Monday, January 18, 2016

The Boy in the Robot Suit

 

Well, here's a treat! I had known for many years that the performer inside Tik-Tok in Disney's Return to Oz was an adorably cute guy named Michael Sundin. I also knew that Michael died of AIDS in 1989. He was only twenty-eight.


It was quite a job being strapped into the Tik-Tok costume. Sundin had to fold himself in half, curled up inside Tik-Tok's spherical body. He then had to walk backwards to make Tik-Tok move forward. Sundin's only view of where he was going was a small video monitor.


I had later discovered that Michael Sundin was also connected with a BBC children's television show called Blue Peter. This info has been rattling around in my brain for years and I had never thought to look up the show online . . . until now! And what a nice few treats I found!

First up is an episode of Blue Peter from 1985. And what do you know, it's an Oz episode! Sundin, delightfully cute in a Christmas sweater and yellow slacks, introduces a group of seven kids who have put together a Wizard of Oz dance - performed to the Meco disco album! After the dance Sundin talks to them about their costumes and tells a bit about his time on Return to Oz. Followed by a segment on the cut "Jitterbug" number from the MGM film, complete with Harold Arlen's 1939 home movies. Have a look!



And I can't resist sharing one more sample. Michael Sundin's Blue Peter interview with Elton John. Michael begins the interview climbing out of Elton John's swimming pool wearing a Speedo! What more need be said!





2 comments:

Colin Ayres British Fan Of Oz said...

Sadly the BBC sacked Michael from Blue Peter for being gay, and a children's presenter. It was a scary time for gay people in the UK under Margaret Thatcher, with section 28, a law forbidding the promotion of homosexuality to children, sadly this and HIV/AIDS set back the gay movement by some years. Fortunately the BBC and the U.K. Have moved on a lot since the 1980's and gay presenters are almost encouraged, and celebrated.

Sam A M said...

That doesn't sound like any version of "the Jitterbug" I've ever heard of before ... is it even Judy Garland?