Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Wrote Mighty Mouse a Love Letter

My kids have discovered Tom and Jerry. They love it. Who could blame them?

But Tom and Jerry is our gateway drug.

It's on Boomerang, a 24 hour commercial free classic cartoon network. For better or for worse, "classic" basically means the stuff that I eagerly soaked up on Saturday mornings. Back in the day, there were only a handful of shows for kids on PBS during the week-- I remember stubbornly sitting through Villa Alegre, which was mostly in spanish, just for something to watch.

But Saturdays were a different story. All three networks had cartoons on on Saturday mornings. If you sat right up near the dial you could flip from show to show and maybe catch a "Dear Alex and Annie" or "Schoolhouse Rock" segment during commercial breaks. [And, yes, I said dial. Shut up. The first "remote" was still a couple of years away and even then it was really more like a typewriter connected to the TV by a wire.]

And the cartoons would run almost until lunch (and even beyond if you got desperate enough to watch Davey and Goliath, the even less subtle precursor to Veggie Tales).

I loved them all. I remember day-dreaming that my best friend and I would be the next Hanna-Barbera.

So.... is it any surprise that I'm having a hard time turning back to Disney, Nick Jr. or PBS for the kid's allotted TV time? The old shows, even though they were originally broadcast in order to satisfy the FCC's "children's programming requirements," didn't actually try to teach you anything. And they weren't all preachy and squeaky clean. They were just funny.

And they still are. In addition to Tom and Jerry, I'm especially enjoying re-watching Wacky Races, which pits a bunch of different cartoon characters against each other in various road races.

I had forgotten about Dick Dastardley and Muttley. Growing up, my brother and I co-opted "rassafrassa" and general incoherent under-one's-breath muttering (a la Muttley) to protest perceived slights. It's all coming back to me..... "En garde Monsieur Pussycat."

I'm off to go WishList the Laff-A-Lympics.

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