The Adventures of Snelgrove Snail and The Waterville Gang – More Canadian TV!
I know for some readers, I’ve written about some obscure programming like The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, Doctor Snuggles, and Cucumber so far (and will continue to do so), but I think even for Canadians, and those in Southern Ontario, this will be obscure for them as well.
I’ve found what I could online about these programs and if anyone reading this can add more information, please feel free to contact me.
The Adventures of Snelgrove Snail
When discussing shows I watched as a child, I always faintly remembered this program off and on all my adult life for some reason. Somehow last year, I stumbled across the name when reading a TV show list or reading about Canadian programming on a site. As soon as I saw the name, a light went off in my head and I immediately typed it into Google. From there, I found the intro to the show that also has the theme music playing and I was whisked away immediately to my childhood. The Adventures of Snelgrove Snail had reentered my psyche.
According to www.lostmediawiki.com, the show originally aired in 1979-1980 on CHCH-TV, which is based out of Hamilton, ON. It was created by D.W. Reid Film Company and voiced by a small cast. The website states the show is currently “lost.” There only seems to be the intro floating around the internet so I’m hoping some people have old VHS copies lying around they can share on YouTube. As of the time of writing this, there are two different VHS tapes on Ebay.
The show revolved around Snelgrove Snail and his friends in the aptly named place, Snailsville. There was always some kind of moral or lesson learned through the stories, although I can’t 100% remember any of the plots. I do remember having nightmares when I was like three or four about the big shark on the show.
Other characters in the show (as seen in the intro video I embedded below) are: Constance Cowrie, Terry Turtle, Conrad Crepidula, Stanley Starfish, Herman the Hermit Crab, Lulu Limpet, Dr. Lionel Limpet, Olivia Van Oysterbed, Sherman Shark, Professor Periwinkle, and Sid the Squid.
The Waterville Gang
Continuing on with the theme of underwater kid shows (and no, I’m not going to be talking about The Snorks – I couldn’t stand them), here’s another one featuring puppets: The Waterville Gang.
According to Toonarific.com, the show began to air in 1972 on CFO-TV. Further information from http://www.tvarchive.ca states,
“The Waterville Gang was filmed using a technique known as ‘chromakey.’ It involves programming a camera so that it does not “register” the colour blue. Puppeteers, dressed in blue from head to toe, manipulate the puppets against a blue backdrop, and therefore only the puppets appear in the image. To create a set, a second image can be superimposed on the first.”
So basically, it’s using a blue/green screen like many can easily do now at home.
There are some clips on YouTube that, when combined, make a complete episode. The show features the underwater cast in various situations like many sitcoms before and after it. Hell, the whole plot of the episode I’m embedding below is all about lonely seniors looking for love and the younger creatures playing match-makers. Pretty odd for a children’s show, huh?
The main characters featured in this show are: Sharky Shark, Dodger Dolphin, Angel Fish, Tucker Turtle, Pearl Van Oyster, Eloise Seahorse, Ace Seagull. There were a few more characters in the show so if you’re interested in reading more about them and seeing some descriptions for those characters and those above, go HERE.
Fun fact: one of the people who contributed to the voices on the program is Canada’s own Billy Van from The Hilarious House of Frightenstein!
The more I’m reflecting on these old shows, the more I wish they were all available in some capacity so I could share them with my daughter. I hope I helped you discover some old gems or make you say, “ahh..I remember this show!” If you want me to feature a specific show that I haven’t gotten to yet, let me know in the comments section!