In the days before dedicated kids TV channels, The Red Hand Gang was one of those US TV shows that the BBC always pulled out of the archives to fill in gaps in their children’s TV schedules in the afternoons and during school holiday mornings. Being the BBC though, it was, of course, quality filler material!
The show was an American take on the Enid Blyton Famous Five tales, where a group of kids get together to solve mysteries which they just happen to stumble upon. In this case though we swap the English middle class boarding school kids and the seaside setting for a group of every day inner city kids.
There were five kids in The Red Hand Gang. Frankie was the leader, whilst J.R. was the athletic one, Doc was the clever one, Joanne was the tom-boy, and Li’l Bill was the youngest, and brother of Frankie. They were also accompanied by their dog, Boomer, who even ended up getting his own TV show later on!
The gang got their name from the fact that they used to leave a red hand print on walls to mark where they had been. That was perhaps a bit naughty for the Beeb, but the rest of the show was fairly innocent stuff, with the kids tracking down clues, discussing plans in their clubhouse and they bringing the villains to justice.
The show sadly only managed half a full season before it was cancelled, and to all accounts appears to have had a bigger following in the UK than it did in the States. The thing I will always remember it for though is the title sequence, with the kids bouncing it from all angles (presumably on a trampoline) with the “la-la-la-la-la” theme tune playing in the background.
Oh, and the fact that Doc was played by an actor named James Bond III!