Alfred J. Kwak

Alfred J. Kwak and his girlfriend Winnie Wana.

Harald Siepermann’s most famous creation was the duck Alfred J. Kwak. It was based on a theater play by the Dutch artist Herman van Veen that was first performed on August 29, 1976, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Siepermann drew the duck officially for the first time for the poster design of the German version of that play that was performed by Van Veen in Hamburg in 1985. By then Alfred J. Kwak did not have his recognizable look with his yellow fur, red scarf and three hairs on his head.

However, Siepermann continued to develop Alfred J. Kwak and throughout 1986 he and Hans Bacher worked on the first comic book about the duck. Siepermann wrote the story based on Van Veen’s theater play and created all the characters in various poses. Hans Bacher placed Harald’s designs in a comic book layout and created the colors and backgrounds. The sparkling comic book was published in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium in 1987 and became a favorite among children. Two more comic books where published in the next few years.

Three comic books about the adventures of Alfred J. Kwak designed by Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher.

The cover of the first comic drew the attention of television producer Dennis Livson who had his own company called Telecable Benelux B.V. that was specialized in creating children animation series. He liked the unusual comic book cover where Alfred stands in a typical Dutch winter landscape and sadly looks over his shoulder, like somebody is leaving. He wanted to create a television series of 52 episodes based on adventures of the duck.

The production of the series started in early 1988. Herman van Veen wrote the synopsis of the episodes and Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher did the production design. Which was an immense task since the series consisted of 250 unique characters and a variety of worlds and props that had to be design. The series was produced in Tokyo, Japan, where Harald stayed for several weeks to supervise the production.

A selection of characters from the television series Alfred J. Kwak. For the series Herman van Veen, Harald Siepermann and Hans Bacher invented more than 250 different characters.

The series premièred on April 4, 1989 on TV Tokyo in Japan and on December 24 in the Netherlands. A year later it was broadcast around the world. Alfred J. Kwak became an immense success and a merchandise phenomenon. It won various awards, among them the German Golden Kamera Award for Best Children Program.

In 2006 Alfred J. Kwak was appointed as UNICEF ambassador.

During the year 2000’s several new books about Alfred J. Kwak were created by Harald Siepermann and Herman van Veen. In all of Alfred’s activities he is a fighter for the rights of children. For his efforts the duck was officially appointed as UNICEF ambassador in Austria in 2006.

To this day the television series Alfred J. Kwak is still broadcast around the world and continues to attract new generations.