Saturday Morning Cartoons - My Favorite Warner Brothers Cartoon Characters
Like most kids of my generation, waiting for the test pattern to yield itself to real, moving pictures when the stations finally signed back on for the day was an exciting event. I know this dates me somewhat, but way back when we had just barely come out of the caves, before the advent of cable television, the local feed could be off the air until eight a.m. on the weekends.
Though it was cool to mess with the dials (yes, Virginia, TVs had dials then) and adjust the horizontal and vertical holds to stretch the test pattern up and down or side to side, it was only fun for a few minutes. With the advent of cable and colour TV, the test pattern became a rather boring set of colour bars that my dad had to adjust regularly to prevent the deaded green or purple complexion - a sure sign of your colour being "off".
The test pattern of my childhood, though, was an Indian Chief sporting a full war bonnet. By playing with the dials we could make his head reeeeally tall, or reeeeally wide. We had to exercise some caution, though, or the picture would start flipping uncontrollably. If we got it rolling too wildly, only our dad would be able to restore order, usually by dint of much dark muttering, darker threats about what he would do if this happened again, and ending in our being banished - sent outside to play, which meant the end of cartoon watching for that weekend.
If you are unfamiliar with the term "test pattern", you may need to ask someone over 45 to explain it to you - in fact, you may be too young to read this hub...but I digress.
These were a precious time. Our parents were still asleep. The house was quiet and still. The tacitly agree contract for Saturday mornings, at least at our house, was that we were now considered old enough to fix our own breakfast, usually cold cereal and toast. As well, if we were quiet, and didn't turn up the sound too loud, we eat in the living room in front of the TV.
Heaven in a cereal bowl...
Sheer bliss - eating in the living room, feet up on the couch, watching that "wascally wabbit", and not a parent in sight!
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Though we reveled in the antics of Bugs and his buddies, the recurring themes were not lost upon us. We watched for our favorite running gags and delighted in their repetition. The "left turn at Albuquerque" was always good for a giggle, and the writers never failed to find new and devious ways to work it into the plots.
I must admit to finding Tweetie and Sylvester a bit tiresome, even as a kid. I really, really wished, time and again, that the poor benighted cat could just catch the nasty little yellow bird and put him out of my misery. Perhaps if that rotten canary hadn't been such a sanctimonious little tattle tail, getting Sylvester in trouble and then running to hide behind Granny's skirts...
Yosemite Sam fared even less well at the hands (or should I say, gloves) of the "wabbit". The cartoon about the high-diving act, where he repeatedly tricks the testy Sam into climb the ladder only to fall to the rather small pool full of water below, is a testament to the writers' ingenuity.
One of the things I appreciated about the coyote and roadrunner bits was the way the writers played with cartoon "reality", injecting the character of "the cartoon's artist" into the plot, playing with backgrounds and even the character's physical presence, much to the character's chagrin.
I also felt badly for thecoyote, though. Really, that wretched roadrunner could be quite annoying. The tenacity with which Wile pursued him was awe inspiring - talk about a never say die attitude. A good thing, too, considering the amount of damage he did to himself.
My all-time faves are his notable run-in with "the bunny", his epic battle (on the time-clock) with the sheepdog, and the short bit in the clip on the right, where he actually catches the roadrunner.
I am not given much to eating cold cereal in the mornings any more. I prefer it as an evening snack, as does my son...
...and yes, I introduced him to the wonderful world of Saturday morning cartoons as soon as he was old enough to get his cold cereal without destroying my kitchen.
It was then that I came to truly appreciate the other side of the weekend cartoon-fest - the "Mommy gets an extra hour's sleep" side.
...and now, in the words of the much imitated Porky Pig...
© 2009 RedElf
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