Children's Television Loses a Star in Death of Mr Squiggle Creator; Obituary

The Observer (Gladstone, Australia), December 10, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Children's Television Loses a Star in Death of Mr Squiggle Creator; Obituary


NORMAN Frederick Hetherington, who was born on May 29, 1921, in Lilyfield, New South Wales) was an Australian cartoonist and creator of the long-running Australian children's television show, Mr Squiggle.

Serving with the First Australian Army Entertainment Unit during World War II, Hetherington worked as a cartoonist (initially freelance, but full-time from 1946) for The Bulletin magazine until 1961, where he worked alongside such luminaries as Norman Lindsay, Ted Scorfield and Percy Lindsay.

During the late 1950s, he pursued his interest in puppetry, which began in 1935 when his father gave him a copy of an American magazine called Popular Science Monthly, which contained instructions for making a puppet out of used bicycle inner tubes.

He began his television career in 1956, creating Nicky and Noodle for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) and another series, Jolly Gene and His Fun Machine for Channel Seven in 1957.

In 1959, he created Mr Squiggle, a moon-dwelling marionette with a pencil for a nose, who completed Cysquiggles' sent in by young viewers into fully-realised drawings and cartoons.

Initially intended as a temporary fill-in, the show ran on ABC for 40 years, ending in its run in 1999.

Hetherington was an ex-student of Fort Street High School, and had lived in Mosman, NSW since 1960.

His wife Margaret, whom he married in 1958, wrote the scripts for Mr Squiggle during the show's entire run.

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