"Any arbitrary turn along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different." ~ Frances Mayes

After losing 112 pounds in almost a year and a half, I have come to realize how very much I was missing. I may be Late to the Party, but I am doing my best to catch up in my own unique way!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Confession Friday - Looney gets me every time

"If an interesting monster can't have an interesting hairdo I don't know what this world is coming to." ~ Bugs Bunny

It's been two weeks since I have confessed!  Can you believe it? Time to 'fess up!

I feel sorry for the kids of today.  The age of innocence ends way too early for them.  My grandchildren cannot imagine the world as I knew it when I was their ages.  Even the college interns that work here at the House of Representatives each session haven't a clue of some of the things my generation experienced in our childhoods that no longer exist, at least the way we knew it.

In risk of sounding ancient, which to the youngest generations I guess I am, let's take a look at a memory I have.  Most towns had a local theater, including my hometown in Middle Tennessee.  On Saturdays, it was a common practice for the theaters to have either a morning or afternoon kids matinee.  If I remember correctly, it cost less than 50 cents to get in, a dime would buy you popcorn and another dime a Coke.  For less than a dollar, you could go with other unattended children to watch a movie, not a first-run show granted, but a movie, eat your popcorn till you wanted to puke, and never be threatened that Carl, the kid molester, was lurking in the restrooms. And even more mind-blowing is that, for the most part, the kids were pretty well behaved!  I venture to say in today's society that 100 or more kids left unsupervised in a theater is a recipe for disaster!  But after all, we were the generation that believed it when our teachers repeated the unsettling mantra with dire warnings, "It will go on your PERMANENT record!"

On those Saturdays, my choice of snack was a HUGE dill pickle that came from a enormous jar that sat on the counter of the snack bar.  HUGE, did I say?  It would last all through the picture show if I didn't bite into it and sucked all that dill goodness out the entire afternoon.  It would be shriveled up and limp as a dirty dishrag before I would succumb to actually sinking my teeth into it, usually on the ride home.  It was a glorious tradition, that Saturday kids' matinee.

The Crockett Theater in my hubby's hometown of Lawrenceburg, TN.
Going to the movie theater at night was a different experience.  It was SPECIAL. A TREAT.  A rare occurrence. It was NOT of your everyday routine, but an event to be reckoned with. We would actually get dressed up to go sit in the dark for two hours.  Oh, the magic of the movies!  The chasing lights on the theater marquee at night screamed Hollywood - okay, as close as we would ever get to Tinsel Town.

I am sure that on any given night or Saturday afternoon across America in any given town, this experience was shared.  And all across America, there was one common denominator at either the kids' matinee or the first-run movie event in the evenings - after the movie trailers of upcoming shows, after the badly produced and animated "reminders" to go to the snack bar - THE CARTOON.  Sometimes, the cartoon was better than the actual movie.  Those cartoons are where my generation cut our teeth on such characters as Woody Woodpecker, Popeye the Sailor Man, Superman, and the Disney characters.  But more likely than not, the cartoon of the week or night was a Looney Tunes featured funny.

Looney Tunes were a Warner Brothers production, but they weren't the only cartoons that Warner Brothers made.  There was also Merrie Melodies.  In the 1930's Warner Brothers wanted to promote their music library and they developed the short feature cartoon to do so.  The development of these film funnies was in direct competition with the Walt Disney's cartoon series Silly Symphonies. From 1934 to 1943, Looney Tunes were filmed in black and white, Merrie Melodies in color.  But then in 1943, they began to make both series in color.  Once both were produced in color, the only basic differences were the music pieces at the beginning and, of course, the opening titles.

Did you know that the name of the all too familiar Looney Tunes theme is "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" and the Merrie Melodies is "Merrily We Roll Along"?

The ending of each Looney Tunes cartoon from 1937 to 1946 was Porky Pig bursting through a drum with his "th-th-th-that's all, folks!", except for two where Bugs Bunny took the closing role.  During the earlier years, several of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies  characters were a popular success.  It was Porky Pig that made his debut and stole the show in 1935 in a cartoon with Beans the cat.  Porky, who became an established character of  Looney Tunes,  was the first superstar of the series. Beans, bless his heart, wasn't as popular and was eventually phased out as were several other characters.  Porky carried a heavy load as the only star in the cartoon stable.

But then came Daffy Duck, that spit-spraying, lisp-talking, irritating fowl, in 1937.  But the most famous star in all of the Warner Brothers cartoon-dom arrived in 1940.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the one and only, the incomparable, the lovingly annoying, the irascible BUGS BUNNY.

Bugs isn't the only Looney Tunes character that makes me laugh.  Who can forget Yosemite Sam, FogHorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat, Pepe Le Pew, the Tasmanian Devil and Marvin the Martian just to name a few? 

"Boy, you cover about as much as a flapper's skirt in a high wind." ~ Foghorn Leghorn

Looney Tunes produced its original series for theater run from 1930 until 1969.  The later productions in the 1960's lacked the spark and zanier moments that the 1930's, 40's and 50's shorts had, which seems to be related to the closing of the Warner Brothers animation studios. But oh how fun those earlier Looney Tunes are.
Recently I found at a yard sale (imagine that!) a whole collection of Looney Tunes VHS tapes.  Since the Fab 5 have never really seen these wonderfully funny cartoons, I bought them, of course.  It has been worth every cent spent.  I had forgotten just how zany Bugs and the whole crew can be.  They remind me of the "a-ha" moment in childhood when I realized that there was adult humor in these silly stories.  It is humor that is underlying and subtle in the twist of a phrase or a look.  What a pleasure it is for me to hear the grandkids laugh with the pure delight only a child can have when they experience something they have never seen before!  I love to watch the old Looney Tunes with them, piled up in my bed.  Three of the Fab 5, who haven't been introduced to the Looney Tunes collection as of yet, are coming for spring break in a couple of weeks.  Bet you can't guess what we will do one evening, bowls of popcorn in hand?

So that's my confession:  I like cartoons.  I LOVE Looney Tunes!  I think we should start a petition to have the pre-movie cartoon short brought back to the movie experience.  How much more fun that would be than the inane pop movie trivia questions that play across the big screen these days!  If you haven't seen a Merrie Melody or Looney Tunes feature in a while, go here and take a few minutes to watch one.  I guarantee you'll find a smile on your face and some good memories, too. 

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

1 comment:

  1. I was never a big fan of the Looney Tunes.. It wasn't until I got older that I started to appreciate some of the hidden adult humor, but most of the time it was, for this serious youngster, too silly for me. (I still don't laugh out loud at stuff on tv very often. If I laugh at all, it's a noncommittal grunt that only slightly resembles a laugh.)