Micky the Mong
|“||Here comes Micky, Micky the Mong...We love Micky, lets sing his song...||”|
Micky the Mong is a puppet character in British television programmes for children. Micky is an intellectually subnormal marionette who lives in a picnic basket. Micky was later joined by Teddy (a teddy bear) and Loopy Loo, a rag doll, who would appear when Micky and Teddy weren't around. All three lived in the same picnic basket.
The original programmes featuring the character were presented by "Uncle" Johnny McNuggets, a 57 year old bachelor and children's entertainer from Inverness, Scotland, and were broadcast live by the BBC from their studios at Alexandra Palace, London from 1946 to 1952. "Uncle" Johnny and the puppet continued with programmes that were broadcast until 1955, when he was arrested during a police raid on the public toilets in Hampstead Heath.
Recorded live in front of a studio audience, the show was condensed down from two hours into a twenty-minute show for the Watch with Mother section of daytime TV. The show launched some of the first TV inspired catchphrases, that was echoed by children the length and breadth of England - "Oh Micky....you silly little git" and "SHITCAKES!!!". The latter became a national sensation when a microphone was accidentally left on in "Uncle" Johnny's make-up room, along with seventeen bottles of gin.
Over the years the show featured a number of audience particaption games which included:
- Inject the Idiot - based loosely on Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but involving mild sedatives.
- Shock the Monkey - ECT for kids. Featuring Bubbles the Chimp.
Micky was supported by a host of other puppet characters who appeared occasionally, such as Charles the Cripple, Thicky Dickie, Thalidomide Ted the Short-Armed Kid, and numerous others. In 1950 an additional character, Sally the Spac was added to the cast, who would have her own shortlived spin-off series, featuring the vocal talents of Angela Lansbury, and the up and coming Kenneth Williams in his days before Carry On Films.
|“||Oh you are a thick....little shit.....||”|
Each of the twenty-minute shows featured a specially commissioned song, created by some of the best known artistes of the time, including Cole Porter and Noel Coward, then at the height of his fame. The words for the song would appear on a board for both the studio audience and watching children at home to sing along to.
Song titles included:
- The Lobotomy Song (in C Major) - Coward, N
- "Uncle" Johnny's Special Needs - Crosby, B
- Fun Time at the Sanitarium - Farmer, F
- Funny Farm Blues - Ralph McTell
- When I'm Lickin' Windows - Formby, G
- Don't Laugh at Me - Wisdom, N
In 1985 the BBC released a collection of some of the favourite tunes from the show under the title Songs from the Big House, which have being re-mastered for CD and scheduled for release in the summer of 2008. The improved sound quality has revealed a number of background sounds that were unheard in the original, including the sound of the puppeteers muttering to each other, and "Uncle" Johnny speaking to a twelve year old audience member about his love of Turkish Baths.
By today's modern standards the show would have fallen foul of the politically correct movement, but in post-War Britain, still in an age of innocence, Micky was not only sanctioned and broadcast, but also became one of the most popular children's show of all time. Micky the Mong ragdolls were produced some with added features such as epicanthal folds and drooling mechanism. Many of these toys have survived through to modern times, with one recently been removed from sale via eBay following numerous complaints. A mint 1953 Window-Licking Micky the Mong doll can go for as much at £2300.
In 1987, Micky the Mong figurines were released by the Robinson's Jam company, following their decision to replace their familiar Gollywog mascot with something less controversal. The decision was reversed in 1989 following a national outcry, lead by the Daily Mail, MENCAP and the BMP.