Growing up in SW London in the ‘60s didn’t offer much guidance on nature and wildlife.
I was, therefore, confused having watched Billy Smart’s circus one wet Bank Holiday as to how Terry Hall got Lenny the Lion to be so docile. No stool; no whip and, ostensibly, only one arm. Probably no bad thing I never went on safari as a child – who knows what damage I’d incur with an innocent wandering hand!
Also on TV, accompanying Wally Whyton (how “The wheels on the bus” was never used as a Eurovision entry still amazes me), was Ollie Beak. Before watching this, I’d assumed owls a. live in trees and not in guitar cases; b. they didn’t speak – “twit” and “twoo” aren’t real words and c. did all owls become Brownie leaders the moment they reached adulthood?
I’d worked out that cartoons were not based on real life (except The Flintstones, obviously, because I studied cave men at primary school – plus I’ve been to Cheddar Gorge). Mister Ed? I rest my case.
But, as a child, these creatures were real to me; it wasn’t until I was in my second-year at agricultural college that I realised that Pinky and Perky weren’t actual pigs. I’m not afraid of the big, bad wolf either.