Monday, 19 November 2012

Torchy The Battery Boy

Torchy, a battery toy, with the help of Mr. Bumble-Drop, a kind old Earthman, was rocketed to Topsy-Turvy Land - "a wonderful twinkling star where toys could walk and animals could talk; where the fields were full of lollipops, and cream buns grew on trees."

Crikey - I don't remember those cut-glass accents back in 1958. I lived on a Derby council estate, so I wonder why I didn't notice? Or alternatively failed to remember how the accents were nothing like mine? 

Probably because at the time I hadn't associated such accents with social class, but did associate them with the BBC. So maybe I didn't notice and therefore didn't remember. To my young ears they were just BBC voices, so not unfamiliar. 

I was also too old for Torchy, so maybe I just don't remember him all that well. He's certainly much weirder than I recall though. 

I was more into the Lone Ranger, an American import which was a little more believable than Torchy. Maybe I could also imitate Lone Ranger accents without sounding silly to my peers.

We seem to have a strange tradition of producing seriously weird TV programmes for children. It still goes on today as far as I can see. Mind you, traditional children's stories are pretty bizarre too.

Do these mass fantasies stimulate the young imagination or render it unreliable? Was the Lone Ranger more dubious in that respect because it is closer to a possible reality?


Sam Vega said...

I thought I could remember both of them, although Torchy does seem to be both more bizarre and amateurish than I would have anticipated. The Lone Ranger is more of a Western cultural icon, so I have kept the memories fresher as far as he is concerned.

Torchy apparently ran until 1959, so I would have been three when it ended. I have the memory of being excited by the lights and the battery bits, but was completely perplexed by the rest. An interesting one for me, as I have a son of two, and Torchy is on the very edge of my memories. I'll be careful as to what we expose him to!

As I am from Luton, the accents would of course have been very close to what I heard every day...

A K Haart said...

Sam - I don't think people up here would dream of associating those accents with Luton.

I do think it's important what kids are exposed to, but I don't think the effect is very predictable within some obvious boundaries.