Friday, 14 October 2011

In this post, I continue to follow in the footsteps of Matt Groening

Another thing which frightened and/or disturbed me as a kid:

This picture of the wolf with his belly full of rocks in the ladybird edition of "The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids."

Thursday, 13 October 2011

"You keep using that word..."

How to play Downfall, Kid John V. version.

Load your counters in.
Then, begin! Tug at the wheels to get all your counters down to the trays at the bottom as quickly as possible, at the same time as your opponent is doing the same thing. Use brute strength to move the wheels the way *you* want them to move, while your opponent uses brute strength to do the same thing. And hurry up!

Yes, the link above says that you should take turns to move the wheels, and that's how parents and friends' parents told me I was supposed to play it, but I was unconvinced. For one thing, it didn't seem as much fun as my version. Also, the blurb on the box seemed to support my way of playing the game: it described it as a "strategy" game, and "strategy" quite obviously meant tugging at wheels trying to outdo your opponent. I guess I didn't really know what the word meant, and I was relying on the sound of the word - the "str" beginning must have sounded like "strength", "struggle" and "strain" to me.

That, and that's what I'd have *liked* it to mean.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Another face-changing reptile

From Bob Clampett's "The Bashful Buzzard" (1945) You won't like this dragon when he's angry. Not only does he suddenly grow himself some teeth, but his head changes shape and size! It's not like we actually see his head changing on-screen... but Beaky Buzzard doesn't recognise the "mean" face when the dragon starts growling at him (0:58-1:08), so we have to assume either a) the dragon's head changed off-screen or b) Clampett assumed his audience would forget that they and Beaky had seen the "turtle" face a few seconds ago. (0:25-0:45)

By the way, anyone know where those "bringing home a baby bumblebee" lyrics orginated? Apparently there's a girl guides / girl scouts song with the same tune and the same lyrics, followed by "I'm squishing up / licking up / bringing (or barfing) up / sweeping up my baby bumblebee"... I wonder if this version predates or postdates Clampett's use here.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The stuff we remember

I saw the Animaniacs segment "Bumbie's Mom" about 17 years ago. The plot is this: curmudgeonly veteran cartoon star Slappy Squirrel and her peppy nephew Skippy are watching the film "Bumbie, the Dearest Deer" (as you can imagine, it's a Bambi parody) and Skippy is traumatised by the mother's death. To cheer him up, Slappy takes Skippy to visit Vina Waleen, the deer woman who played the mother in the film.

Strangely enough, I only saw Bambi for the first time a couple of years ago - I had only known about it through osmosis before. It's interesting to compare the familiar parody with the unfamiliar original.

Specifically, the way the action is compressed. In the Animaniacs episode, the mother warns Bumbie that there is "no cover from the hunters" on the meadow, then, soon after, we hear a gunshot and Bumbie asks plaintively for his mother. (Cue Skippy bursting into tears) This is followed by the forest fire sequence, and Bumbie, still a fawn, calls again for his mother amid the burning trees.

That brief scene encapsulates what people remember about Bambi: Bambi is a baby deer, whose mother is shot by hunters, and there is a terrifying forest fire near the end. It was interesting, when finally seeing the film, to notice how much of a compression this is.

The part where Bambi's mother warns him about the hunters on the meadow comes long before she is shot by one... in fact, it's a completely different time of year. And, while the forest fire does follow from scenes where animals are in danger from hunters, it is even later... by which time Bambi is fully grown! He is also not still looking for his mother... in fact, I don't think his mother is even mentioned after the Prince (Bambi's father) tells him "Your mother can no longer be with you."

So, we have an amalgamation of three points in the film, separated by months or even years... concentrated into that one brief scene.