“Children’s Island”: we loved each other so much


vsChristophe Izard. For children’s eardrums, this surname promised escape. We had just learned to read, but this name, our retinas stared at it in an instant as soon as it appeared on the screen. Izard, Chance, Weird… the guide as the Anglo-Saxons would say to designate a benevolent magician. A magical lexical field. The certainty of a trip to imaginary lands before dinner.

Izard was a bit like our modern day Homer. Go Nagai was Japan’s with Grendizer, America’s Stan Lee with Spider-Man… And Christophe Izard, their French counterpart. More humble, less dazzling with its puppets, its actors in foam costumes and its wonderful worlds recreated on the stages of SFP. But without him, without them, our childhood would have grown with a few less stars in its eyes. Izard also gave birth to enchanting myths, especially with the adventures of Casimir: hell, what did we think, from our six-year-old height, at this time children’s island !

Granted, the career of Christophe Izard, whose disappearance at the age of 85, we have just learned, is not limited to the cult program that turned the great orange monster into a… monstrous social phenomenon in Giscard’s France. Izard the Magician was also the author of other important cultural markers for the children of the 1970s-1980s: Wednesday visitors and its variation during the Christmas holidays, as well The village in the clouds. Later, between 1990 and 1996, he produced another program for Antenne 2 (hosted by Luq Hamet): Hanna-Barbera crazy dong, variation of an American concept. The former journalist and music columnist also produced and/or created various animated series during the 90s… but Children’s Island remains his masterpiece. His Odyssey. THE “French madeleine” – with Time X – of the generation Star wars.

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We liked it Children’s Island evidently for its central hero eater of globi-boulga, who camped with the childish honesty of his interpreter Yves Brunier. But like the best of choral fiction, this production that enchanted millions of young French between 1974 and 1982 (more than a thousand numbers!) was also full of endearing and well-characterized accessories. The balloon man François (Patrick Bricard), Julie and his candy and toy kiosk (Éliane Gauthier), the jovial postman Émile Campagne (Henri Bon), the indescribable Monsieur du Snob (Jean-Louis Terrangle), the “bad” Mr. Buster thinks only of turning Casimir into a fairground animal exhibited around the world (Sacha Briquet)… And, of course, the marionette Léonard, grumpy fox and poet with a touch of spleen (Boris Scheigam), not forgetting the super cousin – Casimir blunder , Hyppolite (Gérard Camoin).

The little music of living together

Designed, in the words of Christophe Izard, to help the youngest spectators, new school children, “to feel better in this somewhat complicated universe”, Children’s Island fulfilled his mission a hundred times. In this little cathodic paradise where we fantasized Robinson for life, the innocent sketches helped us better live the harsh prospect of a school day. Behind the ruthlessness, Izard and his troupe took seriously the duty of public education – TF1, its broadcaster after a launch on FR3 in 1974, would not be privatized until 1987. François, the sensible adults of the group, learned that Casimir (and the extra children) sometimes the principle about universal suffrage, sometimes how to recognize the big fish in the sky and spot the North Star. In another episode, Casimir collected old things that Julie intended to throw in the trash, to recycle them for a raffle of Mr. you Snob and thus go hunting for waste.

From one day to the next, our friends François, Julie, Émile and the others recited a fable by La Fontaine to us, talked about The Three Musketeers, explained the principle of echo or praised diversity and tolerance. The didactic fiber discreetly illuminated each episode, always with humor and kindness. Even in the many “interludes” that characterized the show, pellets also aimed to expand its audience, the little music about good citizenship and coexistence was invited around an exchange between two puppets. Children’s Island entertained the youth, but also at his humble level cultivated citizens. Without forgetting to make us laugh, with each number, thanks to these important interludes. We laughed out loud in front of the fun (and transalpine) La Linea, character drawn in white line walking on a whimsical tightrope as he complains about an Italian charging with a machine gun before systematically falling screaming into the void. But also in front Anti theft (voiced by Daniel Ceccaldi), “the bird on the ground” who stubbornly refused to use its wings; the hypochondriac cow Noiraude; the unlikely creature Gribouille and his puzzle drawings; the duo Albert and Barnabas; or even the magician with the moving mustache Pinkie Pou (played by the late comedian Pierre Gauthier)… During his swan song in 1982, the show even opened its antenna to the antics of Pierre Desproges with Good advice from Professor Corbiniou – a pure nugget between Franquin and Gotlib!

And although we never managed to get there, on this cursed island (other kids had more luck than us in finding SFP’s premises!), we never felt left out thanks to the frequent glances, the actors’ camera and their proverbial “Ha, Du Is there!” “. After school, the gang reached out to us from the station, and even after a bad day in class or on the playground, everything disappeared for 25 minutes, spent giggling at the mistakes of Casimir and Hyppolite, the grimaces of M. du Snob. or the whims of Antivol .Whatever roles our unconscious projected onto François and Julie (depending on the imagination, the tandem was perceived as a brother/sister, uncle/aunt or a chaste couple in love), the reassuring and reliable faces that illuminated the headlights embodied the first steps of our lives as school children In short: we loved them.

Children’s Island, so was the moving sweetness of the words in its credits, written by Izard and sung by Anne Germain to a tune composed by Roger Pouly. It’s also “Yeah, so what?” »a defiant hair from Casimir; its infectious globi-boulga made of bananas, strawberry jam, mustard and raw Toulouse sausages (but still hot), which, however, marked our memories so much that it invited itself into our daily language, including among the Politik staff ; a permanent awareness of culture, art, knowledge… and a stimulation of our imagination via the simple tool of dialogues and a few sound effects that evoke an island with a vast geography, since everything was filmed within the perimeter of a studio – television.

A rekindled flame in the 1990s

Ten years after his last breath in 1982, Casimir’s epic returned to popularity after host producer Jean-Luc Delarue paid him a moving tribute on his show The big family, on Canal+. The handsome monster in person, still embodied by a Yves Brunier who did not leave his character, was then the main guest on the set. Audience card and ramdam in the newspaper. Rebroadcast on Canal J after this resounding event, Children’s Island cradled a younger generation throughout the 1990s. Celebrated on a flourishing web, but also during techno evenings held by the person in question, the “Casimir mania” provoked several decipherments in the press about the phenomenon of adolescence at the beginning of the XXI century.e century. Whatever symptom it would express, this indescribable connection between France and Children’s Island never broke. To understand its power, go through this touching sequence from the show morning happinessbroadcast in 1993 on France 2: Luq Hamet received Christophe Izard and his actors there and delighted the viewers with anecdotes behind the scenes of the program.

On the phone, a young mother moved by talking live with her childhood heroes how she discovered color television in the mid-1970s, Children’s Island angered her. Take a good look at Patrick Bricard, Jean-Louis Terrangle, Éliane Gauthier, Christophe Izard and Yves Brunier’s suddenly tender faces when the viewer evokes her desire to show Children’s Island to his daughter. They bear witness to the beautiful story of one of French television’s most beautiful jewels and its enormous emotional impact. A program bursting with ingenuity, laughter and tenderness, whose legacy radiates far beyond pure entertainment for young people.

Christophe Izard has therefore just joined Patrick Bricard and Éliane Gauthier (as well as Henri Bon, our dear postman) in the paradise of the noble craftsmen of flight. So inevitably, listening to the hits “L’Île aux enfants” and “La Chanson de Casimir” today will not be without risk for the most sensitive. The throat tightens, the eyes turn red… but in the end it’s the smile of eternal gratitude that’s needed. Thank you, Christophe Izard, for this long trip to the happy land of happy children!


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