Wale Adenuga, the renowned publisher and TV series producer, says most jokes he published in ‘Ikebe Super’, a defunct comic magazine, came to him in dreams.
The maker of ‘Super Story’ spoke in a recent chat with Mytori.
Adenuga started ‘Ikebe Super’ in December 1976. The magazine contained a host of legendary characters — like Papa Ajasco, Pa Jimoh, Boy Alinco, and Miss Pepeye — who eventually got their TV adaptations.
Adenuga said he used to go to bed with a pen and paper by his side while the magazine was still in existence.
“Believe me, when I was publishing Ikebe Super, I saw many of my jokes in dreams. My pen and paper were always by my side,” he said.
“Once I woke, I would put down whatever I saw or heard in the dream.”
Adenuga created ‘Super Story,’ a TV series, and it would become a popular show with audiences across the country.
The producer narrated how the idea for the TV series came unconventionally.
He said he was in a meeting with potential sponsors when the “power of oration” took over him and he pitched “a series of stories which would have beginnings and endings.”
“Sometimes in 1999, the then Lever Brothers of Nigeria, LBN (changed to Unilever Plc in 2001) was looking for new indigenous programmes to sponsor. They had been the sole sponsors of the Village Headmaster on NTA Network and when that was rested they were sponsoring some foreign programmes such as Touched By An Angel,” he said.
“One Mr Odii, an executive of Lintas: Lagos, which was LBN’s advertising agency, had been coming to my office. There was once he came and he was harassed by some policemen and I gave him some money as my own way of compensating him. He then prayed that God would make him reward me later. About two weeks later, he came and reminded me about his prayer and that the time had come for that reward. He said LBN was looking for a family drama to sponsor and that he had told them that WAP would come to present a programme. He suggested that we could adapt Super Story. I was thrown into some confusion.
“My self esteem was low. I felt that I was too small for the challenge. By then, the late Amaka Igwe had some popular programmes running on the NTA Network. I felt that I could not compete with her and a couple other producers then. Although I had Papa Ajasco and Company running, I did not consider it something that serious. Odii said he had already booked me to make a presentation the following Monday. He met me on Thursday.
“Palace was then the reigning soap. So, I went to meet Tunji Bamisigbin, who was the Director of Palace, at his office at Awoyokun Street, in the Palmgrove area. I told him to join me to go to LBN then at Dockyard Road Apapa and that if we won, we could form a company together. In fact, we formed a company that day called Olive Gate Pictures Nigeria Limited, with both of us as directors. So, we were at LBN as scheduled.
“Dr Mrs Bisi Abiola was at the head of the LBN team. She said something that demoralised me. We were presenting at the tail end of the week-long auditions. She turned to his team and said: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we know we already have something on the table but let us hear what these gentlemen have to offer. If we cannot use them now, maybe we would in future.’ She then turned to me to make our presentation. I did not know how the power of oration took over me. I can only say that the Holy Spirit took over from there. I just knew that I was talking but this was not what I had prepared to say.
“I said that we had been watching so many soaps on Nigerian television and none of them ever ended. They looked at one another and seemed to be paying keener attention. I added that all the soaps had similar stories/themes in different ways. I asked them if they knew why. Dr Abiola said that was why I was making the presentation. So, I continued and said that the storyline of all the soaps – Palace, Ripples, etc – was that they would create one big family with a rich dad who would die and the children or, and wives, would be fighting over his estate. In conclusion, I said that we would come up with something refreshingly different – Super Story – which would be a series of stories which would have beginnings and endings.
“I made this presentation as if my life depended on it. Yes, indeed. There was some silence and Dr Abiola then said: ‘Gentlemen, I think that you all agree with me that this is the kind of producer we need.’ We won the bid.”
Photo credit: Mytori
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