So, in a fit of nostalgia I picked up a DVD of Wanderly Wagon episodes. Although marketed as “Vol 1” it seems to be a slightly haphazard collection of episodes, as these were the days (the 1970s) when most programs were not preserved on videotape. The second scene in the first episode re-introduces us to the character shown here, Sneaky Snake. I had forgotten about his fez. But the tiny rush of adrenaline that I felt as he hoisted himself up on his bench (prehensile tail and all) next to Dr Astro reminded me how much he used to scare the bejaysus out of me when I was a kid. Something about the eyes. Always looking at you they were. On second thoughts, maybe I’ll hold off on making my own kids watch this stuff.
Watching the first couple of episodes, apart from the obvious lack of retakes, the main thing that strikes you is the writing. It’s an odd mix. E.g.,
Dr Astro: I am … Doctor Astro!
O’Brien: Doctor who?
Dr Astro: No, Doctor Astro. Doctor Who is BBC, Doctor Astro is RTE.
Godmother (to Oisín): When did you last see your father?
Oisín: Don’t follow too close behind, and don’t make me wobble, because if I fall off this bicycle, we’re all banjaxed.
O’Brien: [Singing about Oisín] He’s Oisín from Tir na n-Óg, and he never grows old … Judge: He does ballet and go-go, and all different styyyyles … Mr Crow: He told me himself he does two minute miles … O’Brien: And he’s good at karate and breaks tons of tiles.
O’Brien: Look, you can have Judge’s bunk, and Judge can share my bunk with me. Can’t you Judge? Judge: Of course, O’Brien. It won’t be the first time.
Dr Astro [miniaturized]: I may be small, but I’m perfectly formed.