Russian animated series - Nu, pogodi!
Nu, pogodi! (Well, Just You Wait!) is a Soviet/Russian animated series produced by Soyuzmultfilm. The series was created in 1969 and became a popular cartoon of the Soviet Union. The latest episode was produced in 2006. The original film language is Russian but very little speech is used (usually interjections or at most several sentences per episode).
The Wolf, commonly transliterated into English as Volk (Russian: Волк), is initially portrayed as a hooligan who eagerly turns to vandalism, abuses minors, breaks laws, and is a smoker.
On the other hand, many of the Wolf's attempts to catch the Hare are often characterized by uncanny abilities on his part (including figure skating, ballet and waltzing) for humorous contrast. The Wolf can also play the guitar very well and ride the powerful rocker motorbike.
In the first episode, while climbing a high building to catch the Hare, the Wolf whistles the popular mountaineer song, "A Song About A Friend" (a signature song of Vladimir Vysotsky). In spite of these talents, most of the Wolf's schemes eventually fail or turn against him. The character was originally voiced by Anatoli Papanov.
During the late Soviet and post-Soviet era, however, the Wolf's image slowly denigrates into a more cartoonish and less criminal persona. In the latest episode (#20), for example, the Wolf is seen chewing a lollipop instead of smoking and his drawing style is reminiscent of new Russian cartoons (Russian: Новые русские мультфильмы) rather than the old Soviet slapstick genre. The Wolf has also adopted a lot of cowardly attitudes in many situations since the first episodes, which more or less oppose his initial persona and actor's voice.
The Hare, commonly transliterated into English as Zayats, is portrayed as a supposedly positive hero. He gets much less screen time and is less developed than the Wolf, and most of his actions are simply reactions to the Wolf's schemes. Therefore, the sympathies of some viewers are more with the Wolf (similar to the premise of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner where the sympathy of the viewers also lies with the "villain"). In later episodes, the role of the Hare becomes more active and developed, and he even manages to save the Wolf on several occasions. The Hare is portrayed as a percussionist in a number of episodes. The character was originally voiced by Klara Rumyanova.
The story also features a supporting cast of animal characters, the most commonly appearing of which is the physically strong and heavy Hippopotamus (Begemot, "Behemoth"), who participates in various roles (e.g., a museum caretaker, shop keeper, passer-by, etc.) and whom the Wolf usually annoys and has to run away from. In Episode #5 (1972), the Hare finds the Wolf hidden among water-melons (the Wolf's cap camouflages him in the scene). The Hare recommends to the passing Hippopotamus, who's also looking to buy melons, one which actually winds up being the Wolf's head. Hippopotamus squeezes Wolf's head to test the ripeness of the "watermelon", and inadvertently forces him out of hiding. The episode ends with Wolf (on a washbowl) sliding down into the Moscow Metro and slamming head-on into, and ending up under the Hippopotamus.
Another repeating character is the Cat, who is illusionist and appears in several stage performances throughout the series. The Cat is shown to be a good magician, but very self-absorbed and highly sensitive to applause. In Episode #9 (1976), the Cat traps the Wolf in his levitation act (which saves the Hare from being caught). He drops the Wolf twice in his act to acknowledge and accept the applause from the Hare.
One of the most appearing on-screen secondary characters in a single episode is the Sea Lion (Russian: морской лев Morskoy Lev), who is the uniformed Navy Captain of the ship in Episode #7, who keeps interfering with the Wolf's attempts at boarding the ship and/or attempting to capture the Hare. However, once the Wolf is on board, he pretends to mop the deck in front of the Captain, tricking him into believing he is one of the crew members. The Captain is later seen closing the lid on top of the boat's storage room, which results in the Wolf and Hare to be trapped together in the darkness.
Since the 1990s, when the fall of the Iron Curtain allowed better exchange of films, both Russian and Western audiences have noted similarities between Nu, pogodi! and American cartoons, the most noticeable being Tom and Jerry. The director has admitted that he was learning from Disney animated films which were brought into the USSR from Germany immediately after World War II, particularly Bambi. However, he did not see any Tom and Jerry episodes until his son bought a VCR in 1987. Thematically, Nu, pogodi! places greater emphasis on various real-life situations and locations.
There are very few spoken lines in the series. The most common line is "Nu, pogodi!" (Well, just you wait!). This is recited by Wolf when his plans fail. The series' trademark is that at the end of each episode (and at the end of the pre-title introduction), Wolf recites "Nu, Zayats, nu pogodi!" (Well, Hare, you just wait!). The series also includes many grunts, laughs and songs.
