Regular listeners will know how much of a wimp I was as a kid. Many of you may consider me to have not really moved on from that assessment due to my comments about checking for monsters. But can you completely eliminate the threat of monsters? Can you? I don't want an answer.
It follows a similar vein as to why I can't have my back to people in public. You can't ever completely the eliminate the threat of assassination. Good to be able to see all of your surroundings at all times.
Anyway, this article is about the five things that scared me the most as a child. The whole list would be too long for a blog post. Maybe an encyclopedia?
1. Zelda from Terrahawks
Arrrggghhhh! F**king hell! Why the hell was this monstrosity allowed in a kids TV show? Look at the prune faced witch! She's terrifying!
Terrahawks was a show I remember being excited about watching when I saw the advert for it. I liked things set in space so this surely would be right up my street right? RIGHT? WRONG! Zelda, from the first moment I laid my cheese laced eyes on her, scared the living shit out of me. Gerry Anderson clearly hated kids by this point in his career. Why else would he design this nightmare inducing, rubber bastard for a kids show. A KIDS SHOW DAMNIT!
We watched Terrahawks for the podcast quite early on and we were both still affected by her appearance. Martyn especially squealed like a big baby I seem to remember. I won't check though, and neither should you. You'll just have to trust me.
2. The Hooded Claw (The Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha Man)
This entry is the one that proves without a doubt that I was a huge wuss as a kid. Why the hell was I so scared of an effeminate man in a lavender suit that was trying to murder a woman for her inheritance? Oh right, now I get it.
In truth it was his laugh. The Perils of Penelope Pitstop started with The Hooded Claw's scary laugh and some disembodied scowling eyes. THAT is what I was scared of. The laugh. That damn laugh. My siblings recall my abject terror at hearing the laugh and my screams of "It's the Ha-HA-HA-HA-HA Man! Turn of the telly!" That's what I called him you see. Not only was I a wuss but I was also a complete cretin.
Every episode was the same. The Hooded Claw and the Bully Brothers would have Penelope in a time release trap (much like the 60's Batman TV show) and the midget heroes the Anthill Mob would fail to save her.Penelope would then manage to escape on her own before falling into another trap. Repeat ad infinitum.
I always had to fast forward through the advert for this show on my Space Ghost and Dino Boy VHS tape. Man I loved that tape.
3. Firnella the Kettle Witch
This green Tommy Cooper wannabe was from Chorlton and the Wheelies. One of the many drug fuelled, mental TV shows of the seventies. A load of creatures that have wheels instead of feet, a brummie dragon and a Welsh witch that lives in a kettle. Mental!
Why was I scared of Firnella? Looking back now I couldn't possibly say, but I'm fairly sure that it had nothing to do with her being Welsh. At least 63% sure of that.
It was probably more to do with her randomly appearing around the screen. STAY IN ONE PLACE YOU TERRIFYING NIGHTMARE!
Very odd that Sam Raimi took Firnella as inspiration for the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man movie. Look it up. I dare you to disagree with me in regards to the similarities.
4. The White Witch (animated)
Slightly more vague this one. Every few months during my fourth year of primary school the big TV (21 inches) would be wheeled into our classroom hut. We had been reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and one of my classmates had the VHS of the 1979 CBS animated version, so it was an excuse for the teacher to not teach for 60 minutes or so. I would (and indeed did) do similar.
The animation was crude, several parts of the story had been omitted, it was basically a very poor adaptation that somehow won an Emmy award. Clearly it was easy to do this in the late seventies.
However, there was something about this version of The White Witch that freaked me out. Maybe it was because she kept trying to stab kids to death with a large knife, or that she killed poorly animated Aslan. Part of it was probably the weird distortions her face made from the poor animation and her CONSTANT SHOUTING. And as I have already said, it was incredibly poor animation. Check it out on YouTube
5. Literally any clown in anything ever
Clowns. What is the point in them. They ruin everything they appear in. Especially if I was unaware a clown would appear. And even if they were played by Tricky Dicky from Eastenders like the one above.
Their horrible rictus grins, their painted faces, their stupid hats. I hated clowns more than anything. Sadly in the 80s the makers of kids TV thought children liked clowns. Why would they?
Thankfully I have finally outgrown that fear thanks to the recent IT movie which I found hilarious. Don't test me by coming round my house dressed like a clown though, or I'll punch you in your f**king horrible clown face. And you'll deserve it.
Written by Mark