Tag Archives: rod campbell

Illustrations and paintings – Rod


Some of Rod’s illustrative work



Symphony of Puppets

man's best friend

Symphony of Puppets




“It all started in 1964 with my first film, ‘A Man’s Best Friend’; The magic of puppet animation had cast its spell over me and I was enchanted.”says Rod.This is the fascinating true story of a person’s love for puppets. Rod shares his life growing up in Natal and later in Johannesburg, South Africa. His hobbies and career at the SABC reveal a journey of puppetry from stop frame to the unique Micromation and Mechamation rod controlled puppets which were used in the well known ‘Wielie Walie’ and ‘Liewe Heksie’ series. This book is a first documenting of those pioneer years at SABCTV, and will be enjoyed by all those interested in the making of puppets for film and television. Rod generously shares his knowledge and experience in puppet making and includes some cost effective ‘how to’ information with many detailed illustrations.

100_4253You can order a copy of this book by emailing fantasmechanical@gmail.com

 An ibook version will soon be available for download


Puppets for Television


Puppets for Television



  • Mr Flippit

    Mr Flippit

  • Mechanical Animation Rod Control System in Puppetry

    Mechanical Animation Rod Control System in Puppetry

  • Mango Monkey and Alfie Armadello

    Mango Monkey and Alfie Armadello

  • A unique system combining marionettes with some motorized movements - 'Motonette'

    A unique system combining marionettes with some motorized movements – ‘Motonette’

  • Endearing Little Witch

    Endearing Little Witch

  • Heksie and Karneels

    Heksie and Karneels

  • Heksie's House

    Heksie’s House

  • Heksie and Blommie

    Heksie and Blommie

  • Liewe Heksie and Matevis

    Liewe Heksie and Matevis

  • Puppet Stars of Wielie Walie

    Wielie Walie Stars, Karel Kraai and Sarel Seemonster

  • Karel Kraai test prototype

    Karel Kraai Prototype

  • Rod Campbell and Rodney Peel with Wielie Walie Puppets

    Rod Campbell and Rodney Peel with Wielie Walie Puppets

I was fortunate enough to be one of the pioneers who got to be on the SABC team when television first came to South Africa, and to be part of a small group of creative people who produced the following puppets children’s entertainment. I was given the task of setting up the model making/ scenic services department and our first project turned out to be the well known Has Das with his entertaining news reports, then came

  • 1976- Wielie Walie – Karel Kraai, Sarel Seemonster, Bennie Boekwurm, Bytjie & Blommetjie (developed the Micromation MM system to manipulate Karel Kraai)
  • 1976- Bangalory Time
  • 1977- Karneels se Konsertsaal
  • 1977- Adoons Hulle
  • 1978- Signor Onyon
  • 1978/9- Liewe Heksie
  • 1981- Meistro Mole (developed the MARCS system for the control of Meistro Mole)
  • 1981- Ligstraaltjies
  • 1981- Liewe Heksie (2nd series)
  • 1983- The Wonderful World of Mr Flippit (independently made for the SABC)


Man’s Best Friend

man's best friendMan’s Best Friend

1965 stop frame puppet animation 8mm film. At the age of 24 this personal project was done using a Paillard Bolex P1 with single frame attachment. I had had no formal training and had just read as many books as I could find on stop frame film making.This project was done over about eight months working in my spare time. It won several local and international awards.



Symphony in Sync

stop frame animation puppets

Symphony in Sync

This stop frame puppet animation was made in 1965 in my garage at home. I used an 8mm Paillard P1 Bolex camera to shoot frame by frame. The puppets made are about 3 inches in size. The biggest challenge was to animate in sync to the music. This was achieved by scratching the timing of the music onto 8mm film with a pin and thereby calculating the frames needed for synchronization.




Frog Steam Band


Frog Steam Band

Shot on commercial Ektachrome Colour Film (1973). The Frog Steam Band was intended for a  10 minute short film. It was never completed as I began working for SABC Television in 1975.