Over the years, numerous animated series have been broadcast as a part of the bedtime series in Poland. Some of the popular ones are Pszczółka Maja, Krecik, Gumisie, and Smurfs. Additionally, adults and teenagers still cherish the memories of Polish cartoons, which gave rise to iconic characters like Bolek and Lolek, Reksio, and the Ingenious Dobromir. Here is the complete list of my favourite polish cartoons which I remember from my childhood.
1. „Reksio” (1967 – 1990) – Reksio
Meet Reksio, a fearless and determined Russell Terrier-type dog who rules over his small world. He is the ultimate motivator, rewarding good behavior, punishing misdeeds, and even taking on the challenge of raising a lion. Nothing can stop Reksio, who is not afraid to venture beyond his fence and into the unknown, including outer space, where he rescues a mermaid cosmoprincess with a spaniel face, whom he secretly admires.
Though these distant adventures only happen in his dreams, Reksio is always ready for any trouble that comes his way, from fixing a broken wing to dealing with unruly kittens or thugs terrorizing the area. With his signature red patch on his eye, Reksio is a true superhero of his time and a symbol of childhood for many current adults.
2. „Porwanie Baltazara Gąbki” (1969 – 1970) – The Kidnapping of Balthazar Gąbka
Mamma mia! In this exciting adventure, a spy from the Land of Raindrops named Don Pedro follows the well-matched duo of the Wawel Dragon and the cook Bartłomiej Bartolini as they set out on a mission to find the kidnapped Professor Baltazar Gąbka, a renowned biologist.
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Along the way, they encounter numerous challenges and obstacles, with Don Pedro always hot on their trail. This story, based on Stanisław Pagaczewski’s book, was a triumph and captured the imaginations of young viewers, evoking emotions just as powerful as those in today’s Avengers.
3. „Bolek i Lolek” (1963 – 1964) – Bolek and Lolek
One of the most famous Polish cartoons is about two brothers named Bolek and Lolek, with Bolek being taller and black-haired while Lolek is shorter and blonde. In some episodes, they are joined by a red-haired girl named Tola. The brothers experience various adventures, such as camping, accidentally setting the house on fire, and other typical activities for boys their age.
Each episode carries a moral, although some of the assumptions made in the show may seem shocking today. Upon re-watching the show later in life, one may get the impression that Bolek is a mean-spirited character who constantly lands the simple-minded Lolek in predicaments.
4. „Miś Uszatek” (1975 – 1987) – Uszatek, Teddy Bear
Among the compilation of stories, one classic that deserves a special mention is the tale of Uszatek, a teddy bear with a flattened ear. Uszatek and his friends, including Piglet, Kruczek the dog, Bunny, Bunnies, and Dolls, are a group of preschool toys who learn fundamental rules through everyday adventures. Each evening, before going to bed, Uszatek reflects on the events of the day and shares the lessons he learned from them. The story is narrated in the soothing and gentle voice of Mieczysław Czechowicz.
5. „Zaczarowany Ołówek” (1964 – 1977) – The Magic Pencil
One of the oldest Polish bedtime stories is The Magic Pencil, which follows the adventures of a young boy named Piotruś and his dog Pimpek (somewhat similar to Reksio). Whenever Piotruś encounters a problem, a mysterious dwarf appears and gives him a pencil.
Whatever Piotruś draws with this magical pencil becomes real, allowing him to find a solution to every situation. What makes this story fascinating is that Piotruś never opts for the least obvious solution, and some of his ideas may genuinely surprise you.
6. „Pomysłowy Dobromir” (1973 – 1975) – Ingenious Dobromir
If you are not familiar with Adam Słodowy, let me fill you in. He was born in 1923 and is a major in the Polish Army, but he is also known as the host and author of the show Do It Yourself, which was aired as part of „Teleranek” show. In other words, he is a DIY enthusiast who has used his hobby not only on his show and several books, but also by writing a script for a television series called Dobromir.
The story follows the boy as he helps his grandfather with work by creating many complex devices. Whenever he has a new idea, it is depicted with a ball bouncing on Dobromir’s head. The show was produced by Warsaw’s Studio Miniatur Filmowych and has twenty episodes spanning two years, with a continuation in the 1980s called Inventive Grandson.
