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Thanksgiving – Cartoons

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the height of the depression in the 1930s the New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia used the power of radio to read aloud the cartoon strips out of the daily papers. His broadcast was a public service in two senses of the word – it lifted the spirits of a people sorely in need of it and it saved them scrounging the cost of a newspaper when every cent was needed to pay for essentials like food.

Terri Libenson


Cartoons, whether in print or animated form, are great ways to pass the time of day. My own experience of them goes back to the early 1970s, where together with a whole generation of Aussie kids we grew up with a slate of American cartoons. Shows like “Batfink”, Cool McCool, Magilla Gorilla, Top Cat and the Jetsons all played on high rotation and were very popular despite the fact they were several years old. These old warhorses were soon joined by new favourites like Scooby Doo, Hong Kong Phooey, Josie and the Pussycats and The Hair Bear Bunch. Our Saturday mornings would never be the same with kids up early laid out in front of the TV screen like sardines in a tin. Parents now had a surefire way of minding the kids as it was a golden era for cartooning.

Things changed for the industry in the early 1980s. Kids seemed to mature sooner and the novelty of cartoons seemed to have worn off. Movies like Star Wars and ET, which had introduced the magic of major special effects on a wide scale, also helped to steal some of cartoon’s thunder. It was largely a fallow period, albeit with exceptions like Inspector Gadget.

Hoot Kloot

Then in the late 1980s British actor Tracey Ullman surprisingly found herself the host of a variety show on the startup Fox TV network. It was a program willing to try anything and so they threw an experimental series of cartoon shorts called The Simpsons into the mix. Two years later the segment had become so popular it morphed into its own half hour show. It is still being broadcast over 25 years later and signalled that cartoons were back with a vengeance, but with one distinct difference. They had now grown up with their audience and operated on two levels – the animation which appealed to kids and the satire which appealed to adults. The kick start the show gave to the industry was exceptional. With the new impetus to satisfy multiple audiences at the same time it fostered new projects like The Lion King, Toy Story and Lilo and Stitch and the Incredibles, albeit greatly assisted by computer generated imagery.

We have come a long way from Mickey Mouse and Steamboat Willie, but to all those who work in cartoons and breathe life into a jumble of lines and drawings we say thank you.

Previous thanksgiving article: Gardening

The season of Lent asks of us for sacrifice and the foregoing of many things, but an attitude of joy and gratitude should not be amongst them.

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the outset it should be made clear the viewpoints expressed here are a matter of individual opinion. If any one item doesn’t coincide with your own personal tastes then why not seek to better it with some thanksgiving of your own rather than a critique? You are always welcome to do so at the Archdiocesan website feedback mechanism.

So we invite you to come, walk with us awhile, and be thankful as we journey together to Calvary and beyond to Easter.

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT: All audio, visual and textual content which is included or linked to from this webpage remains the property of the original recording artist, author, producer, director or photographer, as the case may be, and the use of it is not intended to disobey any copyright law.

The images used and links made on this webpage are all done so on the understanding they fall under the Australian Copyright Act’s Fair Dealing provisions for the purposes of “Criticism and Review”.

No commercial activity or financial gain has been generated by the content on this webpage.

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