The series was put on hold after the death of Anatoli Papanov (voice of Wolf). The 17th and 18th episodes from 1993 (which were released in 1994 and 1995, respectively) used samples of his voice recorded earlier (the studio had archived all outtakes of his work for the series). It featured a lot of product placement (the most noted being Nokia) and was sponsored by AMT[which?][disambiguation needed].
The 2005 series were voiced by Igor Khristenko (Wolf) and Olga Zvereva (Hare) and were done by the Christmas Films studio. They were directed by Aleksey Kotyonochkin (son of deceased original director Vyacheslav Kotyonochkin). The script was written by Felix Kandel and Aleksandr Kurlyandsky, two of the original writers. For two years, they were largely unavailable to the public and were only shown at certain film festivals. However, in late December 2007 a DVD was finally released in Russia which contained the two films, as well as a making-of film and comics drawn by Aleksey Kotyonochkin. As of now, it is available only in the supermarket chains Pyatyorochka and Perekryostok.
Critical and popular reception
The series was, for many years, hugely popular among the Soviet public, and it is popular in Russia to this day. The critical reaction of the director's colleagues was less favourable. The director's son Aleksey Kotyonochkin recalls how, although nobody said it to his father outright, the animators and directors of Soyuzmultfilm generally considered Nu, pogodi! to be of low class. For his part, Vyacheslav Kotyonichkin was not a follower of auteur films (many of which were being made at the studio at the time), and considered them to be examples of someone needlessly showing off.
Kotyonochkin disliked subtext and tried to create very simple, straightforward scenarios. The main idea of the series was simple and "Western"; don't hurt the little guy or you will yourself get into a foolish situation. Because the series was so popular, however, it was often a subject for critical discussion. Soviet critics saw many different subtexts: for example that the films were supportive of the gay cause[need quotation to verify] (because Wolf occasionally gives Hare flowers as a sign of goodwill, which, at the time, was considered as an acceptable social act among men, as much as today's criticism of Batman's relations with Robin in the late 1960s in America), or that they represented the struggle between the intelligentsia and the working class (with the Wolf representing the working class and the Hare the intelligentsia). Aleksey Kotyonochkin dismisses these interpretations as groundless.
List of episodes
The episodes of Nu, pogodi! were not named but rather numbered. Each episode has a different setting:
"City and Beach" June 14, 1969
"Fairground at Night" July 18, 1970
"Road and Construction Site" May 29, 1971
"Stadium" June 26, 1971
"City and Train Station" September 23, 1972
"Countryside" April 21, 1973
"Sea Voyage" May 12, 1973
"New Year Celebration" January 5, 1974
"Television Studio" September 4, 1976
"Construction Site and Hospital" October 9, 1976
"Circus" July 30, 1977
"Museum" April 8, 1978
"Olympic Games" May 17, 1980
"Children's Extra-scholar Activities Centre" June 2, 1984
"The House of Culture" June 22, 1985
"In the World of Russian Folk Tales" September 27, 1986
"Exotic Land on Island" June 25, 1994
"Supermarket" June 24, 1995
"Airport and Beach" September 3, 2005
"Dacha Community" October 7, 2006
There was also a promotional 30 min. long episode show including various characters from Soviet cartoons (Cheburashka, among others) released in 1981 called The Lost Episodes. The show featured three never before seen sequences of Well, Wait of approximate 10 min. length and were not re-released for home entertainment in spite of various full episode collections. They can, however, be seen on television on some channels during children cartoons time and are viewable through web video recordings (such as YouTube).
Episodes 17-20, The Lost Episodes and The Glass Factroy were not translated into English and not aired in the USA and the UK.
In 2001, the characters were redesigned (with Hare looking more like a chipmunk) for a series of next ID's for Teletoon, produced by Chuck Gammage Animation.
In August 2012, it was decided television airing of the cartoons would not cut out scenes of the wolf smoking because of laws prohibiting material "deemed harmful to children". An agreement was made, "We will not cut anything, not even one cigarette."
