Bassie & Adriaan

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Bassie & Adriaan
Bassie & Adriaan.png
Created byAad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Joop van den Ende
StarringAad van Toor
Bas van Toor
Paul van Gorcum and others
Country of originNetherlands
No. of episodes144
Running time25 minutes (without commercials)
Original channelNederland 2 (TROS)
Original run1978 – 1995

Bassie & Adriaan were a Dutch circus duo who starred in their own television series. Bassie is a ginger-haired red-nosed clown who wears a red tartan-jacket and green trousers; he's fond of cream-cakes, and calls himself "stupid, but not smart". Adriaan is an acrobat in a blue (used to be purple) 1970s-style shirt; his philosophy is "Whatever happens, keep smiling". They don't perform together anymore but they still enjoy a huge popularity in both the Netherlands and Belgium.


1957-75; early career[edit]

Bas van Toor (1935) left school at an early age to pursue a number of odd-jobs. At 19 he joined the circus and spent a year on the road; after this, he decided to form an acrobat duo with his brother Aad (1942). In 1959, The Melton Brothers/The Crocksons were born.

In 1965, they embarked on what was planned to be a two-year stint abroad; they stayed abroad ten years, befriending Siegfried & Roy, incorporating the wives into their act (The Four Crocksons) and staging children's matinees in Dutch, German and English while residing in Spain for nightclub-shows. The seeds for Bassie & Adriaan were sown in 1964 when the brothers did a clown act as part of Rudi Carrell's travelling circus.

1976-82; series guide part I[edit]

De Plaaggeest[edit]

In 1975, Bassie & Adriaan went back home for what was supposed to be their last five years as acrobats; but they met Joop van den Ende, TV-producer and a theatre-owner, who suggested they make a television series. A pilot was broadcast by TROS on December 17, 1976; the series from January 10 to April 4, 1978.

In De Plaaggeest (The Bully) Bassie & Adriaan find themselves abandoned by their own circus because they overslept, and with no tour-schedule in sight or any money they're forced to take other jobs but lose each. Partly responsible is The Bully, who's more a prankster than a bully. Their knight in shining armour, a free spirit called Douwe, looks like him without the black cape, comedy-cheeks and fool's hat. The final episode sees Bassie & Adriaan return to the circus.

Despite regretting his actions in an open letter The Bully was shown the door after this series. His image and scary laughs caused many children sleepless nights.

Bassie & Adriaan were a hit and soon worked on their second series which was partly shot on location in Spain and broadcast from October 9, 1978 to May 21, 1979.

Het Geheim van de Sleutel[edit]

In Het Geheim van de Sleutel (The Secret Of The Key) they take a well-earned holiday but find themselves chased by two diamond thieves who mistook Bassie for the go-between who came to collect the key to the vault of the stolen diamonds. Spiking their teas with sleeping drugs, sabotaging the car, overpowering Bassie at the beach and the elevator; it all makes no sense, but upon arrival at Rotterdam Airport they lure the clown and his pet bird Sweety to their car and drag him inside. After release, Bassie & Adriaan set up a booby trap at Rotterdam's Central Station; the diamond thieves are arrested by policemen in disguise.

For the third year in a row Bassie & Adriaan worked on a new series, but by now the camera-crew, led by Guus Verstraete, had left. Replacements were found but they didn't fit in so Adriaan became director.

De Diamant[edit]

In De Diamant (The Diamond) Bassie & Adriaan have a diamond named after them. Escaped from prison, the diamond thieves from the previous series attempt to steal it, dressed like Bassie & Adriaan. The real Bassie & Adriaan are arrested but soon released because their fingerprints don't match any on the crime-scene. They're given three days to prove their innocence; they do so by reading a videotaped confession. Because of their damaged reputations Bassie & Adriaan left the circus; they start their own.

This series ran from November 17, 1979 to June 7, 1980, by which time Circus Bassie & Adriaan was touring across the country.

De Huilende Professor[edit]

The early 1980s were busy times; running a circus, individual production companies (Bassie took care of the business side while Adriaan wrote the scripts and the songs) and working on a new series.

De Huilende Professor (The Crying Professor) sees a nation literally moved to tears, when Professor Archibald Chagrijn exposed everyone to his tear-gas, which makes them sad and causes them to start cring. Bassie proves immune to the tear-gas as he's had an overdose of laughing gas. He and Adriaan track the professor down.

This series was shown from April 4 to December 6, 1982, but the year was not good. Van den Ende handed the circus off to others in order to run his theater. The circus closed down although the name was resurrected for indoor arena-shows. Bassie & Adriaan split with Van den Ende, and for solidarity reasons TROS split with Bassie & Adriaan.

1983-89; series guide part II[edit]

Shorties & Radio-plays[edit]

Bassie & Adriaan made eight educational shorties for Belgian television; Dutch viewers took notice and by the end of 1983 Bassie & Adriaan were back on TROS. In 1984, they made the first of 38 radio-plays introducing new characters; the Baron who thinks of himself as a genius, Vlugge Japie a dodgy underworld geezer whose quickness of hand deceives the eye and Ping Poen a stereotypical Chinaman. Together with Dick Engelbracht, Bassie & Adriaan did all the voices.

