The Saturday Movie Club: Naranjito – Football In Action
Let’s talk about mascots then, shall we? The first official mascot for a World Cup finals was World Cup Willie, who made his debut for the 1966 finals in England. It took a while, however, for the idea to really, truly catch on and it wasn’t until sixteen years later for FIFA’s marketing machine to start to grind into gear, producing a true star, possibly the biggest of the tournament. Naranjito was the smiling, snub-nosed face of the 1982 World Cup finals, created by the designers Maria Dolores Salto and Kose Maria Martin Pacheco. They were paid a million pesetas for the job.
Naranjito is probably the most recognisable Spanish figure from the 1982 World Cup finals, with the team having lurched through the first group stage of the competition before finishing bottom of a group of three with England and eventual finalists West Germany. Naranjito, however, was marketed. The iconic orange was all over merchandise in the build-up to the finals, a mild smirk on his place and his eyebrows raised as though he’d just caught you doing something that you shouldn’t have been doing. And it was badly received by the public in Spain, at first, his popularity significantly growing over time.
So of course there was a television cartoon series. Produced by the TVE broadcaster, “Naranjito – Futbol en Accion” (“Little Orange – Football in Action”, if we’re being completely literal in our translation) was a twenty part series that ran on Spanish television early in 1982. They follow the adventures of Naranjito, his girlfriend Clementine, friends Citroni and, somehow or other, a robot called Imarchi. His nemesis was Zruspa and his dumb assistants the Coconuts, for reasons that aren’t always entire clear.
Now, this is in Spanish, of course, but if your first language is not Spanish you can switch on subtitles and get them translated into any language you like. To be honest, if you’re already so much as considering that as a fleeting thought, you’re already in too deep, so you might as well. Click on ‘settings’ and then ‘subtitles’, then click on “‘Spanish’. Then open the subtitles again and click on ‘auto-translate’, and you can pick from any one of dozens of different languages. They can be a bit wonky at times, but you can pick up the gist.