Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Cartoons That Made Me Who I Am Today

My formative years were the 60's and 70's. I know, to my kids, that makes me a dinosaur. And yet, as they mature into collegiate know-it-alls, I begin to see the that the years of my youth were not wasted. My knowledge of TV sitcoms, movies and maybe most of all, cartoons of that era, has provided the conduit to connect past to present in ways that today's shows just can't match.

Today, after school... after football, tennis, Irish dance or detention, my kids never sit down to watch television — they jump on the computer or the Xbox when I haven't hidden the controller well enough). Having the ability to jump to whatever show, video or level you want to is incredibly empowering, but misses out on the joy of gaining a widespread knowledge of completely useless information serendipitously.

For those that wish to walk down memory lane, I give you...

The original "pre-school"... in which if you beat mom's alarm, you might watch a little TV before school, like:

6:30 Gumby & Pokey — Clamation at it's finest. You knew it was for little kids, but there was a creepiness to it that kept you watching.
7:00 Carmen & Clancy — With Frosted Flakes or Rice Krispies, how could you go wrong when a Little Rascals episode came on or share a few jokes with Roundhouse.
7:30 meant off to school — but if you were sick, you might channel change your way through a little Romper Room (I know, it was forbidden, but you still wanted to see if they might call your name) or even Captain Kangaroo. The only good part was when they dropped the ping pong balls on Mr. Moose... but still.

When you got off the bus from school, you plopped down in front of the TV with your 5 channels and an hour and a half to kill before dinner: your prime time.

3:30 The Flintstones — If you got the short bus ride (because they traded off each week as to which route to go), you might catch the entire episode. "That Barney Rubble, what an actor."

4:00 Gilligan's Island — This show alone may have provided more one liners for my life than any other, save Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail. "Speedy, speedy, speedy."
4:30 Brady Bunch — Never one of my favorites, but you had to work through it to get to the 5:00 hour. But watching Marcia strut her stuff tickled me in ways I did not, as yet, understand.
5:00 Hogan's Heroes — The stuff of legend. Who knew that WWII could be so much fun? You'd practically have given yourself to the Germans to be in on Col. Hogan's hi-jinx.

But then, you waited for Saturday like it was Christmas. Mom and dad slept in, and on a good day, Saturday chores might not start until 10:30 or later.

7:00 Rocky & Bullwinkle — By the time I got to it, it had lost it's place as a top tier show... but it was always top tier. And think of the importance of Mr. Peabody in your life, eh?
7:30 The Jetsons — The mirror to the Flintstones... in space. Judy was a babe and Astro was the dog you'd kill for.
8:00 The Bugs Bunny Show — Ahh, the classics. How can you go wrong with Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn or Yosemite Sam? From "taking a wrong turn in Albaquerque" to "Yoiks and away!", my kids have become wise to the shear genius of the power one voice can have in Mel Blanc. I'll also have know, much to the chagrin of my wife, that my entire knowledge of opera has been influenced by Bugs and the boys from Warner Bros.
9:00 The Herculoids — The weaker brother to Space Ghost, but the premise of a prehistoric alien family facing danger at every turn with the help of a fire breathing dragon, a rock ape and a couple of giant marshmallows was still great fun.
9:30 Space Ghost — Every kid tried his hand at being Space Ghost on the playground. Who wouldn't? Lava monsters? Get outta here.
10:00 Scooby Doo — I have had or owned over five Great Danes. Need I say more?
10:30 Jonny Quest — The king of cartoons. Everything that had gone before was mere child's play compared to this masterpiece. It was the show that treated you as if you were an adult. Mature themes, animation styles, the coolest jet plane and kids that might actually be like you. You wanted to be smart like Dr. Quest, brave like Race, mysterious like Hadji and as lucky as Jonny. And no, I didn't forget about Bandit... but I have yet to call a dog of mine by this name. Hmmm.

Like today's kids, the fun can go on too long. One needs discipline. Dad's chores were waiting, but occasionally you'd throw caution to the wind and settle in for more. Too bad, the good stuff was over after Jonny's plane sailed through the clouds. Stay later and you'd likely get into stuff you hoped would be good, but would never satisfy, like: H.R. Puff-n-Stuff or The Land of the Lost

Great lessons for us all.


Take this little quiz:
Here are your answers (don't scroll past here if you wish to test yourself honestly):

1) Scooby Doo 2) Marvin the Martian 3) Hong Kong Phooey 4) Jace, Jan & Blip 5) Dr. Zin 6) Igoo

No comments:

Post a Comment