December 1, 2010 • 1:00 pm 0
In a very Grinch-like act, ABC TV scheduled what seems to be their one and only showing of the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas for last night, November 30, which seems too little and a bit early – not even December, and less than a week after Thanksgiving.
Fortunately, although it doesn’t appear to be showing again on either broadcast or cable television, there are options for those of you who still need to get their Grinch on, and won’t be satisfied with the more recent live-action version starring Jim Carrey. While Netflix does not have it for “streaming,” you can pay $2.99 to watch it on Amazon’s Video On Demand. A remastered version with a few extras is also available through iTunes. And of course pirated versions are available by the score, in all sorts of formats.
After watching it last night – for the umpteenth time – with great pleasure, I would like to leave you with a couple of thoughts.
Boris Karloff must have been one of the most unexpected, out of left field, daring casting choices ever. Picking as the voice of a children’s Christmas special an actor best known – monumentally well-known - for his work in horror films, and particularly as Frankenstein’s monster? And yet he’s brilliant.
And of course there is the animation work of Chuck Jones, which will be so familiar to any fan of cartoons, particularly from his brilliant work on Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies – including many of the best with Bugs, Daffy, Wile E. Coyote and the others. He was responsible for some of the most famous of all these cartoons, including Duck Amuck, One Froggy Evening and What’s Opera, Doc? as well as the famous “Hunting Trilogy” of Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit! Duck!, and one of my personal favorites, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953).
Finally, since the above video clip is only available through YouTube directly, let me leave you with an MP3 of the title song, sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, who also provided the original voice for “Tony the Tiger”:
June 30, 2010 • 10:00 am 0
Daria: It got the misfits right, but it got the popular kids right, too. – By Reihan Salam: Daria, the celebrated MTV animated series, really rubbed me the wrong way when it debuted in 1997, my senior year in high school. Like so many teen-oriented sitcoms, Daria was clearly written by former wedgie-deserving misfits who now had the opportunity to take revenge on their erstwhile tormenters, very few of whom wound up as professional television writers or animators… (via Slate Magazine.)
June 3, 2010 • 6:45 am 1
I will defend the televisual merits and sociological insight of King of the Hill to anyone. I may even write a serious, academically-informed study of the show someday (I’m open to advances and expressions of interest from publishers).
However, I’m more reluctant – particularly in polite company – to try justifying my pleasure in King of the Hill creator Mike Judge‘s first foray into TV animation, Beavis and Butthead. But despite my embarrassment at the pleasure Beavis and Butthead still give me, I frequently forget myself and follow their lead, reworking the chorus of Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” to suit some task I happen to be engaged in – such as washing the dog:
This works even better for “walking the dog, walking the dog” – and that, with sung guitar riffs, rather than some high pitched “walkies,” is how my dog knows it’s time for a constitutional.
Of course, like Messieurs B and B, I sometimes find occasion to use the original lyrics unmodified:
Now that I come to think of it, I suppose I would have to include the original Judas Priest song as another guilty pleasure. You can listen and watch along with Beavis and Butthead on YouTube.
May 30, 2010 • 6:00 pm 0
If you are of an age and a class and a space with me, then we probably share similar memories of a Saturday morning – eating big bowls of breakfast cereal and watching cartoons, like Scooby-Doo (the original, not any of the later, lesser incarnations), Johnny Quest, and… Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
As Time Out Chicago suggests, for those of us who grew up on them and now have kids of our own, TV shows such as Fat Albert can make a nice change from the dreck being dished out on TV for our kids these days.
But Fat Albert serves another important role in my relationship with my stepson Misha beyond just keeping him occupied and entertained – it gives him some insight into the culture that shaped me, and crucially introduces him to African American life and culture, which was so formative for me, growing up in a black neighborhood in the 1970s, but is completely foreign to him out in the white suburbs of Australia.
(I’ve stocked the basket of reading material in the toilet with Boondocks collections to give him a more up-to-date version and vision of that life and culture. And in a year or two… The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Eyes on the Prize)