Mr Krbec and his Animals (original title O zvířátkách pana Krbce) is a charming series of animated shorts for children, one of the so called Večerníček (TV bedtime stories).
Mr Krbec's dream has come true: He gets a job as a castle warden and tour guide in the Castle Kulikov. It's a live-in position and he moves there with his tom-cat Kokesh. He meets an old inhabitant of the castle, Kukula the owl, and Kocanda the jackdaw, a young bird. Kukula tells Mr Krbec she pities him because the castle is haunted. And it sure is... It is haunted by the spirit of Duke Ruprecht who used to be the owner of Kulikov. He wants the new castle warden out of his home. Luckily kindly Mr Krbec is not scared and Ruprecht soon befriends him. Ruprecht stays mischievous and somewhat dissatisfied, but occasionally he's even helpful.
Mr Krbec, his animals and Ruprecht have many merry and wacky adventures. Most mischief is caused by castle visitors and tourists, or occasionally by Ruprecht or Kokesh. There is a masquerade ball for children, then Aunt Klotylda visits with her goat Tylda, two jovial singers stay for a night, there is a flood in the children's summer camp ...and so much more.
It was produced by Czechoslovak Television in 1977. The series was drawn by Vladimír Renčín, written by Stanislav Havelka & Petr Chvojka and directed by Václav Bedřich. Petr Skoumal composed its adorable cheery score. The series is dubbed with gusto by Josef Abrhám. He has all the roles — the narrator, Mr Krbec, tomcat Kokesh, jackdaw Kocanda, owl Kukula, the spirit of Duke Ruprecht and many more.
In 2010, the animated shorts got its sequel: The Ghosts of Kulikov (Straidla na Kulíkově).
Mr Krbec and his Tropes:
- Alliterative Family: All Mr Krbec's animals' names start with the letter K: Kokesh, Kocanda and Kukula. Interestingly, he probably only named his tomcat Kokesh.
- Evil Laugh: Ghost Ruprecht has an awesome low-pitched laugh. He uses it when he's haunting someone (usually jerks who deserve it) or during his mischief, e.g. when he wants to drive a wedding party out of his castle.
- Friend to All Living Things: Mr Krbec's animals adore him. He has a tom-cat who's very fond of him, befriends an owl and a jackdaw and later becomes a beekeeper. His animals occasionally help him with his job: for example Kokesh and Kocanda sell tickets to tourists.
- Haunted Castle: Castle Kulikov is haunted by its previous owner Duke Ruprecht. He's mischievous and troublesome, but fairly harmless and occasionally even helpful. He scared away most of previous castellans who had been employed to work there, but he happily coexists with Mr Krbec and his animals. Ruprecht's tricks provide some additional entertainment to tourists as he can make his portrait sway; he can move objects like books or clothes; he happily delivers his mysterious evil laugh; he often appears to others as a white or occasionally see-through ghost and he can even temporarily gain "body and colour".
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Mr Krbec's first animal is Kokesh the Tom-cat. Kindly Mr Krbec is always nice, polite and in a good mood, while Kokesh is a bit grumpy, mischievous and self-seeking in a lovable way.
- Loud Sleeper Gag: In one episode, Ruprecht and Kokesh can't sleep due to Mr. Krbec snoring far too loudly, to the point where the entire castle shakes. Ruprecht keeps waking him up in repeated and failed attempts to stop the noise, and as a result of being constantly woken up, Mr. Krbec oversleeps the next morning.
- Monochrome Apparition: The spirit of Duke Ruprecht who used to be the lord and owner of Castle Kulikov is designed as a white ghost. However, he knows a spell that allows him temporarily gain "body and colour".
- Motor Mouth: When Mr Krbec is injured and spends some time in hospital, his replacement is a young philosophy student Pilnáček who talks super quickly, especially when he shows the castle to tourists. Hilariously, his speech is exactly the same as Mr Krbec's, almost word for word, but Mr Krbec talks slowly and takes his time to actually show the stuff to people.Pilnáček: The-castle-was-seized-burnt-down-and-rebuilt. 100-years-later-it-was-again-seized-and-burnt-down-and-rebuilt. These-cannon-balls-remained-here-from-that-period. 100-years-later-it-was-seized-and-burned-down-again. Next-group!
- Mustache Vandalism: Two unruly boys attempt to draw a pair of glasses on Duke Ruprecht's painting. Ghost Ruprecht is not amused and starts to haunt them like crazy.
- The Owl-Knowing One: Kukula the Owl resides in the huge library of the castle Kulikov. She's wise and well-read. She's often the target of Ruprecht's mischief. She's not pleased that Mr Krbec was not informed beforehand about the castle being haunted and warns Mr Krbec about Ruprecht.
- Pursue the Dream Job: Mr Krbec is a pensioner whose dream comes true in the very first episode. He reads an ad in the paper and applies for the position. Next scene he's moving to the beautiful old castle and starts living there. He becomes the castle's "castellan", which means he's a keeper and warden of the place and he's also responsible for guiding and tours.
- Scary Stinging Swarm:
- Swarming bees appear near the castle gate in one episode and they won't let any visitors in and they are quite aggressive. Ghost Ruprecht actually helps out when he brings an old beehive and lures the bees in it. Mr Krbec then becomes a beekeeper, which is a good thing because he talked himself hoarse showing the castle to tourists, so he will appreciate the honey he will eventually get from the bees.
- Ruprecht begs the bees to help them in a later episode when the gang deals with unwelcome visitors. Mr Krbec kindly offers shelter from the rain to two guys who were camping out and sleeping in the open air. They kept singing and playing the guitar and were extremely loud. The bees do help them and attack those persistent singing tramps.
- Sleep Deprivation: Ruprecht and Kokesh can't sleep one night because Mr Krbec snores, and extremely loudly at that. The whole castle is shaking! Ruprecht keeps waking him up in attempts to stop the noise, but it always continues after Mr Krbec falls asleep again. Mr Krbec oversleeps the following morning.
- Speech Impediment: Kocanda the Jackdaw suffers from rhotacism and rhotacism bohemicus — she's unable to pronounce r or ř correctly (two contrasting alveolar trills, an apical trill and a laminal trill). It's a fairly common speech impediment in real life among Czech speakers; those consonants are incorrectly created in the back of the throat instead of behind the teeth. Stereotypical for absent-minded p-rrr-ofesso-rrr-s, sma-rrr-t and eage-rrr cha-rrr-acte-rrr-snote . Kocanda is very smart, resourceful, assiduous and always eager to please or help others.