Het Geheim Van De Schatkaart[edit]

After another string of shorties and returning to Circus Herman Renz on a part-time basis, Bassie & Adriaan spent 1986 taping a new series featuring the new crooks, except that Ping Poen was replaced with B2 whose poor hearing kept him in prison when B1 and BB (acronym for Boevenbaas) escaped.

In Het Geheim Van De Schatkaart (The Secret Of The Treasure Map) Bassie & Adriaan buy a painting with a treasure map on the back. Chased by the Baron, Vlugge Japie and B2 they go to Lanzarote where the ebony treasure-box is stuffed with pepper.

Both Bassie as Adriaan played two roles in this series. Bassie also played Vlugge Japie, and Adriaan played the Baron. It was shown from January 2 to April 17, 1987.

De Verdwenen Kroon[edit]

The same year, Bassie & Adriaan worked on their sixth series and their first since The Bully not to be filmed abroad. Adriaan found it too exhausting to play two roles as well as directing the series; Paul van Gorcum (Archibald Chagrijn and the governor from The Diamond) took over the role of the Baron.

In De Verdwenen Kroon (The Lost Crown) the Baron, Japie and B2 escape from prison to steal a crown from a museum. Bassie & Adriaan are instructed to bring the ransom money but they're heading for a booby trap, leaving them accused of pocketing the cash. Payback time.

The series was shown from January 5 to February 23, 1988.

De Verzonken Stad[edit]

De Verzonken Stad (The Drowned City) was taped in Greece in 1988 and shown from October 6 to December 1, 1989. In this series, Bassie & Adriaan are taking a mind-easing holiday, an idea shared by the three crooks. Bassie discovers an ancient stone with mysterious hieroglyphs that translate to 'wise man', 'power' and 'whoever possesses this is the world's richest man'. The Baron, Japie and B2 nick the stone and try to solve the rest of the hieroglyphs but thanks to Bassie & Adriaan lookalike dolls (mixed with the real thing) they hand themselves over to the police.

1992-94; series guide part III[edit]

De Geheimzinnige Opdracht[edit]

In 1990 they started producing De Geheimzinnige Opdracht (The Mysterious Assignment), which was a trip through the European Community to find mysterious parcels, following cryptic assignments. This series had an educational element about the countries and their origins.

The Baron, Japie and B2 disband upon release from prison; in true history repeats-mode B2 didn't hear that he was free and stayed behind bars. Japie, fed up with seeking revenge on Bassie & Adriaan and being set to prison again, flees to the other side. The Baron recruits Handige Harry and an anonymous trenchcoat-wearing geezer who adopts the codename B100 because he's the Baron's 100th employee. Finding Bassie & Adriaan is no problem for B100 and his infallible nose, but staying alert proves to be another matter; consequently the Baron crushes the phone every time he receives bad news. Harry, for his sins, struggles to master the art of making bombs and nearly gets strangled for doing so. The crooks assume that Bassie & Adriaan are on another treasure-hunting trip but inside the parcels are jigsaw-pieces in the shape of the countries they visited.

The series was shown from February 7 to April 25, 1992.

De Reis Vol Verrassingen[edit]

For their next move Bassie & Adriaan filmed on location in the United States and the Netherlands Antilles throughout 1993. De Reis Vol Verrassingen (The Journey Full Of Surprises) was shown from January 7 to May 13, 1994.

In De Reis Vol Verrassingen Bassie & Adriaan embark on another parcel-hunting trip in Curaçao. It is a booby trap set up by the Baron, Harry and B100 after the latter saw the Spain-episode of The Mysterious Assignment. Japie, now residing on the island, spoils everything by nicking the parcel and literary going up in smoke. Back home the penniless crooks stage a burglary and spot Bassie taking part in a television quiz; he wins a trip through the United States.

The tour is throughout the U.S. with an added visit to the joint island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten where Bassie & Adriaan hand the Baron, Harry and B100 over to the police.

It was shown from January 7 to May 13, 1994 and was the brothers' swansong series.

Other programmes[edit]

1980-89; circus shows[edit]

Throghout the 1980s Bassie & Adriaan taped several circus shows for TV-broadcast, including the ones from 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1989.

1986-05; one-offs[edit]

In 1986 Bassie & Adriaan were given an item in children's traffic programme Stop & Stap Show; highlights are now available on DVD. Their 100th television appearance (shown on December 25, 1987) was a trip to Davos, Switzerland for a Christmas party; while underway they look back on previous adventures.

Late 1990 while working on The mysterious Assignment, Bassie & Adriaan paid a visit to Belgian children's show Samson & Gert, the former being a canine puppet equally inspired by Adriaan's dog Lara and Bassie's mispronuncations.

