It's odd when you fancy a cartoon character. In the Sixties we had quite a few animated ladies to spice up our chicken-pox-infested infant lives.
Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of real girls on the telly - Ayshea, Gay Ellis, Pan's People - but these were the fantasies of older boys and off-limits to the socks and shorts crowd I was in.
Young whipper snappers under the age of 10 got their kicks from cartoons and puppet shows. These aired schooldays from 5pm [or was it 4?] and Saturdays at 9am [or was it 8?] when childrens' TV started on our 3 [definitely 3] channels, which were black and white up to 1966 [or was it 7?]
For many young 'uns, Stingray's Marina will have been the focus of their tea-time attentions. Strangely silent and able to breathe in the bath, she was in effect, a mermaid, which, let's face it, is pretty darn appealing to most boys. Troy Tempest beat us all to it though and despite trying in the bath with the rubber shower head, none of us could sing Aqua Marina quite like her Troy-friend.
Lady Penelope of Thunderbirds brought upper-class lip-synch to the schedules and probably had the most alluring of all the lady puppet voices. I dreamt of owning a Fairylite Lady Penelope Doll as a kid but Parker, her chauffeur, was all I got. I had to endure him driving her round and serving her tea every week, the cockney devil!
Cartoon crushes didn't come from our shores, however, but from America. Penelope Pitstop had the drawl and the curls and Josie and the Pussycats had the songs and the girls.
Yes, Hanna-Barbera, those Einsteins of animation, created a whole universe of animated girlfriends, who we could be with every week, no strings attached. It didn't matter that they were just flicker-books. We were in love.
But the greatest love of all was reserved for someone else, a bespectacled sleuth foreshadowing my own life with jam-jar glasses a few years later. Her thick turtle-neck jumper just added to her nerdy charm.
I am of course referring to Velma off Scooby Doo, the number one reason for putting up with the annoying perfection of perfectly perfect Fred every week. Thank God he was only interested in Daphne.
Velma Dinkley was the original cartoon geek. If she had been Lady Penelope it would have read "Glasses, Sweater and Deadly Intellect". Yes, Velma was a nerdy boy's dream date and I often wished that I was the werewolf or the pirate's ghost charging after her. I would have always found her glasses for her or offered her mine before heading off together to discuss the finer points of lycanthropy under a full moon.
Scooby Doo, where are yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooou!
So, readers which TV character, cartoon or otherwise, did you have a crush on?