Classic Cartoons – A Body of American Art Second to None

Classic Cartoons TelevisionIf you’re like me, you have a knack for remembering the dialogue in cartoons you watched on TV many decades ago even though you may have trouble remembering what you had for breakfast today.

There’s something truly memorable about those classic cartoons we used to watch.

A tremendous amount of work went into the production of a simple six- or eight-minute cartoon, and the cream of the crop of American cartoons produced from the 1930’s to the 1970’s represents a body of art equal to any of that era in our nation’s history.

Following are seven classic cartoons I consider la crème de la crème.

7. Popeye.

Well, blow me down. I am what I am. I bet you remember those lines. And the storylines—or storyline since it never changed much from episode to episode. Good versus evil. Man’s attraction to woman (though I never quite understood what Popeye and Brutus saw in Olive Oyl). Popeye kept it simple—a bit of a morality play that made you sweat just a bit until evil got its comeuppance in the end.

You may remember that Popeye—along with other cartoon characters of the era—was put to use during World War Two in the real-life war against evil. Popeye didn’t hesitate when Uncle Sam asked him help put the enemy in its place.

Popeye sported a supporting cast of characters every bit as memorable as the diminutive sailor himself. Describe somebody as an Olive Oyl and you’ll conjure images of a whiny voice or lanky body. Bluto and Brutus—I could never tell the difference—were ruffians … bullies any underdog would love to take down.

The most memorable supporting character had to be J Wellington Wimpy, aficionado of hamburgers and frequent speaker of the unforgettable line, “I’ll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today.” To this day Wimpy is remembered by countless people who haven’t watched a Popeye cartoon in years as the most sympathetic gluttonous, slothful scam artist they’ve ever seen.

6. Donald Duck.

For my money that irascible duck was the most entertaining character in the whole Disney collection. It didn’t take much to set Donald off, and it was always a delight to watch him run around letting off his steam over the tiniest thing that didn’t go his way.

Figuring out what Donald was saying during his tirades was always a challenge. I was never sure what he was saying, but I can’t blame Donald for that completely. Most of the time I was watching his on-screen antics I was laughing so hard I probably wouldn’t have caught most of what he was saying even if he’d had perfect diction.

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