Professor Balthazar Professor Balthazar

Restored episodes of Professor Balthazar have been quietly trickling onto Youtube in recent weeks.

Created by Zlatko Grgić and produced at Zagreb Film starting in the late 1960s, the show follows an old inventor who solves problems with his whimsical machines. The highlight here is the production design, an in-your-face kaleidoscopic rainbow-colored graphic universe.

Made in the former Yugoslavia, the Zagreb crew were attuned to the creative milieu of the Sixties art world. The shorts are a graphic grabbag of Pop Art, Op Art, and psychedelic art references, while the simple, loosely drawn characters (not unlike a lot of shows today) give it mainstream appeal.

Professor Balthazar remains a smart example of how to experiment within the constraints of series production. Pick and choose certain areas of a production to push, while retaining accessible elements to allow viewers an entry point. The lasting popularity of the professor fifty years later is testament to Grgić and company’s inventive approach to the series.

Here’s a look at the before-and-after of the restorations:

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