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When Cartoons Were Real People

May 31, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Last weekend, I saw both Super and Kung Fu Panda 2 in the theater. 

As entertaining as it can apparently be to watch Rainn Wilson hit people with a pipe wrench, though, my favorite moviegoing experience of the weekend came while watching Kung Fu Panda.  (Which, I just want to point out, is a very strange sentence.)

So at one point in KFP2, the villain is preparing to do away with our hero, the panda.  The panda is standing on a distant rooftop, being heroic, and the villain's henchmen are aiming a cannon at him.  It was very dramatic, you see.  A hush fell over the audience...

...until a little boy in the theater yelled, "Run!  Panda, RUN!!!"

I can't do his cry justice.  This wasn't heckling.  The tone of his voice—everything in that movie was very real to that little boy.  And Kung Fu Panda needed to be warned, because there was a cannon aimed at him. It was just the sweetest thing in the world, just charming and innocent and uplifting.

I remember being that young, and thinking that maybe if I was at the right place at the right time I'd meet some of the Muppets and we'd be friends.  (But it turned out none of the Muppets lived in my school district.)  I also spent a lot of time wondering if they would have to cancel the Roadrunner show if the Coyote ever caught and ate him.  And I did wonder if they would show Coyote eating the Roadrunner in case he ever was successful.  It kept me up at nights.


Susan June 1, 2011 at 2:39 am
Ah, wonderful post. For me it was the Trix Bunny. That poor freakin' rabbit--I would cry over how close he got to getting the stupid multicolored cereal. I dreamed of gladly handing over my own bowl and fulfilling this poor, deprived bunny's life. I hated those commercials, and one stands out firmly in my mind as The One Where He Got So Close My Heart Broke At The End. Curse you General Mills! (Wow, I haven't thought of that in many, many years. :))
Steve Halter June 1, 2011 at 10:31 am
I remember that in 1969 we were moving on a Saturday. My main concern was to get a TV hooked up so that I could see what Scooby and the gang were doing. How would they last without me (~5 or 6) to watch them?
John Murphy June 2, 2011 at 10:08 am
Wile E. Coyote, eating the Roadrunner ... OK, it's spliced-together footage, but it is awfully gratifying to see, particularly after the lousy morning today has shaped up to be.
Melinda June 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm
I wish I had known you when you were little and wanted to be friends with the Muppets. That is so sweet. I think the only show I felt that passionate about was the Roy Rogers show. I was really little, but my parents fixed up a little fake saddle on the arm of this big armchair, and reins, and I would ride along on Roy and Dale's adventures. Yes, I have been horse crazy my whole life.
Scott Denning June 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm
if canine caught bird reason to watch would be gone. wise coyote, he.
Ian June 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm
Susan-- that reminds me (for some reason) of the Muppet Show episode where Alice Cooper tries to convince the Muppets to sell their souls, and only Gonzo agrees. That horrified me beyond belief. There were tears. Steve-- I'd be lying if I said my devotion to certain TV shows never reached that level after I was 5 or 6 years old... Besides, thanks to you, Scooby Doo had many years of adventures after that! John-- This is like a confirmation of all my childhood fears. And yet it's oddly cathartic. Melinda-- That is incredibly cute. I love the saddle on the armchair horse. Scott-- What did I tell you? Apocalyptic, man. lifelong goal achieved belly full; soul still restless feathers stuck in teeth
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