Skippy the Bush Kangaroo once lived at Waratah Park in Duffys Forest and was star of the television series with the same name (spoiler alert – over the 91 episodes a number of kangaroos played Skippy).
For the international market it was filmed in colour before Australia had colour TV. The series revolved around a national park ranger, his family and Skippy who was very intelligent and had skills beyond the average kangaroo. Skippy was smart and resourceful and regularly caught villains up to no good in the national park.
Skippy was BIG internationally and broadcast in 140 countries from Ghana to Iran to Cuba to the former Czechoslovakia, behind the then Iron Curtain. In French speaking Canada it was Skippy le kangourou. In the UK, Skippy rivalled Doctor Who for popularity. Skippy was dubbed into Spanish in Mexico, Skippy el canguro, and was seen in most Spanish speaking countries. In Germany, it was Skippy, das Buschkänguruh, whilst in Italy Skyppy il canguro.
In Norway a chain of shopping centres were named in honour of the program but in Sweden psychologists claimed children’s development could be impaired by talking animals.
In Skippy’s heyday you could buy Skippy pyjamas, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, toys, jewellery, comics, rulers, pencils, puzzles, T-shirts, towels, jellybeans, cornflakes, soft drinks and ice cream.
Aussies who went on gap years pulling beers in London pubs found themselves being called Skips.