Flaklypa Grand Prix was released on August 28, 1975, and became the most successful Norwegian film ever made, selling more than 5.5 million tickets in a country with a population of only 4.5 million. It has enjoyed similar success in Denmark, Russia, Japan, the U.K., and elsewhere. It has been translated into 14 languages and traditionally runs on Norwegian television every Christmas Eve. The feature continues to inspire a devoted fan base, and after Ivo Caprino’s death in 2001, a PC video game based on the film was produced by Caprino’s son Remo and grandson Mario. The family maintains a website for Caprino Studios (http://www.caprino.no) and has released these wonderful puppet films on DVD.
[Figure 1.15] Reodor Felgen, Solan Gundersen, and Ludvig of Flaklypa Grand Prix. (© 1975, Caprino Studios.)
The late ’70s was a tumultuous time for the animation industry in general—many of the old studios had shut down, and most of the work being done was cheap Saturday morning fare for television. The most significant film to come out during this time was unquestionably Star Wars in 1977, which inspired a new revolution in using stop-motion for special effects into the next decade. Amidst the science-fiction spectacle of the time, cartoony puppet features did not have much chance to stand out and were faced with limited commercial success. As a precursor to a trend that became very popular throughout the 1980s, in some cases TV series were adapted into big-screen feature versions. A popular European stop-motion TV star from the late ’60s and early ’70s who appeared on the big screen was Colargol, a little bear who wants to sing and travel around the world. The Adventures of Colargol was a Polish/French series animated by Tadeusz Wilkosz at the Se-Ma-For Studio; it became known as Barnaby in the U.K. and Jeremy the Bear in Canada. Unlike Dougal and the Blue Cat, which was an original feature based on a series, the Colargol features were simply episodes from the TV series strung together as one story. Three of these adapted features were released in Poland: Colargol na Dzikim Zachodzie (Colargol in the Wild West, 1976), Colargol Zdobywcą Kosmosu (Colargol, Conqueror of Space, 1978; Figure 1.17) and Colargol i Cudowna Walizka (Colargol and the Magic Suitcase, 1979).
[Figure 1.16] Shooting the race scenes from Flaklypa Grand Prix. (© 1975, Caprino Studios.)