Sunday, December 21, 2008

You're gonna hurt someone with that ol' shotgun

Today's Geekdad links to a Cartoon Brew post by an author trying to determine the 100 greatest Looney Tunes cartoons for an upcoming book. (I am SO putting in my virtual order for that book right now!)

See -- I grew up in the olden times when cartoons only were broadcast on Saturday mornings. There were just a few channels, no cable, and certainly nothing to record them with at home -- if you didn't watch them as they aired you just missed them. So every Saturday morning I plopped down on the floor in front of the TV (always the requisite 6' away, marked by a line on the floor, to allegedly preserve my eyesight) and watched cartoons for a few hours.

My favorite then and now were Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons, and I never met a cartoon I didn't like. Bugs, Wile E. , Sylvester, Granny, Daffy, Elmer and especially Sam were like my extended family. Sure, I didn't get a lot of the jokes but the stuff I understood was hilarious. And growing up in Knightdale I didn't get a whole lot of culture ('cept for Southern, of course) so when Bugs did a parody of an opera, for example, it was my first introduction to any kind of opera.

A few years back I showed a bunch of my favorites at NCSSM and got a pretty good response -most of the students had only seen a few (if any) and thought they were great. What really made it for me was Catherine, a student who loved them just as much as I did; she would just burst out laughing when I mentioned the title of a cartoon and shout "I loved that one!"

Over the past several months I've rented/borrowed a bunch of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection series from the library & Blockbuster -- note to Durham County residents: apparently some parents are allowing their children to use these DVDs as pucks in street hockey games from the condition they're in -- and have watched them with my daughters (8 and 6). Fortunately they've enjoyed them just as much as I have and to my wife's amusement/chagrin can go around the house spouting the catchphrases they remember ("I taut I taw a puddytat!" "Thufferin' thuccotash!" "I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque!" etc.).

The nice thing too is that the great majority of these cartoons can be found on YouTube.

We've had lots of conversations about the issues that come up. Violence, for example -- they know that real guns are dangerous but being shot in the face with a shotgun in Looney Tunes is really funny. Other things weve talked about are cross-dressing (Bugs and Elmer), physics (Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote) and racial stereotypes (Germans, Speedy Gonzales and others). The third installment of the Looney Tunes collections has an introduction by Whoopi Goldberg about the concerns of stereotyping, and why it's important to see these cartoons as a product of their time.

So -- WHEW -- with all that intro -- I tried to make a list of my top ten Looney Tunes cartoons. I had to stop at 12 (or 14, depending on how you count) 'cause it just got too hard after that. Each is linked to a YouTube video for your enjoyment. Got a favorite I didn't list? Post yours in the comments.

Rabbit of Seville
What’s Opera Doc
Rabbit Seasoning/Duck! Rabbit! Duck!/Rabbit Fire (the “hunting trilogy”)
What’s Up Doc?
Bully for Bugs
High Diving Hare
Feed the Kitty
Duck Amuck
One Froggy Evening
Hillbilly Hare
Hare Trimmed
Birds Anonymous

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nice one Tar Heels!

What happens when a flash mob erupts in the library during exam week? This.