Sjef van Oekel was a popular TV comedy character created by Dutch artist Wim T. Schippers and played by Dutch comedian, singer and actor Dolf Brouwers (1912–1997). Van Oekel started as a side character in De Fred Hachéshow in 1972, but became such a cult figure that he gained his own television show, Van Oekel's Discohoek , songs and even a comic strip, all written by Schippers.
Wim T. Schippers created Sjef van Oekel in 1972 as a Belgian french fries salesman from the village Reet. Schippers had never visited Reet, but had seen the name on a company manufacturing car accessories and enjoyed the double entendre of the name ("Reet" means "crack" or "buttcrack" in Dutch).In line with his character's origin Van Oekel originally used a Flemish accent, but quickly dropped this in favor for his own Dutch accent.
Van Oekel is typically dressed in a fine black tuxedo and always talks and behaves in a refined manner, complete with archaisms. However something always went wrong during his presentations, either on the set or he himself tripped or went nauseous. Situations like these always lead to his well-known catch phrase: "Ik word niet goed!" ("I'm starting to feel not well!"). Whenever Van Oekel said this he usually used a handkerchief to clean off the sweat on his forehead. In one controversial episode he threw up in the bicycle bag of his sidekick Evert van de Pik (played by Jaap Bar), which outraged Dutch journalist Henk van der Meyden so much that he started an unsuccessful campaign to get the program banned. Other well-known catch phrases of Van Oekel were "Als het ware..." ("As it were...") and "Pardon...reeds" ("Pardon... already").
The character made his debut in 1972, in De Fred Hachéshow , a controversial television show created by Wim T. Schippers. He later returned in two later Schippers shows, Barend is weer bezig (1972–1973) and Van Oekel's Discohoek (1974).
The van Oekel character was ancillary in De Fred Hachéshow and Barend is weer bezig, both of which had Barend Servet as the lead, but central in Van Oekel's Discohoek, where he played the host of a music show on television that parodied popular music programs of the era.
Van Oekel quickly became a cult figure with viewers. Brouwers recorded many Schippers-penned and other songs, most of which comic and dramatic. With Manke Nelis he recorded "Vis wordt duur betaald" (#46 in the Dutch charts in 1988), but his best known song is probably "Vette jus" ("[Sauerkraut with] greasy gravy"), a dish still associated with him in a song that is little more than a list of Dutch dishes. The song was first performed on the 1973 Christmas special for Barend is weer bezig ; it was written by Schippers, Gied Jaspars, and Clous van Mechelen.
In 1976 Wim T. Schippers and Theo van den Boogaard drew a celebrity comic strip series based on the character. Many stories and gags feature Van Oekel embarrassing other people or meeting rather eccentric and exhibitionistic people himself. Sjef van Oekel quickly became notorious for featuring very risqué subject matter, including religion, pornography, pedophilia, prostitution, vulgar language, and so on. The stories were published in De Nieuwe Revu and sold well enough to be translated in French ("Léon Van Oukel", later "Léon La Terreur"), German ("Julius Patzenhofer", later "Leo, der Terrorist"), Danish and Spanish.
Van Oekel made a few media appearances in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but by 1984 this came to a halt too. Brouwers felt increasingly exploited by Schippers, especially regarding the comic strip. In 1989 he dragged Schippers and Van den Boogaard to court because the comic strip frequently portrayed him in vulgar situations without him earning a penny from it. The judge ruled in favor of Brouwers and decided that the series could continue, but the character was no longer allowed to be portrayed in "obscene or pornographic situations". A financial settlement was also agreed on.
Whether van Oekel was just used or also abused by Schippers and others was the topic of a 2004 theater production. According to Hein Janssen, writing in de Volkskrant , it is certainly true that Brouwers jumped at the opportunity to become a celebrity, but the extent to which Schippers and the other writers and directors pushed Brouwers (he balked, for instance, at having to simulate sex with an inflatable doll) is questionable.
Ligne claire is a style of drawing created and pioneered by Hergé, the Belgian creator of The Adventures of Tintin. It uses clear strong lines all of the same width and no hatching, while contrast is downplayed as well. Cast shadows are often illuminated, and the style often features strong colours and a combination of cartoonish characters against a realistic background. All these elements together can result in giving comics drawn this way a flat aspect. The name was coined by Joost Swarte in 1977.
Willem Theodoor "Wim T." Schippers is a Dutch artist, comedian, television director, and voice actor. During the 1960s, he worked mostly as a visual artist, associated with the international Fluxus-movement. As a television writer, director, and actor he is responsible for some of the most notable and controversial shows on Dutch televisions from the 1960s to the 1990s, creating a number of lasting characters and enriching the language with terms and expressions first coined in his shows. In addition, he voiced the characters of Ernie and Kermit the Frog on the Dutch version of Sesame Street. For his shows, he has written over three hundred songs, and his reputation has changed from being Dutch television's "enfant terrible" to an acknowledged master in a variety of genres.