7. „Przygody Kota Filemona” / „Dziwny Świat Kota Filemona” (1972 – 1974 / 1977 – 1981) – The Adventures of Philemon The Cat / The Strange World of Philemon The Cat
Filemon is an inquisitive white kitten who lives in an old country house with his grandparents. His greatest desire is to catch mice, as there are many of them playing around and disturbing his sleep at night. Filemon wants to learn the art of mouse-catching, and only an old tomcat named Boniface can teach him. However, Boniface spends most of his days lying on the stove, purring dismissively in response to Filemon’s questions. Despite this, Filemon persists in his efforts, which often lead to comical mishaps.
8. „Dziwne Przygody Koziołka Matołka” (1969 – 1971) – The Strange Adventures of Koziołek Matołek
Koziołek Matołek first appeared in a picture story in 1932, created by Kornel Makuszyński and Marian Walentynowicz. This classic of children’s literature is now considered a precursor of comics in Poland. Based on this literary prototype, a series of twenty-six episodes was produced over the course of two years.
Each episode began and ended with a poem about the intrepid seeker Pacanów. I personally watched the adventures of the good-natured goat on a VHS tape, and I still remember the logo of the distributor, MCL-Mercury Entertainment, appearing on the screen. Interestingly, in 1971 a musical fairy tale was released on gramophone records, also an adaptation of the books about Koziołek.
9. „Przygód Kilka Wróbla Ćwirka” (1983 – 1989) – Sparrow Ćwirek’s Adventures
Young viewers with an interest in birds likely found this series to be a real treat. Each of the thirty-nine episodes centered around a different species of bird that the titular sparrow came into contact with. The show aired for six years, and all the characters featured throughout that time were voiced by one actor, Jan Kobuszewski. As with many of the other shows mentioned here, the Se-Ma-For studio was responsible for creating the series.
10. „Opowiadania Muminków” (1977 – 1982) – Muminki Stories
This series is the first-ever Polish-language production based on the famous series of novels by Finnish author Tove Jansson. It was created using the puppet animation technique and is a joint production between Poland and Austria. The show takes viewers on a delightful journey to the Moomin Valley, where they can join the charming title characters and their friends on their extraordinary adventures.
Even today, the Moominki Stories are beloved by both young and old viewers and are known for their child-friendly nature. Although some viewers may have been frightened by the character Buka, the story of the Moomin family’s escapades is heartwarming, upbeat, and educational.
11. „Przygody Misia Colargola” (1968–1974) – Bear Colargol Adventures
The character of Colargol, featured in this series, was originally created by the French writer Olga Pouchine in the 1950s, despite the fact that the show was produced in Poland’s Se-Ma-For studio. After Colargol’s success as a radio play, it was later adapted for television.
It took six years to produce the impressive fifty-three episodes, with a significant amount of work going into the creation of the teddy bear puppet itself. Several episodes were even edited into full-length films, which premiered after the series’ completion. Colargol’s adventures captured the attention of audiences not just in Poland, but also in many other countries worldwide.
12. „Tajemnice Wiklinowej Zatoki” (1985 – 1988) – Secrets of the Wicker Bay
This particular production is considered one of the most psychedelic shows on the list. It tells the story of the close bond between a muskrat named Seraph and a rat named Archibald, accompanied by exceptional country music by Little Ole Opry and Alibabki.
The main musical theme of the show, featuring the catchy, thought-provoking line „Once on top, once on bottom,” is just one of several excellent tracks that accompany this charming bedtime story. The wild, vibrant animation that supports the music may give adults a headache, but it’s sure to captivate young audiences. The adventures of Serafin, who sets out to start a new, independent life, is one of the most fascinating and beloved childhood memories.
13. „Kulfon, Co z Ciebie Wyrośnie?” / „Bardzo Przygodowe Podróże Kulfona” (1996–1997, 1997–1999) – Kulfon, What Will Become of You? / Kulfon’s Adventures
Most of us can easily sing the opening lines of the theme song from the popular show that shares its name with the song. In addition, almost everyone can visualize the peculiar, somewhat unpolished character with a beard, big ears, and a prominent red nose, who was accompanied by the frog named Monika.
