Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Biggest Show in Town is Still...

Oh, sure, Avatar is the biggest movie of all time, and that hand-drawn stuff is only for boomers who need walkers to get to the liver pills in the medicine cabinet and Gen Xers desperately injecting botox to vainly pass for someone under 25, right?

I don’t think so.

And neither do the good people of Riverdale, New York, judging by an ad in last Thursday’s local paper,
The Press. Here’s the relevant portion:

...the next meeting of the Alana Llama Film Club for Kids will take place on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 10:30 a.m. The Y will present a compilation of cartoons from the 1960s, including episodes of The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Porky Pig, Top Cat, Quick Draw McGraw and others. There will also be free popcorn and a small gift for all children in attendance. Tickets cost $7 per person and they can be purchased at the door on the day of the event.

What a great idea: getting kids together to watch cartoons.

Sounds like they’re showing one of those ‘Saturday Morning’ DVDs that was put out last year. Regardless, it shows that after all these years, young people want to see funny cartoons, no matter how they’re drawn or how old they are. And I’ll bet my liver pills they’ll laugh as much at George Jetson kicking Uniblab out of the Skypad apartment with the cool interiors as I did when I was their age. At least they’ll see it in colour.

One would think that they would be showing Archie cartoons in Riverdale, but the local environs are obviously filled with smart children with good taste. Thus they’re denied asking themselves “Why are they so cheap that they keep reusing the same ugly animation of Hot Dog dancing every week?”

And it isn’t dewey-eyed nostalgia talking when I categorically yowp for the record that these were funny cartoons, even though everyone knows the animation itself on The Flintstones could never compare to what the same artists had created only a few years earlier at Disney and MGM. Witness yet another syndicated column, this one dated June 6, 1960. Whether this is the same Barney Glazer who was a movie screenwriter, I don’t know.

Glazed Bits:
Do You Know TV Stars?

So you think you can name all the major television shows.
Try naming the program that includes the following characters.
The hero, a lanky horse, disguised himself as a steer. With Snuffles, the bloodhound, in tow and Baba Looey, a Mexican burro, at their side, they tracked the Phantom Rustler.
The steer, who wasn't a steer, you see, “mooed” when he ran smack into a hot clue, but the rustler nabbed him and thinking he was a real steer, which he wasn't, he branded him (ouch!).
There was Augie Doggie who had a cold in the nose. Since he couldn’t smell, Augie Doggie made friends with a little skunk which is why this episode was titled “Skunk You Very Much.”
Snooper and Blabber, an intrepid cat and mouse private eye team, were assigned to track down a pair of ghosts named Harum and Scarum. The job didn't come off well when Snooper and Blabber finally admitted to each other they were scared of ghosts.
If you haven’t guessed by this time what the heck we’re talking about, we'll let all you uninformed gentry in on our little secret. It’s a television show, quite popular with our younger generation, and it’s called “Quick Draw McGraw,” who is a lanky horse and perhaps the most remarkable Western hero of our times.
Not only is Quick Draw McGraw the fastest draw among man or beast but in the guise
of “El Kabong,” which he assumes on numerous occasions, he is also the masked righter (Wheel) of oppression.
The name “El Kabong” is derived from the guitar he uses to smite villains over the head with the resulting reverberating sound of “kabong!”
Starring voice of this junior-grade show is Daws Butler who is kept as busy as a mongoose at a cobra rally doing voices for this program, for “Huckleberry Hound,” and hundreds of radio and animated tv commercials.
Associate voices are those of Don Messick and Doug Young. Heard in many of the supporting voice characterizations, Messick remembers how he reversed the old parental advice when he was a kid by being the child who was heard and not seen.
In this show, Messick has performed everything from a lion to a mosquito or a Martian to a kangaroo, but among his favorites he lists a humming bird named “Humboldt,” a heroic French flea named “Toot Sweet,” and a garrulous little gopher who remains anonymous.
Doug Young unveiled his talent by impersonating a station manager. The next day, while applying for his unemployment check, Doug commented: “That guy had no sense of humor.”
“Quick Draw McGraw” and his cronies have been riding roughshod over tv ratings since last Fall. The creative talents of Producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera began with the famous Tom and Jerry movie cartoons, continued with tv’s Ruff and Reddy, then traipsed to “Huckleberry Hound” and now “Quick Draw McGraw.”
It’s an open secret that millions of unashamed adults, as well as their bewildering offspring, seat themselves in front of their tv sets come “Quick Draw McGraw” time.
The delightful program is an irresistible web and there is nothing quite so wonderful as being caught in it.

And, if they don’t know it already, kids in Riverdale, New York are going to find out for themselves, 50 years later.


  1. Go Riverdale!!!! I sound like someone out of an " Archie " comic strip. Oh well, it's good that groups are picking up the torch and doing this. Sometimes you have to do it in your own backyard. I've raised two sons on the classics. One is 22, the other is 12. Both are out of the " Pixar " generation. While they have seen just about every CGI type offering out there, they still love the " Hand drawn " cartoons, the voice work, and always come back to them. As a matter of fact, whenever we are together watching television and the lastest "ET" for a computer generated film plays with the generic " Critics are raving about..People are standing up in their seats and cheering about...Critics are on fire and rolling in the streets about.." sorry, you get my drift. They usually look at me and say..." Oh really...Is that so?" They both watch the new stuff, but their love is still with the type cartoons mentioned about. That makes me glad. It will be a sad day if that heritage is ever lost. Keep it up, Riverdale!

  2. For those who don't get the "bewildering offspring" reference, it was from the opening to one of the most famous radio serials:

    "ONE MAN'S FAMILY...dedicated to the mothers and fathers of the younger generation, and their bewildering offspring"