Animator Zdeněk Miler, creator of the famous Little Mole, born 100 years ago

Little Mole, photo: Barbora Němcová

The great Czech illustrator and animator Zdeněk Miler, creator of the famous Krtek or Krteček (Little Mole) enjoyed by children worldwide, was born 100 years ago, on February 21. 1921.

Zdeněk Miler,  photo: Czech Television

Zdeněk Miler showed creative talent from an early age and studied at the College of Arts and Crafts in Prague. In 1948, he joined the cartoon studio Baťa in Zlín where he learnt the practical skills of film production, specializing in animated films. After the Second World War, he started work at the cartoon company Bratři v triku where he was employed as draughtsman, then author and eventually became its director.

Zdeněk Miler,  photo: Czech Television

His most famous cartoon character -The Little Mole - first appeared in a 1956 film entitled How the Mole Got his Trousers. The film won a Silver Lion in Venice a year later and the Little Mole has since become one of the most loved cartoon characters the world over.

Little Mole,  photo: Barbora Němcová

Miler felt it was important for his cartoon character to communicate with everyone and he used a very simple form of expression understandable to children everywhere. The sounds he used – various exclamations, interjections, squeals or peals of laughter – were recorded with his two young daughters at the time. Over the years Miler recorded over 60 miniseries featuring the beloved mole, including: Mole and the Car, Mole and the Rocket, Mole as a Gardener, Mole as a Movie Star, Mole’s Weekend and Mole and his Friends.

To this day Krteček remains a hugely popular cartoon character and there is a broad range of Little Mole products on the market, from cuddly plush toys, to schoolbags, cups, plates and even children’s’ bedlinen.

Zdeněk Miler and his Little Mole will be featured in a new series on Radio Prague International presenting Czech animated film. In the first part, we will introduce Czech puppet masters Jiří Trnka and Hermína Týrlová.