A few days ago, my husband and I were on the parking lot at my work place. I phoned him to come from home and now we were looking at my flat tire. I have never changed a flat tire, but that didn’t stop me from analyzing the situation. My husband shot me a tender zinger with, “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here, Baba Louie.”
My husband had quoted Quick Draw McGraw. It surely has been decades since I watched Quick Draw. I may have watched the show only a half dozen times, but I knew exactly what my husband meant when he said he’d “do the thinnin’ around here.”
Cartoons, or more accurately speaking, television animation permeates our culture. Whether from Yogi Bear looking for a “pic-a-nic basket” or Homer Simpson lovingly wooing a donut, television animation imbues vocabulary, imagery, humour, value systems, you name it. It colours much of what we think, say and do.
A Winnipeg historian is poised to explain the phenomenon of television animation. David Perlmutter will launch America Toons In: A History of Television Animation in the Atrium at Grant Park at 7:30 on June 24. Perlmutter says no one else has discussed the topic as “truly objective, academic scholarship.” He is about to do so.
The 33-year-old Perlmutter focused his master’s thesis in history on television animation in the US from 1948 to the present. He says television animation is “one of the few genres that continues to exist and evolve within the foundation of TV.”
Inspired by animation historians and critics like Leonard Maltin (Of Mice and Magic), Jerry Beck, Hal Erickson, Paul Wells and Maureen Furniss, Perlmutter also admires Winnipeg’s John Einarson, an expert in modern music history. He says Einarson is “an example of a popular culture historian based in Winnipeg.”
Perlmutter chose McFarland and Company to publish the book because he feels the company is “committed to producing ground-breaking works of scholarship in popular culture [and has] greatly shaped the way people can view popular culture in serious terms.”
Considering some of the longest running sitcoms in TV history are animated shows — The Simpsons is number 1 and South Park is number 3 — television animation has proven to be a pillar of pop culture.
What does Perlmutter say about Quick Draw McGraw? He says the program “showed the strengths of the Hanna-Barbera organization . . . during its late 50s – early 60s heyday. Like most studios’ product at that time, it holds up remarkably well, and deserves to be more widely revived.”
Well, Quick Draw’s persona lives on in our house. That’s a fact. And, crossing my fingers, I won’t be fixing a flat tire on June 24. I’ll be at the book launch to learn more. For now, here’s Baba Louie signing off.