Play

00:00

/

00:00

Full screen
Video quality

Low 0 MB

High 0 MB

HD 0 MB

Captions
Volume
Volume
Hero image for The Son of a Gunn Show - Thingee's Eye Pop

The Son of a Gunn Show - Thingee's Eye Pop

Television (Full Length) – 1994

The Day Thingee Lost his Eye

There's a generation who remember where they were when JFK was shot. These moments punctuate our lives like punctuation. I can even recall some kids wearing black armbands at school when John Lennon was rubbed out. Others can easily recall the place and time when they heard about Diana coming to her full stop in that Parisian tunnel. But where were you when Thingee's eye popped out? For many the answer is simple. "I was watching it on TV."

Even Wikipedia knows our national puppet, and describes Thingee as 'a humanoid with large bulbous eyes.' But Thingee wasn't human, far from it. He was actually a duck. One of his creators, TV writer and director Stephen J Campbell, told me recently that he was based on some sketches of a duck, and that his name was initially just a placeholder while they thought of a better one. Of course they never did.

He began his TV career inside an egg on the set of After School, the show that also gave rise to his human side-kick Jason Gunn. The foetal mallard sat on set for several weeks inside an egg before hatching into an unsuspecting prepubescent world.

Jason and Thingee then fronted The Son of a Gunn Show in the 1990s and it was there that the bulbous-eyed humanoid duck lost one of his eyes live on air. One moment it was staring blankly from his motionless face, the next, well, the rest is history. It really is a gem and some consider it to be the moment that this country truly became a nation. No offence to Gallipoli.

The moment was such a taonga that it featured each week in the title sequence to a show I worked on called Eating Media Lunch, which, like the Legendary TV Moments Collection was a kind of celebration of our television culture, although more often than not it was an unkind celebration. We were also lucky enough to retain the services of Thingee and his handler, Alan Henderson, for several episodes of The Unauthorised History of New Zealand. Both were charming company, however the 'duck' was a tad boorish after a few drinks.

- Paul Casserly is an award-winning writer and director whose credits include six years of satire show Eating Media Lunch, Birdland and Havoc. He writes about television for The NZ Herald and website The Spinoff.

If you liked this, you might also like...

Thumbnail image for The Son of a Gunn Show
Series

The Son of a Gunn Show

The Son of a Gunn Show was a popular...

Collection
Collection image for Legendary NZ TV Moments

Legendary NZ TV Moments

This collection celebrates the legendary moments that...

Collection
Collection image for The Most Legendary NZ TV Moments

The Most Legendary NZ TV Moments

Where were you when Thingee's eye popped out? This...

Collection
Collection image for 60 TV Moments: 1960 - 2020

60 TV Moments: 1960 - 2020

60 TV moments from across the decades, celebrating 60...

Collection
Collection image for Kids Classics

Kids Classics

"Keep cool till after school" with this collection of...

Collection
Collection image for Bloopers

Bloopers

From animals and puppets, to giggling hosts and...

Thumbnail image for After School - Thingee

After School - Thingee

Classic Thingee moments from After School

Thumbnail image for The Son of a Gunn Show - Christmas Special

The Son of a Gunn Show - Christmas Special

Thingee and Jason Gunn celebrate Christmas

Thumbnail image for Space Knights - The Golden Knight (First Episode)

Space Knights - The Golden Knight (First Episode)

More kids' TV puppets

Thumbnail image for Wheel of Fortune - Celebrity Episode (10 October 1992)

Wheel of Fortune - Celebrity Episode (10 October 1992)

Another famous TV blooper

Thumbnail image for Meet the Feebles

Meet the Feebles

More puppet anarchy

Thumbnail image for Tonight on NZ On Screen

Tonight on NZ On Screen

Thingee features in this NZ On Screen promo with Tammy...

Thumbnail image for Public Eye - First Episode

Public Eye - First Episode

Political puppet satire show

Thumbnail image for What Now?
Series

What Now?

Thingee also appeared in this series

Thumbnail image for Eating Media Lunch - Best Of Episode

Eating Media Lunch - Best Of Episode

Thingee appeared in this media satire series

Thumbnail image for Blue

Blue

Film about an ex-TV mascot

Thumbnail image for NZ On Screen - See Us Go

NZ On Screen - See Us Go

The eye pop features in this NZ On Screen promo

Thumbnail image for Spot On - Final Episode

Spot On - Final Episode

Thingee was voiced by cameraman Alan Henderson

Thumbnail image for McDonald's Young Entertainers - 1999 Grand Final

McDonald's Young Entertainers - 1999 Grand Final

More eye-popping stuff

Thumbnail image for Dancing with the Stars - Rodney Hide excerpt (Series Two, Episode Six)

Dancing with the Stars - Rodney Hide excerpt (Series Two, Episode Six)

Another infamous TV blooper

Thumbnail image for 25 Years of Television - Funny Moments

25 Years of Television - Funny Moments

More TV bloopers

Thumbnail image for Dancing with the Stars - Shane Cortese excerpt (Series One Final)

Dancing with the Stars - Shane Cortese excerpt (Series One Final)

Jason Gunn presents a dance competition

Thumbnail image for Studio 2 Live - Bloopers (Series Seven)

Studio 2 Live - Bloopers (Series Seven)

After school bloopers from a later era

Thumbnail image for Loading Docs 2019 - Meet Munch Jr

Loading Docs 2019 - Meet Munch Jr

Short film about creating a puppet

Thumbnail image for It's Academic - Orgasm Blooper

It's Academic - Orgasm Blooper

1980s quiz show gaffe