? What is the correct title of the marionette television series about Rubovia?  
? Why is the website called Realm of Rubovia?  
? Was actress Patricia Hayes ever involved with “Rubovian Legends”?
? Whatever happened to the last episode of “Rubovian Legends”?
? Is Rubina the cat's nickname “puss” or “Puss”?
? How can I print pages of your website as black text on a white background?


What is the correct title of the marionette television series about Rubovia?

The best person to answer this question is Gordon Murray, who wrote the scripts, made the puppets, directed and produced every Rubovian episode. After completing the first three Rubovian puppet plays, Gordon wrote a short article about television puppetry for the official journal of the British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild. Near the end of the article he wrote, 

“Recently, I produced the first of my marionette plays set in the fairy-tale kingdom of Rubovia. Known as the ‘Rubovian Legends,’ these include The Queen’s Dragon, Clocks and Blocks (April 19) and The Dragon’s Hiccups (May 17).” (Television Puppet Theatre by Gordon Murray, published in “The Puppet Master”, pp16-17, June 1956).

Another source that can be consulted is BBC publicity stills*. However, the only publicity still that we have seen for the “Rubovian Legends” series does not provide any help; the production details pasted on the back of the still give the particular episode title, “GALA PERFORMANCE,” and no series title. 

Then there's the BBC's Radio Times programme listings, but these are not the most reliable because of a tendency to edit series names for reasons of space or editorial policy. Prior to March 1961 the Radio Times tended to list the series as “<episode title>: A Rubovian Legend,” or less commonly, “Another Rubovian Legend: <episode title>.”  During the remainder of 1961, the listings just said “Rubovia, another legend: <episode title>.” This is obviously an editorial change since most of the 1961 transmissions were repeats of episodes that had been originally listed as “<episode title>: A Rubovian Legend.”  Given that “Gala Performance” was transmitted in 1962, this might explain why the BBC’s Radio Times has billed many of the episodes simply as “Rubovia”. 

A slight complication to the name issue is that the BBC's on-line catalog (put url here) lists the original Marionette series as "Rubovian Legend" singular.

Radio Times listings:
Colour key:   XX=original tx, not repeated;  XX=original tx repeated at a later date;  XX=repeat

1st Series (Kim Allen's marionettes)
1955     The Queen's Dragon
1956     Another Rubovian Legend: Clocks and Blocks
1956     Another Rubovian Legend: The Dragon's Hiccups

2nd Series (Gordon Murray's marionettes)
1958     Clocks and Blocks: A Rubovian Legend
1959     The Dragon's Hiccups: A Rubovian Legend 
1959     Mystery of Rubovia Castle: A Rubovian Legend
1959     The Wonky Wand: A Rubovian Legend
1960     Zaza Knows All: A Rubovian Legend
1960     Spray Fever: A Rubovian Legend
1960     Chickweed Wine: A Rubovian Legend
1961     Knight for A Day: A Rubovian Legend
1961     Rubovia, another Legend: Crafty Art

1961     Rubovia, another legend: Fit and Well
1961     Rubovia, another legend: Zaza Knows All (rpt from 1960)
1961     Rubovia, a legend: Spray Fever (rpt from 1960)
1961     Rubovia, another legend: Something in the Air
1961     Rubovia, another legend: Chickweed Wine (rpt from 1960)
1961     Rubovia, another legend: Knight for a Day (rpt from 1961)
1961     Rubovia, another legend: The Wonky Wand (rpt from 1959)
1961     Rubovia, another legend: The Dragon's Hiccups (rpt from 1959)
1962     Rubovia: The Bell

1962     Rubovia: Zaza Knows All (rpt from 1960)
1962     Rubovia: Fit and Well (rpt from 1961)
1962     Rubovia: Gala Performance
1962     Rubovia: Crafty Art (rpt from 1961)
1962     Rubovia: The Clock (This is probably Clock & Blocks, rpt from 1958)
1962     Rubovia: Spray Fever (rpt from 1960)
1962     Rubovia: Tunnel Trouble
1962     Rubovia: Something in the Air (rpt from 1961)
1962     Rubovia: Chickweed Wine (rpt from 1960)
1962     Rubovia: Bees and Bellows
1962     Knight for a Day (rpt from 1961)
1962     Rubovia: The Enchanted Duck
1962     The Dragon's Hiccups (rpt from 1959)
1962     Rubovia: The Trap
1962     Rubovia: Gala Performance (rpt from 1962)
1963     Rubovia: The Clue
1963     Rubovia: The Wonky Wand (rpt from 1959)
1963     Rubovia: Spray Fever (rpt from 1960)
1963     Rubovia: A Cranky Banquet
1963     Rubovia: The Secret River
1963     Rubovia: The Bell (rpt from 1962)
1963     Rubovia: Stop Press
1963     Rubovia: Chickweed Wine (rpt from 1960)
1963     Rubovia: Bees and Bellows (rpt from 1962)
1963     Rubovia: Knight for a Day (rpt from 1961)
1963     Rubovia: Fire, Fire, Fire!
1963     The Enchanted Duck (rpt from 1962)
1963     Rubovia: Gala Performance (rpt from 1962)
1963     Rubovia: Calling All Trunks
1963     Rubovia: The Clue (rpt from 1963)
1963     Rubovia: The Troublesome Double
1963     Rubovia: The Trap (rpt from 1962)
1963     Rubovia: Bewitched Boots
1963     Rubovia: The Secret River (rpt from 1963)
1963     Rubovia: A Sinister Visitor
1963     Rubovia: Fire, Fire, Fire (rpt from 1963)
1963     The Giddy Ghost (was not transmitted, so no RT listing was ever printed)

