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Bud Spencer – The Incarnation of the "Haudrauf-Film"

Bud Spencer - The Incarnation of the "Haudrauf-Film"
von Elekes Andor (Eigenes Werk) CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In the year of 2016, many beloved celebrities have gone, for example, the singer Prince or Lemmy from Motörhead. But another man died who was something like an icon for many people, not only in Germany. Bud Spencer died on June 27th. But his movies, his bon mots and all in all his life’s work will remain unforgotten. Let’s take a look back on his efforts and try to understand why he was such a beloved person for many Germans.

The beginning of his Career

Bud Spencer was born in 1929 as Carlo Pedersoli in Naples, Italy. Unlike his later appearance, he soon became very successful in sports, especially in swimming. He was a tall and athletic young man who gained many successes in the water. In 1949, the 20-years old Carlo won the national swimming championship, later he even became part of the Italian Olympic team and succeeded in the games of 1952 in Helsinki, 1956 in Melbourne and 1960 in Rome. But not only swimming was his big talent, but also in water polo (or in German, Wasserball). One of his greatest efforts in this game was winning the Italian championship with his team S.S. Lazio Rome and also winning a gold medal in the Mediterranean Games of 1955. 

Bud Spencer and Terrace Hill

At the same time, Carlo Pedersoli started his acting career, first in some shallow Italian movies, later also in western movies that have been very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. In this time, he also met the unknown actor Mario Girotti aka Terrance Hill. To make their names sound more international and also more western, Girotti changed his name and so did Pedersoli: He chose the name “Bud Spencer.” Both met again on another movie set and soon became a duo, many movies followed like “They called me trinity” or “I’m for the Hippopotamus.” All the movies had in common that both Spencer and Hill never got tired of beating up their enemies, most of the time in an extreme and sometimes even silly way. They both soon became the incarnation of the so-called “Haudrauf-Film.”

These movies are still all-time-classics and many people, also the youngsters, have seen them and can quote at least one sentence. Their extreme way of beating up people by making it look slapstick-like also influenced the German language today: The verb “Budspencern” means to beat up a group of people in a superior and somehow comical way. 

Although Bud Spencer started many other projects in his later life like becoming a politician, it is the movies that made him well-known around the world and especially in Europe. Many young people even admire him in the way of a cult that made him somehow iconic. As the city of Schwäbisch Gmünd asked the citizens for a name for a new to build a tunnel, of course, the suggestion “Bud-Spencer-Tunnel” won the polling. Thus, the city council refused to name the tunnel after Pedersoli but gave their public swimming pool his name: it is now known as the Bud-Spencer-Bad. Also, a hill near the city is now called Terrance Hill. But with all this honoring, Bud Spencer remained a modest man until his death. That’s one reason why so many people still admire him so much.

Bud Spencer - The Incarnation of the "Haudrauf-Film"
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Löwenzahn – A German National Treasure

Löwenzahn - A German National Treasure
© Pixabay

Ask any German under 40 about Löwenzahn and chances are they’ll start humming a jolly tune. That tune is the well-known theme to German public channel ZDF’s longest-running kids’ TV show, Löwenzahn.

The show started in 1981 and accompanied generations of Germans as they discovered the world. Its presenter, “Erklär-Bär” (explainer character) Peter Lustig was a TV grandad to millions of people, becoming one of the country’s national treasures.

In February 2016, Germany said goodbye to Lustig as the show’s creator passed away following many years of illness. But his legacy continues in the show, still running in its 35th year.

What Happens on The Show?

Löwenzahn takes place in the Schrebergärten (allotments) of a fictional of city called Bärstadt. In every episode, Peter Lustig greeted the audience from his home in the Bauwagen, a disused builder’s trailer which he had converted into his home.

Peter Lustig (that is the actor’s real name) was a casual character dressed in dungarees. He represented the archetype of an alternative dropout, sharply contrasted with his neat and conservative neighbour Hermann Paschulke. In most episodes, Peter and his neighbour started off with a little chat (or occasional neighbourly spat).

