Alfred J. Kwak
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Alfred Jodocus Kwak, commonly known as Alfred J. Kwak, is a funny animal character of furry interest that stars on a Dutch theatre show by Herman van Veen, and later animated as a television series in 1989 by VARA and Telecable Benelux B.V..
Alfred J. Kwak was born as the son of Johan Sebastian and Anna Kwak. Some time after his birth, Alfred loses his parents and his brothers and sisters who died when a car hits them. Henk the mole, a good friend of the Kwak family, raises the little yellow duck. Alfred experiences a lot of adventures.
Unlike many other cartoons targeted for children, Alfred J. Kwak features exceptionally mature and often sad themes. Amongst others it deals with different social and political issues, such as abuse of power, but also raises important values such as friendship and solidarity.
The cartoon is also notable for the political themes on which it touches. In the cartoon, Alfred fights against a fascist dictator, takes in refugees fleeing from a country under Apartheid (with white geese and black ducks), saves whales against hunters, and oversees the changeover of his country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Such themes are far from typical in a children's cartoon, and form a big part of Alfred J. Kwak's appeal. Other episodes have satirised the Japanese love of golf, and criticised countries which have sharp north/south economic divides.
The cartoon is also unusual for the subtlety of its long-term narrative. In most children's cartoons, the characters do not age. In Alfred J. Kwak, we see the progress of the main characters from very young children to adulthood as the series progresses. This is particularly striking in the character of Dolf. At first a mere naughty schoolboy, we watch as his evil steadily progresses.
|When our children were still young, I wrote the first story on Alfred Jodocus Kwak. Mainly, this was caused by two things. One night I was on my way home and drove my car through the countryside, and accidentally ran over a duck. I regretted it a lot. A few days later I was at home on the telephone and saw a mother duck and seven little ducklings wobbling through our garden. The man I was talking to on the phone was the leader of a symphonic orchestra. He asked if I could write a fairytale and if I could come over and tell and sing about it, while the orchestra would provide musical accompaniment. While I was talking to the man I thought: “Could that mother duck be looking for her husband, and how do you explain to a duck that you ran over another duck?”. “Hello?” the voice on the phone said.“What do you think?” I said: “I'm thinking of a duck?” and the man said “Excellent, so you'll write us a fairytale about a duck”. That's how Alfred was born. By accident.|
The series has been broadcast in many countries and has been dubbed and subtitled in Dutch, French, Japanese, Greek, English, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, Finnish, Serbian, Polish, German, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Chinese, and Norwegian.
In 1991, Herman van Veen won the Golden Camera, the German television award, for the animation in this cartoon.
Characters and settings
- Main article: List of characters in Alfred J. Kwak
Great Waterland (Groot-Waterland in Dutch) is arguably the most important setting within the series. It is Alfred's birthplace as well the home, or future home, of many of the shows characters. It is, partly, a caricature of the Netherlands. The land consists of polders, the town Alfred lives in is build in a typical Dutch style, while he himself lives in a house made from a clog. In addition; many of its inhabitants wear traditional Dutch clothing, perhaps most notably Alfred's parents. For most of the series Great Waterland is an absolute monarchy, led by Franz Ferdinand: a lion. Near the shows conclusion Dolf assumes command, and Waterland briefly becomes an authoritarian fascist state, before reverting to a monarchy and eventually becoming a democracy.
Zo vrolijk, Zo vrolijk
- Performed by Herman van Veen (OP)
Ik ben vandaag zo vrolijk
So fröhlich, So fröhlich
- Performed by Herman van Veen (OP)
Warum bin ich so fröhlich
- Performed by Ryan van den Akker and Herman van Veen (ED)
Yakusoku da yo (約束だよ)
- Performed by Megumi Hayashibara (OP)
Happy Happy ~ Alfred's Walk (ハッピー・ハッピー)
- Performed by Megumi Hayashibara (ED)
- Alfred J. Quack
- Little Duck's Big Love Story
- The Adventures of Alfred J. Quack
- Alfred Jodocus Kwak (Dutch)
- Alfred Jonatan Kwak (Polish)
- Приключения Альфреда Квака (Priklyuchenia Alfreda Kwaka; Russian)
- Niente paura, c'è Alfred! (Italian)
- Rasmus Rap (Danish)
- آلفرد كواك ("Alferd Quack" , Arabic)
- あひるのクワック (Ahiru no Kuwakku; Japanese)
- 小さなアヒルの大きな愛の物語 あひるのクワック (Chiisana Ahiru no Ooki na Ai no Monogatari Ahiru no Kuwakku; Japanese)
- שאלתיאל קוואק (Sha'al'ti'el Quack; Hebrew)
- Alfred Andreas Kvakk (Norwegian)
- Alfred Jeremias Kvack (Swedish)
- Alfred Jodocus Kwak (Finnish)
- Alfréd a kacsa (Hungarian)
- Alfred Džonatan Kvak (Serbian)
- Alfreð Æringi Önd (Icelandic)
- Dolf indulges in a many great villainous acts aside from the fascist-style coup he stages. At various points he steals gems, indulges in arms dealing, captures an intelligent dragon to sell to a zoo, shoots Lispel, and deliberately damages a dam during the country's election campaign, leading to several deaths. The depiction of Dolf's rule is a satire on Nazism, complete with references to Dolf enforcing "racial purity". Dolf is revealed at one point as being "part-blackbird", a sly reference to Hitler himself hardly living up to the Aryan ideal. Just as Hitler was rumored to be partially Jewish, Dolf colors his yellow beak black to seem like a full crow.
