Archive for the ‘cartoons’ category

Of Octopus Farms and Anthropomorphic Octopi…

January 2, 2020


Scientists warn that octopus farms may not be a great idea despite the fondness of some people for eating them.  This is to say nothing of the fact that an octopus farm sounds like a recurrent theme in a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon.  For one thing, octopuses are carnivorous, eat a lot, and are intelligent. They can figure out how to open jars, recognize individual humans, and identify puzzles that they’ve seen before.  They also can become bored, and toys are sometimes put into aquariums for them to provide cognitive stimulation.  They can even learn how to escape their containment facilities, possibly in search of video gaming systems.  

As fishing for octopuses yields a variable and unreliable supply, efforts to farm them have been made that include dabbling in genetic modifications of the creatures.  Now I, for one, don’t want to have to deal with roving mobs of bored, carnivorous, genetically-modified octopi that have escaped their farm aquariums, although this appears to be a promising premise for a Syfy Channel movie.

One might even become concerned about the plight of Hanna-Barbera’s 1960’s character Squiddly Diddly becoming frustrated in his musical aspirations, and escaping the confines of his aquatic park to take the musical and entertainment worlds by storm. Despite his name, the character was essentially an octopus, and might indulge his carnivorous nature on us if we failed to give him a listen…

 

The Legacy of Foxy Fagan…

November 29, 2019



In the mid-1940’s, the funny animal cartoon boom was in full swing, and every publisher wanted a menagerie of such anthropomorphic characters in print.  Foxy Fagan  was an obscure, Golden Age comic book character who was commercially unsuccessful, running for only a brief seven issues from 1946 to 1948.  Furthermore, the drawn character had a disquieting resemblance in some panels to Tom of Tom and Jerry fame, almost as if he was a cat with a few fox features tacked on.  The feet were also terribly wrong for a fox, but were drawn in the cartoon style of the day…

If the late great Foxy Fagan resembles the much more successful feline Tom, that’s because he was drawn by Harvey Eisenberg in collaboration with Joe Barbera’s storylines in a low budget, moonlighting-type operation called Dearfield Publishing which operated out of a shed while both of them were under contract to MGM.  Dearfield also produced Red Rabbit comics.  Eisenberg was a highly experienced and admired cartoonist who was for many years the main artist on the Tom and Jerry comic books, and he also did numerous stories for Disney comic books featuring Chip ‘n’ Dale, also drawing on the Yogi Bear and Flintstones newspaper comics.  He could draw characters convincingly in any pose, and gave them expressive personalities, making them relatable and alive.

Now Foxy Fagan was cut in the Bugs Bunny mold, with Foxy being sly but trouble-prone, and things often didn’t work out as he planned.  His foil was a hapless canine inventor, Bobble, who bore a striking resemblance to the later Hanna-Barbera character Droopy Dog, and kind of played the Porky Pig role.  We can almost see Foxy morphing into Tom in this bottom image, and Tom and Jerry would become an enduring part of cartoon history…

 

 

 

Movie Night with Casper the Friendly Ghost…

October 21, 2019

I’m not a big fan of Casper the Friendly Ghost.  It’s not that I have anything against him, it’s just that I prefer my ghosts to be scary if not outright terrifying.  Casper may be friendly, but I find that annoying, and so he is to me in this Geico commercial, in which young couple Kurt and Jill are preparing to enjoy a movie in the living room of their new house…

“I can’t believe it,” says Jill.  “You can’t believe that our house is haunted by ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost?,'” replies Kurt.  At that moment, Casper enters the scene, cheerily greets the couple, notices the movie, and enthusiastically invites himself to go get some snacks.  He then returns with popcorn, announces the other varieties of it that are available, and sits or hovers there on the sofa back between them, stuffing his face and making a pig of himself.  Jill then clarifies herself to say that she can’t believe how much money they’ve saved on their car insurance with Geico.

Perhaps the couple could invest some of those savings to hire Ghostbusters to get rid of this pest, who even chews loudly.  This ghost is a milquetoast, not a proper haunt, and his cuteness gets cloying very quickly…

 

The Mintmobile Fox…

September 30, 2018

 

Who’s green and keen? — The Mintmobile Fox, of course!  Now normally when foxes turn green, it’s not a good thing, of course, and may signify severe gastrointestinal distress.  It all right for this little guy, however, ’cause he’s just a ‘toon, but one who we can see appearing in a wide variety of settings, beginning with his bed and ranging to such diverse environments as a supermarket and gymnasium.  This fox meditates…he rides in cars conversing with women…and looks ever so cool motoring in his own sweet ride.  He’s an inspiration to all of us of the vulpine persuasion…

The Mintmobile Fox is a mascot or spokesman for a wireless internet service, and that’s all right.  What’s not all right, as he’ll tell and show you, are such things as finger dipping and carpet showers.  We are then witness to such things as people at a gathering plunging their fingers into bowls of dip, and a guy showering in a stall layered in carpet.  I, for one, do not wish to be party to such things, nor would any sensible fox.

