Creator of Czech Krtek cartoon character dies -TV

PRAGUE Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:32pm EST

PRAGUE Nov 30 (Reuters) - Zdenek Miler, the creator of Czech cartoon character Krtek (the Mole), which entertained children around the world for over half a century, died on Wednesday at the age of 90, Czech Television reported.

Miler created his first movie based on Krtek, "How the Mole Got His Trousers", in 1957 and it won popularity far beyond the borders of then-communist Czechoslovakia.

There are about 50 movies starring Krtek, or diminutively called "Krtecek" in Czech.

The movie shorts are mostly peaceful stories of the main character, a black-haired, big-eyed mole, and his animal friends. The films are watched in over 80 countries, including elsewhere in Europe and as far away as Japan.

A stuffed Krtek doll accompanied astronaut Andrew Feustel, whose wife is of Czech descent, on the second to last U.S. space shuttle fight.

Krtek's international appeal has been helped by the fact that none of the characters speak, using instead only non-verbal exclamations derived from recordings of Miler's two baby daughters. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Roger Atwood)

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