Book; Curious Recollections. Life in the Curiosity Show. Rob Morrison
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Every child who grew up in Australia in the 70s and 80s remembers the Curiosity Show – the science show that encouraged kids to build their own experiments at home. Running for 18 years, it was a ground breaking television production, winning awards and screening into homes around the world.
But who knew that it began life as an offshoot of Here’s Humphrey – titled Humphrey B. Bear’s Curiosity Show and hosted by folk singer Patsy Biscoe? In his hilarious new memoir, Curious Recollections, Rob Morrison recalls how a random “Here’s Humphrey” appearance (where he talked about raising a baby possum) led to the show that would make him a children’s television icon.
First aired in 1972, the show filmed more than 500 episodes before it was axed in 1990, with 5000 self-contained science activities and stories. Co-creators and self-described kindred spirits, zoologist Rob Morrison and scientist Deane Hutton, have now been working together for 40 years.
“The golden age of Australian television is often said to be the 1970s and 80s,” says Rob. “We were part of it for almost exactly those two decades, and the internet came along soon enough afterwards for us to make a successful move onto it.”
In 2013, thirteen years since the show had last aired, Rob and Deane secured the full rights to the series. Since then, they’ve been posting segments on YouTube – and have recently reached the milestone of 100,000 YouTube subscribers.
“Some of our audiences tell us they watched the show on television as children when it began, 18 years later their own children were watching when it finished, and now their grandchildren watch it on YouTube.”
In Curious Recollections, Rob recalls career highlights – on and off screen – including a flight to Antarctica, being an expert witness on dingoes in the Lindy Chamberlain case, accidentally prompting the famously silent Humphrey B. Bear to swear on-air, communing with orangutans, and using a sex doll to win a scientific debate.
Rob Morrison has combined the two careers of academic and science writer and broadcaster. The author of 43 books, he has been an active conservationist, heading South Australia’s zoos for six years and chairing many boards of science and conservation bodies. He was awarded an OAM in 2004 and was the 2008 Senior Australian of the Year for South Australia.
“Such fun, such adventures, such pioneering inventiveness: with blowup dolls, rotting corpses and frolics all over the globe. Rob tells how he and his friends revolutionised science on TV. Rob Morrison is one of the top ten science communicators in the world - and I know most of them. His secret? Leave the building, look, listen - and THINK” – Robyn Williams, The Science Show (ABC RN)