If you grew up in New Zealand and Australia during the 1980s, you would be familiar with a comic strip that was very popular for both Kiwis and Aussies, but never took off internationally: Murray Ball‘s Footrot Flats.
For those who don’t know, Footrot Flats was a comic strip that was written and drawn by Murray Ball that was published from 1975 to 1994. The strip followed the life of Wal Footrot and his dog (named “Dog”) on their farm. There was an abundance of other human and animal characters that were also central to the strip, and it followed the idiosyncrasies of these individuals, poking fun at our human faults.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the release of the Footrot Flats movie, a film release that was testament to how popular Footrot Flats was in New Zealand. The collected publications of the strips were selling in the millions at the time, and Footrot Flats eventually also became the basis for a stage musical and a theme park as well. The elements Murray Ball covered in the adventures of Dog totally resonated with youngsters (and adults) across Australasia, but more importantly became a staple aspect of New Zealand culture.
Be sure to continue on for much more and to see videos relating to Footrot Flats — one a music video and one from the animated movie.
Released in 1986, the movie Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale, was an animated tale following the adversity between the Footrot farm and the Murphy’s farm, while Wal Footrot fancies his chance at becoming the next best player for the All-Blacks in rugby.
The soundtrack became just as important as the film, featuring music by Dave Dobbyn — a New Zealand rock icon in his own right – which saw the massive hit song that hit number 1 in Australia and New Zealand, “Slice of Heaven.”
The movie, the music, and the comic strips are remembered fondly by fans. For those interested, Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale is available in some parts on YouTube, such as at this link.