Home > Children's Programmes > Billy Bean
|The puppets Billy Bean and his
friend Yoo-Hoo the cuckoo, operated a machine which was a
wonder to behold, featuring such devices as a windmill, a
Dorset-Faucet, a mixerator and a cartoonerator which drew
Operation of the machine was by means of the 'cartoonerator' which had a screen very much like a present-day personal computer.
If Billy wanted the machine to make something he would draw it on the screen. The machine then drew pictures to indicate what raw materials were required. When these were placed in the mixerator, levers pulled and buttons pressed the machine got to work with suitable mechanical sound effects. Needless to say there were 'bugs' and the possibility of misunderstanding the graphical communication gave rise to considerable amusement. Some of the things the machine made were very surprising.
The voice of Yoo-Hoo, the stupid cuckoo bird who laid an egg at intervals, never more than one per programme, which rolled down a series of zig-zag channels on the machine, was Ivan Owen, later to become Basil Brush's voice too. Billy's voice came from Peter Hawkins.
The words to the
Billy Bean song started:
Other voices were by Dick Vosburgh and Gaylord Cavallaro and drawings by Reginald Jeffryes.
Wright made the puppets and equipment.
It first aired in July 1953.
KEY TO THE MACHINE
|1. YOOHOO'S CUCKOO HOUSE
It has a front door, a back door and a side door. Only Yoohoo knows which is which.
These carry Yoohoo's eggs safely into the Egg-bucket (When it's there--see 3).
For collecting eggs--only somebody's collecting the bucket. Could it be Lester ? It could !
|4. STEAM KETTLE
Provides steam for driving machine. B.B, chose steam as driving power because it rhymes with machine. (Well, practically.)
|5. TRAIN (BILLY BEAN RAILWAY)
Delivers machine-made collar studs, etc. If asked nicely, will take passengers--if can be persuaded to stop.
This isn't coming from Yoohoo's sitting-room fire,but from the cakes he's left too long in the oven.
|7. CONTROL PANEL
All the levers, switches, pushbuttons and gimeroos that work the Machine are found here.
Invented by B.B.'s friend Mr. Fawcet of Dorset, B.B. can't remember what it's for but, doesn't like to ask Mr. Fawcet.
|9. ENGINE-ROOM DOOR
Assistant Engineer just going in.
Steam driven (see 4). So called because of its popping-in-and-out action and the catory-catory noise it makes.
Works machine in emergency. Frequently used. B.B. says it can turn machine into aeroplane. Nobody believes him.
|12. PRESSURATOR INDICATOR
Shows amount of air in Cartoonerator. Must not go above 452 Airglobubobbles or Tasset valves start operating (see 17).
Two-way speaking and listening gadget wired to all parts of the Machine and Lester.
|14. PHASSABADASSA SWITCH
Practically the Main Switch.
Sometimes called the Ipswich, more often the Which switch ?
Very dangerous. Not to be operated by anybody except Billy Bean.
ALLERGATORY ENERGISING POWER DRIVE
A big cog-wheel. So called because --well, see for yourself, it is a big cog-wheel.
|17. TASSET VALVES
Very dangerous. Not to be operated by anybody at all.
|18. TAIL-END TURBINE
Sometimes known as the Lesser
Allergatory Energising Power Drive (see 16),
This machine explains itself, at least it would do if asked but don't interrupt it now, its busy being blown by Billy Bean.
Draws pictures, designs things for the Machine to make, answers all questions. A mechanical marvel !
Mixes up ingredients put into the Machine. Delivers finished articles to the Ejector Flap. A scientific sensation!
|22. COLLAR STUDS
Machine is to make collar studs for twins.
Something has gone wrong -- it's making twin collar studs!
|23. EJECTOR FLAP
Releases whatever the Machine makes into the Catch-as-Catch-can net.
|24. CARTOONERATOR INK GUAGE
Shows amount of ink in ink tanks.
Should not drop below 254 inkglobubobbles or the Engine-Room Door sticks.
|Metal model toys of Billy Bean made by Sacul in the early '50s|
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