Attention must be paid to how crazy and awesome and bizarre the internet is.
This afternoon I was thinking about this cartoon I watched a million times as a kid. I couldn’t remember the name of it, or the characters’ names, or really the plot. (Good comprehension, right?) I know there was a girl, a parrot, a large scary bird I thought was called a cockatrice, and I thought the parrot had parcels and that was a thing. I was pretty sure it was taped off of tv, like so many of our movies were.
I kind of thought James Earl Jones might possibly be the narrator. So I googled “James Earl Jones narr” and it autofilled “narrator pbs” and I thought, yeah, that sounds right. Turns out James Earl Jones hosted a PBS show called Long Ago and Far Away, from 1989-1993. Golden years, seriously. Here’s the man himself, on a set that is so achingly familiar to me, even if this is only episode of this show I ever saw, and I haven’t thought about it in probably 15 years.
The episode in question is called “The Talking Parcel,” based on a book by Gerald Durrell. It features the characters I remember, and is available for viewing on youtube. It’s trippy for several reasons: the familiarity of the animation, the 80s style of the animation, and the speed with which I went from vague memory to watching it. Under two minutes.
I just wanted to point this out, that the world is impressive and the internet is magical, even if it seems sometimes like it’s going to be our downfall. Even if this isn’t useful information to anyone. It was just a pleasant Tuesday night diversion.
We had a LOT of things taped off of tv. Now I wonder if I could find some more of them. I know a bunch of stuff is available on youtube: The Mouse and His Child (from the 70s…talk about trippy animated films…), Rupert and the Frog Song (1984…and I just realized it’s written and produced by Paul McCartney! weird!), and Halloween is Grinch Night (1977). It’s funny that we watched all these things that were super scary to me then, but now I worry about my 4 year old watching Dumbledore die in a clean, bloodless, slow motion fall.
There is one more little cartoon I haven’t yet been able to find. I’m not really sure how to search for it. It’s pretty questionable, and by questionable I mean racist, so my googling hasn’t returned anything useful. I’m going to keep trying though. It’s important to rebuild your childhood tv memories. Even if you can never show them to your own children.