Kaboodle: 'Where's my piano?'
The Kaboodle opening titles run into the first story: ‘Molly Makes Music’. While Molly (voiced by Cara Schwarz) is out for the day, removalists arrive at her house. She returns to find furniture missing and her mother (voiced by Julia Gardiner) reminds her that she and Molly’s father are going to be living in separate houses and that her piano is now at her father’s house. As Molly packs a bag she decides that she is going to ‘practise and practise’ her music so that her parents 'will have to get together’. Summary by Tammy Burnstock.
Kaboodle provides a rich showcase for Australian animators, including Anne Jolliffe, who animated the opening titles, and Penny Robenstone, who wrote, directed and animated ‘Molly Makes Music’. Despite the painterly and impressionistic style of animation here, the subject matter is very real and the story is told from the point of view of Molly, a child caught up in a situation beyond her control. Robenstone uses pastels on paper, drawing new elements onto a single piece of paper while smudging and erasing others to create the unique look featured in ‘Molly Makes Music’.
Anne Jolliffe began making animated films in the 1950s and in 1980 established her own studios called Jollification, in Sydney. Her work includes the 1975 Academy Award-winning animated short film Great (a biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel by animator Bob Godfrey), The Maitland and Morpeth String Quartet (1989) and for television, animations for Play School (1966–current) as well as the title sequence for ACTF series Lift Off (1992–94).
Kaboodle is an anthology of stories for television produced by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. Each episode comprises self-contained segments mixing 2D and clay animation, live action and puppetry to tell stories drawn from a variety of sources, including published books, fairytales, myths and original ideas. This first episode in series one consists of four separate stories.
In the animated ‘Molly Makes Music’, Molly’s imaginary friend Willy (voiced by William Upjohn) helps Molly (Cara Schwarz) come to terms with her parents’ separation. In the live action ‘Double Take’, directed by Sue Brooks, a mix up of children in a train station is finally resolved despite a language barrier. ‘The Wheelie Wonder’ tells the story of Royce, born with wheels instead of feet. Finally, in ‘The Great Detective Alexander Holmes’, Alex (Lachlan Haig) and his faithful dog Watson (David Burchell) go looking for an unusual criminal when the television disappears.
Kaboodle curator's notes
Kaboodle was a platform and showcase for the talents of many up-and-coming Australian filmmakers of the 1980s. According to ACTF publicity, the series was designed to 'encourage imagination, stimulate creative play and encourage exploration of values and issues’ in its young audience.
In this first episode there are stories about divorce, disability, getting lost in a public place, and a child protagonist solving a mystery. All stories are told firmly from the child’s point of view and truthfully explore issues such as reconciling separated parents and dealing with the perceptions and behaviour of others. This episode also demonstrates the rich variety of storytelling techniques in the series with a combination of innovative animation as well as live-action drama.
The two series of Kaboodle were first broadcast on the ABC during 1988–89. The series won awards from the Chicago International Festival of Children’s Films, Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) and the Australian Television Society.
Notes by Tammy Burnstock