Sunday, September 30, 2007

One Great Pumpkin

The kids and I watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown today and now it can turn October tomorrow with no problem. I am a firm believer that you must watch Great Pumpkin as much as humanly possible in order to usher in October properly. Who knows what would happen if we didn't and I don't want to find out, so I just keep on rewinding and rewatching.

When we were kids, movies and cartoons were much more sacred, ya know? We would hear the commercials heralding the upcoming SPECIAL TELEVISON EVENT and would beg our parents to not make us go to the bowling alley or to church or to whatever else might possibly be coming up in our lives, just so we could be home to watch a SPECIAL TELEVISION EVENT. As kids we lived for that once-a-year viewing of The Easter Beagle, The Great Pumpkin and whatever other holiday or event Charles Schulz came up with for his Peanuts gang. (Abby said last year their class watched a Peanuts film about a kid with leukemia. How depressing is that.)

I remember that for the rest of the evening after we watched a Charlie Brown special - remember we called 'em "specials" because they were? - we'd try to talk like the adults in the cartoon. "Muah muah muahmuahmuah muah" and when Dad told me that was really a muted trumpet (or was it a trombone?) I was disappointed because I wanted there to be a real person who could make that noise all by themselves and I wanted to be that person when I grew up. That seemed like a noble profession to a 6 year old - adult voice muah-muah-er for Peanuts cartoons.

The next day at school we all felt sorry for the poor kid who ended up at the bowling alley with his parents and missed out on the SPECIAL TELEVISION EVENT that would not be around again for 364 more days. Poor kid had probably seen the cartoon every year of his life, just like the rest of us, but somehow, in our minds, that child was borderline abused and certainly neglected.

Saturday morning cartoons were a big event at our house, too. Heck, they were at everyone's house because that was the only day of the week that cartoons were on - well, not counting SPECIAL TELEVISION EVENTS, of course. We got up at the buttcrack of dawn even though the only toons on at 6 were the stupid ones. But by 7 we were la-la-la-ing with our blue friends, the Smurfs, getting utterly cracked up stupid over that ornery mouse Jerry and his stupid archnemesis Tom and oh, by 9:30 is was time for Looney Tunes.

Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, the night of nights!
No more rehearsing and hearsing our parts -
We know every part by heart!

Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, we'll hit the heights -
And oh what heights we'll hit.
On with the show, this is it!

Over the years, ol' Bugs had various co-hosts, Road Runner and Tweety I believe were the two during my childhood, but Daffy tried a time or two, if recollection serves me right.

I say, I say, boyyyy....those were the cartoons.

My dad was (still is) a pretty no-nonsense kind of guy, but Dad watched Bugs Bunny with us every Saturday he could. I don't really remember him laughing, but they obviously amused him since he watched them every week.

After I got over my disappointment that I couldn't be a muah-muah-er for Peanuts, I then decided I wanted to work for Acme because Acme had everything! If you wanted a robotic girl coyote, they had one. Portable rabbit holes, they had those, too. Virtually any need could be filled by Acme and I wanted to be a part of such an up-and-coming business. Alas, my bubble was burst there, too.

The Wizard of Oz came on about once a year, too. Mom said the first time I watched it I was about 4. She said I laid on our lovely green floral couch (which felt strangely like burlap and would give you hickeys if you laid on it too long - yes, it was that comfy) and didn't move for 3 hours. She said I didn't show excitement at the Munchkins or fear at the flying monkeys or anger at that horrible wicked witch - she said I just laid there, mesmerized, and took it all in.

One year, I was probably 10 or so, they played The Wiz during prime-time. Funny, they never did that again.

Going to the show was a hugely big deal because we didn't go all that often. We weren't poor, but I guess it just seemed extravagant or my dad didn't want to fight a crowd or whatever reason. I remember one of the moms that traded babysitting with Mom too about 8 or 10 of us kids to see Bambi at the Coleman Theatre. We sat on the front row - a first for me - and threw popcorn into the orchestra pit. I'd kill my kids if they did that now, but when you're 11, it's big fun to get away with something like that.