This bright-eyed and perky little guy even wears eyeglasses, or when the occasion calls for it, shades.  Catch his act for Mintmobile on commercials, although a cartoon series spin-off would be great…

The Gecko Meets Rocky and Bullwinkle…

June 16, 2014


wpid-1402922291603.jpg

 

Rocky and Bullwinkle have had a cult following since the 1960’s, falling into lean times until a big-screen movie treatment brought a modest revival of sorts.  Geico has occasionally honored classic ‘toon heroes in their commercials, including the great Wile E. Coyote.  While neither Rocky nor Bullwinkle can aspire to the lofty title of genius rightfully bestowed on the Coyote, it’s still good to see them occasionally getting out and about in public. This was the case in a recent Geico commercial where we first see the omnipresent Gecko in the Rocky Mountains, reflecting on the enduring qualities of both the Rockies and his insurance company employer.

Enter the irrepressible Bullwinkle Moose, long a fountain of misinformation.  Now the Moose and Squirrel have been the embodiment of randomness long before it became mainstream, and when the Gecko speculates about whom the Rockies were named after, Bullwinkle J. Moose appears out of nowhere, and unasked ventures that they were named after his friend and constant companion, Rocky the Flying Squirrel. Rocky himself then flies in, balancing endearingly on the Moose’s palm.  Rocky tries to correct Bullwinkle, who then shifts to an explanation that the Rockies were named after “First President George Rockington.”

“That doesn’t even make sense,” correctly observes the Gecko at this point, referring to Bullwinkle as, “Mr. Winkle.”  Apparently recognizing that logic is wasted on Bullwinkle, Rocky executes multiple dramatic flying loops around his friend, and flies off.  The whole commercial doesn’t make a lot of sense, but such was the general nature of the sixties show about the best-known residents of Frostbite Falls

Mr.Peabody & Sherman…

February 8, 2014

Peabody– – I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that a movie is being made of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, since movies and sequels have been made of The Smurfs and The Chipmunks.  If there’s a chance that parents are familiar with the original subject, a movie treatment serves to introduce children to the character, and film makers hope that a profitable franchise is born.  

Now The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was a gem in the 1960’s, and has already been subjected to a movie treatment.  Besides introducing us to Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle Moose, the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show had other unrelated ‘toon features that included Dudley Do-Right and Peabody’s Improbable History segments.  Mr. Peabody was a talking, bespectacled, intellectual white dog who in a role reversal had an adopted boy, Sherman.  Through use of a time machine, Peabody and Sherman would travel back in time in episodes to encounter memorable historical figures, teaching Sherman of their significance and at times benevolently influencing the turn of events.  

Based on these memorable offbeat characters, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an American 3D computer-animated adventure-comedy produced by DreamWorks Animation, and involves Sherman’s misuse of the WABAC time machine with subsequent efforts by Peabody and Sherman to put things back on track before the space-time continuum is destroyed, a problem common in science fiction.  As with the original shorts, the film is described as sweet-natured and amusing, with enough witty touches to keep adults entertained as well.  In theaters March 7th…

Love Stinks!

August 24, 2013

20130824-042552.jpg

 – – Skunks often get the short end of the stick because of their stink, but Pepe Le Pew is one of the few cartoon characters fighting for skunk liberation, to say nothing of the male libido…

…a second tier yet memorable Warner Bros. character, Pepe was a stereotypic Frenchman in the same manner that Speedy Gonzalez was a stereotypic Mexican. Pepe would perpetually stroll about Paris in the spring, foisting his totally unwelcome romantic attentions upon an unfortunate black feline, Penelope Pussycat, whom Pepe would always mistake to be a female skunk. Penelope’s resemblance to a skunk was often generated by some plot device such as the cat crawling under a freshly painted white fence, and emerging with a white stripe down her back; Pepe was readily deceived, perhaps because of his own eagerness. Much of the ensuing cartoon antics would then center about Pepe’s persistent pursuit of the misperceived female, and her frantic efforts to escape his amorous intentions.

Little would deter or dissuade the amorous French skunk, even acts of physical violence against himself by the cat, which Pepe interpreted as playing “hard to get.”  Pepe’s self-assurance and rock-solid sexual confidence always propelled him forward, with reality seldom intruding on his belief systems; he was a soft-core sexual predator unaware of his own repugnancy for whom the pursuit was everything. The Pepe Le Pew cartoons traded in absurdity, and perhaps resonated within any person who had ever experienced an irrational and hopeless love attraction or been the recipient of unwanted romantic advances…