…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 47)

What in the world is Mr. Spacely doing here?!  He just can’t leave George Jetson and his family alone to enjoy their visit to Sun City Peachtree.

Cosmo G. Spacely, George’s boss, is a real piece of work!  This is the guy who owns Spacely Space Sprockets where George works.  He’s always yelling at George for one thing or another, because he thinks his employee is not doing a good job.  Typically, he’ll videophone George and start the conversation by yelling, “JETSON!!” at the top of his lungs.  Sheesh.

This guy is a greedy dude, too.  Driven by the almighty buck, he is so obsessed with profit he was prepared to see the Jetson family buried alive under rubble and the total destruction of the Grungee’s homeworld, just so Spacely Sprockets could reach its 1,000,000th sprocket milestone.  Only when confronted by George and under extreme duress does he back off.  (By the way, in case you missed seeing The Jetsons, Grungees are a race of furry alien creatures.)

Not only does Spacely regularly verbally assault George at work, but he also finds excuses to get involved in George’s personal life, increasing poor George’s already high stress level. Spacely is constantly yelling “You’re Fired!!” to George for the slightest offense.

Rosie the Robot has no use for Mr. Spacely and does her best to come to George’s defense.  In the pilot episode, the robot clobbered Spacely with a pineapple upside-down cake!  You go, girl (uhhh, robot!)!

A bit about Mr. Spacely’s personal life, the short, rotund tyrant with the 3-hair combover is married to the snooty Mrs. Stella Spacely.  She henpecks at her husband unmercifully, so perhaps that’s the reason Mr. Spacely projects that onto poor George.

The couple have a son Arthur, and he has a pet dog named Zero.  His mother-in-law is Mrs. Meltdown.

During the 1980’s, Spacely constantly turned things into competition between his family and the Jetsons, and that didn’t sit too well with George’s wife, Jane.  No wonder why she stormed off from the Sun City Peachtree bench when she saw Cosmo Spacely coming!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 40)

Daffy Duck is back, and he brought along his rival and best pal Buggs Bunny this time!  The duck last visited our Sun City Peachtree bench on May 30th,

Now that you know quite a bit about Daffy, here’s the 4-1-1 on Buggs:

The carrot-chomping, white glove-wearing, gray and white rabbit is best known for his starring roles in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated short films, produced by Warner Bros.  His debut dates back to 1940 in director Tex Avery’s Oscar-nominated film A Wild Hare.  Mel Blanc was the rabbit’s voice until 1989.

The buck-toothed trickster has quite the flippant personality, and he really doesn’t much care about anything or anybody.  Buggs is best known for his catch phrase, “Eh…What’s up, doc?”  It is, of course, asked in his typically aloof manner. 

Buggs is the master of disguise and can wear any get-up to confuse his enemies.  He fooled Taz, Elmer Fudd, and Yosemite Sam with his sexy female bunny disguise; however, Daffy wasn’t fooled at all by his pal.

Once in a while Buggs will upstage Porky Pig who typically brings Warner Bros. cartoons to a close by bursting through a drum and stuttering, “Th-Th-Th-That’s all, folks!”  Buggs, instead, will burst through the drum, munch on his carrot, and say in his Bronx-Brooklyn accent, “And dat’s de end!”

Buggs Bunny has become so popular that he has appeared in more films than any other cartoon character.  He even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!  In addition, the flippant rabbit has appeared in comics, video games, award shows, amusement park rides, and commercials.  Warner Bros. made the bunny their mascot as a result of all that fame.

This is one of my favorite Buggs Bunny quotes: “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive!”

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 31)

It’s the PIG!  Porky Pig!

The stuttering pig followed this sombrero-wearing parrot with no name, no known history, no cartoon, no nothin’.  His claim to fame is appearing as clip art, which I discovered in a Google search.  He’s a cutie, though, and I’m guessing he has crossed paths with Yosemite Sam in Mexico.

Back to Porky, the pig has been around since 1935, courtesy of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Cartoons.  He is the oldest continuing Looney Tunes character, due to his popularity.

The plump pig was named after creator, Friz Freleng’s childhood classmates who were nicknamed, “Porky” and “Piggy.” 

Porky’s stutter is his most recognizable trait, and he shared it with his first voice actor, Joe Dougherty, who actually stuttered.  Because Dougherty couldn’t control his stutter, however, production costs became too high as his recording sessions took hours.  Porky’s additional lines were given to Count Cutelli, instead, and then Mel Blanc took over Dougherty’s job in 1937.  He voiced Porky until his death in 1989.

Blanc added an interesting comedic twist to Porky Pig’s stutter.  He had Porky stumbling over a simple word only to substitute a longer word without difficulty. 

Porky’s stutter was featured in a Warner Bros. blooper reel, in 1938, and was shown during the Warner Bros. 50th Anniversary TV Show.  In the short black-and-white film, Porky is doing some carpentry work, pounding nails when he smacks his thumb with the hammer.  Grimacing in pain, he cries “Oh, son of a bi-bi, son of a bi-bi, son of a bi-bi-bi-… gun!  He then turns to the camera and says, “Ha-ha-ha!  You thought I was going to say ‘s-s-son of a bitch’, didn’t ya?!

