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Toonhound presents...






British TV series

        It's Manfred Mantis!

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  Manfred     (1973-1974)
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producers:  Marall-Smith Studios
   animation: 2D animation

     episodes: 13 x 10mins

    "It's Manfred!"

     He may look like an upper-crust grasshopper, but the star of this insectoid
     series is actually a mantis. Monocled Manfred mantis believes he's at the very
     top of the garden food chain. He's affluent and sometimes rather arrogant to
     boot. Lady Louise Ladybird is quick to put Manfred in his place, but the big
     green buffoon usually leaps on anyway, into his next debacle, and Louise,
     Monty Moth, Fernandel the Fly, Trevor Trapdoor and the rest of the
     garden insects are left sidelined and agog at his antics...

        Lady Louise Ladybird    A Flutterbye dancer

     What a twit that Manfred is! - But he's not a nasty mantis. Indeed, he's
     always full of enthusiasm for his pals' endeavours. He just happens to be
     more capable than them... Or not. As he finds out to his detriment each

     Marall-Smith's thrifty series is very much "of its time", with a distinctly
     seventies look and feel - most notably in the background layouts, with
     their watercolour  washes, and swatches of colours and patterns.
     There's one particular paisley-fied interlude in "The Concert", with
     a group of dancing Flutterbye Girls that's completely groovy. And that's
     the crux of things. "Manfred" hails from a production era when films
     and series were produced on a shoestring, by perilously small crews
     who had to shared the workload around. Whilst the purse-strings were
     tight, creativity flourished. It's a world away from today's preschool
     manufacturers, with all those executives shepherding  through not
     just the series, but the tie-in toys and stage shows, etc. with
     military precision. And it means that, for animation connoisseurs,
     Manfred's garden stone is a joy to turn over again...


     Manfred and friends

     Chris Smith at Marall-Smith has passed on this handy guide to
     Manfred and his garden pals:

     Manfred Mantis (Praying Mantis)
     A member of the insect upper-crust, he sports a dinner-jacket and
     monocle, believes himself the brains of the insect world and speaks
     with a posh accent.

     Ferandel (Fly)
     A cross-eyed fly who gets into difficulties because of this and his
     inability to walk upside-down properly.

     Monty (moth)
     Fluffy chap with an eye for the night life.

     Lady Louise (Ladybird)
     Prim and fussy spinster who enjoys organising everyone and gives
     the appearance of great strictness, but is really very kind.

     Trevor Trapdoor (Spider)
     Creepy but kind, he displays a mock ferocity visually, but tends to
     be shy and goofy.

     Desmond Longfellow (Dragonfly)
     Very business-minded and a steady worker.

     The Flutterbyes (Butterflies)
     The dancing girls of the garden

     Humble Bumble (Bumble Bee)
     Sleepy, easygoing duffer who is the butt of many jokes,
     but still quite lovable.

     Millie Pede & Cathy Caterpillar (Millipede & Caterpillar)
     Two glamorous girls of the garden, with long fluttering eyelashes
     and quite flirtatious

     Sir Arnold (Ant)
     Snappy retired officer of the ant army who has all the answers.


    Episode titles

    The Concert
    A Puzzle

    The Circus
    A Surprise Package
    Desert Journey
    The Cricket Match
    The Honey Machine
    The Boat Race
    A Sticky Problem
    Trevor Trapdoor's Birthday
Shivering Snowman
    Fun at the Factory
    Lost in the Clouds


    Manfred on DVD/VHS

A single episode of this series previously appeared
     on a video compilation:

   UK DVD Children's Seventies TV Favourites - Vol. 1
                Region 2 VHS / Contender / February 1998


     writer:             Owen J Paterson   

     producer:         Alan R Smith
      & animation:
    Christopher Randall
     editing:            Alan R Smith
      Marall-Smith Studios London
     voices:            James Greene
                            Diana Payan  


      On the web

      Marall-Smith Studios
      Marall-Smith are involved in a range of pre and post -production
      activities. Their web site gives you the lowdown, and they have
      viewing copies of "Manfred" available on DVD and VHS,
      upon request..

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© Marall-Smith Studios / F2006