History for the Rest of Us

Popeye for President

Originally released March 30, 1956 – this Famous Studios Popeye cartoon features Bluto (the Blutocratic Party candidate) running against Popeye (representing the Spinach Party) for President of the United States. With the two candidates tied and only the vote of Olive Oyl outstanding, the two candidates go to work in order to win Olive’s...

The Jetsons

The Jetsons

Sep 22, 2013

On September 23, 1962, The Jetsons debuted on ABC. It was the first program on ABC to be broadcast in color. The show is about a futuristic family from the year 2062. The family lives in the Skypad Apartments in Orbit City and consists of George Jetson, Jane his wife, daughter Judy, and ‘his boy Elroy’. The family also has a pet dog Astro (Rastro in Astro-speak), and a robot maid Rosie. Meet George Jetson George works for Spacely Sprockets a rival company to Cogswell Cogs. As a ‘digital index operator’ George is required to work two days a week for one to three hours. His boss Mr. Spacely constantly blames George for his backfiring business plans, and Spacely’s most famous catchphrase is ‘Jetson! You’re fired!’ George’s job consists of turning the Referential Universal Digital Indexer (RUDI) on and off. Since the cartoon was loosely based on the comic strip Blondie, George exhibits similar characteristics to Dagwood Bumstead. Jane, his Wife Jane, George’s wife, loves to shop at Mooning Dales and is a dedicated mother who loves aquiring the latest time saving gadgets as well as the latest fashions. Jane is an efficient housewife (thanks to her ability to get Rosie to do all the work). Daughter Judy George’s daughter Judy goes to Orbit High School, but she’s dropped off by her father and doesn’t have to fly through ten miles of asteroid storms to get there like George did when he was a child. Judy is sixteen and a fan of the rock singer ‘Jet Screamer’. She is obsessed with clothes and boys, and frequently reveals her secrets to her floating robotic diary named ‘DiDi’. His Boy Elroy Elroy is a first grader in Little Dipper School and is 6 1/2. He is very intelligent, obsessed with the space-age, and studies star geometry, space history, astrophysics and math in school. Rosie Rosie the Robot Maid is a beloved member of the Jetsons family and looks after the household chores, as well as Elroy. While not a cutting-edge robot, she still manages to get the Jetsons’ chores done in record time. She refers to George as “Mr. J”. Rosie, a model XB-500 robot, was...

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

Sep 17, 2013

On September 17, 1949 Wile E. Coyote (Carnivorous Vulgaris) tried to catch Road Runner (Accelleratii Incredibus) for the first time in their initial cartoon ‘Fast and Furry-ous’. In this first, of nearly 50 animated shorts, Wile E. hasn’t learned the value of Geniune ‘ACME’ products and purchases items from ‘Ace’, and ‘Fleet-Foot’. However, his luck never improved by working almost exclusively with ‘ACME’ as his supplier of gadgets. Wile E. was very loyal to ‘ACME’, notwithstanding the fact that he was constantly defeated by gadgets made with their products. When asked, in a Cartoon Network commercial promoting Looney Tunes, why he continued to purchase products from ACME Corporation when previous purchases had all backfired, Wile E. responded by holding up a wooden sign which said ‘Good line of Credit’. The characters were created by Chuck Jones in 1948 for Warner Bros. Wile E. also appeared as an antagonist of Bugs Bunny in five shorts. Wile E. was mostly silent in the Coyote-Road Runner shorts but spoke with an upper-class English accent (voiced by Mel Blanc) in the Bugs Bunny shorts. Road Runner only made his signature ‘Meep, Meep’ sound with an occasional noise from his tongue. In Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times Of An Animated Cartoonist, it is claimed that the Road Runner and Wile E. cartoons adhered to some simple but strict rules: The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “meep, meep.” No outside force can harm the Coyote — only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time. The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: “A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” — George Santayana). No dialogue ever, except “meep, meep” and yowling in pain. The Road Runner must stay on the road — for no other reason than that he’s a roadrunner. This rule was broken in Beep, Beep, in a sequence where Wile E. chased the Road Runner into a cactus mine. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters — the southwest American desert. All tools,...

Bugs Bunny A Wild Hare

Bugs Bunny A Wild Hare

Jul 25, 2013

Historians consider the July 27, 1940 release of A Wild Hare as the first ‘official’ Bugs Bunny short. Though not named in the short, he appears in his fully developed form along with Elmer Fudd, and first uses his signature ‘What’s up, Doc?’ line. Bugs Gets His Voice Bugs also got his voice in the short. One of Mel Blanc’s co-workers showed him the latest drawings for the character, and commented that the rabbit was ‘A tough little stinker’. The light went on for Blanc who said, ‘In my mind I heard a Brooklyn accent’ and ‘the new, improved Bugs Bunny wouldn’t say jerk, he’d say joik’. A Wild Hare was a huge success and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Inspiration The inspiration for Bugs came from a variety of sources including Zomo, a trickster rabbit from Central and Eastern Africa; Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton; and Groucho Marx. Bugs used his carrot in much the same way that Groucho used his cigar, and Bugs eventually stole the line used by Marx, ‘Of course you know, this means war!’, in response to insults. Interesting Facts Bugs Bunny has starred in over 175 films, has been nominated for three Oscars (winning in 1958 for Knighty Knight Bugs), and was given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (only the 2nd cartoon character to do so). In a poll conducted in the United States in 1976, citizens were asked to name their favorite characters, real and imaginary. Bugs Bunny finished second…behind only Abraham Lincoln! Related Stories: Garfield The Incredible Hulk Batman Li’l...

The Pink Panther – The Pink Phink

The Pink Panther – The Pink Phink

Dec 18, 2012

On December 18, 1964 the first animated Pink Panther short, The Pink Phink appeared. The short would be the first time an animation studio would win an Academy Award for Animated Short Film with their first release. The short was released by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and, of course, had for its soundtrack the legendary Pink Panther theme song by Henry Mancini. In the short, the “Little Man” is attempting to paint his house blue, but everything he paints is painted over in pink by the Pink Panther. Eventually the “Little Man” buries the can of pink paint. Thinking he has resolved his problem he briefly rejoices, only to see grass, trees, bushes, etc. begin sprouting up in pink. The short finishes with the “Little Man” getting a coat of pink paint himself, courtesy of the panther, before the panther moves in to the newly painted home. Listen to the classic Pink Panther Theme on Spotify: Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini Related Stories: Bugs Bunny Garfield The Incredible Hulk Batman Li’l...

Rocky & Bullwinkle

Rocky & Bullwinkle

Nov 20, 2012

On November 19, 1959, the Rocky & Bullwinkle show first debuted on ABC television. It ran Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 5:30 p.m., and quickly became the highest ranked daytime television program in the United States. The show included memorable characters such as Boris and Natasha, Captain Peter “Wrongway” Peachfuzz, and title characters Rocket “Rocky” J. Squirrel, and Bullwinkle J. Moose. The Rocky and Bullwinkle animated shorts served as ‘bookends’ for several other popular supporting shorts such as: Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties, Peabody’s Improbable History (starring genius talking dog Mr. Peabody and his pet boy Sherman), and Fractured Fairy Tales. Trivia British band ‘Herman’s Hermits’ was named after Sherman of Peabody’s Improbable History. The band members thought lead singer Peter Noone looked like Sherman. Imagine Games Network named Rocky and Bullwinkle the 11th best animated television series of all time in 2009. Rocky & Bullwinkle has appeared in 100 countries Related Stories: Bugs Bunny Garfield The Incredible Hulk Batman Li’l...