My Nana took me to see all three Star Wars movies - the first two we saw in the Coleman and by the time the third one came out, the Coleman was closed so we saw it at the Thunderbird Twin. I know in my heart of hearts that Nana didn't like Star Wars but she knew I did and she sat through them all with me. She also bought me anything I wanted from the concession stand, something my parents just didn't do, but she was the Nana and she did. Because she could.

My Mom and Dad really wanted to see the movie Airplane! and for whatever reason, took me, too. Nana was there, also, which I've never understood why, unless she just really wanted to see it, which is weird in my mind because she always watched us kids if Mom and Dad went somewhere. I was 7 and obviously very naive - or else my parents were. I still won't let Abby watch it and she's nearly 11. I will never forget the scene where the plane is going down and Leslie Nielsen's vomiting all over his shirt, the cabin is in total chaos and here come naked boobs right across the screen. I think Nana nearly broke something trying to get her hands over my eyes before my innocent mind was further tainted by the vision of big bouncy boobs on the big screen.

Up until I was about 7 or so, movies in the theatre were always started with a cartoon beforehand. And it was usually Pink Panther cartoons. I loved those things. I didn't always get them, but the fact that there was no talking just got me.

But we watch The Great Pumpkin for weeks on end, Pink Panther is on Boomerang every day and The Wizard of Oz is punctuated with trips to the bathroom, microwave popcorn
and shrieks that the flying monkeys will give someone "nightmawes." And I pre-screen everything beforehand for big bouncy boobs.


Melessa Gregg said...

I remember those days too. I even remember The Wiz being on just that once. And somehow, I was at the theatre for Airplane! too. I love it now, but at 7 did I really need to see that?!

Queen Of Cheese said...

I still haven't seen Airplane, I don't really plan to anytime soon either. I believe Miss Piggy contributed to my unnatural attraction to shoes, she always had the coolest high heels for her little piggy feet.

WHIP's said...

I remember my first time watching the wizard of oz and being so disappointed when it was in black and white. My mom kept saying wait for it, wait for it and when she came out of the house and into oz and it was so colorful, that's one of those moments you'll never forget.

and I'm a huge fan of Foghorn Leghorn and the little guy with him...I'm a chicken-hawk!!

I keep wondering is it better our kids can pull out a dvd and watch rudolp anytime they want, or was it better when you waited anxiously and sat glued to the television all of december for those shows you only saw once each year. I don't think it means as much to my kids as it did for me

Cazzie!!! said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I LOVE this new look!!!

Stewed Hamm said...

I don't know that I'd let a kid watch Airplane! either. Sure there's boobs in that one scene, and Hare Krishnas getting beat up, and all... but mostly it's because they wouldn't get all the 70s jokes.
Once they're mature enough to see boobies on the TV, then it would be required viewing. I need to know that my family will understand me when I come home after work and tell them that it was the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see that fall nostalgia has not passed you by either. Dunno why (must be the weather) but I have been terribly nostalgic these past couple of weeks.

I never did get Snoopy, but I sure empathized with poor Charlie Brown.

M&Co. said...

Ah those days of innocence.

Anonymous said...

You are such a dork! That's what my kids tell me all the time, and it is nice to know I have a bother (or sister) in dorkiness. We too have to watch The Great Pumpkin for Halloween to happen. I have other movies and cartoons I have to watch for the season to happen. Hocus Pocus is a natural, and oddly enough The Last of the Mohicans is a Thanksgiving movie (I don't know why) Die Hard is a wonderful Christmas Movie and my all time favorite is A Christmas Story AND the Charlie Brown Special!

I enjoyed meeting you at Hideway Pizza. I am sorry I was dragged away early and we did not get a chance to visit. My wife and kid were on a mall run which (to them) means I have no free will.

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