Theo van den Boogaard – also known as Theo Bogart – is a Dutch cartoonist. He first came to attention as an underground cartoonist in the early 1970s for the sexually explicit comics series Ans en Hans krijgen de kans. He is best known for co-creating Sjef van Oekel, a long-running comic strip based on the TV character, written by Wim T. Schippers. He received the 1989 Stripschapprijs for his body of work.
Ruud van Hemert was a Dutch film director known especially for (dark) comedy. In the 1970s he helped produce and direct TV shows on VPRO before starting a career as a film director.
Opzoek naar Yolanda was a Dutch dramady television show by Wim T. Schippers, consisting of six episodes aired by the VPRO from October to December 1984. The show was a continuation of sorts of Schippers' De lachende scheerkwast (1981-1982) and featured some of the same characters. In turn, it was a kind of prequel to We zijn weer thuis, which ran from 1989 to 1994.
De lachende scheerkwast is a Dutch television show written and directed by Wim T. Schippers, who also plays one of the lead characters, Jacques Plafond. It ran on VPRO television for six episodes in 1981 before being canceled, and then returned for another six episodes.
Clous van Mechelen is a Dutch musician, arranger, and actor. Van Mechelen scored a minor hit in 1969 with his band The Butlers, and became widely known through the radio and television shows written and directed by Wim T. Schippers, in which he played the character Jan Vos and wrote songs for the various characters.
Ronflonflon, or Ronflonflon avec Jacques Plafond, was a radio show on the Dutch broadcaster VPRO. It was produced and directed by Wim T. Schippers who also played the principal character and radio host, Jacques Plafond. Between 10 October 1984 and 30 January 1991, 328 episodes were produced, and it became the VPRO's best-listened radio program.
Het is weer zo laat!, also known as Waldolala, is a Dutch television show from 1978, written and directed by Wim T. Schippers and co-produced by Schippers, Gied Jaspars, Wim van der Linden en Ellen Jens. It was the last TV show written for Dolf Brouwers, who had played the character Sjef van Oekel in previous shows.
Dolf Brouwers was a Dutch comedian, singer, and television actor who rose to fame late in life playing the character Sjef van Oekel in the 1970s satirical television shows aired on VPRO, written and directed by Wim T. Schippers, Ruud van Hemert, Gied Jaspars, and Wim van der Linden.
Ellen Jens is a Dutch television director and producer, best known for her collaboration with Wim T. Schippers on VPRO television. She has produced and directed a large number of other television shows, especially on literature and art, and is referred to as a "television legend".
Van Oekel's Discohoek was a Dutch television show, aired on VPRO in 1974-1975. The show, written by Wim T. Schippers and produced by Ellen Jens, starred Dolf Brouwers as the comedic character Sjef van Oekel, and parodied music television programs of the era. Artists lip-synched their songs, but were frequently interrupted and insulted by van Oekel. The show had a real coup when Captain Beefheart made an appearance. The show also starred one of the first TV appearances of Donna Summer, who later claimed that her breakthrough began with her performance of her song "Hostage", in which she gracefully went along with the scripted absurdity and chaos. The show inspired a similarly absurd show Plattenküche on the German WDR.
Gied Jaspars was a Dutch television maker who gained prominence in the 1960s and 1970s making progressive and controversial TV shows for the VPRO; he is well known for his collaboration with writer and director Wim T. Schippers. After he left the television and film industry he started a career as a business man; throughout his career he had a great interest in nature, expressed in narrative, meditative reflections in television and radio series which were later bundled as a single collection.
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IJf Blokker is a Dutch musician and television actor and presenter. After a professional career as a drummer, he became a well-known television actor in the 1970s playing the character Barend Servet in the Wim T. Schippers-directed shows on VPRO television.
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Wim van der Linden was a Dutch photographer and film and television director. As a photographer he documented slums and subcultures in Amsterdam in the 1960s. His "Tulips", one of four experimental and satirical Sad Movies (1966-1967), is praised as one of the dramatic high points of Dutch film history, and with Wim T. Schippers and others he made groundbreaking and controversial television shows for the VPRO in the 1960s to the 1970s.
We zijn weer thuis is a Dutch dramady-series broadcast by VPRO from 1989 to 1994. It was written by Wim T. Schippers and co-directed with Ellen Jens as his swansong-series for VPRO. The series was released on dvd in October 2007; nostalgia-channel Best 24 first started reruns in 2010.
Maria Christina "Mimi" Kok was a Dutch film and television actress.
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