Balthazar was the archetypal scientist, engineer, and wizard. Like a cyberpunk Santa. He was infinitely kind, and he represented all the good things science should be to people. And as children, we all thought it a good joke that for all the thinking that he did, he solved all the problems the same way: one pull at the lever of his magic machine, then a drop of potion from a tap into a test tube, and simlalabim! a magic invention to solve the problem! This is a really cute episode. I love the way Balthazar looks as a boy. Beard and a sailor´s suit! It´s just brilliant.
Another favourite was "Linus på linjen" (= Linus on the line) as he was known in Sweden, an Italian series of short animated films, "La Linea". Linus was a tempramental little man, speaking gibberish Italian, totally in the hands of his creator, who kept playing tricks on him. This was not the warm, tender humour of Professor Balthazar, this was a lot more naughty. Linus was happiest just walking along the line, but he kept being tempted and challenged by all kinds of gifts, that always blew up in his face. I remember laughing so hard that I nearly wet myself once or twice, when I was around ten. This is a typical Linus-episode. And this one. In this one, he is given an uncharacteristicly soft landing. This is an odd, late one, with Linus playing Mozart.
As an adult, I think I prefer the more gentle humour of Balthazar, and I love his hippie-ish, equal parts avuncular and boyish personality. When I watch the episodes of Linus, I am reminded of one aspect of it that always made me a bit uneasy, even as a child - he is always killed off in the end, falling into some void or other. Linus has no life outside the line, outside his creator´s attentionspan, which is short. However, one can be safely assured that Professor Balthazar is sitting alone in his livingroom with a book, ready to spring to action whenever he is needed to save the world. Or having a party with his friends.