Saturday, June 12, 2010

ZDENEK MILER - The Mole (Krtek in Czech)

fig. 1 Portrait of Zdenek Miler


Zdenek Miler (fig. 1) is creator of the most popular cartoon figure ‘‘the Mole’’ in Czechoslovakia from period of the Second World War. Now in those days this little cartoon creature is also popular through Europe and Eastern Asia. In this essay I will introduce you Zdenek Miler’s life, his work experiences and his progression as an animator in paragraph one. This will be followed by story which explaining how this little Mole arose and will continue with next paragraph about the creation of sounds for the Mole. All text will be documented with images and the evaluation about this essay will be in final paragraph.


Zdenek Miler was born on 21 February 1921 in Kladno in the Czechoslovakia at that time. Already as a child he loved to paint and his passion for painting developed even more when in 1936 enrolled into the national Graphic School in Prague. Zdenek continued in his studies at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague where he graduated in later days.

fig. 2 Portrait of Miler's grandmother

(1939) from his admission exam to Art School

After his studies in 1942 Zdenek has been trying to achieve a career as an animator and he started to work at ‘‘Bata in Zlin Film Studios’’ as an animator in department of cartoons. This work experience was a very good school to Zdenek as he learned all relevant and necessary skills in the field of film production, focusing on animated films. When the Second World War finished, Zdenek began his career at the company called ‘‘Bratri v triku Studio’’ (Brothers in T-shirt in English) (fig. 3), which specialize in cartoon production, where at the beginning he worked as draughtsman and then he progressed into author and director. Later in the future he became the chief of the establishment.

fig. 3

Logo of company called Bratri v Triku

Creation of the Mole (Krtek in Czech):

In 1956 Zdenek Miler obtained a commission to create movie for children who would be educational but the script that he was given did not make him satisfied. As he was greatly influenced and inspired by Walt Disney’s films on that account he knew, there should be some main animal character in the movie, who will take children into the storyline. Choosing of this particular animal as a main character for this movie was one of the most difficult part from all for Zdenek as he explained in his interview. All that time Zdenek Miler has been staring from his window and could not think of anything, when he was forced to made a final decision and gave him self one day to come up with some idea or otherwise he will give it up. He went for a walk into the forest and already on the way back home, unhappy and distressful from not coming up with anything he stumbled over a mole-hill and in that moment his idea about the Mole has arisen. It took him more then two month to come up with that idea of the Mole as a main animal creature for this movie.

Later on Zdenek Miler realized that the Mole is the only figure which Walt Disney has not used yet in his movies. In fact it is not much surprising that Walt Disney has not used the Mole figure in his cartoons because it is not a very pretty animal in reality and even worse it is blind. It took him 2 years to create his first (Krtek) the Mole (fig. 4) Zdenek made him with eyes, even in reality he is blind, but he took a risk because he thought it would be too scary for children and unattractive.

fig. 4

Picture of (Krtek) the Mole

A very first part of this movie was created in 1957 and was called ‘‘How the mole got his trousers’’(fig. 5). Zdenek earned a huge success with this first movie about the Mole, which won him the main prize a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1957 and also in 1958 at the Montevideo Festival. Right away this big success he started to acquire another orders. At first he was commissioned to make further two parts and after that another twelve parts of the Mole for Germany. It took him three years to complete all this. Again as he says in his interview, sometimes he worked eighteen hours without going on break.

fig. 5

The Mole and trousers (1957)

Sound for the Mole (Krtek):

In this first part the Mole was speaking but Zdenek wished to be understood ‘‘the Mole’’ everywhere around the world, so he decided to make it wordlessly only with the sounds expressing the Mole’s feelings. His own two children helped him to record all this sound for the Mole. Engagement of his two daughters into the process of making ‘‘The Mole’’ film was very useful for Zdenek, not only because they helped him with the sounds but he could also test his movie on them and see how it’s connects with the children’s minds.

Zdenek Miler always loved his two daughters and he was never bad to them. But ones when he needed to make a recording of the crying sound for ‘‘The Mole’’, he came up to his older daughter and told her off, even she did not do anything wrong. Of course, she was very confused, thus she started to cry and this is how crying sound for mole came into existence. His daughters also helped him with all other sounds for the Mole, for example his laugh; sounds for expressing the Mole’s feelings and all kinds of expressive sounds which can be understood everywhere.


The reason I choused Zdenek Miler as my last artist for this essay is very simple and logic to me. Seeing that this is the last essay from my entire exercise I wanted to close it in a funny, positive spirit and with the view of happy ending. For that reason I think that choosing ‘‘The Mole’’ story which has such a nice creature in it, always helping the others and each time ends joyfully, it is a great choice for my enclosure of all.

During this essay I have learned from my chosen artist that passion is the key feature to all work and for achieving of perfection we must be passionate about the work we doing. In this matter Zdenek Miler is a great example to me and we can see prove of his great work even today. Now, when we living in the world of the most modern technologies and all movies are highly modified by computers, there is still Miler’s animated story about the Mole which he created with no use of many technologies but children love to watch this serial even today. Miler’s Mole is still on the list of favorite movies for children in those days even he is more then fifty years old now. Apart from Europe the Mole is well known in Japan, there is a huge interest about these serial and Japanese children are learning traffic rules with the Mole.

There is a video called ''The Mole and the Car'' which you can watch below.

This film was made in 1963.




Zdenek Miler: Na co Disney zapomnel - Lidovky (2005) Zdenek Miler: Na co Disney zapomnel [Online]. Available at:
(Accessed: 12 June 2010)

Zdenek Miler (no date) Zdenek Miler [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2010)


Own sources (1963) Krtek a auticko. Available at: C:\Documents and Settings\Janicka\Plocha\Janicka_stahovala\Krteček
(Accessed: 12 June 2010)


fig. 1
Photograph of Zdenek Miler [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2010)

fig. 2
Miler, Z. (1939) Portrait of Zdenek Miler's Grandmother
[Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2010)

fig. 3
Miler, Z. (no date) Logo of Bratri v Triku
[Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2010)

fig. 4
Miler, Z. Picture of the Mole
[Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2010)

fig. 5
Miler, Z. (1957) The Mole and Trousers
[Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2010)

1 comment:

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