Thursday, August 29, 2013

Now THESE are what I call cartoons!

I feel sorry for kids today. By and large, they don't get to see good cartoons anymore.

Oh, I guess "Scooby-Doo" still is showing somewhere. And maybe "Tom and Jerry."

But, I took a look at the Saturday morning lineup the other day and sighed. No "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes"!

I hate to start into the "Back in my day" bit, but back in my day, not only could you watch those 'toons (usually for an hour!) on Saturday mornings, you could also see them at Mr. Gatti's. And, whenever the Tennessee Theatre would show classic cinema, sure enough, there would be a Warner Bros. cartoon, just like in the old days.

I know it's apples vs. oranges, but Warners outshone Disney on the animated shorts by leaps and bounds. What people tend to forget is these cartoons weren't aimed at kids. They were meant to be seen by adults who went to the movies.

Bonus points: The musical scores, which often included classical music masterpieces and clips of popular songs of the day, like "Don't Fence Me In" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo." 

Bugs Bunny is my favorite. There's something about his cocksureness and ability to talk his way out of a jam that is quintessentially American.

My favorite cartoon short of his has to be "What's Up, Doc?" It's the one that shows how Bugs made it big. And my favorite scene is the one in which Bugs is on skid row with other out of work performers (including Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny (I think -- the cigar threw me) and Bing Crosby.

Jolson pops up and says to the others, "Hey, fellers, here comes Elmer Fudd, that big vaudeville star!" Each does his trademark gag -- Jolson says "Mammy, Mammy!", Cantor sings "Ain't We Got Fun?", Benny (I think) plays the violin, and Crosby croons "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby." Elmer ignores them all with a dismissive wave of the hand.

Then he sees the "wabbit."

"Bugs Bunny?! Why are you hanging around with these guys? They'll never amount to anything. You've got too much talent."

Bugs' ears slowly perk up.

"I'll give you equal billing! You'll be a star! Whaddya say, Bugs?"

Bugs nods, grins, and sees stars.

Off they go, tripping through Elmer's humiliating vaudeville act until Bugs stumbles onto the "What's up, Doc?" routine.


Determined to save the next generation, I took a couple of volumes of Warner Bros. cartoon DVDs over to my sister's house to show my nieces, Maisen and Reagan.

Well, Reagan is too young to get it. She just spits up and grins. But when Maisen heard Eddie Cantor sing "Ain't We Got Fun?" she laughed.

I smiled.

That's NOT all, folks!

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home