Jack and Agatha originated from the idea of Wanda Chotomska poet, writer, the author of over two hundred books for children and teenagers, radio and television broadcasts, scripts for movies and plays.
The subject matter of this bedtime cartoon focused on funny everyday adventures of a brother and a sister: Jack - a little joker with lots of freckles on his face and Agatha - his older sister. Jack, the unruly boy, caused various problems to Agatha the polite, resolute and conscientious pupil. Apart from the brothers and the sisters in this bedtime cartoon appeared neighbor - Lady Sophie, who heard the talks of children through the wall of her apartment and commented on their ideas .
The author of the project and the maker of the main characters was an outstanding visual artist-Adam Kilian. The title characters were puppets, animated by Barbara Skokowska (Agatha) and Teresa Olenderczyk (Jack) who were moving character's heads put on their hands covered with black gloves. The voice of Zofia Raciborska was the voice of all the characters.
Jack and Agatha is now considered the oldest Polish bedtime cartoon, which first appeared on black and white TV screens on 2 October 1962.The siblings and Lady Sophie were guests in the homes of the children three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) for eleven years around 7:20 p.m. entertaining and most of all teaching them.
That bedtime cartoon presented current, seemingly trivial children problems (for example Jack's freckles which were the reason to create Freckled People's Club).
The story also encouraged the viewers to come up with new ideas for games (for example The Black Peter game) , promoted the use of the beautiful Polish language and showed its complications.
Jack and Agatha were very successful. On the market appeared a series of children's cosmetics with their images such as soap, cream, ointment, lotion and shampoo and also many decorations and toys made of wood, rubber and plastic.
To honor Jack and Agatha many educational institutions were named after them. Numerous fans of this bedtime cartoon sent letters to the author -Wanda Chotomska-, invite her to family celebrations such as baptisms and weddings.
This story has contributed to the creation of the honorary medal, called The Order of the Smile, awarded for actions for the benefit of the children. The idea emerged in 1968 in The Polish Courier editorial office. The inspiration was an interview on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the bedtime cartoon Jack and Agatha in which the writer Wanda Chotomska told the story about a boy from the rehabilitation hospital in Konstancin near Warsaw who wanted to make an award on behalf of the children.
In one episode Jack and Agatha announced a competition for children to design the medal, the world's only medal awarded by the children. Out of 44,000 ideas the design with the smiling sun was selected. It was the project of a nine year Ewa Chrobak from Głuchołazy who currently serves as secretary of the International Chapter of the Order of the Smile. The Order of the Smile is awarded twice a year on the first day of spring and the last day of summer.
The ceremony of giving the order is preceded by a ritual. The candidates for The Order of the Smile have to drink lemon juice and after that they must smile with delight and then they are dubbed with a rose. Every newly appointed Bachelor of The Order of the Smile promises to children and members of the Chapter to: Always be cheerful and bring joy to children.
In 1968 the first winner of the award was prof. dr. Wiktor Dega , a prominent doctor from the Orthopedic Clinic of the University of Poznań.
So far children have awarded more than nine hundred people from over 45 countries of the world.