Back in the good old days, if someone told you that one day it would be possible to re-watch an episode of a cartoon, you wouldn’t believe it. As children in Yugoslavia, we were all stuck to the TV waiting for cartoons to start because missing an episode meant it was gone FOREVER. It would air once and that was it. Our level of concentration was the highest possible. Nothing could pull us from the TV.
Everyone enjoyed watching cartoons, both children and parents. I will never forget my father’s childish laugh while watching cartoons with my sister and me. Television programs were much richer with animated movies then, while nowadays advertisements have the advantage.
Here are some legendary Croatian cartoons that will cheer you up and make you laugh to tears.
#1 Surogat (1961)
Surogat (The Substitute) is the first short animated film outside the USA that won the Oscar for best animated feature in 1962. It was directed by Croatian Dušan Vukotić. The story revolves around a weird triangular fat man who can turn flat shapes into three-dimensional objects whenever he wants. It shows how the line between reality and virtual surrogate reality is almost gone. Geometrical design and music used in the film were considered modern for that time.
#2 Inspektor Maska (1962-1963)
Inspektor Maska (Inspector Mask) is an animated comedy television series with 13 episodes that last 7-10 minutes each. The story lies on the criminal gang led by Prehlađeni Joe (Runny Nose Joe) who are involved in robberies and kidnapping. Inspector Mask is an intelligent masked police inspector who hunts them. You’ll definitely be entertained by the funny characters, their moves, and voices.
#3 Profesor Baltazar (1967-1978)
Profesor Baltazar (Professor Balthazar) is an animated series for children. The main character is Professor Balthazar, an old inventor who constantly comes up with brilliant ideas to help solve other people’s problems. This was one of my favorite cartoons from childhood. The legendary part of every episode is when professor Balthazar activates his magical multi-color machine which produces his inventions.
#4 Maxi Cat (1971-1973)
Maxi Cat is a miniseries produced by the animator Zlatko Grgić who also created Profesor Baltazar. Maxi Cat is a clumsy and confused cat who goes on different adventures. Everything he does is silly. There are no voices in the film, so it is ideal to relax your brain and laugh. This also means you don’t need to understand Croatian at all to enjoy it. The series includes 24 episodes.
#5 Ptica i crvek (1977)
Ptica i crvek is a cartoon whose main characters are a bird and a worm. The bird is clumsy and frustrated because it can’t fly, so it harasses a small worm. To the bird, the worm is always guilty of everything, but it is indestructible, and the bird always loses out. This is a pretty funny and simple cartoon, ideal for both children and parents.
#6 Čudesna šuma (1986)
Čudesna šuma (The Elm Chanted Forest) is the first Croatian full-length animated film produced in collaboration between Croatian “Croatia Film” and American “Fantasy Forest”. It is one of the most popular animations in former Yugoslavia. This forest is the place where a lot of happy animals live. It is protected by the magic oak which gives shelter to everyone who hides under its treetop. No matter if you like or don’t like cartoons, Čudesna šuma will melt you down with its sweet little animals.
#7 Mali leteći medvjedići (1990)
When I was a kid, everyone adored Mali leteći medvjedići (The Little Flying Bears). The main characters in this animated television series are adorable little bears that can fly. In their adventures, they teach children about the importance of protecting the environment. Tina and Dado are the most devoted bears, while Smradac and Smucalo pollute the environment (but they are very funny nevertheless). You will laugh and cry at the same time.
#8 Čarobnjakov šešir (1990)
Čarobnjakov šešir (The Magician’s Hat) is a full-length animated movie, a sequel of Čudesna šuma. Thistle the magician, forest animals, fairies, and a dragon save the forest from its enemy, the Ice Emperor Frostkill called “Car Mrazomor”. The adorable forest animals and other sweet characters will delight you. Just like Čudesna šuma, this is one of the cartoons that we were watching at the school with our professors and friends, and not only at home.
#9 Nogalo (1995)
Nogalo is a funny blue character whose legs and head look the same and they often swap places. “Noga” means “a leg”. When he walks, he will start walking on his head and this is always funny to see. The accompanying music is also funny and catchy. This cartoon is very short, lasting only 2 minutes, but it will cheer everyone up in that short time.