How many children have enjoyed the adventures of Pingu or Chilly Willy, and more recently, the Penguins of Madagascar? These cartoons, although intended for children, are remembered with affection and sometimes looked at again by adults. Or not?
Television has broadcasted many programs with engaging penguin characters. In these shows, penguins always appear as cute animals with human characteristics: they can talk or vocalize, cook and sit at the table to eat, sleep on a bed, slide on a sleigh, wear clothes, drive a car and many more things.
Pingu is one of the most iconic examples of penguins on television. It is a children’s show with 156 episodes made with the stop-motion technique focused on the adventures of Pingu, a small penguin who lives in Antarctica with his parents and sister. His house is an igloo, and none of them speak in a human language. He likes to spend time with his best friend, Robby the Seal, but sometimes they both get in trouble. Pingu’s production lasted from 1986 to 2000 but still is presented on several channels.
A striking fact is that the igloos that appear in the program are typical of the Arctic and not Antarctica since these constructions used by the Inuit exist only in the North Pole. There are no native populations on the Antarctic continent.
But if we look for wrong concepts, we can talk about another popular children’s program: Chilly Willy. The main character is a rogue penguin that lives in Alaska, although there are no penguin populations in the northern hemisphere.
The program was first broadcast in 1953 and quickly became one of the most beloved characters of Walter Lantz, also the creator of The Woody Woodpecker. Chilly Willy, uses a red hat and gloves and has many adventures in his attempt to stay warm and look for food, and sometimes, fleeing from a dog named Smedley. Interestingly, Chilly Willy also deals with walruses and polar bears, animals that do not exist in the natural habitats of penguins.
The Penguins of Madagascar, a computer-animated show, present the adventures of a group of penguins who first appeared in the movie Madagascar (2005), but, given their success, it was decided to do a TV show. Skipper, Kowalsky, Private and Rico are very smart and crafty, and they try to maintain the control at the Central Park Zoo, once the lemurs are under the command of the mad King Julien.
Some television shows have charming penguin appearances. In Care Bears, for example, there is a bear named Cozy Heart Penguin, and in The Backyardigans, one of the main characters is a penguin named Pablo. In Shirokuma Kafe, a Japanese manga and anime, one of the regular customers of a polar bear coffee is an emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) that usually orders a mocha coffee. Another example is Pepe Penguin, who appears in the series The Octonauts and whose task is to heal the wounds.
There are many examples of animated shows with these birds as protagonists, but there are also some computer games characters from technology companies. Of most recognized is Tux, the image of the Linux operating system that appears in a seated position and with a prominent belly. The mascot, designed by Linus Torvalds, was inspired by an occasion when a penguin nibbled him. Inspiration can have odd sources! Tux has also appeared in several online video games and educational games.
And if we talk about online games, Club Penguin has a relevant place. It is developed by Disney Canada Inc. and is a massively multiplayer online video game very popular among children who have access to the Internet. After registering, each user has access to an avatar, whose shape is a penguin.
Unquestionably, these fascinating creatures are more famous than they know, a fact which undoubtedly helps to their conservation.
BioExpedition Publishing © 2017.