"Nobody remembers Alfred J. Kwak," emails blog reader and new Streatham and Brixton Chess Club member Morgan Daniels, "and this makes me very sad, for no other children's show that I've seen is so simultaneously sweet, dark and baffling. It was created by the famous Dutch singer/songwriter Herman van Veen, and followed the exploits of a brave young duck (Alfred), who lived in Waterland. In the second episode, his entire family get killed by a car (!), and he is adopted by a mole named Henk. What sets AJK apart is just how downright mature the stories were: Alfred's arch nemesis, for example, was a Hitleresque crow named Dolf, who went on to front something called the National Crows Party. There were numerous references to Apartheid, too, and Alfred had a black girlfriend, Winnie (a nod to Mrs. Mandela). My love for this show is boundless.
"Now, I recently remembered that in the phantasmagorical opening sequence Alfred played chess against Henk, and I was desperate to see if this came from an actual episode. Lo and behold, it does: episode 1.12, 'Alfred's Chess Adventure'! Unfortunately it is only available online with Japanese dubbing, but if you skip to 6:30 on this video, you will see Alfred & Henk go at it. A highly familiar opening follows..."
And indeed it does. So, here are these two strange and compelling videos for you to enjoy. The first is the "phantasmagorical opening sequence" of the show itself, and the second the remarkable episode "Alfred's Chess Adventure," sounding good in Japanese...
And if that's whetted your appetite for all things televisual, you can check out our index of chess videos here.