Together, they had many remarkable adventures that often had an educational aspect for young audiences. Kulfon and Monika have become an integral part of Polish culture, and the voice of Mirosław Wieprzewski, who played the lead character, is still fondly remembered today.
14. „Pampalini, Łowca Zwierząt” (1975 – 1980) – Pampalini, The Animal Hunter
Hello! I am Pampalini, animal hunter, irreplaceable, reliable. Who hasn’t heard of Pampalini?
He sounds like a brave and adventurous hunter, always on the lookout for wild animals. It’s great that the series not only entertained the viewers, but also educated them about these animals. It’s important for children to learn about the natural world and the animals that inhabit it, and Pampalini seems like a great way to do that.
15. „Mały Pingwin Pik-Pok” (1989–1992) – Pik-Pok Baby Penguin
Pik-Pok, the adventurous penguin from Se-Ma-For productions, remains one of my all-time favorites. Fearless and curious, he embarks on journeys to explore new lands and meet other creatures.
The delightful puppet animation, captivating storylines in each episode, and the calming narration by Joanna Stasiewicz all contribute to a highly enjoyable and educational viewing experience. Perhaps it was even thanks to Pik-Pok that I developed my love for traveling today.
16. „Plastusiowy Pamiętnik” (1980) – Plastus Diary
Cartoon based on Maria Kownacka’s novel, is a captivating blend of live-action and animation. The story revolves around Tosia, a first-grader portrayed by the delightful Magda Ziembińska, who creates a small red figurine with big ears using plasticine. Tosia names the figurine Plastuś and keeps it in her pencil case alongside other school supplies such as an eraser-mouse, pencil, and crayons.
Plastuś accompanies Tosia at home and school, participating in various adventures while offering commentary and observation. Though the story may seem outdated, it’s still worth taking a trip down memory lane – a delightful journey into the past.
17. „Proszę Słonia” (1968, 1978 ) – Elephant, Please
Based on Ludwik Jerzy Kern’s book, the animated series narrates the heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship between a boy and his extraordinary porcelain elephant. Pinio befriends an elephant figurine found in the attic, which miraculously comes to life after being fed portions of vitamins.
The porcelain figurine transforms into a real-life elephant, becoming Pinio’s one-of-a-kind pet – Dominik the elephant. The tale was later adapted into a feature film of the same title in 1978, directed by Witold Giersz, one of the most acclaimed Polish animators of all time. The story’s appeal was not limited to children alone; it captivated audiences of all ages.
18. „Film Pod Strasznym Tytułem” (1992–1996) – A Film With a Terrible Title
Leszek Gałysz, an acclaimed Polish animator, directed a 13-episode series that revolves around two distinct families with quirky members. One family lives in the forest, while the other resides in the river. The plot takes a twist when mysterious events unfold, putting both groups in grave danger from the menacing Marbat knights.
Despite its rather ominous title, the series stands out for its fanciful and unforgettable characters, as well as a mystical ambiance that draws inspiration from folk culture. The magical and enchanting atmosphere of the show absorbed not only the younger viewers but also captivated audiences of all ages.
19. „Tajemnica Szyfru Marabuta” (1967–1979) – The Secret of The Marabou Cipher
The Marabou Cipher is a rare crime story meant for young readers, featuring two delightful detectives – Kajetan Chrumps the dog and Makawity the cat – who set out on a mission to track down the cunning criminal, Super the chameleon.
What makes Maciej Wojtyszko’s series even more captivating is the stunning artwork by Grażyna Dłużniewska. The world of anthropomorphic animals is a unique and intriguing one, with its share of mystery and danger, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the plot and help solve the case.
20. „Podróże Kapitana Klipera” (1986–1990) – Captain Kliper’s Voyages
It is a fascinating cartoon about the daring red-bearded Captain Kliper and his companion, a clever monkey named Gogo. Captain Kliper was a meticulous transporter of goods and kept a detailed logbook. During his voyages, he often faced the notorious pirate, Crazy Roger, who was always accompanied by his nasty bird.
The children were mesmerized by the Captain’s boisterous laugh and his witty observations on life, as well as the catchy theme music that played during the opening credits, which they could hum, whistle, and clap along to for years to come.