What Makes a Cartoon Classic?

For your entertainment and enlightenment, I am interrupting our regular posting schedule to provide a look at a classic cartoon (via YouTube).

What makes a cartoon a classic, besides the obvious fact that it’s old?

Writer’s prompt: Watch this cartoon (or you can fast forward through it if you don’t have time to watch all of it).

  1. What classic elements does it contain?
  2. Can you guess the era?
  3. Is there a message?

Remember: Completing one of our Writing Prompts gains you an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

When Cartoons Went Primetime

Tammy

by Tammy Trail

As a kid growing up with only four television channels, I don’t remember my parents having to pay attention to what we watched on the tube. The Peanuts gang was the first cartoon I remember watching that wasn’t part of a Saturday morning lineup.

Then about the time I entered junior high there was an animated program called, “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home.” It surrounded around the antics of an average family who allowed Dad to feel like he was in charge, most of the time. It was meant to be a comedy, the laugh tracks let us know when the funny parts took place. Later on when cable television came along the prime time cartoons took a sinister turn.

That’s just my opinion mind you, but I don’t appreciate “The Simpsons” like some people do. One description of “The Simpsons” is that its a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Mark Groening created a dysfunctional family based on members of his own family, he just changed the names to protect the innocent. It has also been argued that it represents a more realistic view of life than “The Cosby Show” where Dad fixed everything before the end of the episode. Time magazine also named it the best television series of the 20th century.

I tend not to agree. I don’t embrace the use of humor to make fun of anyone because the way they live their life is different than my own. I get that satire can be used to show misguided or weak tendencies in society. Adult humor and situations  are just not the stuff for kids.

Unfortunately, there are children who watch this show for entertainment because it’s a “cartoon.” My first experience with foster care brought this straight into my home. These kiddos had no boundaries given to them as to what was appropriate television viewing for children. They were very upset when I explained that we don’t watch “South Park, Family Guy, or The Simpsons” in our home. Heck, we don’t even have cable television. I still remember their reactions, you would have thought I had taken away their birthdays! TomandJerryTitleCardc

There are even some cartoons out there today for kids that I don’t think are worth taking the time to watch. Even some of the animated movies have included some adult humor to appeal to parents that sit through a show with little ones. Why can’t we just let kids be kids? I had to explain that just because the program is a cartoon doesn’t mean it is meant to be seen by kids, or that it’s good. Some adults may need to learn the same lesson. I really do miss Tom and Jerry!

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

DSC_0061Writing Prompt: It’s a picture prompt!

Use your imagination and

write a sentence or short paragraph

about this picture.

Have fun!

Cartoons: Markers of My Life

by guest blogger, Julie Arduini

One of my favorite memories is hearing my dad laugh at cartoons. He always got a kick out of Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry. Together we’d watch Scooby Doo, the original, not the annoying episodes with Scrappy. We’d wait for the iconic line, “If it weren’t for you meddling kids I would have gotten away with it!” My dad’s been gone for over ten years and I hold those memories close. We really laughed a lot together over those television shows.

51dxXZR3ucL._AA160_As a young adult, there were two Disney movies that were my escape. I was trying to find my place, no longer a little girl but a little insecure trying to define myself as a woman. Watching Ariel in The Little Mermaid and Belle in Beauty and Beast continue to take me back to my college days when I see them on TV. I watched these movies until the tape warped and still linger when I see they are playing on television. Prince Eric seemed so “dreamy” and with my writer’s imagination, I could relate to Ariel and her pondering what life must be like on dry land. Belle captured my heart because she loved books as much as I did. She didn’t put up with shenanigans, not from Gaston, not from the Beast. Both movies were full of romance, something I yearned for in those transitioning years.

Now that I’m a parent, we still talk about cartoons, even though the kids are older. One of my favorite times with our son was when we visited the Children’s Museum in Rochester, NY and enjoyed the Arthur exhibit. Although he watched the show based on Marc Brown books, I was probably the one most entertained. I loved that little glasses wearing aardvark. As the oldest sibling, I could relate to Arthur having a DW in his life. Our son is a lot like Arthur. The librarian’s name was Page Turner, if I remember right. I can still sing “Having Fun Isn’t Hard when You Have Your Library Card.” Like the Disney movies from my college years, we wore out the VHS tape from Arthur’s Christmas movie. I can still see our then two year old collapsing into laughter when the bossy Muffy demands to know why Francine wasn’t at her Christmas party.

51WK33Wg9dL._PI_PJStripe-Prime-Only-500px,TopLeft,0,0_AA160_As a mom I observed cartoons that I wished I could have muted or obliterated altogether. By then I knew writing was somehow part of my life but unsure how to start. To see that the creator of Teletubbies or Spongebob were making millions while I tried to find anyone interested in my work was aggravating. My husband and I felt Bob the Builder was a kiddie soap opera as we waited for the day when Bob would ask Wendy to be his girlfriend. We cringed whenever Kipper came on, or Max and Ruby. They were happy memories for the kids, but drove us parents crazy.

