As a kid there was no more favourite children's program for me, than, Catweazle. I was a passionate fan of Catweazle. He spoke funny, he did many strange and weird things, he was a loved character.
Catweazle played by Geoffrey Blayldon was an 11th century wizard who accidentally travels through time to the year 1969 and befriends a young red-headed boy, nicknamed Carrot (Robin Davies), who spends most of the rest of the series attempting to hide Catweazle from his father and farmhand Sam. Meanwhile Catweazle searches for a way to return to his own time whilst hiding out in 'Castle Saburac', a disused water tower, with his familiar, a toad called Touchwood.
If you saw Catweazle, there is neither any need to read Harry Potter, or view any of the Harry Potter movies, as even with all the high techno dramatics, it would be a great disappointment, as in my view, it lacks the reality of every day life that the Catweasle story exhibited.
Catweazle was nothing of a sort of the cinematic Harry Potter. It was so real, it was made so believable, and as a kid I could imagine myself checking the back shed for Catweazle's cousin. In my child like fantasy world, knowing full well it was just a story, there was nonetheless a firm belief that I too had enough cunning and where-with-all to keep Catweazle's cousin hidden and assist him in what endeavours might come our way. It was terrific imaginary fun.
Two of my adult children remain Harry Potter fans. They read the books, they watch the movies, they travel to Harry Potter events (overseas and in Australia). "What rot" I would hear their mother her. It was so science fiction, and quite out of reality, that it did not come near Catweazle's reality.
One young writer wrote in a review in Christian Today of a Harry Potter movie: "Obviously this is a fantasy movie and is based in a world full of the mystical and magical but this is a movie for the fans and it is one that they will no doubt enjoy."
What more can one say?
Therefore, I for one, could never understand the drama of some Christians who saw in Harry Potter and that genre, "the devil" at his worst in the modern world, sending this generation of kids into the world of witch craft, cavens, the wiccan religion, paganism and the like.
But Catweazle used devilry, wizardy, spells and the rest of it, leaving poor Harry Potter and his motley crew to shame. That's my humble view. Harry and his mates had nothing on ol' Catweazle, who was sneaky as, and mind you, the most awful liar, he'd inaugurate the most ill conceived deceitful and misguided strategies, putting any modern day witch, cinematic or real, to shame with his innumerable spells and magic potions. As you can see, I liked the Catweazle series.
Catweazle was the most despicable "wizard" one might find in your back shed. In point of fact, had Harry Potter ever met Catweazle, Harry would have hung his head, put down his watcha-me-call-etts and gone home with his head between his legs.
For all those who think Harry Potter is the worst of all images for children, get hold of Catweazle (back in the '70s) and you'll have kittens!
For those who have little interest in such things, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and that whole genre is a money-making venture for the author and all those on the gravy train, it puts bacon on the kitchen table. It might be fun, if you like fairy stories. Many didn't even like them as kids, many found the Brothers Grimm distasteful. Science fiction is just not the thing for many people.
Having said that, programs like Asimov or Jules Verne, or funny, such as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe had a strong following. Many people see Harry Potter simply as science fiction for kids (along with many adults). Some have even suggested Harry Potter is a type of Christ.
But having said all that, I also recognise there is a community of Christians who see "all such" as inducements, down an avenue by which those without proper Christian guidance, might succumb to the dangers of all such devilry.
Sadly, that applies to everything. I never had any illusions, even as a kid, that Catweazle was anything but entertainment, as do countless millions of Harry Potter enthusiasts. I've seen any number of programs and movies with astonishingly fast car chases and the like, but the reality is something different. Similarly with the 'horror' industry.
If anything Christians are the champions of common sense and a good dose of balance. That balance is based on Jesus Christ who said in John chapter 15 verses 7 and 8:
"If ye abide in me , and my words abide in you, ye shall what ask ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and ye shall be my disciples."
That requires a good dose of likeable "wisdom and stature" as said of Jesus in Luke 2 chapter verse 52. The New Living Translation says, "and he was loved by God and all who knew him".
You can hardly be taken seriously therefore, should you run around being silly about such things as Catweazle and Harry Potter. I for one would have been immensely disadvantaged had I been banned as a kid from watching and enjoying Catweazle.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html