Raiders of the Lost Archives: Fantasy and Adventure

Fantasy and Adventure with Kevin Saves the World!

Our January Pop Up Event focused on the recently catalogued Kevin Saves the World series, a children’s animation series written by Daniel Postgate and produced by Bob Godfrey Films and Kine Aune. Based on the book of the same title, the series features Kevin, a young boy who wants to live an ordinary life but keeps finding himself involved in all kinds of unusual adventures. These unusual adventures transport the viewer into various fantasy scenarios, and so the natural theme for our Pop Up Event was fantasy and adventure.

Material from various episodes of the Kevin Saves the World series

Material from various episodes of the Kevin Saves the World series

Fantasy is a term generally used to define a genre that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element. The genre was traditionally inspired from mythology and folklore, but developed as a distinct type of literature during the Victorian period. Farah Mendlesohn attempts to define the types of literary fantasy in her book Rhetorics of Fantasy. She offers the follow categories into which fantasy genre can fall:

Portal Quest: Essentially there is a portal through to another world that has magical elements

Immersive: The entire story is set in a magical world

Intrusive: Elements from the magical world seep into our own

Liminal: The story is set in our world. Magical elements are accepted as opposed to being surprising

We find elements of Portal Quest fantasy (Kevin and the Computer Game, Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Baked Beanstalk). We also find elements of Intrusive fantasy (Kevin and the Genie, Kevin and the Boogie Woogie Bogeyman, Kevin and the Recipe Book, Kevin and the Ghosts, Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life). However we have a crossover with Kevin and the Vikings, where the hero is transported through a portal, but then returns to the real world with the magical elements escaping and following him to create an Intrusive fantasy. And then of course, every episode borders on the Liminal. Throughout his adventures, we are reminded that Kevin is an ordinary boy who wants an ordinary life, and whilst he sees the fantastic elements as an annoyance, he does not seem particularly surprised by them.

Pre-Production material for Kevin and the Beanstalk and Kevin Saves the World episodes

Pre-Production material for Kevin and the Beanstalk and Kevin Saves the World episodes

It should be noted that Mendlesohn specifically states that her book applies to literary fantasy, and does not consider television and film. So perhaps we should not categorise Kevin Saves the World in this way. Instead of categories, we can look at sub themes. There are clearly influences from legends (Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life), fairy-tales (Kevin and the Genie, Kevin and the Baked Beanstalk), folklore (Kevin and the Boogie Woogie Bogeyman, Kevin’s Christmas Treat), mythology (Kevin and the Vikings), and even the supernatural (Kevin and the Recipe Book, Kevin and the Ghosts, Kevin and the Seven Deadly Drop-Ins). Alongside these influences, we also see an element of popular culture – the Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life storyboards and scripts pose more than one similarity to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!

Whichever way we choose to define or categorise the episodes of Kevin Saves the World, it is apparent that the series as a whole combines a number of influences from which its roots stem. However, at the end of each episode Kevin, much to his relief, is able to return to the real world and resume his ordinary life… Until the next adventure!

Archive resources and freebies!

Archive resources and freebies!

The Kevin Saves the World series is now catalogued as part of the Bob Godfrey Collection. View it via the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Kevin Saves the World images copyright Bob Godfrey and Daniel Postgate.
All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

“What a terrible mess. Kevin, what have you been doing?”

Cataloguing Kevin Saves the World

We are continuously working behind the scenes and making additions to the UCA Archives and Special Collections catalogue. The catalogue was recently updated online to include the newly catalogued series Kevin Saves the World, a children’s animated series based on a book of the same name by author Daniel Postgate. One of the larger series of the Bob Godfrey Archive, Kevin Saves the World comprises some 38 boxes of animation material, including correspondence, pencil drawings, acetate cels, dope sheets, sound recordings, scripts, and storyboards to name a few!

Material from Kevin and the Genie

Material from Kevin and the Genie

An initial delve into the boxes suggested that there were five animated shorts that formed the series: Kevin Saves the World, Kevin and the Computer Game, Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Genie, and Kevin and the Bogeyman. There was pre-production and production material for these episodes. The scripts and storyboards provided information on the content of each episode, and some title scenes revealed the credits of the animations. Interestingly, the titles were in both English and Norwegian. These revealed that the series was produced by Bob Godfrey Films and Kine Aune and supported by the Norwegian Film Institute and the Nordisk Film & T.V. Fund.

Progress was being made. The key individuals and organisations behind the series and the synopsis of each episode were now known. However, there was still little contextual information about the series. When the last couple of boxes of material were sorted through, things got a little more complicated. There was evidence of other episodes previously unknown about – Kevin’s Christmas Treat, Kevin and the Recipe Book, and Kevin and the Ghosts. Not long after this discovery, an entire box full of correspondence and scripts was discovered. Sifting through this material created a more complete picture of the production of the series.

Just a small selection from the Kevin Saves the World scripts

Just a small selection from the Kevin Saves the World scripts

In total 14 episodes were found to have pre-production material (scripts and storyboards). There was partial production material for 2 of the episodes, and full production material for 5 of the episodes. The correspondence records revealed that a longer series of around 12-13 episodes was originally planned. However, it proved difficult to find broadcasters who were willing to broadcast animated shorts of only 5 minutes. The series also faced funding difficulties, which explains the halt in production and the presence of only pre-production material for a majority of the episodes. The first five episodes were broadcast in Norway, where some of the available funding had been sourced.

Using the information gathered, the series catalogue structure fell into place. A ‘series’ record was created for Kevin Saves the World. Each individual episode was then arranged underneath this with its own ‘sub-series’ record. Under these records, the material was arranged into pre-production and production material, where it existed. Correspondence had its own ‘sub-series’ record, as the material covered the contents of multiple episodes and was relevant to the series as a whole. Correspondence was then arranged into different ‘files’ according to their original order. Find out more about the structure of the catalogue by viewing this presentation.

Kevin Saves the World Catalogue Screenshot

Kevin Saves the World Catalogue Screenshot

After arranging a structure, further contextual information is added to the records in the form of authority files. Relevant names of people and organisations involved with the series are created in the authorities database and linked to the records, so that names may be cross-searched by users. Subject terms are also applied to identify key themes and subjects within the material.

Kevin Saves the World Authority Names Screenshot

Kevin Saves the World Authority Names Screenshot

The Kevin Saves the World series is now available to view on the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Kevin Saves the World images copyright Bob Godfrey and Daniel Postgate. All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Explore your Archive Pop Up Events – UCA Farnham Library

Explore your Archive! Discover our hidden original artistic treasures at our archive pop up events!

This term Archives and Special Collections will be hosting a series of ‘Pop-Up’ Events in the Farnham Campus Library between 13:00 and 14:00 on various dates as listed below. We will be demonstrating original archival material from the Bob Godfrey Animation Archive and focusing on different themes with each event.

Programme of Explore your archive pop up events

Join us to delve through a range of exciting material and to find out more about the archive and the services we provide.

Look out for our Explore Your Archive badges and pencils!

To find out more email archives@ucreative.ac.uk