Even last night we were talking about a series of cartoons that bonded us even closer as a family. We had young children during the VeggieTale season of “Where is My Hairbrush” and “Song of the Cebu.” Even my then teenaged step children couldn’t control the laughter over Cebu when they would visit. I learned as much about the Bible from those videos than I did reading back then. I’ve caught my husband watching the old ones off Netflix purely for the nostalgia.

For many these shows might seem like mindless animation, but for me, they represent markers in my life. Fun times with my dad. College memories. Times as a parent. Cartoons I loved. Shows we didn’t enjoy at all. Ones we still talk about. A lot of these shows are mentioned in baby books—my own and our children’s.

Writers Prompt: How about you? Do you think of cartoons this way? What ones do you remember, and why?

melodylodgekoct132_editedJulie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with 5 other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is the contributing fiction editor for the new digital magazine, Imaginate. She also collaborates with fellow authors at Write Integrity Press on novellas like The Love Boat Bachelor and its sequel. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedJenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

– See more at: http://juliearduini.com/books

Buy Links for Entrusted:

Amazon          CBD.com

Barnes and Noble

A Writer’s Creativity and Snoopy

snoopy dancePeanuts. Charlie Brown. Linus. Woodstock. A blanket. A dog house.

Snoopy.

I have to credit part of my creativity in my writing and life to Snoopy. Yep, the lovable beagle with the “I can do” attitude inspired me then and continues today.

As a child and into my teenage years, I loved to draw and write. I enjoyed doodling cartoons, especially Snoopy. I sketched on my closet door, my notebooks, and poster board; wherever I could spread my creative bent and get away with it.

And I wrote stories about dogs, cats, ghosts, and family, then graduated to mysteries with characters my own age who looked and acted a lot like me.

draw snoopyI kept writing and drawing.

In college, I studied art, but enjoyed the writing I did in my English classes. Snoopy stayed with me when I left college to marry, have children, and raise a family. My creativity spread to all sorts of needlework and crafts, then to cake decorating. The last birthday cake I made my dad before he died had…you guessed it…Snoopy on it.

Now I share Snoopy posts on Facebook. Why?

I guess somewhere deep inside is that insecure child whose father was sick and in a wheelchair throughout my childhood. I related to Peanuts; their struggles and their victories. The confident little beagle who flew his dog house, fought the Red Baron, and loved Charlie Brown inspired me. Maybe if Snoopy and Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty could make it, I could too.snoopy flying

Thanks Snoopy!

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via comments.

Writing Prompt: Write a few sentences about a cartoon from your childhood that remains with you today. Let your emotion flow freely as you remember and write.

March’s Parade of Comics and Cartoons

By Karen Jurgens

Garfield

This month we will be discussing ideas from comics and cartoons to add to your writing files. How do those entertaining “funnies” inspire us? After I had done research on this topic, I discovered a recurring theme that threads them together. They’re merely snippets and capsules of those literary terms we learned in English class, which we weave through our own writing creations.

Hulk

Let’s begin with the ten greatest comic book artists of all time. Did you know that everything from action blockbusters to The Lego Movie has had its origin in comics? The Amazing Spider-Man, Powerman (from which the iconic Joker in Batman originates), Giant Size Hulk, Astro Boy, Iron Man, The Twilight Zone, and Captain America are examples of the best-known, flying off the printed page and onto the big screen at the movie theater and at home. You can read all about them HERE.

Cartoons and animated movies are popular on both the web and TV, and a great way to entertain children of all ages. Back in my childhood days, we had cartoons only on TV (does anyone remember the sing-along songs with the bouncing ball?), and we had the comics in the daily newspaper. I especially looked forward to the Sunday edition, which was pages long and in color. I followed my favorites over the years—from Dennis the Menace to Blondie, and Peanuts to Garfield.

Cathy weblogs.balt

The award for my all-time favorite cartoon goes to Cathy…a single, self-supporting female who always struggled to stay on a diet. The funniest strip involved a talking scale that she couldn’t resist stepping on (you might have also had that scale, like I did, back in the 90’s). After she had stressed all that day to find the perfect slimming outfit to wear to a party, she arrived looking gorgeous. Exiting to powder her nose, everyone in the room heard the scale announce—in its booming computer voice—your weight is 145 pounds. How could she face her friends after that? Just remembering her shocked embarrassment still makes me laugh.

Cartoons, however, aren’t penciled just for children…political and editorial cartoons are widespread and have a huge adult following. They embody satire, paradox, irony, allegory, metaphor, and hyperbole, which are brilliantly expressed through their artwork and concise words—and are sometimes communicated just in the drawings alone. You can find them on various websites and in magazines like The New Yorker, U.S. World & News Report, and Reader’s Digest.

Interested in creating your own comic? I actually found a website with step-by-step instructions for exactly how to do it. Click HERE to explore the possibilities. I have always wondered why I never saw a comic strip about a teacher and the funny situations they all face in school every day (hmm, I’ll have to think about that one…). Who knows? Perhaps you can even translate your own experiences into the next great comic strip or cartoon.

In the meantime, we can learn a lot as we laugh our way through the illustrations and animated drawings that inspire creativity to use in our own writing. I hope you enjoy this month’s treasure chest of inspiration and fun.

treasure chest  comics everything4less

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt:  If I could create a cartoon or comic strip, it would be…

Photos courtesy of everything4less, Webblogs.balt