These chats inspired many of Peter’s curious questions about the world.He found himself wondering “Warum ist das so?” (Why is it like that?). He presented film clips and went out into the world to explore. The episode topics included answers to many children’s questions like “Wie kommen die Löcher in den Käse?” (How do the holes get into the cheese?) or “Was ist eigentlich Blech? Was passiert, wenn es rostet?” (What is tin? What happens when it gets rusty?).

Alternative Attitudes and Environmentalism in Löwenzahn

Peter’s show promoted excitement about nature and environment for several generations of Germans.

Löwenzahn and its understated, chilled out presenter were a product of Germany’s green consciousness. Peter didn’t wear suits or live in an expensive home. He wasn’t a professor, and his appearance celebrated authenticity and challenged the status quo.

The Bauwagen was a showcase of self-sufficiency and DIY skills, showing how everyday “junk” can be upcycled and reused. In this way, engineer Peter Lustig showed generations of German children how to make something out of nothing.

Throughout the show’s run, nature and environment were important core topics. Progress was acknowledged, yet regarded with a little skepticism along with Peter’s trademark curiosity. And for decades the programme’s most famous catchphrase was a variant of “.. und jetzt machen wir den Fernseher…aus.” (And now we switch the TV… off)

Löwenzahn Continues

Löwenzahn stood out because it was not shrill or oversaturated like many other kids’ TV shows. Peter Lustig himself designed his character to promote a grown-up’s curiosity about the world. He valued learning at any age and invited his viewers into a world of tüfteln, forschen, entdecken (tinker, research, discover).

In 2007, Peter Lustig received the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande, Germany’s highest Order of Merit. His legacy is evident not only in the love and praise he received but also in the show’s ongoing success.

Today, Löwenzahn continues with a new character: Fritz Fuchs, played by comedian Guido Hammesfahr, took over the show and the Bauwagen in October 2006. The original cast has grown to feature more diverse characters and create a faster-paced version of Löwenzahn. Hammesfahr and Lustig know how much times have changed. Lustig joked that he’s happy not to compete with PlayStation in this interview with the Bild newspaper.

The show also maintains its theme of encouraging young viewers to get away from the TV for a bit and step out into the world. You can find out more about the current topics on Löwenzahn’s official website.

Löwenzahn - A German National Treasure
german media

Im Gegenteil – “Slow Dating” Rises in Berlin

Online dating in Berlin
© pixabay

Im Gegenteil, Berlin’s slow-dating website, looks like a consumer glossy magazine website at first, comparable to Marie Claire or Esquire in the United States – and then you realize the “products” are people.
These are not celebrities either. They are singles, generally in their 30s, looking to find a partner. These singles can be gay or straight – but the end result is very hip.

 

Made with passion, time and love

The two founders, Jule Müller and Anni Kralisch-Pehlke, liken Im Gegenteil to a single’s magazine than a dating platform. Dating websites nowadays are quick and might not provide a glimpse into someone’s actual life – the profiles are more like checkboxes or filters, great for snap decisions but not so great for developing intimacy and connections. Im Gegenteil, on the other hand, takes about a day to construct each profile and takes photos of the applicant – not just any photos, but artful ones in the applicant’s own home or surroundings. That way, Kralisch-Pehlke says, “[if] you want to write to someone on our site, you have something to work with.”

“Only for Berlin´s hipsters?” “NO!”

The applicants are mainly in Berlin, but other areas have been added also, enabling people from Zürich and Köln to be featured on the website as well. And thanks to the Im Gegenteil team of bloggers and photographers, there are articles beneath the profiles – lending credence to the self-description of it as a singles’ magazine rather than a dating platform.
Unfortunately, this very hip and photogenic emphasis has led to some deriding Im Gegenteil for catering to Berlin’s hipsters – or hipsters in general. As someone who has lived in Brooklyn in New York, I can safely say that Im Gegenteil would not be out of place there either. But where is the line between helping the applicants look good and being derided for being the province of the exclusive?
Müller and Kralisch-Pehlke plan on expanding Im Gegenteil throughout Europe and possibly beyond, so maybe we will see it in places like London or New York. Time will only tell.

If your German is up to speed or you want to practice, you can look at Im Gegenteil here: http://imgegenteil.de/
Currently, it is only offered in the German language, though hopefully in time will be localized to other languages alongside the expansion plans.

Online dating in Berlin