As a child I loved him, honored him, admired him, laughed with him and trembled in front of the wolves: Vicky the little Viking. It was invented by the Swede Runer Jonsson exactly 60 years ago. However, Wickie’s problem-solving spirit never ages.
By Frank Behrendt
Whenever I hear the famous title tune of the legendary TV series written by the successful composer Christian Bruhn again today, a pleasant shiver runs down my spine:
“Hey hey Wickie hey Wickie hey
Tighten the sail
Hey hey Wickie the Vikings
Are close to the wind”
The lyrics then continue with fears of wolves and typhoons, but with the reassuring message that Vickie naturally finds the solution to all evil “not difficult at all”. That’s how it is with heroes, they’re just fearless and undaunted.
So there wasn’t an episode that my siblings and I missed at the time. We couldn’t wait for a new episode to air about the adventures of the Vikings from the small village of Flake. My absolute favorite moment in all episodes has always been: When the skinny little Viking rubbed his nose and at some point exclaimed: “I’ve got it!” Then he had the solution to a challenge that the strong adults had previously despaired of.
Vicky demonstrates brain power instead of muscle power
In my own family, Wickie’s “I’ve got it moment” has become a household word over the years. Whenever the children have an idea of how they intend to solve a tricky situation, we talk about it. When my son comes out of his room where he has been thinking for a while and then says the sentence “I’ve got it” with a solemn expression, then we know that everything will be fine.
Even as a small boy, I was fascinated by the fact that Vicky always thought outside the box and approached “problems” in a solution-oriented manner. At some point, the more or less “strong men” no longer went on board without the special Brain Boy. In the end it was he who, on every journey, used his cleverness to ensure that they got home at all and escaped the terrible Sven.
I also found it impressive that the clever little guy kept getting inspiration from the story to solve tasks. For example, he copied the idea of the famous Trojan horse. But he is also something of a young physicist. My younger brother once called it the “talking cosmos experiment kit”. Through his ideas, Wickie documented that you can also be a hero if you prefer to use your intellect and think logically instead of muscle power, courage and aggression. That’s how he became one of our heroes.
Role model for many children
Television research has also dealt with the fictional character and what he does with young viewers. In a qualitative study entitled “Children’s Television Classics from a Child’s Perspective”, the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) in Munich asked a total of 429 children what the essence of classical television characters was for them. I read the comments of the small respondents about Vicky with great interest because, looking back, I found myself in them.
The children admire Wickie for his very special competence, cleverness and inventive creativity, “that he thinks up things and then they are such great things and that things come to him at all” (Coline, 8 years old). Some of them would therefore like to be like him, because “then I can think like Vicky” (Alexander, 9 years old).
With his clever ideas, Wickie finds a way out of even the most dangerous and hopeless situation and thus helps others out of trouble. Many children relate to his helpfulness and think it’s great that he’s always there for others: “Wickie helped everyone when someone needed help” (Lucie, 10 years old). In addition to this principle – helping with clever ideas and doing good – the children also celebrate another desirable behavior pattern of Vicky: “That he thinks and does not use violence like his dad” (Jan, 9 years). From the children’s point of view, Vicky is therefore a “role model” (Yakup, 10 years old).
With his work “Wickie”, for which he was awarded the German Youth Literature Prize in 1965, Runer Jonsson created characters and stories that have lost none of their entertainment and individuality even after 60 years Bully Herbig a few years ago, which attracted over five million visitors to the cinemas and was continued with another film.
Wickie-Way also in demand today
With the numerical end of my childhood and adolescence, the bonanza wheel and Vicky disappeared from my life. But to this day I have never forgotten him. In the course of my professional life, I have always thought of Wickie, especially when it came to finding unconventional solutions. For the young mother, for example, who wanted to keep her managerial position despite having a child. Without further ado, we procured and paid her a domestic help. Back then, nobody was talking about new work, home office, gender or the compatibility of job and family. In an American company, the planned model with childcare for a female manager could not have been convincingly explained to a controller on New York Avenue at the time. Then I found a Wickie-Way…
When it came to giving our employees recognition in what was a difficult financial year for the group at the time, we rubbed our noses in management and finally had an idea: we had our production engineer laminate 5-D-Mark bills, which then distributed at the Christmas party. It wasn’t a lot of money, but the effect that everyone was able to wave a bundle of cash remains unforgotten to this day and is celebrated at the agency’s alumni reunions.
I can only advise everyone to remember good old Vicky again. Especially in these times full of challenges in all fields, extraordinary ideas off the beaten track are more in demand than ever. And a little Viking once taught us that there is always a way besides the usual. So think outside the box and eventually you’ll exclaim, “I’ve got it!”