Daryn Heydenrych, a Story Teller fan from South Africa who now teaches in South Korea, remembers that famous sound.
It is difficult for me now as I look back to say what joy and excitement and tingling of fingers I felt as I used to wait for my Story Teller book. I think that as we look back we tend to imagine feelings and experiences that we never had, and yet at the same time, I know that there was a tangible, sticky, kinfe-cuttable sense of trepidation.
It’s rather difficult for someone who never felt it to understand. Story Teller was after all, just a collection of stories. But to me they were so much more: storybooks with pictures that still rank amongst my fondest memories, serialised tales that kept your mind ticking over for the two weeks that you had to wait for the next issue – mine came in the post, so the wait was sometimes worse! – and of course the sound of it, which may have been the strongest, deepest impression of Story Teller that I have.
I know that as I struggled to open the package, ripping at the envelope that it came in, but terrified at the thought of damaging the precious book inside. And out they would tumble into my waiting hands. Wow! The book, tapes, complete with the illustrated highlights of what the book contained. I would sometimes examine the pictures for a minute or two, hoping that I would see the continuation of one of my favourites – Grogre the Ogre – and then, shaking with excitement, as only a kid can, I would run off to my room and bury myself in stories, book open on the floor, tape in the tape recorder.
And so my journey would begin – the music starts, the strange half snoring theme that told you that you were in another world for an hour, and as I opened my book to the first page, I waited with breath held, hardly daring to blink, for that fateful PING, which said, this journey has begun.