Cast and crew
Vyacheslav Kotyonochkin - 1-18
Vladimir Tarasov - 17-18
Aleksey Kotyonochkin - 19-20
Felix Kandel (credited as Felix Kamov) - 1-7 and 19-20
Arkady Khait - 1-17
Aleksandr Kurlyandsky - all
Main animators - character development:
Svyatozar Rusakov - 1-16
Aleksey Kotyonochkin - 17-18
Svetlana Davidova - 19
Anatoli Papanov (Wolf) - 1-16 (17 and 18 posthumously, using outtakes)
Klara Rumyanova (Hare) - 1-18
Igor Khristenko (Wolf) - 19-20
Olga Zvereva (Hare) - 19-20
Gennady Khazanov (Announcer) - 9
Vladimir Soshalski (Hippopotamus) - 15
Yelena Pietrova - 1-6
N. Klimova - 7
Svetlana Koscieieva - 8-14
Aleksandr Chekhovski - 15-16
L. Krutovskaja - 17-18
George Martyniuk - 1-10
Vladimir Kutuzov - 11-18
Tatyana Sazonova - 1-7
Margarita Micheeva - 8-18
Viktor Arsentev - 1-15
Oleg Komarov - 1-13
Viktor Likchacev - 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15
Oleg Safronov - 1, 2, 9, 10, 14 and 15
Vladimir Krumin - 1, 5, 10, 11, 13 and 14
Fedor Eldinov - 1, 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 15 and 16
Vladimir Zarubin - 2, 4 and 9
Leonid Kayukov - 2, 5 and 7
Valery Ugarov - 3, 8 and 16
Sergey Dezhkin - 3
Yury Butyrin - 3, 4, 8 and 9
Svetlana Barthelow - 3, 4, 8 and 9
Vladimir Arbekov - 8, 12 and 17
Aleksandr Panov - 7
Aleksey Bukin - 8
Aleksandr Davydov - 10, 13 and 17
Aleksandr Dorogov - 14-16
Nikolai Fedorov - 12
Aleksandr Mazaev - 15 and 16
Sergey Avramov - 14
Olga Orlova - 16
A number of memorable tunes were written or selected to match the action sequences of the cartoon. The majority of the soundtrack was edited directly from various international lounge and dance LP records from the 1960s-1980s, many of which were part of the music supervisors' personal collections. These recordings were not listed in the credits, so the origins of some remain obscure today.
Some of the known performers whose music was featured in Nu Pogodi are Chico Buarque, Herb Alpert, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Digital Emotion, Gunter Gollasch, Bill Haley, Ted Heath, Leroy Holmes, Halina Kunicka, James Last, Muslim Magomayev, Paul Mauriat, Hazy Osterwald, Pesnyary, Edita Piekha, Franck Pourcel, Perez Prado, Alla Pugacheva, Eric Rogers, Earl Scruggs, Igor Sklar, Terry Snyder, Studio 11, Mel Taylor, Klaus Wunderlich, Billy Vaughn, Helmut Zacharias, and Zemlyane.
The opening credits theme was edited from Vizisi (Water Ski), written by Hungarian composer Tamas Deak and performed Magyar Radio Tanczenekara & Harmonia Vokal.
Sometimes the words of the songs were modified or altogether substituted to correspond to the action, and a New Years holiday song (duet between Papanov and Rumyanova that later became a popular standard) was written especially for the series. Originally, the cult Russian singer/actor Vladimir Vysotsky was cast for the voice of Wolf, but the studio did not get the approval they needed from a Soviet state organization to use him. However, some homage to Vysotsky remains, as in the opening episode, Wolf is whistling his "Song of a Friend".
Song about a Friend
Ferris Wheel (Muslim Magomaev)
The Laughing Hussar (Hazy Osterwald-Sextett)
Kalinka (Orchester Gunter Gollasch)
V. Ignatiev - Carousel
My Little Suede Shoes (Billy May)
Entrance of the Gladiators (Julius Fucik)
Cha-cha-cha, Jamaica (Vladimir Chizhik)
Brass Orchestra [Orkiestry Dete]
By the Long Road
Cutting Grass for the Horses
Sabre Dance (Aram Khachaturian)
At the Poultry Farm (Mescherin Ensemble)
Only Us (Friendship)
Balaton (Studio 11)
Joker (Orchester Gunter Gollasch)
A Banda (Chico Buarque)
Little Man (Franck Pourcel)
Tired Toys are Sleeping
A Priest had a Dog
Wheels (The String Alongs)
U Popa Byla Sobaka (Olovyanniye Soldatiki)
The Football March
Kazachok (including Katyousha verse) (Dmitri Dourakine)
Blue is the Night (Terry Snyder And The All Stars)
Strip Tease In Rhythm (Helmut Zacharias)
Jolly March of the Builders (Nikolai Rybnikov)
Meetings (Claudia Shulzhenko)
Easy Livin' Coming Closer PopCorn (James Last)
Trompeten Muckel (James Last)
Spinning Wheel (Ted Heath Orchestra)
Onde Del Danubio
Flight of the Bumblebee (K. Wunderlich arrangement)
Cannonball (Pete Tex)
How High the Moon (James Last)
Moliendo Cafe (Perez Prado and His Orchestra)
Petersburger Nachte (Hugo Strasser)
Million Alyh Roz (Alla Pugacheva)
Grass by the House
Get Up Action
Go Go Yellow Screen
The Beauty and the Beast
Beneath the Roof of Your House
Don't Put Salt in my Wounds
On the Hills of Manchuria
Hafanana (Afric Simone)