LOS ANGELES, July 29, 2012 — While many adults find the Olympics boring because they are, children ignore the Olympics because they are not in cartoon form.
This is not a new phenomenon. Efforts to get my friend’s five-year-old to appreciate the Wall Street Journal program on Fox News have failed. Apparently it comes on the same time as something called “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
If network television executives want young people to watch a bunch of people run around and engage in unfamiliar “sports,” it needs to be animated. The solution is so simple that anybody with an I.Q. higher than a network television executive should figure it out.
Bring back the “Laff-A-Lympics.”
One of the great cartoons of all time, “Laff-A-Lympics” was sheer lunacy. It had cartoon characters of virtually every popular cartoon at the time competing in Olympic-style events.
Long before Miller Lite brought the world “Luge bowling,” “Full contact golf,” and “The great lawyer roundup,” it was the “Laff-A-Lympics” which combined the ridiculous with the inane to produce good, Olympic fun.
The three teams consisted of the Yogi Yahooies, the Scooby Doobies, and the Really Rottens. Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo were team captains, while the Rottens were led by Mumbly. Mumbly and Dred Baron were based on Dastardly and Muttly.
Other cartoon characters competing included Grape Ape, Captain Caveman, Dyno-Mutt (fearless, scareless, a little too careless) and Blue Falcon. Mildew Wolf and Snagglepuss (Exit, stage left) provided play by play and color commentary. They were even dressed like sports personnel wearing the appropriate jackets. Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble were guest judges long before “American Idol” tried that trick.
Kids even learned about corruption because every once in awhile the Rottens, despite cheating, would win. Usually they lost.
The original “Laff-A-Lympics” only lasted two seasons from 1977 to 1979, with only 24 total episodes produced. They have been rerun over the years as part of lengthy cartoon blocks, such as the USA Cartoon Express.
For those who complain that the characters are all American, there is nothing stopping host nations from offering their own version of “Laff-A-Lympics.” With London as the 2012 Olympics host, perhaps they could take their fine 1980s cartoon “Dangermouse” and create something similar.
Dangermouse (the incomparable) and Penfold (the incompetent) could be on one team with Colonel K. Villains Baron Silas Greenback and Stiletto could form another. A third team could be led by another British hero, “Bananaman.” As fun as “Dangermouse” was, every once in awhile the bad guys would win. Other bizarre villains included Count Duckula and J.J. Quark. Quark had a robot sidekick named Grovel who would fall to the ground and beg, “I’m sorry master” every time his name was called. A frustrated Quark would say, “Get up, Grovel,” and Grovel would quickly rise up and then collapse back down and beg for forgiveness.
There are so many gems out there, and the madcap adventures of “Laff-A-Lympics” and “Dangermouse” were every bit as bizarre as anything one would find at the real Olympics. One funny “Dangermouse” scene had a British Beefeater standing still as an actual gorilla yelled as gorillas tend to do. After the gorilla got frustrated and left, one Beefeater turned to the other, shrugged, and said, “Americans.”
The world is a crazy place, and cartoons are one of the last places where honesty still exists.
(This excludes adult cartoons such as “Family Guy” which traffic in vulgarity and filth.)
Bugs Bunny cartoons were very patriotic, and kids learned good values. Greedy Daffy Duck never got to keep the treasure. Wile E. Coyote never got to eat the Roadrunner.
Yet children watched these characters run, jump, and play all over the world. Isn’t that what the Olympics are supposed to be?
So bring back the best cartoons and show the kids the Olympics spirit. They have plenty of time as adults to realize the worthlessness of the Olympics. Let their childhood fantasy that these games have meaning be nurtured before some spoilsport adult (me) corrects them.
Let the kids have fun. Bring back the “Laff-A-Lympics.”
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.