The famous ‘Steamboat Willy’, starring Mickey Mouse, is heralded as the first cartoon with sound to grace the big screen. But although Mickey is still going strong, with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse being the latest incarnation for the younger generation, there are plenty of cartoons that failed to stand the test of time.
Here are six cartoons that your grandparents may have watched, some of which have disappeared into the annals of cinema or television history.
Huckleberry Hound, who was introduced to an American audience in 1958, was a blue dog who spoke with a Southern drawl. He was laid-back and very relaxed, despite the situations that he found himself in. As with all good protagonists in films and cartoons, he always ended up on top.
Huck tried a variety of jobs throughout his lifespan, although he never seemed to be any good at them. He also seemed to be a bit of a time traveler, as he appeared in different historical periods from week to week.
He’s been a Roman gladiator, a rocket scientist and a medieval knight, as well as having more time-appropriate careers as policeman or dog catcher. Huck was known for his on-going narrative to the audience, turning to camera and letting the viewer’s know what he was trying to achieve at each point in the story.
Tom and Jerry
The always-feuding cat and mouse were a real favorite with parents and children alike. The never-ending rivalry involved lots of chases and plenty of cartoon violence, which delighted generations of kids. Tom and Jerry managed to put their differences aside on occasion, when faced with a problem that needed collaboration, but usually there was all-out war between them. Other characters included Spike and Tyke, the father and son bulldogs and Butch and Toodles Galore, Tom’s love rival and love interest, respectively.
This Stone Age family’s exploits were the first cartoon to be shown on prime-time television and remained popular for decades, even being made into a live-action film in 1994. Despite the family’s Stone Age life, they used animals to imitate all the modern conveniences that we take for granted.
Birds inside stone boxes tapped out pictures with their beaks to make ‘photographs’, baby woolly mammoths were used as vacuum cleaners and lifts were raised and lowered by ropes hanging around the necks of brontosauruses. Fred Flintstone often got into trouble with his neighbor, Barney Rubble and many of the story lines revolved around these scrapes and their attempts to hide their mistakes from their wives.
Top Cat ran for a series of 30 episodes in 1961/62, although the re-runs are still popular today. Top Cat was a wise-talking alley cat who was the leader of a pack of down and outs in Manhattan.
His gang consisted of Fancy Pants, Spook, Brain, Choo Choo and Benny the Ball, all living together in Hoagy’s Alley. Top Cat and the gang were always coming up with plans to make a quick buck, as well as dodging the attempts of the local beat policeman to evict them.
This local copper, Officer Dibble, tried hard to foil them in their scams but was ultimately ineffective in both this and his attempts to evict them from the alley.
The original Wacky Races ran for two years from 1968 and involved a mismatched bunch of racers in homemade vehicles, trying to beat each other in various road rallies across the United States.
Each character was desperate to win the title of ‘World’s Wackiest Racer’, driving specially adapted vehicles that had their own particular quirks and abilities. Dick Dastardly and his sidekick, Muttley, were particular favorites and were the ‘baddies’ of the series, always trying to cheat in order to gain an advantage but never succeeding and usually ending up in last place.
The duo were so popular that they had their own spin-off series, which focused on their efforts to catch a carrier pigeon who carried secret messages. Muttley’s snickering when Dick Dastardly’s efforts came to nothing was much imitated across the playgrounds of the country, as was Dick’s cry of “Drat, Drat and Double Drat!”.
This Space Age family were almost the opposites of the Flintstones. Set in the year 2062, the Jetsons had all the modern gadgets that you could possibly imagine, living in the ultra-high-tech Skypad Apartments and assisted by a robot maid called Rosie.
The father, George, works an hour a day twice a week, which is depicted as typical for the era. He commutes in a flying vehicle that resembles a flying saucer and although life is made easy with all the labor-saving devices around the work and home spaces, when one breaks down the family finds it hard to cope with the resulting inconvenience.
This guest post was contributed by Forest Healthcare; specializing in care homes, nursing homes and residential homes for the elderly.