Johnny Morris and Animal Magic

Johnny Morris with a chimpAnimal Magic was one of the few children’s TV programs that adults liked to watch as well. Johnny Morris was the presenter and he used to climb into the cages with the animals and play with them. They would include him in whatever it was that they were doing, often it was monkeys and apes in my memory, or that might just be due to the repetition of one famous clip.

Anyway, there would also be footage of other animals like lions that Jonny couldn’t play with. So it was basically an animal clip show. Seeing the intro on YouTube takes me right back, especially the music.

What made it special was the voiceover that Johnny would provide, where he did a voice for the animal, usually a funny one, and he would speak for it. This method was used for great comedy, because as well as the antics of the animals you got Jonny’s interpretation of their thoughts. You still get the silly voiceover in clip shows today, like Oops TV and Harry Hill’s TV Burp, but Johnny Morris was there first.

I loved Terry Nutkins as well, I always thought his name was made up because it sounded like a squirrel. He used to be on the program sometimes, especially with a seal who did tricks. This documentary has Terry talking about good old Johnny.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the great stuff.
    Im enjoying the site.
    Keep up the awesome work.

  2. One essential feature of Animal Magic was Dotty the Ring Tailed Lemur, who was often found on Johnny Morris’s shoulder while he was in the studio. I seem to remember she was always having babies. There was never any mention of a Mr Dotty, so they seemed entirely self-generated – but there was always a competition to name them.

    I also learned my first German phrase from Animal Magic. Johnny Morris went to a German zoo, and I remember the goats there ‘saying’ “Guten Mo-o-orgen” in a kind of bleat.

    He performed live at the university I went to, to a packed hall, doing Peter and the Wolf and a story about a lobster. He was brilliant – and of course the entire audience had grown up on Animal Magic.

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