I believe we all have our childhood memories, which link us to a sense of wonder and magic, to a world, where everything still seemed possible!
I loved to watch the TV series Pantau, a tschech-german co-production, produced in the 70ties and airing only on the east german channels. Pantau was a magician, wearing a bowler hat, a suit and an umbrella. He never talked and had a very kind facial expression. With his magic, he mainly helped children, making their wishes come true. He’d tip with his finger a few times on the bowler hat, circled it once and voila! Something appeared, which had not been there before. He also could shrink himself into a doll. It was a wonderful, absurd program full of humor and phantasy!
I’ll attach the first part of the very first episode at the end of this blog, so that you can see what I mean. There is hardly any language, so you’ll be able to understand.
When it come to fairy tale films, it seemed to be a speciality of the formerly communist, east european countries, Poland, Rumania, Russia, the German Democratic Republic, etc. to produce the most magical ones. They were utterly different to Hollywood productions. These films were original and enchanting at the same time. Me and my grandma watched a many on the east german TV channel. We both just loved them and could easily get lost in these magic worlds.
My grandparents, the ones on my father’s side, came originally from East Germany and just had managed to escape before the wall, dividing the country, had been built. They had quite a few adventurous stories to tell, like hiding underneath the coals in the basement, while soviet soldiers were searching the house for them.
I believe, watching these films on the east german TV channel created a sense of belonging with the place my grandma originally had come from.
Some of the films got quite well known later. “Three Nuts for Cinderalla” is probably the one, everyone in Germany knows nowadays. It has become a cult film, still being aired on many TV channels during the christmas time. Like Pantau, it has been a tschech- east german coproduction, produced 1973.
The Cindarella in this film is very different to how she usually has been portrayed. She is sharp witted, a tom boy and doesn’t really need rescuing. The prince on the other hand is naive, a bit full of himself, but of course lovely all the same. The gist of the story remains the same, but is told with a quirky sense of humor, bringing a fresh perspective to an old mythical theme. This gives the film a special quality, an enchanting lightness, a sense of childhood wonder. In the end it portrayed a world in which there were challenges as well as infinite possibilities. That was the magic!
I well remember, how as a kid, I was enthralled by all magic stories and things. For me the special thing about this is, that kids still believe in the possibility of magic, unless they already have been talked out of it. I remember a book in which a boy had found accidentally a magic potion, which transformed him into a black cat for a couple of hours at a time. Of course he had many adventures, while being the cat. I believed in the possibility of such a magic potion and started to collect bits and pieces of plants out of the garden, which I could put into my own magic potion.
What if it was possible? What would it feel like to be transformed into a cat? It was an exciting thought.
What if …
When I was 7 or 8 years old I wanted to test God, coming from a household with no beliefs whatsoever. I even haven’t been baptized. It was a Sunday and I wanted to have chewing gum, Wrigleys, the green package. Of course all the shops were closed and I thought, if there was a God, it must be possible for him, to manifest some chewing gum in the palm of my hand. So I stood there, closed my eyes, stretched my hand out and imagined a green package of Wrigleys in my hand. I tried for a couple of minutes and than opened my eyes again. I was incredibly disappointed when I realized it had not worked. The spell of magic had been broken. Maybe I didn’t wait long enough. My belief, that everything can be possible, that there might be a God, had gotten a serious crack.
There is only magic, as long as we believe it can be possible. I would love to be able to manifest things out of nothing, being able to transform myself into other things, like a cat.
Maybe I go and search for Pantau, asking him whether I can be his apprentice!
Pantau emerges, you have to watch this!
Do you have magic childhood memories? What were they? Do you still believe in magic or has the spell been broken long time ago?
Please leave a comment!