PRAGUE Nov 30 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
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
(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Roger Atwood)