True Animal Tales

Draw Your Own Cartoons with Rolf Harris

Draw Your Own Cartoons with Rolf Harris: Folded and Collated Sheets

Rolf Harris Songbook

Beastly Behaviour

Rolf Harris
The Official Site


Two Little Boys

Two little boys had two little toys
Each had a wooden horse
Gaily they played each summer's day
Warriors both of course
One little chap then had a mishap
Broke off his horse's head
Wept for his toy then cried with joy
As his young playmate said

Did you think I would leave you crying
When there's room on my horse for two
Climb up here Jack and don't be crying
I can go just as fast with two
When we grow up we'll both be soldiers
And our horses will not be toys
And I wonder if we'll remember
When we were two little boys

Long years had passed, war came so fast
Bravely they marched away
Cannon roared loud, and in the mad crowd
Wounded and dying lay
Up goes a shout, a horse dashes out
Out from the ranks so blue
Gallops away to where Joe lay
Then came a voice he knew

Did you think I would leave you dying
When there's room on my horse for two
Climb up here Joe, we'll soon be flying
I can go just as fast with two
Did you say Joe I'm all a-tremble
Perhaps it's the battle's noise
But I think it's that I remember
When we were two little boys

Do you think I would leave you dying
There's room on my horse for two
Climb up here Joe, we'll soon by flying
Back to the ranks so blue
Can you feel Joe I'm all a tremble
Perhaps it's the battle's noise
But I think it's that I remember
When we were two little boys



“You can join today! It’s Rolf’s Car… Toon… Club!” So went the spoken introduction to the early 80s BBC1 series, in which your man Harris would introduce cartoon shorts (a mix of Looney Tunes, and obscure shite about singing honey bees) by illustrating the forthcoming clips with hasty sketches (“And he’s got that little bit of his tongue poking out there, and a-hoo-a-ha-a-hoo-a-ha! Ha ha ha! Little bit of white in his eye… splurge! A-ha ha ha!”). We were supposed to believe he was drawing them from memory, but he was LYING. Harris was copying them off a screen, or something. Or he’d traced them, or really, really practiced hard beforehand. Anyway, he never quite got the eyes right.

No-one has ever been quite sure what Rolf Harris, MBE, OBE, is. Obviously, he’s a bearded Australian of some sort, but quite why he’s famous is a mystery. Singer? Musician? Artist? Presenter? A type of comedy guy? Currently ensconced in the safety blanket of the BBC’s Animal Hospital, the reborn Rolf has clawed himself back from the anonymity of the late-80s, when he was little more than a celeb-for-hire. His current status as celeb-for-hire with a regular presenting stint on Animal Hospital, finds him crying at dogs with no fur and broken legs. Splurge indeed. But where did he come from, this self-appointed “Rolf-A-Roo”?

Having just turned 70, Rolf Harris’s showbusiness career has spanned more than four decades. He had a number one single in his native Australia in 1960 with Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, later a hit in Britain in 1962 (the song’s verse referring to Aborigines as “Abos” was removed from subsequent recordings and performances… as were an additional five verses referring to New Zealanders as “gay fuckwits”). He had a British number two in 1962 (held off the top spot by Elvis Presley) with Sun Arise, famous for its use of a didgeridoo (in reality eight bass fiddles – Rolf was unable to play the didgeridoo at the time). Rapidly becoming a staple of light entertainment TV, it was inevitable that Rolf be given his own show.

Hey Presto – It’s Rolf! was his debut TV series, which he co-hosted alongside koala puppet Coojeebear. Heavily Antipodean in flavour, Rolf would alternate musical numbers played on a wobble board, with painting huge murals of the Australian outback while making his trademark stupid noises. Aside from the “splurges”, the most common of these noises sounded as if Rolf was hyper-ventilating or, at worst, having some manner of cardiac arrest. Or ejaculating in his pants. His paintings, done with household paints and brushes on giant canvas, would inevitably resemble random splodges of colour (“Can you tell what it is yet? Ha ha!”) until Rolf applied the very last stroke (“Splurge!”) and the whole thing came together. But of course, we already could tell what it was from the off, because he only ever painted Ayres Rock, a kangaroo, or an aborigine. At sunset.

His hit singles, which by now included Jake The Peg (about a man with three legs, diddle-iddle-iddle-dum, no less), and the smash hit Two Little Boys (later covered by artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, Gary Glitter, and that buck-toothed fuck from The Bay City Rollers, ha ha…) were a staple part of his shows, often transformed into huge song and dance numbers wherein Rolf would perform with crowds of young children (later covered by artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, Gary Glitter etc. etc…)

The Seventies were a fine time for Rolf. He fronted light entertainment series after light entertainment series (The Rolf Harris Show, Rolf’s Walkabout, Rolf On Saturday OK!). Then there was Rolf’s association with a number of public service films in which he – unrecognisable without his glasses in a swimming pool – warned kids that drowning was bad. Then there was Stylophone. His endorsement of this bizarre electronic musical instrument – a sort of cross between a miniature synthesiser and one of those wire buzzer game things that you had to move a hoop along without touching the metal – extended to both TV adverts, and being featured on the box of the product, clutching the stylus device that was used to touch the keys. Rolf helped the Stylophone sell four million units in the UK alone, but by 1980 Dubreq, the company responsible, had moved into other areas (notably creating the classic Top Trump card game).

The 1980s began reasonably well for Rolf, with the aforementioned Cartoon Club, but by the latter half of the decade he was all but washed up, both in the UK and back home. Things got so bad he even once burst into tears live on TV-AM, because a rendition by Mike And The Mechanics of their song In The Living Years, reminded him of his dead father (mind you, we frequently burst into tears upon hearing Mike And The Mechanics because it’s so upsetting that they’re still alive).

It took the generation that grew up being entertained by Rolf to offer him salvation, as he learned to trade on his kitsch appeal, peddling himself to the University nostalgia markets with a Top 10, Aussie-sounding cover version of Led Zepplin’s Stairway To Heaven. It was to prove a rebirth for Harris. In 1995 he began presenting Animal Hospital with not a paintbrush or didgeridoo in sight. He’s even appeared at the Glastonbury Festival, and miraculously managed to avoid the inevitable airborne bottles of piss.

It would seem that there’s little sign of Rolf slowing up. Heck – there’s even a new album, featuring a cover version of Robbie Williams’ Angels. What’s more, he also has his own website now, The Wizard Of Aus, which reads too close to “The Wizard Of Anus” for our tastes, but maybe that’s just us.

Whatever - Rolf Harris, you are an Australian mental.

Pick the correct answers by using the drop down menus.
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1.   Which of these songs has Rolf not recorded a cover version of?

2. What was the title of Rolf’s debut novel?

3.  Which programme for cat lovers did Rolf present in 1997?

4. What is the name of Rolf’s wife?

5.  Which of these is not a genuine Aboriginal instrument?


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