If you lived in the UK in the early 1980’s you may have memories of a weird dubbed programme about a boy on a horse called Silas and his strange limping friend.
Originally a 1981 ZDF Adventure TV mini-series, Silas was based on the Danish children’s book „Silas og den sorte hoppe“ by Cecil Bødker and was a German production and filmed solely in German and later badly dubbed into English.
The series starred Patrick Bach as Silas, a boy who was sold to a circus. Whilst there Silas learns to pull stunts and tricks from early on. This comes in handy when he decides to rather live an adventurous life on his own than to be trained in the dangerous art of sword swallowing. Also being threatened by director Philipp (Diether Krebs) that the sinews of his feet would be cut just in order to prevent him from running away, it occurs to him it is now or never and off he goes.
A farmer called Bartolin (Shmuel Rodensky) gives him shelter but underestimates the boy’s skills and carelessly bets him his horse. Bartolin cannot accept the outcome of this bet and so Silas is on the run again. Getting hungry he accepts a meal provided by swindler Emanuel (André Lacombe) and his likewise rogue wife Theresa (Reine Barteve). They use a strong barbiturate on Silas and disappear with his horse. After Silas awakens in a boat on a river he sees Philipp trying to steal fresh milk from a blind girl. When the girl’s mother arrives Philipp puts the blame on Silas, who as a result finds himself in a wooden cage. He has to find a way to gain the family’s trust if he wants to escape.
While searching for his horse he meets the Godik (Lucki Molocher) who helps him to retrieve the animal. Godik remains stuck in many viewers minds due to his limp. Silas and Godik stick together, both trying to make a living on what they’ve learned. Silas shows circus tricks and Godik works as a carver. Yet Silas gets into trouble again because he and Godik stumble across a treasure hidden by smugglers.
Hunted by the smuggler’s gang they run into homeless young Jenny (Nina Rothemund) who is running from an unsavoury woman called Corby (Ingeborg Lapsien). Silas, Godik and Jenny reach a town where Silas gets the idea of buying a bear with money from the smugger’s treasue. The citizens decide to investigate him over theft. He finds himself in prison with Corby who once abducted Jenny. Eventually he learns that Jenny is not really an orphan. Silas and Godik return Jenny to her family. Then Silas accompanies his friend Godik to his family.
The lost son Godik is heartily welcomed and so is Silas, but Silas doesn’t feel safe and believes his presence is endangering his new friends. On the road again he makes new friends – he saves merchant Sandal (Hans Helmut Dickow) and later also his son Japetus (Armin Schawe) from harm. But Corby has followed him. She teams up with some other low-lifes who eventually capture Silas and Japetus for ransom. Sandal’s employee Karneol(Jacques van Dooren) saves them. Corby and her gang are imprisoned. Silas finally feels saved and returns to Godik and his family.