Yankee Doodle Duck
Life has been tough of late. Less tough for me than for the Houston branch of my family, but still, tough enough for me too. I was trying to think of something which contained within it, pure joy. I thought that seeing or thinking about something like that would lighten my mood. I started thinking on an old song from a Warner Brothers cartoon that Bugs Bunny used to sing (I thought). We now live in a world where anything you want to know is at the tip of your fingers. I googled the words I remembered from the song, and two hits popped up, both explaining to me that I had misremembered the lead in the particular cartoon I was thinking of. The cartoon was actually a Daffy Duck cartoon from 1943 called Yankee Doodle Duck. I probably saw it for the first time about 1955 or 1956 on Cartoon Carnival, an afternoon television show in Houston that was made up of old movie cartoons. Many of them produced by Warner Brothers.
Again, the world being what it is, I read a very thorough review, on line, of this cartoon and then turned to YouTube where I watched the whole thing. It lasted about six minutes. What a world we live in. A world where when you are down, you can watch a 65 year old Daffy Duck cartoon and laugh out loud like you were seeing it for the first time. The cartoon was made after Daffy had left his totally manic stage, but was still fairly undisciplined in his humor. The cartoon was not so much a story, as a series of gags with Daffy dressed up in different costumes of the day and singing songs, including a classic rendition of “I’m Just wild about Harry”. A great song ( even when sung by a lisping duck) that you don’t hear much anymore.
After the cartoon, I thought about the time it was made, right in the middle of World War II. I thought about how wonderful it must have been to get away from the constant news of death to go down to the theatre and see a movie, preceded by a Daffy Duck cartoon. Each era has its share of problems. They are never going to go away. Ten thousand people died last night in China in an earthquake. Maybe 100,000 died in the cyclone in Burma last week. Unthinkable horrors for not only the dead, but those who survived. Yet in the midst of constant sorrow on this earth, we always have that touch of hope that was left over in Pandora’s box after the troubles flew away. Sometimes that touch of hope is only a cartoon duck. But believe me, that’s better than no hope at all.