Upside down! Upside down! Hurrrrrrrrry upppppppp.
If those words don’t stir any strong sense of nostalgia, allow me to refresh your memory: they are words you’ll hear in almost every episode of Mr Squiggle.
It’s been 60 years since the Aussies were first charmed by the artistic little puppet – and his friends Blackboard, Bill Steamshovel and Gus the Snail – and the Australian Mint is commemorating this anniversary with a line of limited edition $2 coins.
There are four designs in total, with one released each week over four weeks. The first was released on Tuesday February 12.
Where can I find the Mr Squiggle coins?
The Mint has partnered with Woolworths to distribute the coins in a staggered release over the coming month. Woolworths General Manager of Programs Rod Evenden advised the coins will only be in store registers for a limited time, so best take numerous trips to your local Woolies in the next few weeks if you want to get your hands on each of the four designs.
If you’d rather collect the lot in one go, the Mint has announced a limited release of a collector’s, which includes the four $2 coins alongside two commemorative $1 coins and a special 1 cent coin. The album will cost $15 and can be bought from the Mint, Woolworths or by calling 1300 652 020.
The character’s creator, cartoonist and puppeteer Norman Hetherington, died in 2010, but his daughter Rebecca witnessed the launch of the coins.
“It’s such an honour to have the Royal Australian Mint and Woolworths immortalise my father’s work in this unique way,” she said.
“The coins perfectly represent Mr Squiggle’s fun and imaginative view of the world, attributes he shared with my father. I’m excited to share this opportunity with Australians who have grown up with him and remember him fondly, and also to introduce Mr Squiggle to a new generation.”
What do they look like?
Check out the designs for the $2, $1 and 1 cent coins below.
The Mr Squiggle details you probably didn’t notice
Watching Mr Squiggle as a child, I wasn’t inclined to pick up on seemingly minor details; as an adult, one particular detail seems rather strange: why were the drawings always upside down? I originally assumed it was a simple quirk, but it turns out there’s a very sensible explanation.
Because Hetherington controlled Mr Squiggle from above the set, he looked down on the drawing as he sketched it. Flipping it upside-down meant Hetherington could draw it accurately from his perspective before it was turned for the viewers to see. Gleefully exclaiming “Upside down!” was not only a way to make it fun for the viewers, but also a reminder for the host to flip it around once he finished.
An even trickier detail to spot is how the top of Mr Squiggle’s hat never made it on screen. It was always kept just above the frame to prevent viewers from seeing the pole Hetherington used to control Mr Squiggle’s head as he drew. The more you know!