The Underwater Melon Man
‘THE UNDERWATERMELON MAN & OTHER UNREASONABLE RHYMES’
Unreasonable rhymes, preposterous characters and enchanting music come together in this remarkable package, lovingly animated to delight and stimulate the child in us all.
Twenty-five charming, surreal songs delightfully animated to take adult and child alike on a unique and magical journey - one of the most unusual films ever made.
‘The Underwatermelon Man and Other Unreasonable Rhymes’ has had a long and interesting metamorphosis.
It began as drawing of a surreal character ‘The Underwatermelon Man’, that I made in the mid seventies whilst on the road with Blerta. This later became an image silk screened onto a series of children’s mirrors.
In the early eighties, pestered by one of my young children. I made up a rhyme for it, which was soon joined by a couple of pieces of throwaway nonsense from the brilliant Arthur Baysting.
Over the next fifteen years we developed a collection of about 50 rhymes, which Peter Dasent and I set to music and I later illustrated.
In 1998, as ‘BEND’ Peter and I recorded the first 25 songs as an album and engaged a ‘who’s who’ of NZ popstars to sing on it. We had the pleasure of working with (amongst others); Neil & Tim Finn, Don McGlashan, Bic & Boh Runga, The Topp Twins, Dave Dobbyn, Jenny Morris, Renée Geyer, John Clarke, Ché Fu, King Kapisi and Chris Knox.
Then with the help of Type Director Len Cheeseman we designed an accompanying sixty page hardback book, held our breath, borrowed a large sum of money and published the package as Monkey Biz Ltd’s first ‘singing book’.
It proved hugely popular with parents and children alike selling 16,000 copies in NZ. Two years later Neil Gladwin and I had developed it into a pantomime, which with a cast and crew of 35 and a live band under the musical direction of Peter Dasent in the orchestra pit, became one of the hits of the 2001 Wellington Arts Festival and finalist in the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for best original score.
By this stage ‘The Underwatermelon Man’ had developed it’s own momentum and the animated film which followed, seemed inevitable. This has been a six year labour of love for myself and producer Jane Byrne, involving Monkey Biz, Monkey Biz Music, BEND, Pearl Productions, Karactaz Animation, Bonfire Audio, The NZ Film Commission and NZOA, and is now ready for the world as a Book/CD/DVD package.