Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Death in the Family

Life goes on a different phase when you realize that you don't look around for the people before you to see who has gone, but to find out those who are still around.

I had one of these long-chats over Gmail with my buddy Des and he has remarked how the dynamics between our generation and our parents has changed. It isn't that we didn't worry about them before, but now we worry about them as if they needed someone to mind them all the time. Like children.

Still, some things of our lives I wish wouldn't ever change. Now like how Archie has never gotten out of adolescence (we-ell, he did graduate from Riverdale High and has gone to Riverdale University), or how Beetle Bailey has gone through major periods of conflict - 'Nam, Iran/Iraq, Nicaragua/Grenada, Operation Desert Storm, Somalia part 1 (will part 2 come next?), Afghanistan, Operation Desert Eagle - without so much as getting deployed and having his head shot off? I can take Garfield - he must be on his third or fourth life now, but Jon staying ageless and single? (small voice: Oh, but he can, now, Chief, just like you! LOL!)

Which is why the recent passing of creative force Iwao Takamoto just on the heels of the passing of Joe Barbera, has given me some pause.

I grew up on HB Cartoons - as a kid, I lapped them all up, including those of other animation companies, and of course, the Japanese ones. Each highlight in my childhood would be marked by a memorable cartoon or TV show. And, there at the end of each show, the names of Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, the Spears-Ruby tandem, Iwao Takamoto were familiar, as were the other names of Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Mel Blanc. I even learned to listen to the voice artists and see which ones sounded the same.

They were the names from my childhood, and as they leave the face of this earth, I am reminded of how well past that time of wonder and innocence has passed, and how more urgently must I make new memories.

The mecha animes were the frontline favorites - but the dictatorship saw them as challenges, and proscribed them. I was in second grade when we passed the time away even as our parents feared that Skylab, its orbital route decaying, would crash into the Philippines (the millennials had a field day talking about the end of the world). But Saturday Fun Machine (God bless you RPN 9, you were The Undisputed Leader then) was showing from 8:00 am (following Herbert W. Armstrong's ministry) and everything in the world was well...

Breakfasts were served with the weekly "sermon" from our Mom (the house was always in bad shape for some reason, and yet it still stands today), and then when she was gone, my brother and I would shirk our chores for the most part, or else do them quickly after the shows were over. When "The Great Space Coaster" was on it was time to shovel the food down quickly or else you'll miss "The Lone Ranger."

If chores had to be done, I always begged to see "Zorro" or "Blackstar" even though they showed re-runs (mostly, they were). "Super Six" was a letdown but it had a really funny soundtrack, and then the "Superfriends" took center stage, with the new Space Ghost/Herculoids combo also grabbing some attention...

"Scooby Doo" was always a fixture because he was the most popular crossover (Scooby Doo's Laff-a-Lympics), aside from him having his own show. Scooby was on the daily late afternoon shows, he was on weekends, and at times the Machine would break out a special. I always hated Scrappy though, but Scooby was cool. He was the guy you'd love to hang around with, though he was a dog. You could pick on him and he won't mind, and in the end, he would deliver in the clutch. Scooby was part of my generation's consciousness, and the gang found its own analogs among our friends (that's why I've always hated being the nerd, because that meant being Velma, and no way would I want to be the girl! Shoot, we can have a discussion why smart women tend to get picked on, while Daphne will always grab men's attention. But I digress...)

It was bad when the Machine cut itself to two parts and just made room for noontime's "Eat Bulaga" and its early afternoon soap companion, and though the afternoon toons often sucked (the Archie adaptations lost a lot of edge, and worse, played Archie straight while Reggie was the goofball), I kept on lapping them up.

Yellow Fever came during the latter part of grade school and the guys were addicted to The Transformers, and it rankled that it had to be shown on the same time as the Tuesday night basketball game. We had a lone color TV set, and since viewing Optimus Prime in action was a must in full color, pissing off the old man, who I believe up to now was one of the most tolerant people on earth, was also, by that token, a must-do as well. There was He-Man too, but I couldn't stand it that the people showed no nipples.

High school came and though girls became a lot more interesting, I never lost my love for animated shows and children's shows.

Even as an adult, I never tire of seeing them.

And now, the soul of Scooby Doo, just as distinctive as the voice actors who portrayed him, is gone.

The winds are changing, the tides are shifting, and life is pulling away. So swim and flow with its current more attentively now, for the journey may end sooner for you, or those around you, than you think.

* * * * *
This post is also dedicated to Sonny Aquino from my high school batch, who reportedly died of an aneurysm the day after New Year's. While we weren't in the same social circle, Sonny eventually became a man among men in college. It's tough to get these sobering reminders, but even so, I'm certain Sonny did more of living his fair share of life to make his 30-odd years in this life worthwhile.

1 comment:

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