- Aside from Dolf and Lispel, other villains Alfred has to face include the corrupt Mayor Crocodile, selfish landowning ape Mr. NittyLocopan, Scratchpaws the ravenous cat, and the authorities of the Apartheid South African style state "Atrique".
- That Alfred's girlfriend fleeing Apartheid is called Winnie is probably a reference to the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela.
- One episode features a womanising pop star duck who nearly steals Winnie off Alfred. He appears to be loosely based on Prince and Michael Jackson.
- Although most of the worlds population is depicted as anthropomorphic animals, there are apparently humans present, however the humans are described as savage beasts, that are for example caged in circuses, with "human tamers" to train them for shows.
- In the episode of Desert Dream, Alfred is introduced by a singer named Leifeet, to the problems of drought in a poor country. This clearly refers to the charity actions taken for Ethiopia by Bob Geldof through his live aid-project in the mid-1980s.
- The time setting of the cartoon is somewhat surreal. On the whole the technology and dress of most characters seems appropriate to the late 20th century, and yet Alfred and Paljas/Boffin often travel in a spaceship with a technology far more advanced than that, while many characters such as the King's staff, Scratchpaws the cat, and Dolf in his Napoleonic incarnation wear clothes more appropriate to previous ages. Other surreal elements to the cartoon include such strange characters as the evil genie of the bottle, living chess pieces from Alfred's chess game, Pied Piper style Clown On The Moon, and aliens who appear like ducks except for their human-style feet, and a "dream" style Wild West episode during which Dolf seems to become aware that he is a character in a cartoon.
- British actor Melvyn Hayes, best known for It Ain't Half Hot Mum, voiced several characters, including Dolf, in the UK, English-dubbed version.
- In the UK version the main character is Alfred Jonathan Kwak.
- In the Israeli version, Alfred is called Shealtiel, and "Shalti" in short. The name's meaning is "I asked God", referring to his curious nature.
- The J. in Alfred's original name stands for "Jodocus", which is Latin for "lord".
- In the Danish version the main character is Rasmus Rap, a name earlier used for Donald Duck in that country.
- In the Dutch, German and UK version Alfred has an occasionally used catchphrase:- "Piccobello!"; used to express extreme enthusiasm or happiness.
- Popular polish scenic and movie actor Henryk Talar was voice-over in Polish version.
- The Dutch version was one of the first cartoon series in the Netherlands to feature an all-star cast; actress Ryan van den Akker voices the starring role while creator Herman van Veen is Paljas/Buffon (Paljas is an alternative Dutch phrase for clown, and refers to one aspect of Van Veen's career that spans four decades); the flying windmill originally appeared in his 1978 television series Herman and the Six. Van den Akker and Van Veen also feature in the German version. The newsreader is courtesy of Harmen Siezen, a real-life anchorman who quit in 2002 after 33 years of faithful service.
- In the 1976 theatre-show Herman van Veen tells the story of Alfred borrowing the King money and not seeing it back. In the cartoon series this episode preludes the return of Dolf after a one month out of town. He wasn't laughing when he heard what happened to Alfred, taking it as a sign that "this country's going backwards". Dolf already considered to go politics and by inheriting dodgy money her had the tools to fund the National Crow Party. The King responded by saying "It's not fair; Dolf wants to be King, but I can't be Dolf".
The show has had some PAL VHS releases in the United Kingdom and Germany (as spotted on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de), but does not appear to have an NTSC release in the United States and Canada.
- As translated from the official website. (www.alfredjodocuskwak.nl)
- Herman van Veen Studios - Characters - Alfred Jodocus Kwak - Nieuws
- Anime News Network editors. "Ahiru no Quack (TV)". Anime News Network.
- Alfred J. Kwak - Big Cartoon DataBase
- Episode Guide
- Ahiru no Quack (TV) - Anime News Network
- jodokus.nl - A more complete overview of the story's history (Dutch).
- / hari-no-ito.com - A fansite with English fan-subtitles of the Dutch / Japanese cartoon.
|Some of this page is derived from Wikipedia. The original article was at Alfred J. Kwak. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WikiFur, the text of Wikipedia is available under CC-BY-SA and the GFDL.|