Cartoon of the Month – Popeye

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Graffiti” by 422737 is licensed under CC by 2.0

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.

I’m strong to the finich,

Cause I eats me spinach.

I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.

Ranked #20 in TV Guide’s ’50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time’ list, Popeye the Sailor has been one of the most popular cartoons of all time. Created by Elzie Crisler Segar way back in the year 1929 in the form of a comic strip, the muscular one-eyed sailor eventually found his way into theater, animated TV cartoons, comic books, arcade, video and pinball games in addition to radio and live action films and his own theme park as well.

  • Popeye and his lady love Olive Oyl are based on real people – a pipe-smoking, fond-of-fighting sailor in the creator’s hometown and a tall, slim neighbor of his who wore her hair in a bun.
  • A piece of trivia: Who was the first cartoon character in the world to get its very own statue built? Our beloved Popeye the Sailor it was! Yes, he’s that majestic.
  • The people behind the voices of Popeye and Olive in the film (Jack Mercer and Margie Hynes) actually ended up marrying each other in real life!

The villainous Bluto trying to kidnap Olive Oyl every chance he got, leading to Popeye inevitably eating spinach and defeating his arch-rival is always hilarious, whatever be the storyline around it.

And though it doesn’t work for my kids at least, research studies have shown that Popeye’s spinach considerably impacted a large number of children around the world, leading to them downing veggies much faster! By the way, if greens are cooking for dinner tonight, perhaps you can just try switching on an episode of Popeye and see how it goes?

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Cartoon of the Month – The Powerpuff Girls

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Image courtesy: Wikia

Fighting crime, trying to save the world,

Here they come just in time,

The Powerpuff Girls…

Powerpuff!

Three cute girls with superpowers, a brainy scientist professor who is their father along with villains and giant monsters aplenty; what is there not to like about The Powerpuff Girls? This American animated television series was originally developed in the year 1992 by Craig McCracken (if you’re a fan too of the theme song like I am, watch it here) and went on to become one of the most-loved shows on Cartoon Network. Nominated for six Emmy Awards, nine Annie Awards and a Kids’ Choice Award is no mean feat. Add to that a series of super hit video games, an anime and home video collection in addition to licensed merchandise sold the world over… Phew!

  • Powerpuff Girls weren’t always Powerpuff Girls. They were originally known as ‘The Whoop-Ass Girls’ who obtained their superpowers from a can of ‘whoop-ass’ instead of the mysterious Chemical X. Whoopie!
  • Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup had different names in different places – for example, Chocolate, Bubble and Acorn in Latin America and Lolly, Dolly and Molly in Italy.
  • The series premiere in 1998 holds the distinction of being the highest rated debut in Cartoon Network history. What’s more, it got a reboot and premiered once again last year in April.

By the way, which of the three girls is your favorite – Blossom, the red-haired leader with ice breath and superhuman intelligence; Bubbles, the cute and ever-smiling girl with the pigtails and hypnotic abilities; or Buttercup, the toughest fighter of all three? My personal favorite has been Bubbles right through; more so perhaps because I’ve always been partial to the blue color since childhood. Ah yes, and Mojo Jojo too; just can’t take my eyes off him whenever he appears on screen!

Cartoon of the Month – Pokemon

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Image courtesy: Pinterest

All we wanna do, is have a good time,

Having lots of fun with all these friends of mine…

All we wanna do, is celebrate,

Every time we’ve been together it’s been great!

Pokemon for me can never be complete without this wonderfully melodious karaoke version of the song. The extent to which the TV series, which began as a Japanese anime called ‘Pocket Monsters’ (and hence ‘Pokemon’) has become a sensation worldwide can be gauged by the fact that even today both kids and adults prefer to spend a considerable amount of time roaming around their neighborhood and beyond, trying to get hold of these little elusive monsters with their noses glued to their phones!

Here are some interesting bits and pieces of information about our favorite monsters:

  • The much-beloved Pikachu’s name comes from a combination of pikapika (the Japanese onomatopoeia for sparkle) and chuchu (the sound of squeaking).
  • Many of our favorite Pokemon names are actually derived from numbers. For instance, the fabled trio of Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres end with the Spanish words for one, two and three (uno, dos and tres).
  • Ever heard of ‘Pikachurin’? It is a protein which was discovered by Japanese scientists in the year 2008 and named thus since it worked very well with electricity.

Close to 7 generations of pocket monsters, 6 anime series, 25 manga series and 18 full-length films plus the games which we all know of; can our love for Ash and his Pokemon friends grow any stronger than this?

Cartoon of the Month – Dexter’s Laboratory

A bespectacled boy genius-cum-inventor-cum-bully to his sibling Dee Dee (“Stay out of my laboratory!”), who has a secret elaborate laboratory down in the basement of his very own house, Dexter’s Laboratory is a cartoon which has always been way ahead of its time – concealed buttons and switches such as the one which can be activated by pulling out a specific book from a bookshelf, passwords which need to be spoken out loud in order to gain entry into a particular room in the lab and so on.  Right from the time the cartoon caught my fancy, I’ve been thrilled at the way his secret laboratory was unknown to his parents too; I mean, here I was trying (unfortunately) to have a secret drawer to myself, and this young superhero had a whole, extensive laboratory. Not fair.

