the Bunyip - Jovial creature (an Australian "whatsis") on the puppet
series THE BERTIE THE BUNYIP SHOW first aired on Channel 3 WRCV-TV in
Philadelphia during the 1950s and 1960s.
Bertie the Bunyip lived in the mythical
village of Bunyipville. He wore a polkadot tie around his shaggy neck and
sported a cherry-red nose that rested on the tip of his beak-like mouth. (He
looked like he had the bill of a platypus, ears of a kangaroo and fur of a dog).
Lee Dexter created and provided the voice for Bertie the Bunyip whose
catchphrase was "Remember kiddie-kiddies, Bertie always loves you."
The program began as the narrator proudly proclaimed:
"The Adventures of Bertie the Bunyip...starring that ever popular friend of all
the kids everywhere, our hero...Bertie the Bunyip"
Other hand puppets seen on the program included Nixie the Pixie, a busybody;
Humphrey Carrotfoot, the white rabbit in a black cape; Winnie the Witch, Fiffi
the French Poodle, Poochie the Pup, Tiger Tommy; Sir Guy de Guy, the Wily Fox
who wore a top hat and cape; and Fussy and Gussy who always thwarted Sir Guy's
Bertie and Nixie the Pixie
TRIVIA NOTE: In Aboriginal legend, a bunyip
(meaning "devil" or "spirit") is a water monster believed to bring diseases and
infestation. In 1966, while broadcasting for only year on WPHL-TV Channel 17,
THE BERTIE THE BUNYIP SHOW was finally cancelled. The Bertie the Bunyip
character remained popular in the Philadelphia area for another twenty years as
Dexter and his wife continued to appear at local events with Bertie and his cast
of puppet friends. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Herbert Lee Dexter
passed away at the age of 86 on June 17, 1991 from emphysema.
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