Dodo with Professor Fingers.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films
First Appeared: 1965
Creator: Lady Stearn Robinson
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Early television animation, as we know, was crude and primitive, with production values not too far advanced from motionless …

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… stick figures. If Crusader Rabbit, Col. Bleep and the like have a fond place in nostalgic memory, it isn't because they were well animated. By the mid-'60s, however, animation producers had worked out a lot of kinks, refined their techniques, and were putting out stuff that — well, still didn't measure up to the standards of what Disney, Warner Bros. et al. had done during the heyday of theatrical animation, but was at least reasonably respectable. Examples include Magilla Gorilla and Tennessee Tuxedo.

But here's a TV cartoon that could fit right into the era of Pow Wow the Indian Boy or Lariat Sam — and yet, DoDo the Kid from Outer Space wasn't seen until August 23, 1965.

DoDo was a production of Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films, a British husband/wife (first names John and Joy, respectively) animation production company of the time, along the lines of today's Klaspy/Csupo company, which has produced Rugrats, All Grown Up and the like. Halas/Batchelor's other cartoon work includes the TV series Tomfoolery and Habatales, and a feature-length animated version of George Orwell's Animal Farm. This series was created by writer Lady Stearn Robinson, whose other credits in in animation — in fact, film in general — are between few and none.

The main character was, as the title implies, a kid from outer space. The theme song described him as "a science-fiction pixie (no relation) from a strange atomic race". Leaving aside the question of what an atomic race might be, let alone a strange one, he was indeed a member in good standing of the science fiction genre (if a good bit more juvenile than most), and he did indeed look like a pixie — short and slender, with long, pointy ears. Whereas other characters (e.g., Sub-Mariner) may be able to fly via the ancient image (going back to the Greek Hermes) of wings on their heels — DoDo's heels were outfitted with a more modern propulsion method, propellors. Also, those pixie ears were intertwined with antennae.

DoDo came here from the "atomic" planet Hena Hydro, as did his computer/bird hybrid, Compy (hatched from an egg processed with a stack of those old-fashioned computer cards that served as data storage back before the days of DVDs, CDs or even floppy disks). Also accompanying him from Hena Hydro was Professor Fingers, a researcher into unsolved mysteries, whose "inter-dimensional pockets" rivaled Captain Caveman's beard for concealing useful items to be pulled out when needed.

DoDo the Kid from Outer Space was syndicated to U.S. TV stations until 1970. Since then, being a little too much on the crude and primitive side to find favor with modern viewers, it's scarcely been seen.


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Text ©2007-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Halas and Batchelor Cartoon Films