Slniečko was a Slovak children's television show that ran from 1979 until 1989 in the former nation of Czechoslovakia.
Given how popular the show was and if a new episode was indeed made every Sunday from its debut, Slniecko may have had well over 500 episodes aired. However, nearly all of them are lost.
The first episode of Slniečko aired only in Czechoslovakia in 1979. The most famous character on the show is Ratafak Plachta, a seven-foot puppet operated by two people under a blanket. Apparently, his name translates to "big nose blanket". He was intentionally designed to be as disturbing as possible, according to the designer of the puppet:
"He is an eyesore, he’s ugly. I think the TV station was avant-garde in a way because they were not afraid to show [an] unlikable (in looks), not pretty puppet on screen."
Plachta has many unusual features, such as (obviously) a big nose, buck teeth and thinning, blonde hair. He wears a blanket and also has an abnormally long neck. Ratafak also appears to possess curiously pronounced cheeks. His voice is not too pleasant, either.
His personality was clumsy and he would often mislead children with false information. The children would then correct Ratafak.
There are a few other puppets on the show, such as Sunny, a talking hand puppet of a sun with a chilling voice. Other characters include Donkey Pete, Piggy Oink and Bear Growl. However, none of them compare to Ratafak Plachta.
- Slniečko and Ratafak Plachta were first brought to attention to the internet community when a YouTube user by the name of Angel posted a video of Ratafak. This video would become the most infamous footage of the character. Ironically, this footage isn't even from Slniecko as it turns out.
- The show got even more attention when YouTube user blameitonjorge made his video "Top 20 Unintentionally Disturbing Kids' Characters From Around The World", where he ranked Ratafak Plachta at #3.
- Despite Ratafak Plachta being unsettling to foreign audiences, he is apparently a beloved children's character in the Czech Republic to this day.
- Slniecko is actually credited as being a blow to Communism in Czechoslovakia at the time because of its message to think freely. The government censors reportedly tried to intervene, but were unsuccessful.
- For some reason, Ratafak Plachta was involved in Slovakia's 2009 Presidential Election.
- One of the show's episodes and the infamous unofficial video of Ratafak Plachta are all available below.
Episode of Slniecko: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o0pvQ4onZQ
The unofficial yet still terrifying Ratafak Plachta video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt2fueiQxCY