Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Cat Who Hated People
I spent the entire weekend snowed in with the girls, with one of them sick and me coming down with a cold myself. There was lots of imaginative play, where I accepted whatever roles I was assigned, some tossing and rolling of balls, lots of book reading, and endless time at Starfall, with a focus on building the five year old girl, her room ,and her elephant chasing jumping kitty. On the more highbrow side, there was a good deal of beating upon the new piano while standing on chairs to watch the hammers, a first chess lesson for Twin B (she won with her horse in around 9 moves — I cheated by neglecting to move my king out of check), a good deal of art in a variety of mediums, and lots of cuddle-time by the fireplace. And, of course, there was hour upon hour of cartoons on Youtube. This was my favorite.
This 1948 Tex Avery short comes out of what I've come to think of as the American noir period, where the war left people with a hard cynical edge that permeated popular culture. It opens with an alley cat who peers out of his box and says, in a voice reminiscent of Jimmy Durante, "People are no darn good. I hate people."
The voice is Paul Frees, a voice and character actor who, after a year of hospitalization, survived D-Day at Normandy. His vast credits include Santa in Frosty the Snowman, Boris Badenov on Rocky and Bullwinkle, and the Pillsbury Doughboy. This cartoon works for kids, but it's really for the war toughened adults that would spawn the baby boom generation. The scene where the cat gets diapered on the planet of dangerous inanimate objects works well for a time when nearly everyone had a baby or two at home and more on the way.