The first series of Magyar népmesék (Hungarian folk tales) was launched in 1977 and the last 8th series was finished in 2011 with 100 episodes altogether. It presented classic Hungarian folk stories for generations, sometimes in the frame of Esti mese (Evening tale) with the introduction of TV Maci (TV Teddy Bear), or within programs of children’s channels. The peculiarity and success of the stories, which lasted many decades, stem from the vulpine fables, which were put in a genuine and witty visual world. The visual solutions and characteristic figure portrayals of the stories were taken from the folk art of different Hungarian regions.
The stories were directed by Mária Horváth, Lajos Nagy and Marcell Jankovics; the latter also made several screenplays and cooperated as a designer and expert in the production of the cartoons. Mrs. Ferenc Mikulás gave the original idea, and she was also the producer of the majority of episodes. The dramaturgist of the first three series was Ágnes Bálint, who took part in the production of other famous tales like Mazsola and Frakk as well.
The creators used original folk art collections as sources with the aid of the Ethnographical Research Team of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In the first few episodes, the narrators were folk tale-tellers: Rozália Kóka and Károly Hrotkó. Later actors took over the narration, like Klári Tolnay, Piroska Molnár, István Avar and Gyula Szabó. As of the third series, it was Gyula Szabó who narrated 88 stories, and gained exclusiveness due to his emblematical voice. For his story-telling work he received the life-work award at the Kecskemét Animation Film Festival in 2005. The creations were made into animation films in the Workshop of Kecskemét Pannónia Film Studio, and as of the 5th series (1995) in the Kecskemétfilm Ltd., which is also famous for the animation series Vízipók-csodapók (Water-Spider Wonder-Spider) and Leo
For those who would revive their childhood memories or would use the classic stories for the development of future generations, the fables can be found on the webpage of Magyar népmesék. You can also read interesting stories about the starts, the film-makers and the folk tale collections that were used as sources. Besides that, the theme song of Kaláka can be downloaded in Mp3 format, and characters can be printed out for painting.
The fame of these cartoons is showed by the fact that they were also introduced at international animation film festivals besides the Hungarian ones. The series received 9 points (out of 10) at IMDb from the users. Magyar népmesék were on the television all over Europe and even in Japan, China, Australia and the USA. From now on, they are accessible from anywhere at any time: on the website of the European Digital Library (Europeana), you can explore and get familiar with the enchanting pawky stories that are inspired by the Hungarian folk tale heritage.
Translated by Zita Aknai