So, who recognises these fellows? If you watched plenty of cartoons on the telly during the late 80s or early 90s, there's a very good chance you'll have seen them before.
They appeared in a cartoon that started life as a Dutch comic strip called Boes, which followed the amusing exploits of a big bovine chap in dungarees and a huge cast of other animal characters. It was turned into an animated series in Japan, it was broadcast across the world in dozens of different languages, and it was one of the most consistently funny and imaginative shows on television (I personally think it's on a par with the classic Warner Brothers cartoons, and I don't say that at all lightly) - and yet, in Britain and the US at least, it's now been largely forgotten about, which is a wracking shame.
In English-speaking countries the show was known as Ox Tales, and the trio seen here were renamed Ollie the Ox (the hero of the piece, more or less), Jack Turtleson (his luckless best friend whose shell was smashed, stolen or otherwise rendered uninhabitable in practically every episode) and The Toucan, whose marvellously sardonic narration punctuated just about every scene. They were a spiffingly entertaining bunch (and they still are - do a search for Ox Tales on YouTube and see for yourselves. Just try to ignore the laughing mole), and this illo is a homage to their chucklesome grooviness.
I was inspired to create this picture by an utterly brilliant bloke by the on-line name of MarkOut, who runs an Ox Tales tribute blog full of pictures and interesting info about the show and the comic that inspired it. (You can find it here: [link]
and you really ought to give it a read.) Earlier in the year he very kindly made it possible for me to watch a whole bunch of episodes that I hadn't seen in years, and I thought it'd be nice to create some pictures of the characters with which he could decorate his blog (and the Ox Tales website that he's hoping to set up). This one here will hopefully be the first of several, so watch out for more ox-related antics in the not-too-distant future!
Oh, and if you're wondering what the title of this piece is all about, it's to do with the extremely cheesy but strangely likeable theme tune that was composed for the English-language version of the cartoon. (Again, look it up on YouTube, and prepare to have the music stuck in your head for the next fortnight.)