Serge Danot

Le Manège Enchanté (The Magic Roundabout) was created by a Frenchman called Serge Danot.

The son of a tanner specialising in chamois leathers, Danot played out his childhood adventures with puppets that he made. In 1952 Danot left his home in Sèvre for adventure in Paris. He took on a job as a cleaner in a film studio and slowly learnt the trade of film making.

He made the original Magic Roundabout characters in his garage during the evenings and shot the original pilot episode in his bathroom. After showing his pilot to TV station l'ORTF he was immediately asked to make a further 8 episodes. Following a further order for 108 episodes Danot set up a studio in his father's tannery in Sèvre which by then was in decline.

In Danot's original version Dougal was called Pollux, was stuffy and pompous, and had an amusingly strong English accent. Florence was called Margote, Dylan was called Flappy and was Spanish (which explains why he was so sleepy), Brian was Ambrose. Ermintrude was Azalea, Zebidee was Zébulon, and Mr Rusty was Father Peony.

The storyline was that Father Peony's roundabout had lost it's magic so he invited Margote and her friends to play in the magic garden so the roundabout would get back it's magic.

Made in colour right from the beginning, the program was animated by photographing puppets 24 times every second. 7500 frames were required for each 5 minute episode.

Danot made a feature length version of Le Manège Enchanté in 1970 called Pollux et le Chat Bleu but sadly this was a commercial failure. Danot passed away in 1990.

The series was 'translated' into English by actor Eric Thompson and was shown in the UK from 1965. Eric's daughter Emma who was 6 years old at the time could not have fully appreciated the duality of Thompson's work which made it enjoyable for children and adults alike. (via)

"a chanson au père noël"

"Les savonnettes"


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