One of my earliest memories is watching TV, naked, at my childhood home. I would dance and sing along to the theme tunes and mimic the action as it unfolded. It was the late ’70s, so I must have been about three. My favourite show was called Animal Kwackers. It featured a four-piece rock’n’roll band consisting of men dressed in life-size animal costumes.
The leader was Rory, a terrifying blue lion with skinny limbs and a gigantic, mutated head. Rory’s bandmates were called Bongo, Boots and Twang. One was a tiger, one a dog and the other one a species that I couldn’t quite identify. Maybe a goat? The tiger wore an eye patch. The dog wore shades. They all hip-thrusted around the stage with their instruments like members of Kiss.
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Because it was a low-budget British show, the costumes were a bit threadbare and the characters’ mouths wouldn’t move when they sang or spoke, which made the whole spectacle even more bizarre. Of course, I only recall these details from rewatching episodes on YouTube more recently. At the time, I wouldn’t have watched with such a critical eye: I just thought these big musical creatures were absolutely dazzling. The show began with a cosmic animation accompanied by a banging theme tune, the opening lines of which ran: “Do you believe in rock’n’roll? Into the spaceship and off we go!”
I might only have been three but I knew even then that, yes, I DID believe in rock’n’roll and I was VERY much up for a ride on that spaceship.
The format was simple: the lads would sing a song (usually a cover version, such as Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds or Blockbuster) then Rory the big blue lion would read a nice story through his motionless lips about the band going on an adventure. Then one last song before the show closed. Lovely stuff.