Introduction to Polish Cartoon Characters


Still from "The Adventures of Colargol" (Colargol the sailor), directed by: Janina Hartwig, 1970, photo: Filmoteka Narodowa/ www.fototeka.fn.org.pl
Still from "The Adventures of Colargol" (Colargol the sailor), directed by: Janina Hartwig, 1970, photo: Filmoteka Narodowa/ www.fototeka.fn.org.pl

Welcome to Cartoon Characters 101, the jolly lecture each student would have aced. These cartoon characters are devoid of superpowers but they harness the power of creativity, kindness and adventurousness. What life lessons did they teach generations of Poles?

Friendship

The taller, thinner Bolek and shorter, chubby Lolek are brothers. Although Bolek wasn't always an angel towards his brother, the two are inseparable. "Co dwie głowy, to nie jedna" Poles always say - two heads are better than one. Indeed, you rarely find a well functioning small business without a man and his szwagier (brother-in-law) faithfully by his side. Abroad Bolek and Lolek were known as Jym & Jam or Bennie and Lennie.

Help Those in Distress

While Snoopy lies around on his rooftop, Reksio makes himself useful to others. Polite and brave, he is as good as a do-gooder can be.

To Every Problem There's a Solution

Piotrek and his little dog don't run away from problems. The little boy owns an Enchanted Pencil which brings things to life. Having an otherworldly tool makes overcoming troubles a piece of cake, but the one being creative here is the boy not the pencil.

Knowing is Half the Battle

This sought-after clay man called Plastuś plays a particularly important educational role - on the off chance kids don't want to go to school, he lends the daunting task an enjoyable facet. He wakes up the entire pencil case in the morning and settles in to quietly assist with doing homework. The cartoon went by the name Plastusiowy pamiętnik / Plastuś's Diary.

Inventiveness

In a country under foreign rule, In a country under foreign rule, where
kids had few, if any toys, DIY was an essential part of being a kid. In times of need Pomysłowy Dobromir / Dobromir the Inventor invents and implements.

Foresight and Resourcefulness

Morality from the get-go. Miś Uszatek / Teddy Floppy-Ear's adult like behaviour almost seems like a caricature. He is saving money to buy presents for his friends and when one of his friends claims to have lost his money, he takes a piece of paper and approaches the task through calculation. Once they conclude that the Pig didn't lose his money but spent it Floppy-Ear concludes that "he won't waste his money like Pig did".

Intrepid Spirit

Koziołek Matołek / Goofy Billy-Goat may not be the brightest of anthropomorphised animals but no matter how many times he trips over his own tail, he doesn't waver in pursuing his goal - to find the city of Pacanów, where he believes he can get goat shoes.

Eco-friendliness

Maurycy and Hawranek, the Heckle and Jeckle of Polish cartoons struggle with a dark sorcerer named Plimplan, but unlike the talking magpies, they are well behaved and try to contribute to the well-being of all the inhabitants of the forest.

Communication

Jacek and Agatka are the oldest characters on Polish television (1962). The brother and sister discuss every detail of what goes on in their neighbourhood and tuck each other into bed. Their long dialogues and monologues wouldn't catch the attention of today's action crazed youth but at that time there wasn't much to compete against. They conquered every kids attention and perhaps influenced their thinking?

Dreams Do Come True

Colargol, the fuzzy furred bear is often the cause of worry because of his head-in-the-clouds attitude. He is always late for class and gets bad grades. But he has a dream - becoming a singer. Though he has an awful voice, on one of his journeys he proves that dreams can come true and starts singing beautifully.

Sources: inspired by articles by Bartosz Staszczyszyn, Mikolaj Glinski, Muzeum Dobranocek, Polish forums

Author: Mai Jones 28.01.2014

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