Saturday, June 9, 2018

Skippy and the Intruders ( 1969 )

It's Lassie Down Under! ....

....only he jumps... and clucks! Some may say that a dog is a man's best friend, but Skippy the kangaroo can best a dog any day - especially in a boxing match. Skippy premiered as a television series in March 1968, in Australia, and quickly became one of the country's top children's television programs, rivaling the popularity of Lassie here in the States. Since it was such a hit, the producers of the series thought that a feature film would do equally well so, prior to filming the second season, the cast assembled for this adventurous 96-minute feature film entitled Skippy and the Intruders.

Little Sonny ( Garry Pankhurst ) and his marsupial pal Skippy live with his father, Matt Hammond ( Ed Devereaux ), and his brother Mark ( Ken James ) near the Waratah National Park, where his father works as the chief park ranger. One day a pair of divers come by for a permit to dive for abalone in the waters off Mallacoota and, while they seem to be legitimate divers, they are really in the area diving for a sunken treasure of gold bullion... a treasure that rightfully belongs to the Navy.

Sonny, Skippy, and their friend Clancy ( Lisa Goddard ) accidentally stumble upon this operation, forcing the treasure hunters to keep the children as hostages until they can carry off their diving operation and abscond with the stolen gold. 
While the plot to Skippy and the Intruders isn't entirely original, the film itself packs in a lot of excitement and is highly entertaining - especially considering it is geared towards children. It features beautiful location scenery throughout the Sydney coast, some great underwater diving footage, and criminals who aren't bumbling or stupid. To add a little romance to the film there is Meg ( Jeanie Drynan ), a young woman who works at the seaside pub. She is the girlfriend of one of the "kidnappers" and looks after the children while they are in hiding. Also in the cast is Ron Graham, Kevin Miles, and Jack Hume. 

Skippy himself gets to relax through most of the movie and only steps into fighting-mode at the climax, but his presence is certainly one of the highlights of the movie. Perhaps Australians may have found a pet kangaroo commonplace, but for American audiences, he is quite a novel hero, bouncing around here and there to save his pal, Sonny. 
In Australia, Skippy and the Intruders was just a moderate success at the box office but it became popular overseas when it was later sold to the Children's Film Foundation ( CFF ) and aired on television in the UK as an edited 60-minute film. If you enjoy this film then it is well worth checking out the original television series - Skippy the Bush Kangaroo - which ran for three seasons ( 1968-1970 ). 

Skippy and the Intruders is available on DVD and by streaming through Kanopy or Youtube


  1. I have vague memories of the series, but don't recall the movie at all. I love finding out about stuff like this. Thanks so much.

    1. Diana and I enjoyed the movie so much, we purchased the series but, since it is coming from Australia, it will take a little while to arrive. We'll write a post about the series once we get a chance to view some episodes, but I hope you get a chance to see the film. It's standard children's fare, but quite entertaining.

  2. I don't remember the movie at all, but tried watching the syndicated TV series as a kid. I liked Skippy (come on...who doesn't think kangaroos are adorable?), but wasn't so fond of the human cast. I love how you dig up fascinating, obscure movies!!

    1. The interesting thing about discovering obscure movies is the deeper you delve the more interesting titles you find! Treasures of the deep.