3rd Series (Stop Motion)
1976     Rubovia: The Unreliable Wand
1976     Rubovia: Dragon Doctor
1976     Rubovia: Magic Scent Bottle
1976     Rubovia: Magic Duck
1976     Rubovia: The Enchanted Clock
1976     Rubovia: Tunnel Trouble

NZ Listener listings (partial):

1964     Rubovian Legends: Enchanted Duck
1964     Rubovian Legends: Bees and Bellows (rpt)
1964     Rubovian Legends: A Sinister Visitor
1965     Rubovian Legends: Bewitched Boots
1965     Rubovian Legends: The Troublesome Double
1965     Rubovian Legends: Fire, Fire, Fire
1965     Rubovian Legends: Calling All Trunks

Even considering all of the above points, perhaps the best piece of evidence comes from the following still, used at the beginning of each film. It has the text “A Rubovian Legend by Gordon Murray” superimposed on some of Andrew Brownfoot's artwork:. This is also how the marionette series is listed in the BBC's Infax database (recently made available online here)

The Radio Times programme listings were faithful to this format (“<title>: A Rubovian Legend,”) until early 1961. It is natural to go from this title format to calling the entire series the “Rubovian Legends,” which was how Gordon Murray described it in a 1956 article, "Television Puppet Theatre" (Gordon Murray, Puppet Master, June 1956), and which we have adopted for this website. The NZ Listener used Gordon Murray's series title for all listings, which suggests that at least some of the BBC's publicity stills (those sent to New Zealand) stated that the series title was the “Rubovian Legends.”  

Finally, in the absence of an information to the contrary, we’ve also adopted the Radio Times title, “Rubovia,” for the later stop-motion series.

*BBC publicity stills were sent out with 16 mm film copies of television programmes, to countries who purchased rights to show them. In the BBC’s ‘London Calling’ overseas journal, an article about the BBC's Puppet Theatre (Aug 1963, vol.3, #5), says that BBC puppet plays have been enjoyed by viewers in Australia, Eire, Malta, New Zealand, Rhodesia, Singapore, and Sweden. ‘Rubovian Legends’ may have been shown in all of these countries. In New Zealand’s The Listener, the Rubovia programmes were consistently billed as ‘Rubovian Legends: <title>’.


Why is the website called Realm of Rubovia?

The choice of ‘Realm of Rubovia’ for the name of the website indicates our intention to cover the whole of the Rubovia phenomenon: the two original string marionette “
Rubovian Legends” series, the later stop motion “Rubovia” series, the books, the comics, the merchandise, the people who made all of the above, the memories, and anything else that was in any way related to the series or the characters. The word ‘realm’ can be interpreted as ‘kingdom’ or as representing an abstract space that contains everything that has anything to do with Rubovia, in the widest possible sense.  



Was actress Patricia Hayes ever involved with “Rubovian Legends”?

Patricia Hayes briefly joined Gordon Murray’s puppet players for one or two “Toy Town” productions, doing the voice of Larry the Lamb. The “Toy Town” series was part of 13 puppet plays made in the 2-1/2 year gap between the production of the three initial
“Rubovian Legends” episodes with puppets by Kim Allen, and the later production that used larger marionettes made by Gordon Murray and dressed by Andrew Brownfoot. While the opportunity existed for Patricia to do some more work for Gordon, apparently being a rather serious person at the time, she found the atmosphere in the puppet theatre a little too flippant and decided not to continue.



Whatever happened to the last episode of “Rubovian Legends”?

This question refers to the episode entitled The Giddy Ghost. This episode is listed in the Kaleidoscope Guide to Children’s Television as still being held by the BBC, but has ##/##/## in place of the usual transmission date. After a fruitless search through the Radio Times, we asked Gordon Murray about it, and he said that he completed the film and delivered it, and yes, it has never been transmitted. He was pleased to hear that it is still safely stored at the BBC, and so still has a chance to see the light of day even after all of these years. At the time that this episode was made, there were a lot of changes going on in the BBC. Due to pressure of competition from ITV’s live action adventure series, the BBC was moving away from puppetry in children’s television, Gordon was wanting to leave, and perhaps even more significant, colour television was only a few weeks off. Hence the final episode of “Rubovian Legends” either got lost in the shuffle, or more likely the programming department decided that all B&W children’s puppetry programmes had had their day, and that the BBC should press on with colour. Ironically, about a year after Gordon resigned, the BBC asked Gordon to submit some ideas for a new stop-motion series in colour for young children, set in a rural village. Sufficiently impressed by Gordon's submission, they asked Gordon to produce a pilot episode. Due to a serendipitous typing mistake, the original series title, ‘Candlewick Green’, became ‘Camberwick Green’, and the rest, as they usually say, is history. Even though Gordon’s first love in puppetry was (and still is) the world of the “Rubovian Legends” marionettes, he went with the proverbial flow, and via the technology of stop-motion ended up creating the work he is most remembered for, the “Camberwick Green”, “Trumpton” and “Chigley” programmes.



Is Rubina the cat's nickname “puss” or “Puss”?

We don't have a definitive answer for this question yet. Stay tuned...