Classic is the new Classic

January 9, 2012

Maybe it’s my rapidly increasing age, but I rarely find anything surprising anymore  in the “classics” I’ve loved over the years. It’s sad to think that I can’t be caught off guard by a twist ending of Twilight Zone, or worry about the safety of the Enterprise crew anymore. Recently a viral video showed a couple of kids watching Empire Strikes Back and their reaction at finding out (spoiler alert) that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. No seriously, he is. The worst symptom of this condition is comedy, or more precisely, cartoons.

I loved cartoons as a kid, all of them. I wore out the dial on my TV as a kid, from flipping back and forth between cartoon shows on Saturday morning.  For you punks, in ancient times you had to physically turn a dial to switch from one channel to another, of course if you were lucky all  five channels of your local programming were located at one end of the range. (ABC=2,NBC=4, CBS=5, PBS=8, and ZTV(syndicated)= sadly on UHF) So as a kid, spinning back between the first three was a simple, although noisy, task. :::click::chuuuuuur:::::click:::chuuuuuuuur:::click:::chuuuuuuur, and around we went. My morning faves were the best of the best, Scooby, Super Friends, live-action Shazam, but the king was always Looney Tunes (still is). The problem though, I’ve seen them, all of them, and countless times.

So it’s when I AM caught off guard or surprised that I remember why I enjoy the “classics” so much. Case in point, Cartoon Network (a channel that for years has falsely advertised it shows cartoons) normally showing pathetic attempts at politically approved, pointless, barely animated,mindless drivel, for some reason has actually been showing cartoons as of late; and I mean proper cartoons. It started with Tom and Jerry in the afternoon, nothing I care for, but better than nothing. Then they added Looney Tunes, which almost made me choke on my lunch salad (yes, I’m that age now). And today I discovered that they’ve secretly started showing the Flinstones, not the later crap ones, but the good ones that don’t even have the popular opening theme song yet! It was like getting another Christmas present that mom forgot at the back of a closet… er, of course that’s what she said— we all knew Santa was making up for those socks grandmother sent.

I was bummed to turn on my TV for lunch only to see the end credits of a great Flinstones episode, but excited to know my lunch hour was going to get shifted to catch next weeks episodes. Then from the back of the closet came a gift. The best thing about getting old, you forget things, it’s like God’s way of letting you smile again. There it was… “No Barking”. A classic Chuck Jones cartoon, oh I know I’ve seen it, but thankfully I couldn’t remember it. And I laughed… out loud, unforced, and a totally spontaneous reaction. At first I was watching it with my “artist” eye, seeing the staging, the pacing of motion, the planning of shots, and the writing. How Chuck managed to convey what dogs and cats are really like, while still making an entertaining cartoon, then about 5:30 seconds into the cartoon (after quite a few unexpected chuckles) a full on laugh. I’ll let you watch and see, but it’s nice to know I can still be surprised. Who says you can’t go home?



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