Thursday, April 20, 2006

Where No Cartoon Had Gone Before

There may be another reason, other than that the 2nd Star Wars Trilogy kind of sucks, that I, as I stated yesterday, prefer Cartoon Network's animated Clone Wars to any of the three most recent films. That reason is, quite simply, because it's a cartoon. I've always loved cartoons and any TV show or movie in animated format is far more likely to hold my attention than the very same story would in live action. The best example of this is the animated Star Trek.
When I was a kid, I didn't like Trek; in fact, I actively avoided watching it, even though my sister Pauline, only two years older than me, was already a fan and watched it every Saturday night. (It aired only once a week on Youngstown's Channel 27. And oddly enough, in all the years that the station ran Trek, they never once aired the episode "Friday's Child", and to this day I've only seen twice or maybe three times. Conversely, the episode "Wolf In The Fold" seemed to pop up about once every six weeks or so.) Actually, I tried to avoid anything that called itself "science fiction." Keep in mind that this was the early 1970's and I was a preschool aged child who was deathly afraid of spiders and snakes and that most of my experience with "science fiction" up 'til that point in my life had been Saturday afternoon TV showings of 1950's radioactive mutant films such as THEM!, about giant ants; It Came From Beneath The Sea, in which a giant octopus attacks the Golden Gate Bridge (at least I think it's the Golden Gate--I haven't seen the film in years), The Incredible Shrinking Man, in which a teeny tiny little man battles a comparatively huge freaking spider; and the 1953 version of War of the Worlds, with its creepy insect-like Martians, and you will understand why I shied away from any "science fiction" at all, including Trek. Heck, I avoided even the very definitely not-scary-at-all (but often incredibly damned goofy) Lost In Space.
Then came the fall of 1973 and the debut on NBC's Saturday morning line-up (back when the broadcast networks actually had real Saturday morning line-ups. CBS's "Saturday morning" shows used to last until 2 in the afternoon. But I'm getting off the subject; this is definitely a topic for an essay of its own.) of a Star Trek cartoon. Naturally, I watched it. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it and decided that maybe Trek, and possibly even the entire genre of "science fiction," wasn't so scary after all.
Sure, the show wasn't great, or even, for the most part, good, but it helped to open up new worlds of imagination for a seven year old child and for that it will always hold a very special place in my heart.

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