Mari-Anne — The Story of the Toymaker of Tiefencastel

The last Christmas Pantomime, produced in 1963, was “Mari-Anne”, a fictional story set in the Swiss mountain village of Tiefencastel. By far the most ambitious of the Pantomimes, with a number of professional actors and singers and two dance companies, it involved two completely different “realms” — the town square of Tiefencastel, and the magical, miniature world of Toyland. By videotaping over successive weekends, two completely different studio sets were constructed and utilised. It was a production that pushed the limits of television studio production of that era.


Ron Blaskett and Gerry Gee arrive in the Swiss mountain village of Tiefencastel where they plan to stay with the local toymaker, Fritz Hoffle. The Mayor of Tiefencastel, Herr Zeidler, arrives at the toyshop with his wife, Clara, and daughter, Mari-Anne, who has brought her doll Rosalinda to be repaired. The Mayor tells the toymaker that unless the doll is repaired by the next morning, he shall turn him out of his shop. Late that night, as Ron and Gerry are watching through the toyshop window, the toys come to life and Ron and Gerry find themselves transported to Toyland and the court of Old King Cole and Mrs Cole. The King takes them on a tour of Toyland where they meet The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Jack and Jill, and the Toyland Cobbler who is repairing Rosalinda’s shoes. Panic sets in when Tom Tom the Piper’s Son steals the shoes. However, with Ron and Gerry’s help, he is soon caught. The toys work tirelessly through the night and by morning, they have repaired Rosalinda. When Ron and Gerry awake, they find themselves asleep in the snow outside the toyshop. The Mayor and his family arrive and are overjoyed to find the doll repaired. All is forgiven and the story of Fritz Hoffle passes into local legend.


Uncle NormanNorman Swain
Ron Blasketthimself
Gerry Geehimself
Frank WilsonFritz Hoffle, the toymaker
Frank RichFranz Zeidler, the mayor
Rosie SturgessClara Zeidler, the mayor’s wife
Patti McGrathMari-Anne Zeidler, their daughter
Neville BoothVillager
Earl FrancisThe Coachman
Ormonde DouglasOld King Cole
Addie BlackMrs Cole
Joff EllenThe Fiddler
Greg AndersonThe Cobbler
Denise DrysdaleTom, the Piper’s Son
Susan-Gaye AndersonThe Old Lady Who Lived in the Shoe
Tony Sheldon and Cheryl Gray (Samantha Sang)Jack and Jill
Yvonne Barrett
Faye CorlissRosalinda
Dancers and Chorus
The May Downs Dancers
The Junior Nines Ballet
The Royal Octet
The GTV9 Junior Choir
The GTV9 Senior Male Chorus
Musical Numbers
Tiefelcastel (original)
Toymaker’s Song (original)
Just an Echo
I’m the Mayor of Tiefencastel (original)
Wishing Will Make It So
The King’s Horses and the King’s Men
Old King Cole (with additional lyrics)
Shoes to Set My Feet a’ Dancing
Get a Little Flower Pot
The Workshop Song (original)
Toy-Town Big Parade
Margot SheridanPiano
Laurie WilsonOrgan
Billy HunterDrums
May DownsChoreography Acts 1 & 4
Valmai EnnorChoreography Acts 2 & 3
Sava Canakis, May DownsCostumes
Elizabeth WilkinsonMakeup
Stephen KellerDesigner
Frits BouwmeesterLighting
Phil BurnsAudio
Kevin SoutheyTechnical Director
Garry StewartFloor Manager
Jo MayfieldScript Assistant
Russell SeftonDirector
Denzil HowsonWriter and Producer
Production Details
Duration50 minutes
Production DateRecorded to videotape on Saturday 7th and Saturday 14th September 1963.
LocationStudio One, GTV9, Melbourne.