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Hello Muddah… When Cartoons Go Bad

August 20, 2012

I’m a big fan of cartoons, but my cartoons, the ones I grew up watching, are long gone and never seem to pop up on TV anywhere. Or at least anywhere that I’m familiar with.

The Mighty Hercules, Tennessee Tuxedo, Underdog, Go Go Gophers, Top Cat, Felix the Cat, Quick Draw McGraw, Casper, Yogi, Sherman and Peabody, anything by Jay Ward, I could go on and on here and probably write about these cartoons and why they were so good but that’s not what I’m here for today. Today I’m here to talk about when cartoons go bad.

How does a cartoon go bad?

Have you ever seen Fantasia? Fantasia is an animated Disney movie from 1940-something where, in a really tiny nutshell, cartoons are joined with Classical music and the result is brilliant.

Except for the part where it goes bad.

If you’re a Classical music fan you’ve probably heard a piece titled Dance of the Hours (not to be confused with Waltz of the Flowers) on the radio and the piece is popular enough where you might even have it in your collection. If you’re not a fan of Classical music fear not, you’ve probably heard of a song from the 60’s by Alan Sherman called Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter from Camp) in which Sherman sings his comical lyrics to the melody of Dance of the Hours. On second thought, maybe you haven’t heard that song because what is it Robin Williams said about the 60’s:- If you remember them then you weren’t there? So if you remember Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, a song from the 60’s then does that mean you really weren’t there and you’re obviously remembering the song from some other time? And if you don’t remember Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah then you really were there in the sixties but were apparently busy doing something else like paying attention in school, doing homework and not going to parties.

I’m off the topic now.

Alan Sherman and his lyrics to Dance of the Hours.

(And what lyrics they are!)

I went hiking with Joe Spivy
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.

Now I don’t want this should scare ya
But my bunkmate has malaria
You remember Jeffrey Hardy
They’re about to organize a searching party.

Ring any bells? You’ve heard the piece before? No, okay, it doesn’t matter because this blog isn’t about Dance of the Hours anyway, it’s about cartoons gone bad and where Fantasia the cartoon went bad is when Disney artists chose to interpret Dance of the Hours with Hippopotamus ballerinas

I know, they’re adorable and hippos (you use hippopotamuses or hippopotami, I’m not) are really cool social animals and they can run pretty fast so don’t think you can tease one and hope to escape by outrunning him, but the image of a hippo on tippytoes and dancing in a tutu is just so loveably bizarre that once you see one, it’s burned into your mind and will forever change how you experience Dance of the Hours regardless of where you hear it being played. You simply can’t listen to the piece ever again without smiling.


How can you not smile looking at that?

Now take this beautiful music and have it performed by those preposterous rhinos and there you have it: a cartoon gone bad.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 20, 2012 8:19 am

    I watched Fantasia once, but it was too much exploding fireworks and wierdness for me. The music was nice. Interesting interpretation on the whole thing though.

    Write on!


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