Well, friends, Th-Th-Th-That’s all folks!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 25)

Mr. Romance is on the scene lookin’ for love and stinkin’ up the place!  Yes, it’s Pepé Le Pew, the stinky (Peeeewwww!) skunk on the prowl for Penelope Pussycat.  (Don’t tell Pepé that Penelope isn’t really a skunk.  She got that white stripe from walking under a freshy painted white fence!).

The thing is, Pepé’s foul odor is so bad, any victim of his pursuit high-tails it out of his way.  Pepé’s such a narcissist, though, that he just hasn’t caught on to the problem of his presence.  He thinks Penelope is lucky to be the object of his affections! 

Pepé sure gets around, the world traveler that he is.  He has visited Paris in the springtime (of course; he’s French!), the Matterhorn, and the little village of N’est-ce Pas in the French Alps.  The romantic skunk has also traveled to Algiers and the Sahara Desert.

The foul-smelling Pepe has been pursuing Penelope since he was created for Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Cartoons by animation director Chuck Jones, in 1945.  He was voiced by Mel Blanc for 44 years! 

Jones said the skunk’s personality is loosely based on Termite Terrace writer Ted Pierce, Jones’s colleague.  Evidently, Pierce was quite the narcissistic ladies’ man who assumed his infatuations were reciprocated. 

Pepé Le Pew is definitely not the most popular of the Looney Tunes characters.  His antics have been criticized for normalizing rape culture and perpetuating stereotypes of French culture.  Amber E. George, in her 2017 essay “Pride or Prejudice? Exploring Issues of Queerness, Speciesism, and Disability in Warner Bros. Looney Tunes,” describes Pepé’s actions towards Penelope Pussycat as “sexual harassment, stalking, and abuse” and noted that Pepé’s qualities mock the French people and their culture.  For these reasons, the narcissistic skunk is not my favorite character either.  He reminds me too much of #45…

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 24)

BEEP BEEP!  It’s Road Runner speeding in on foot(???) to Sun City Peachtree!  We’ve had all sorts of birds visit us by air and land:  We’ve had a hummingbird, a toucan, a penguin (which is classified in zoological terms as a bird), yellow bird of unknown species (Woodstock), a yellow canary (Tweety), a duck (Daffy) who waddled in, and even an owl sneaked in under the cover of night.  This time, it’s the Greater Roadrunner species making his way here from the southwest desert.

Debuting in 1949 in Fast and Furry-ous, Road Runner has been portrayed by three different people—Mel Blanc being the most famous.

Of all the characters Mel Blanc has voiced, Road Runner was the easiest.  The only thing Road Runner ever says is “Beep Beep,” which really sounds more like “Meep Meep” to me.

Like the other Looney Tunes Cartoons, there is a protagonist and an adversary.  In this case., Road Runner’s adversary is Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner always gets the best of him.  In the end, Coyote always ends up looking like a fool and making us all laugh.

Chuck Jones based Coyote on Mark Twain’s book, Roughing It, in which Twain described the coyote as “a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton” that is “a living, breathing allegory of Want.  He is always hungry.”  Jones said he created the Coyote-Road Runner cartoons as a parody of traditional “cat and mouse” cartoons such as MGM’s Tom and Jerry.  In this case the always-hungry Wile E. Coyote is always trying to make a meal out of Road Runner.

Wile E. Coyote’s name is a pun on the word “wily.”  The “E” stands for “Ethelbert” in one issue of a Looney Tunes comic book.

In his book Chuck Amuck: The Life & Times of an Animated Cartoonist, Chuck Jones claimed that he and the animators behind the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons adhered to some strict rules.  As it turned out, though, some of those “strict rules” were broken from time to time.  The following are a few of the eleven rules that were never broken:

3.  The Coyote could stop at any time—if he wasn’t a fanatic.

6.  All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters—the southwest American desert.

8.  Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy (e.g., falling off a cliff.)

9.  The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

10.  The audience’s sympathy must always remain with the Coyote.

In a 1971 interview with Michael Barrier years after the series was made, Michael Maltese said he had never heard of the “Rules,” and he was the writer for the series!

Road Runner will now be making his way back to the desert, so if you are out on the road, watch out for him!  MEEP MEEP!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 23)

I’m not sure if he flew in or waddled his way up onto the bench, but Daffy Duck has paid us a Sunday visit, here at Sun City Peachtree.  Perhaps he was looking for Tweety and Sylvester.  Sorry, pal, you missed ‘em!

Daffy Duck is another one of Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes characters; and, a character he is!  Although he is Bugs Bunny’s rival, he has occasionally been the rabbit’s best friend, too. 

Born in 1937, the feisty black-feathered duck was quite the star, appearing in 130 shorts.  He was ranked #14 on TV Guide’s list of Top 50 best cartoon characters of all time and appeared on the cover. 

Daffy had quite the attitude.  Assertive and combative, he was a protagonist that had everybody talking after seeing him on the screen.  A star was born!

