Posts

50 Years of Grasshopper Island

Image
  2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Grasshopper Island! It was this grand milestone that led us to put together our brand new little blog - Grasshopper Island News .  It seems appropriate to mark the occasion and remember fondly the adventures of Smarty, Toughy and Mouse. We hope our blog will bring back happy memories for 'elderly boys' and girls wherever you may be. And moreover, we hope our blog can introduce curious new potential fans to this wonderful tale. The blog has been created by Uli and Chris after we realised that we shared a great fondness for the show, and indeed for times long since passed. And we think Grasshopper Island is deserving of a digital home on the internet. We hope that you will join us in celebrating the occasion and follow our blog, where over time we will share some wonderful - never seen publicly before -  facts, tidbits, photos and footage from the production all those years ago! We are honoured and fortunate indeed to have the supp

5. The Post Office

Image
By now we had experienced many wonderful days reflecting on the success of our “Blue Button Expedition”, or Grasshopper Island Pilgrimage as we had begun to view it. Back at our base in Calvi we had acquired the evening habit of sitting with a plate of brocciu cheese and mortadella luncheon meat, coaxed down with an accompanying glass of rosé. On this occasion the sun was just beginning to kiss the rooftops of Calvi. It's Genoese fortress – the Citadel – becoming a silhouette against a haze of oranges and crimson as we too basked in the colours of our success. Admiring this captivating view, our thoughts turned to finding some of the last remaining Grasshopper Island locations. The next day as we walked to wait for the train we noticed something interesting. As mentioned already, we had grown very fond of U Trinicellu , the narrow gauge railcars that ran along the coast. Occasionally along the route, old railway station houses were left standing, some still in use while others

4. Finding the beach

Image
The beach is a location which features prominently in Grasshopper Island. The spot where Toughy, Smarty and Mouse are seen celebrating their arrival to the “uninhabited Island”. This beach first appears in Episode 2 entitled The Elderly Boy . So naturally, finding this location was uppermost in our minds. As it happens – this location was the easiest one to find. While building our fan website – grasshopperisland.net – Uli had the idea of writing to Joy Whitby and was delighted to receive her support. Over the course of several emails, both he and I had opportunity to ask some specific questions about the production. Joy was very amiable and gave us some insight into how the TV production and the storybook came about. We were fascinated to learn that the majority of the production took place in Haute Corse (Northern Corsica). However some of the very early beach scenes, those featuring tall sand dunes and a tumbling Charles Hawtrey ( The Elderly Boy ), were actually filmed on a beach

3. Lupus goes shopping

Image
The search for our next filming location took us high up the steep mountainside to the picturesque village of Monticello - or Monticellu - as it is in Corsican. We had noted this place name from our conversation with Jean (the owner of Café des Platanes ) and with Hilaire, Toussant and Pierre. They had given us a name: "Jo Jo" and probably a lot more detail which had become lost in translation. They had mentioned these details initially as we spoke at the pier of L'Île-Rousse. Now just an hour or two later, having shown the footage of Place Pascal Pauli , we finished our coffees and reviewed the notes that I had written in my notebook. We needed to visit this new place – Monticello . But how to get there? We thanked our new acquaintances at Café des Platanes for the coffee and for their help with our mission to find our next location and bade them farewell. We had noticed a street sign that advertised the location of a tourist office nearby. We decided to visit and t

2. The ice cream shop

Image
Our next location search took us to Place Pascal Pauli . This is a wonderfully open town square, with a beautiful church, and many cafés and restaurants. Local people played pétanque beneath the shade of the venerable platane trees. A handful of tourists looked on while they enjoyed a coffee, a beer or some ice cream. So it was with great enthusiasm, stemming from our success at the pier, that we scanned the establishments along the southern edge of the square for an ice cream parlour. To our surprise there on the corner close to where we stood was La Glacier. As a reminder - the reason for this interest in finding an ice cream seller was to attempt to identify both the person in the photo and the exact location. Once again without any hesitation Uli made a direct path to the doorway of La Glacier and engaged the gentleman standing there in conversation. “Excuse me sir, I’m sorry but I do not speak French”, in what I would find to be a recurring mantra throughout our expedition! The

1. Finding our first location .. and clues to the next

Image
The pier at  L'Île-Rousse in April 2024 © Grasshopperisland.net So where to start on our quest for filming locations? Luckily some years ago Uli had asked the author of Grasshopper Island - Joy Whitby - if she recalled where the filming had taken place all those years ago. Joy explained how the island of Corsica came to be selected. Frank Muir was a friend of hers and had suggested Corsica as the ideal location. Its sunny climate and the happy fact that he owned a holiday home there was instrumental in bringing the Grasshopper Island production to Corsica. Frank Muir would play the part of rival grasshopper expert Dr. Hopper and the cast and crew would stay in rented accommodation in the locality. Joy was able to recall that Franks home was in a village high above the idyllic French seaside town of L'Île-Rousse. Although she could not recall the exact name of the village, she did remember that the beach scenes took place close to L'Île-Rousse. The s

The Adventure begins

“ Adventure is the important thing. I’m always saying it to Cecil. And Cecil agrees with me. ” - The Elderly Boy We are proud to announce that our adventure has begun! We have finally landed on Grasshopper Island. Since we arrived we have had the opportunity to meet amazing local people who have helped us with our expedition.  In the next few days we will be searching far and wide to identify and visit as many of the places that Toughy, Smarty and Mouse discovered when they landed on Grasshopper Island.  Please come back and join us as we explore - we will have lots to share in the coming days!    1 - Finding our first location   2 - The Ice Cream Shop Then and now: Mr Button on "the mainland"

Blue Button Expedition 2024 !

Image
 Coming April 24th 2024 - A New Adventure !