Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Psychedelic Youth

Looking back on my childhood, I am struck by how trippy children's programming was. It certainly was eye catching. The first example I want to show is from a preachy, moralizing cartoon I remember seeing every saturday morning. I think they used it as filler between regular programming. It was called "Jot" and it mainly gave these moral lessons. The format was simple--Jot (a dot with a face and feet)would commit some moral transgression, things get all trippy, Jot repents, Jot feels better.


It's enough to make a kid swear off cupcakes forever.

In this next one, Jot is tempted by some sort of Noisy Windmill toy. Perhaps it was part of some Man of La Mancha action figure set. That is not really made clear. He steals the aformentioned toy and with it he levitates to his lair in a treehouse. It is at this point that his enjoyment of his stolen goods is complicated by the fact that he begins hallucinating that the toy is speaking to him, whispering the 8th Commandment over and over. The toy seems broken and unattractive.

He repents and returns the toy, at which point the toy seems desireable again.

It is hard not to covet when the world works this way. Thief's remorse I suppose.

Next up is a clip from a children's special called "The Point". It's a sort of allegorical bildungsroman with music by Harry Nilson and narrated by Ringo. Main character Oblio lives in a land where everyone has a pointed head. His is decidedly round. He dons a pointed hat and goes in search of "a point". In this clip, he is given life lessons by a hipster.

Kinda get the munchies just watching that don't you?

In the early to mid seventies, Saturday morning children's programming was dominated by two main forces: Hanna Barbera, and Sid and Marty Krofft. They seemed to be competing to determine who could develop the most acid-inspired programming. Consider the following from Hanna Barbera.And now from the competition. Can this be anything other than a pot song?We were also tantalized by the Beatles and Peter Max from time to time--but this usually took the form of a prime time special. Here are the Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine:

But perhaps the classic mind blower of all for kids my age was this piece of magic:Combine all of this with the toy we all grew up with--the toy that made disorientation fun--that associated dizziness and playtime--that equates an inability to walk with pure, unadulterated joy. What could it be, you ask?

Why, this of course:

What a strange place the world is.


Fosco Gamgee Whitfurrows said...

For waht its worth, the na na na part of the Banana Splits theme song is a direct rip off of Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley. Possible further proof children's programming was intended to program the children.

I-hop said...

"the Point" is hilarious. it seems like i have seen that before.
Did your generation have "Fraggle Rock"? i know that was big during my childhood.