There was some speculation back in the day about how Daffy got that lisp.  One story that made the rounds was that Daffy’s voice was modeled after producer Leon Schlesinger’s tendency to lisp.  Mel Blanc, the voice of Daffy Duck, poked a hole in that theory saying, “It seemed to me that such an extended mandible would hinder his speech, particularly words containing an s sound.  Thus “despicable” became “dethpicable.”

Mel Blanc had a lot of practice with that lisp.  At one point, his voice for Daffy held the world record for the longest voice-acting of one animated character by his original voice actor: 52 years, just breaking Donald Duck’s 51-year streak by Clarence Nash.  Both records were broken by June Foray, the voice for Rocky the Flying Squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle, which lasted for 55 years.

Who will be next to occupy the bench?  Will it be Daffy’s sometimes-rival, sometimes-best friend, Bugs Bunny?  Will it be Porky Pig??  Elmer Fudd???  If it’s Elmer, he’ll sure be on the lookout for Bugs!  Stay tuned to see who’s next!  The plot thickens…

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 22)

Sylvester is on the prowl!  He looks quite fed up, too.  Tweety has escaped the feline’s claws with every attempt at capture, but the yellow canary always gets away.  I have to hand it to Granny’s proud cat, though; her whiskered pet never gives up. 

As I mentioned in my last post, Tweety always wins any battle with Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr., the Tuxedo cat who appears in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.  As a matter of fact, he appears in a lot of them– a whopping 103 Warner Bros. flicks.  Between 1945 and 1966, he was quite the popular cat on the screen. 

In addition to his attempts at making a meal of Tweety, Sylvester is best known for his sloppy lisp.  In the cartoon, Tweety, Tweety, Tweety, this exchange takes place between Tweety and Sylvester:

Tweety: “I wonder where that puddy tat went to?”  Sylvester [swinging on a wooden swing, flattened by a rock crusher]: “Does thith anthwer your question?”

About that name, “Sylvester,” is a pun on silvestris, the scientific name for the wild cat, the ancestor of domestic cats.

Interestingly, Sylvester’s many different cartoon directors put their own spin on the cat’s personality.  Friz Freleng is the one who directed Sylvester’s first appearance with Tweety in Tweety Pie; and it was the beginning of Sylvester’s desire to capture and munch on his little yellow-feathered enemy.   

When Bob Clampett got a hold of him in 1946’s, Kitty Kornered, Sylvester was one of Porky Pig’s pet cats and looked nothing like he does with Tweety.  He was voiced by Mel Blanc, though, so he sounded just like you remember.

Next up was Arthur Davis who gave Sylvester two completely different personalities.  In Doggone Cats, the feline was a trickster troublemaker who didn’t speak.  He spoke with a dopey voice, in Catch as Cats Can, though, and had a dopey personality to match. 

Robert McKimson paired Sylvester up with a silent baby kangaroo named “Hippity Hopper,” and then later with his son “Sylvester Junior,” where he unsuccessfully tried to raise the kitty to be a real cat.  Lastly, Sylvester and Speedy Gonzales were paired up together.

Finally, Chuck Jones put his spin on the black and white feline.  This is when he was paired up with Porky Pig in three horror-themed cartoons.

Looking back over Sylvester’s career, that cat really did have nine lives!  His appearance changed, his voice morphed, and his personality went in all sorts of directions.  That was one busy feline!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 13)

Well, look who flew in to pay us a visit at Sun City Peachtree!  It’s Toucan Sam (a.k.a. the Froot Loops mascot)!  I wonder if he was looking for Woodstock…  Marcie and Frieda are hanging out on other benches in the community; however, the rest of The Peanuts Gang has gone off to play somewhere else. 

Meanwhile, Toucan Sam, sans his bowl of Froot Loops, looks happy to be here!  Why not?  It’s a beautiful day, the azaleas are blooming crazy all over the community, and it couldn’t be prettier.

Some of you may not know who Toucan Sam is, but I saw plenty of him on our breakfast table, thanks to my brother who was a Froot Loops fan.  Not me; I was a Cocoa Puffs girl, until I grew up and realized that I was putting a lot of empty calories in my gut to start off the day.

Toucan Sam has been around for a while, and he is almost as old as I am!  He’s 58 years old, and he still has as good of a nose for sniffing out a bowl of Froot Loops as I do for chocolate.  “Follow your nose!  It always knows!” is what he used to always say.

Now, here’s a bit of trivia I’ll bet you didn’t know about the colorful bird:  In commercials, Toucan Sam was voiced by Mel Blanc, best known as the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig.

How about those colorful stripes on his beak?  Back in the 1970s, each stripe represented the flavors of Froot Loops cereal:  cherry (red), lemon (yellow), and orange.

Last year, Kellogg’s changed the look of Toucan Sam to a neon-colored bird with a six-colored beak, to represent the six colors of the current Froot Loops cereal.  Big mistake; all hell broke loose!  The hate mail that followed was relentless.  Artists even took it upon themselves to improve (or, in some cases, not) on the new look and post their artwork on social media.

I would have to agree with that negative feedback.  I liked Toucan Sam just the way he was.