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Image courtesy: YouTube

  • The popular cartoon series holds the distinction of being the first original animated series in the history of Cartoon Network.
  • It may sound absurd, but the idea for Dexter started off with a drawing of a ballerina; definitely the stark opposite of what our cartoon hero is. However, it is precisely this play of opposites which came to the mind of creator Tartakovsky – ‘a short little brother with a love of science’.
  • Apparently, it was three different women (and not men) who voiced our little genius – Christine Cavanaugh, Candi Milo and later Tara Strong (credited with voicing cute little Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls).

Such is the popularity of Dexter’s Laboratory that speculation about the cartoon series refuses to die down. For instance, some people claim Dee Dee is not actually his elder sister but his ‘time-traveling daughter’, sent back in time to prevent poor old Dexter from working on an invention that had ultimately blown the world to smithereens in the past. Sounds possible, now that one comes to think of it. Wotsay?

Cartoon of the Month – Scooby Doo

While our cartoon of the previous month was all about the sonorous ‘Yabba Dabba Doo!’, this month I’m taking up another favorite of mine, which has the ‘Doo’ part common – the perpetually 7-year-old (49 years old in dog years),  lovable, talking, brown Great Dane – Scooby Doo.

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Image courtesy: CinemaBlend

I loved mysteries and anything to do with solving them as a kid, and hence two things regarding the same which were an inevitable part of my childhood years were, one, Enid Blyton mysteries and two, the Scooby Doo cartoon series which was also about mysteries, albeit of a relatively comical, supernatural kind solved by the four teenagers – Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley and Shaggy Rogers.

  • This children’s all-time favorite holds the distinction of a Guinness World Record for the maximum number of episodes of a cartoon comedy series.
  • The show was initially supposed to be called ‘Mystery Five’, then ‘Mysteries Five’, followed by ‘Who’s Scared’ (which was then believed to be a tad too scary for the targeted kids’ audience) and finally the ‘Scooby Doo’ that we know of.
  • Scooby Doo is not just about cartoons – it has major motion pictures, board games, computer games, video games, comic books and even novels.

Be it the creepy background sounds at the beginning of each episode or the wonderfully relatable characters – the stylish Daphne, the popular and sought-after Fred, the intelligent bookworm Velma and the true-to-his-name Shaggy – Scooby Doo will always make for a fascinating watch, at least for me.

“Zoinks!” as Shaggy would put it!

Cartoon of the Month – The Flintstones

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Image courtesy: Zazzle

The very first animated series to be shown on prime time American television in the 1960s was, surprisingly, set in the Stone Age, somewhere dating back to around 10,000 BC. That was that – and then before we knew it, the two cheerful cavemen families went on to become the second greatest TV cartoon of all time, and one of my favorite shows ever.

A couple of fun facts about Hanna Barbera’s The Flintstones – Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Barney and Betty Rubble, not to forget Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble too:

  • In the age of The Flintstones, there was no electricity, but there were dishwashers; no shoes, but cars ran swiftly on bare feet. Contemporary situations set in prehistoric times were what we call the USP of the show.
  • The Flintstones was known by several different names before it became The Flintstones. Initially it was ‘The Flagstones’, then it turned into ‘The Gladstones’ and finally came the flint as we know it.
  • Did you notice that almost every episode had new, changed furniture in The Flintstones’ residence? And that their pet dinosaur, which barked like a puppy, also changed colors from its basic purple throughout the show?

I vividly remember how melodious The Flintstones opening and closing credits were and Fred Flintstone’s heartful, full-throated ‘Yabba Dabba Doo!’

Cartoon of the Month – Tom and Jerry

The year before last we did a series in which we talked about a different mathematician great every month of the year. This 2017 let’s do something a little less dreary than dry old math… Hence, it’s cartoons raining this year, with a favorite of mine lined up for every month of the year. Let’s begin!

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Image courtesy: Wallpapers Pictures Photos

An intensely lovable pair that has been fighting like cats and dogs (read: cats and mice) from as far back as we can remember; 1940, to be precise. Brought to life by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, this series of comic fights including the mayhem and destruction that follows have found themselves a special place in every heart, kids and adults alike.

Some fun facts about this indomitable cartoon pair which apparently once won an Oscar:

  • In the initial stages, Tom was called Jasper and Jerry was called Jinx (Jasper and Jinx? Doesn’t sound as good as Tom and Jerry!)
  • In spite of their immense popularity, this duo hardly ever speaks in their cartoons; it is music which lends the major emotions to their scenes. (However, soot-blackened Tom’s haunting ‘Don’t you believe it!’ line after being involved in a nuclear explosion struck a chord with many.)
  • Ever heard of the ‘Spike & Tyke’ cartoon? This bulldog father and son series was a spin-off of Tom & Jerry, but didn’t work out eventually. Ditto for the cartoon that went by the name of ‘Herman & Katnip’.

I absolutely loved Tom and Jerry as a kid, my kids adore them now and I’m pretty certain my grandkids will go gaga over the duo too!

Like they say, ‘Some relationships are like Tom and Jerry… They tease each other, knock down each other, irritate each other, but can’t live without each other!’