Thursday, July 2, 2009
Saturday Morning Cavalcade of Drug-Fueled Weirdness
I pity da foo' who had to watch this crap!
I think I’ve finally figured out why the world today is so incredibly screwed up. The shit we watched on TV as kids destroyed our ability to grow up into rational human beings. Of course, we can lay much of that upon the now stooped shoulders of our forebears, with their acid trips and mushroom-induced magic carpet rides that were taken in order to come up with the crap that filled our Saturday mornings. Most of the blame I lay solely at the feet of the tandem teams of Hanna-Barbera and Sid & Marty Krofft. Those guys were responsible for, say, 90% of the shit we watched on TV as kids.
The Kroffts started off by doing the costumes for HB’s disasterpiece acid-fest The Banana Splits. It was a bizarre mix of animation and live action, hosted by a fat beagle with his tongue permanently out, a gorilla with a shit-eating grin, a stoned lion, and a silent hippy dustmop elephant. Ladies & gentlemen, here’s Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snork.
The Kroffts also brought us H.R. Pufnstuf. Oh, yes, puffin’ some stuff, indeed. A little British nancy-boy with a talking flute in some colorful acid-trip kingdom where his best friend is a bloated talking iguana dressed like a Colonial plantation owner. Later, the brothers would bring us a talking lump of seaweed, with Sigmund the Sea Monster, and a single dad out for a canoe trip with his kids, who instead end up being chased through the Land of the Lost by dinosaurs and weird hissing reptile dudes called Sleestaks. All the while they get to hang out with a conversational dwarf Sleestak and an early cave-child named Chaka that not even the Geico cavemen would claim. The recent remake with Will Farrell completely fucked up the original’s already fucked-up plot beyond recognition.
The late 60’s had everyone all a-twitter with the James Bond series of films, and what do you do with a successful movie franchise? You dumb it down for kids!!! And thus I was able to spend my childhood weekend mornings watching the adventures of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. It was a spoofy send-up of the Bond-genre spy flicks, with all the characters played by chimps. Today we’d need to have chimps remaking the Terminator films, or Nightmare of Elm Street. The Transformers flicks would be a total trip with chimps.
There was a plethora of superhero cartoons and crossovers, and for awhile every hero had a young male protégé. Aqua Man had Aqua Lad, and Batman had always had Robin. I’m not sure if it was just an attempt to show kids that they could be heroes too, or if it was just some strange pedophilic eroticism. Sometimes it was just dumbed down, like the Blue Falcon with his imbecile robotic dog Dynomutt.
And of course, there were always mysteries to be solved and crimes to be fought, so bring on the craptastic Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, Jabberjaw (a talking shark who could somehow survive out of the water. Then again, if he can talk in a voice reminiscent of Curly from the Three Stooges, why not walk on land too?), Hong Kong Phooey, Speed Buggy (with a talking dune buggy), and the mirrored shows Josie & The Pussycats and Scooby Doo.
To me, Speed Buggy was just a cheap knock off with the dog being replaced by a car. Pussycats was just a cheap-assed wannabe Scooby Doo with more characters. Both paled in comparison to The Doo. But…..
Some of the Scooby shit really makes me wonder. It was released in 1969, at the height of the war in Vietnam. Somehow, neither of the two male characters had been drafted…well, I think actually, Shaggy (the beatnik hippy) had been to The ‘Nam, and got hooked on weed and other fun stuff in the Mekong Delta. He was afraid of everything, mirroring the paranoia of some druggies. He was always hungry, with the weed munchies. He hallucinated that his dog could talk……Then we have Fred, who really should have been drafted, but was he considered unfit for service? I mean, he had those tight pants on, and always wore that sissy ascot scarf neckerchief….and though they always drove around in a van with two chicks (well, Velma was a bit butch) Fred never tried to slip it to either of them, though I think secretly Daphne wanted a 3-way with Fred and Shaggy.
The 80’s were no better, nor were the 90’s. In fact, I think the shows gradually got worse. I have no idea what kids are stuck with now. I suggest you make sure your kids have plenty of books to read or send their little asses outside to play and get some exercise. If it weren’t for reading, TV would have turned my brain to pudding. Who knows what today’s crap will do?