't recall the names off-the-top-of-my-head at the moment.

My philosophy is that, if we don't mention things on the grounds that people might not know about them, then they're never going to know about them. Back in the '90s I recommended a book to a pal (The Wind In The Willows) and he said he wished he'd read it years ago.

Kid said...

Back in 'my' day (oh, I feel so old), CJ, most houses only had one TV and parents usually decided what the family would watch (not counting kids shows in the afternoons or early evenings). Therefore, kids heard their parents talk about actors like Boris Karloff or Humphrey Bogart, etc., and soon learned all about actors, movies and TV shows that pre-dated them. That's how I knew that Richard Greene (Robin Hood) was known as the Brylcreem Boy, because he used to advertise it in the '50s (I think) and that's what my dad called him whenever he saw him on screen.

Nowadays, with TVs in every room, people watch their 'own' programmes, meaning that kids know less about what preceeded them (unless we tell 'em) and the generation gap is wider than it's ever been.

Dougie said...

McScotty, "The Little Grey Men" was adapted as a 10-part animated series, called "Baldmoney, Sneezewort, Dodder and Cloudberry". That was in 1975 and it was shown on the ITV network. At the same time, I read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for the first time and I was really charmed by the series.

Kid, I hope things are better for you now.

Kid said...

Thanks for the thought, D, but things are only bound to get worse. Nothing for it but to soldier on.

Dave S said...

A lot of the stuff I grew up watching in the 80s were repeats of 60s and 70s shows, so when I got my first job in 1993, and a conversation started about favourites TV shows, my colleagues seemed surprised that I knew who Catweazle, Captain Scarlet and Mr Ed were! I think they assumed that, because they hadn't seen those programmes for many years, no-one had.

Wishing you all the best, Kid.

Kid said...

I knew about Ivanhoe, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and William Tell from repeats in the early to mid '60s, yet all of them were first shown before I was even old enough to know what a television was, DS. Repeats have been around since the year dot in the history of TV, so I'm not sure why some people don't take that into account when making assumptions about what people can know of.

Lionel Hancock said...

My memory mud be going as I seemed to think Hector was a bird.. Hector? Who the hell Hector.. Lol

Kid said...

I seem to recall there was a bird in it now that you mention it, LH, but I'd have to check before I commit myself. (To whether there was or not I mean, not to the nut-hut.)

Christopher Nevell said...

Yes, the bird sang at the end after Hector would exclaim that he was a great big silly Hector after the latest misunderstanding.

Kid said...

Ta for that, CN - saves me having to look. One of my secondary school teachers looked and sounded like Hector. His name was Mr. Hill, so we called him Hector Hill.

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