The Magic Roundabout Behind the Scenes

The Magic Roundabout studio - September 1964

The Magic Roundabout studio – September 1964

I’ve been meaning to show some of these amazing photos for a long time. A huge thanks to Tony Clark who is a follower of the blog for these incredible finds. After scouring ebay he managed to gain some negatives of the sets and production of the original Magic Roundabout series shot in Paris! Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing some of my favourites with you and we can witness Ivor, Serge and the team all hard at work bringing the magic to life.

To start things off I’ve include two photos. The first one, above, is how the set looked as the crew animated the show, which obviously would have included Ivor. What is amazing to see is the vivid, striking colours that are presented, bearing in mind the original airings were all in black and white. The attention to detail to make sure that each character and prop stood out when translated into black and white would have been a real technical achievement. Notice how a lot of the characters are in high contrast, for example the difference in tone on Ermintrude between her pink and red body.

It’s also interesting to note the shallow depth that it was filmed at as the sky background is very close to the front edge of the set. To achieve an increased depth the camera would have had to have been given a large aperture in order to blur out more of the background thus creating an illusion of a larger world.

Ivor Wood and Serge Danot checking The Magic Roundabout props - 4th June 1965

Ivor Wood and Serge Danot checking The Magic Roundabout props – 4th June 1965

This idea of forced perspective can again be seen in the photo above showing Ivor Wood and Serge Danot checking through The Magic Roundabout props. If you look closely you’ll notice that there are two roundabouts. One larger and one smaller. The larger one would have been used for close and medium shots as in the first image, whilst the smaller one would have been used in long distance or to have far away in the background. As Tony has also pointed out to us it would have been likely used to take press shots with all the characters in, allowing the roundabout to be in the background and fully seen. Obviously this is perfect for forced perspective giving an increased depth to the whole production.

Also if you look closely on the shelves you’ll see an array of different props including some umbrellas (top right), a theatre set (middle left), some benches and coat stand (middle right) and possibly some really small trees next to Ivor’s left leg.

Well I hope you enjoyed those photos as much as I did. There are some more to show you all so keep those peepers peeled for the next post!

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