Da (Jim Quin) with his (1977) version of Quin Films 'Bailebeag' - ping pong character heads!
Sergeant Pat and Jimmy from the later (1984) version of Quin Films 'Bailebeag'
The original (1977) Bailebeag series shared Gordon Murray's stopmotion technical origins, with ping pong ball heads, magnetic feet and cardboard houses - very little of those originals (characters or sets) survived, although we didn't 'burn everything on a bonfire' like Gordon Murray. A lot of vehicles and props were 'bought off the shelf' in nick nack stores like Hector Grey's in Liffey Street. I was 15 or 16 at the time, fascinated by learning the 16mm and TV ropes with Da, Bill Russell, Pat Hayes, Alan Pleass and others and discovering that I could actually animate the characters and tell stories onscreen. The first Bailebeag series were shot in the converted attic of our house in 32 Leopardstown Gardens - truly the first stopmotion studio in Ireland.
Gordon Murray showed us a wonderfully metronomic way to tell childrens' TV stories, but Eric Thompson's reinterpretations of Serge Danot's 'Magic Roundabout' showed us how such childrens' programming could be both entertaining and anarchic. Later, Jiri Trnka showed how simple techniques could tell complex narratives and people like RTE's Joe O Donnell showed how childrens' programming could and should be a noble profession, not a mere stepping stone to a TV career path.
Bill Russell, Bolex and Da (Jim Quin) with the original (1977) version of Quin Films 'Bailebeag'
My career since has persisted with an explorations of the untapped potentials of stopmotion and animation. Whilst I'm not producing for TV any longer, I'm still endeavouring to make anarchic short films, new media and longer form projects. The learning, exploration and (occasionally) discovery continues... Thanks to all the early pioneers - Gordon Murray included!
Gordon Murray - creator of Trumpton, Camberwick Green, Chigley and other worlds...