Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons and Cereal

A friend of mine sent me an image of a cereal box this morning in an email with amusement, the vision of which shot me back into my childhood years, when I looked ever so forward to waking up early on a Saturday morning, turning on our big, new RCA color television, and immersing myself into a good three hours of cartoons.

This was such a habit each Saturdays that my parents, who I once too often woke up by blasting the TV sound, eventually made a rule that I was to stay in my bed until 8:00am, after which time I was free to indulge my animated addictions.  I generally woke up at 6:30am, and then had to lie there waiting for the arms of my clock to crawl to 8:00am straight up.

And while in bed counting the hours and minutes, I routinely thought to myself, “Boy, when I’m old enough to live on my own, I’ll watch hours and hours of cartoons!  Who wouldn’t?”  Ah, how naïve I was not to realize that this was to be one of many passing phases in life, along with skateboarding, motocross bikes, and muscle cars (I still may not have gotten over that last one yet....and actually, seeing Coyote left holding a stick of dynamite about to explode with a dead-pan look at the camera will always make me laugh out load...so I guess I really haven't changed much).

As the early morning clock struck 8:00am, into the our big living room overlooking the Hollywood Hills I would go, turn on the TV and, while it warmed up to Christopher Glenn's, "In The News" segment, I would choose my cereal and milk.  Once armed, I would get myself settled well on the cushy white shag carpet and climb on top of our two over-sized gold room pillows with orange tassels on each corner; tassels that my dog Willie loved to pull out with her teeth to my mom’s dismay, and I would begin the day with friendly voices; companions unobtrusive, to put it into Geddy Lee lingo.

The interesting thing is that my parents allowed me to get myself pretty much any kind of cereal I wanted.   I was not much of a sugar junkie as a lot of the kids around me were.  I was definitely a child of moderation in that department.  Whether this was because my parents kept a candy bowl near the front door and I knew that sweets were always available for the taking, or because I had been so neglected of…well everything…before my adoption, that I never built up the appetite for sugary things to any great degree.  I don’t know the answer. 

But I do recall for instance that my family had a breadbox where I kept some of my smack items..  On one occasion during a trip, my parents bought me a very large gingerbread man cookie which I brought home to the breadbox.  Each afternoon, I opened the breadbox and ate just a little bit of it to conserve the cookie as long as I could.  So incrementally small were my daily gnaws on it in fact, that my mother finally one day just threw it out thinking that I hadn’t been eating any of it.  So much for what self-control gets you. 

The cereals I ate were mostly Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, Cheerios and on occasion Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes.   So clearly, I was not a junk food junkie; just a television cartoon junkie.  However, I LOVED the designs on the cereal boxes that were advertised on television and always enjoyed looking at the boxes in the supermarket isles when I was dragged with my mom shopping.

My favorites to look at were Frankenberry, Freakies, Count Chocula, and Lucky Charms.  I liked how graphic and colorful these designs were.  They were bold!  It’s like; all of the energy in the cereal had to be drawn in that one character on the front of the box, and then often splashed with a rainbow of colors.

And to me, cereal represented a one-stop energy meal.  That along with a few hours to myself of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, The Roadrunner, Foghorn Leghorn, Droopy, Snagglepuss ("Heavens to Murgatroyd!  Put'em up!  Put'em uuuup!  Exit, stage left even!") and plenty of other syndicated repeats before my parents were up.  Well, this was just childhood bliss!