Saturday, November 27, 2010

How I Got This Way - pt. 1

Welcome to the first installment of How I Got This Way, a selection of cartoons I used to watch as a small child.  Geez, I watched a lot of cartoons!  But I watched a lot of TV, period.  Looking around YouTube tonight, I saw things I'd forgotten about, and things I hadn't seen since I was 7. So I'll let you in on some of my formative influences.  Note:  I still love cartoons, I know a little something about them, and I have very particular tastes and standards in animation (as in boo, Hanna-Barbara).  The cartoons I will be posting are not all "good" cartoons, but they're the ones I watched when I was little and not so discriminating.

I wasn't watching more than one of a particular cartoon series at YouTube, so I could cover more ground, but when I randomly selected this Little Lulu to watch, I hit the jackpot.  Because this was *the* Little Lulu episode.  This was a cartoon that was made to be shown in the theater.

Attention all you younger-uns:  back in the day, though really in my parents' time, going to the movies would be a long-term commitment.  There would be the main ("A") picture and the cheapie B-movie and a newsreel and a serial and a short and a cartoon.  Things like the newsreel and the serial were really biggest pre-TV.  The old Three Stooges episodes you see on TV were originally shorts made to show in the theater.  And the cartoons were generally pretty good, and were later recycled for kids' TV.

OK, this Little Lulu cartoon was most definitely the first time I ever heard the song "Swing on a Star."  It is the most magnificent of songs.  This is a pretty excellent cartoon all-round.

However, as a young kid (maybe as young as 6), I misunderstood part of the lyrics.  "Carry moonbeams home in a jar" never quite registered.  I somehow knew the name "Cary Grant," and I thought that Cary Moonbeam was a person, and he was home in a jar -- which I suppose meant that it was OK to swing on a star. I still loved the song, and still do.  Dave van Ronk recorded it, and on the album notes, he wrote a little note about each song.  His note on this one was something along the lines of "I have nothing to say about this song.  This song is perfect."

Remind me to tell you my Dave van Ronk story sometime.

Since I plan to post more cartoons here over time, I should mention that some of the ones I watched tonight did have minor racist content.  I'm not sure I can remember what was where, but I'll try to re-view before I post, so I can warn about that.  Unfortunately, there are some really great cartoons that reflected their time and were racist, a lot or a little (though it's stupid to make that distinction -- racist is racist).  My feeling is that they belong to their time, as I said, and I don't have a problem watching and enjoying them in the context of period pieces.  I don't really believe in any kind of censorship anyway, and don't believe in pretending certain things didn't happen.  If this stupid Amazon app was working, I'd recommend Black Like You by John Strausbaugh.

Anyway, I hope you liked Little Lulu.  And perhaps what I watched 45+ years ago will tell you (or me) something about how I got this way,

I don't mean to dis Amazon, even though the Amazon Associates thingie here hasn't worked in a month.  I am insanely in love with my Kindle.

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