But there were MANY great cartoon characters back in the golden age
By Jeff Salter
Let’s get a few details out of the way before I begin.
1. I’m calling the ‘golden age’ of cartoons as the ones on network TV in the late 1950s and early 1960s… even though several of those cartoons had been around since the 1940s (in movie theaters).
2. Quite a few cartoon characters also appeared in comic books, but comic books are a topic for another day. One, in particular: my favorite comic book character is Uncle Scrooge… but I don’t recall many (if any) times I saw him in a cartoon.
3. Beginning in the middle 1960s (as best I recall), some studios began producing cartoons with minimal animation. They were hardly more than a series of stills in which the mouths/lips would move… and occasionally background scenes that would slide behind them. Chief among these travesties were Clutch Cargo and Johnny Quest. I hated both.
Now let’s get down to the good stuff. Most cartoons of “my” era were produced by a syndicate or studio. There was the Warner Brothers’ group (including Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies) which featured such luminaries as Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Tweety, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Pepe LePeu, and (I think) Mighty Mouse. Then there was the Hanna-Barbera syndicate/studio which produced many, including Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quickdraw McGraw, Top Cat, Flintstones, and the Jetsons. The main cartoons I remember from Disney studios were Chip & Dale and Donald Duck. Micky Mouse was, of course, a staple of Disney… but I never cared for that character (or his girlfriend). Odd, to me, that Disney considered Mickey his flagship character!
I don’t remember who produced Rocky & Bullwinkle, but I’m pretty sure it was neither of the two big studios noted above. Woody Woodpecker, was – I believe – the primary product of Walter Lanz studio. I can’t remember who produced Heckel & Jeckyl or Tom & Jerry or Roadrunner/Coyote.
As has been mentioned already this week by one of the Resident Foxes, some of these cartoons were equally aimed at adults (like Flintstones and Bullwinkle) but still delightful, on a different level, for the kiddies. Flintstones was, as I recall, one of the first primetime cartoon shows on TV. [I’m sure somebody will correct any inadvertent inaccuracies I present here… and that’s okay with me.]
All of these mentioned above (in the main sections) were cartoons I greatly enjoyed… but my absolutely favorite was Bugs Bunny. He had the most acting range, got into the most interesting situations, and played against several different foils (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, the Abominable Snowman, and the Tasmanian Devil… among others).
No doubt, I’ve forgotten a few headliners… and I didn’t take the time to mention all the wonderful side-kicks that most of these cartoon shows had to bounce off the main characters. Suffice it to say, I loved cartoons – whether after school, on Saturday mornings, or during primetime – and I’d be happy to see some of my favorites again.
[JLS # 610]