In the 1990s Bassie & Adriaan hosted the weekly afternoon programme Wonderland; In 1992 there was the TV-special Brieven aan de Koningin (Letters to the Queen), which was dedicated to charity and children's drawings for the queen. In 1994 TROS celebrated its 30th anniversary by devoting an entire evening to this happening. For this occasion Bassie & Adriaan taped a short TV-special called "De Verdwenen Tros-ster" (The Lost TROS-star) in which a resurrected Japie stole the star-shaped TROS-sign.

In 1995 three programmes were taped devoted to ancient children's songs. TROS' initial scepticism was soon proven wrong by viewing numbers and CD-sales.

In 1997, Bassie & Adriaan celebrated their 40th anniversary in Circus Herman Renz; Highlights from the event (during which they received a knighthood) were broadcast on October 16, 1997.

In 1999 Bassie & Adriaan were guest-celebrities in soap parody Pittige Tijden (Rough Times)

Throughout the decade they were touring with a new show; the 1999 leg was taped for release on three DVDs (2002's Live, 2003's 25 Jaar Theater and 2005's Lachspektakelshow).

2002-now; end of an era, beginning of another[edit]

Farewell tour & cancer battle[edit]

In October 2002 Bassie & Adriaan announced their farewell-tour that was to last till January 4, 2004; it prematurely ended on July 31, 2003. Adriaan was diagnosed with cancer and at the end of the show, when relatives brought flowers, he burst into tears. "You want more?" he asked as usual. "Well so do I, but unfortunately I'm sick; I have to go to hospital". Adriaan is now a cured and retired man living part-time in Spain.

In between treatments Adriaan hosted an all-dayer on New Year's Eve 2003 and on July 1, 2004 the brothers opened a three-month exhibition at the TV Toys Museum in Dieren.

In 2005 the Mayor of Vlaardingen awarded them a statue for their contributions to their hometown; a year later Bassie & Adriaan's career was chronicled in a documentary (De Herfst van Bassie & Adriaan).

Beauty & the clown[edit]

In 2004 Bassie hooked up with magician Sylvia Schuyler for the Beauty & the Clown-tour, but the public didn't buy this new double act. Poor ticket sales and a feud between Bassie and Sylvia ensured that the tour had to be cancelled halfway.

By the end of the year he guested with Circus Althoff in shows across the Netherlands and Belgium; assisted by his son-in-law manager Evert van den Bos he performed old favourites with some new ones thrown in as well.

Bassie en zijn Vrienden[edit]

In 2005 Bassie staged his first solo-tour (Bassie en zijn Vrienden, now Bassie Lachspektakelshow); besides Van den Bos he asked magician Peter Grooney and his ventriloquist doll Charly to join him. They stayed for a three-year-period.

In September 2006 Bassie taped a 16-part television-show (Bassie en zijn Vriendjes) in which he interviewed children and performed a song in line with the subject matter. The show was broadcast minus the uncopied footage from two stolen mastertapes.

De Reis van Zwarte Piet[edit]

In between touring-commitments Bassie taped a pilot for his first solo-series; De Reis van Zwarte Piet is produced by Bassie's new company Magicland and therefore distinctive from any proper B&A-effort.

The two (!) episodes sees Bassie come face to face with St. Nicholas (played by Paul van Gorcum) and his assistants; he finds out how they supply a nation with gifts, toys and sweets. It was released on DVD straightaway.

De Speurtocht naar Charly[edit]

In 2006 Bassie and friends worked on this first proper series; working title De Ontvoering (The Abduction) was deemed too inappropriate for children's audiences and therefore altered to De Speurtocht naar Charly (Quest for Charly). Bassie goes all the way to Austria to rescue Charly from the man who insisted that he'd retire from performing.

It was released on DVD in 2007; regional channel RNN7 aired it from April 19, 2008 onwards.

Commercial break[edit]

In 2008 Bassie taped an insurance commercial about a family travelling to a camping site in France. The children enjoy themselves watching Bassie & Adriaan-DVD's much to their parents' annoyance. Adding insult to injury their neighbours are none other than the clown and the acrobat. The former greets them by shouting "He buurmannetje, bakkie ?" ("Fancy a cuppa neighbour ?"). The majority of the soundbytes are spoken by Bassie & Adriaan themselves; the one in which B2 mishears Japie's "We moeten de baas bellen!" ("Call the boss!") for "Watzeggie, frikandellen ?" ("Say what, meatballs ?") has become a downloadable ringtone.

Preceded by a publicity-stunt suggesting that Bassie made a 31-year-old woman pregnant the second commercial hit the tv-screen; Bassie's neighbour learns that his wife gave birth to a red-nosed and ginger-haired baby remarkably crying the same way as his real Dad.

Nominated for Commercial of the Year, Bassie taped an item for the Gouden Loeki Awards dressed up as Father Christmas, holding baby Bassie in his arms and wishing for all children to grow up in a peaceful world.

External links[edit]

fr:Bassie et Adriaan