Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Remember Kids...

I don't know about any of you out there but many times I've found myself wondering if something I remembered was real or a memory based on a dream. My view is that either I have really elaborate, well detailed dreams or my dreams are just so boring and mundane that they become nearly indistinguishable from reality itself. Once I could have sworn I mowed the lawn a week ago but when I went outside the grass was still uncut (I'm thinking dreams about lawn chores fall into the second mundane category). I find this happening more often with memories of my childhood. As I become more of an "adult", those childhood memories that were once so vivid and recent start to become confused and disorganized. Places, people, things you did all sort of get crossed; kind of Rashomon-like (or like that episode of Mama's Family where everyone tells different stories to Vint about how Mama got hit on the head with a pot). Thankfully for me nearly all my childhood memories involved watching TV so there is always a lasting record somewhere...most likely on the internet...on YouTube.

This leads me to the my most recent moment of self revelation courtesy of the 'Tube.

Anyone around my age who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons knows that during the halcyon days of Segamania in the early 90s there were not one but two completely distinct Saturday morning Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons. There was the "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog" with its goofy plots, bright colors, and wacky interpretations of the characters, all generally in the slapstick humor vein of cartoons like "Looney Tunes", "Animaniacs", and "Ren and Stimpy." On the complete opposite side of the map was "Sonic the Hedgehog" which took great liberties with the video game and set everything in a sort of bleak dystopian future where Sonic and a large cast of new characters fought a constant struggle for survival. Aside from the more serious tone of the show, it also had a high emphasis on a dramatic running plot, and character development. It was more like "Gargoyles" or "Batman: The Animated Series" or "Justice League Unlimited."

While the darker "Sonic the Hedgehog" was probably the superior show in terms of production, storytelling, and lasting appeal (I think they continued it as a comic), I personally still preferred the light hearted fare of "Adventures". Although I technically I prefer cartoons that take a more mature stance and consider "Batman: the Animated Series" probably the greatest Saturday morning cartoon ever, I have always considered the Sonic games to be more in the wacky, fun mold of "Adventures" and consider it just more faithful to that vision. Another more important reason for me, at the time, was that "Adventures" had the classic Sonic Says PSA statements!

As with many Saturday morning shows of the period, "Adventures" had 30 second vignettes where Sonic would tell you standard PSA things like not to smoke, drink, or tolerate sexual molestation. I used to love all these sort of PSA as a kid; not only were they bonus show content in my mind, but also gave me a piece of advice and daily affirmation (although the anti-drinking message has evidently not caught on with me).

Going back to the original reason for all this exposition, for years I had this memory of one particular Sonic Says that completely baffled me as to its existence. I recalled that there was one Sonic Says where Sonic and Tails were trapped in some sort of large dryer and they were complaining about the heat and then they would later go on to explain that kids shouldn't be going into dryers. To me this just couldn't have been real! Were other kids really that stupid? Was there enough of an epidemic of children jumping into the tumblers of their local laundromat that this issue had to be addressed? Were tumble parties springing up all over suburbia, a bunch of bored kids and a roll of quarters looking for a good time? It seemed unprecedented. I couldn't remember another show who's PSA mentioned this problem (GI Joe, Captain Planet, The More You Know, etc.). As I got older, the commercial seemed more and more unreasonable and that such a message could have only been created deep in recesses of my muddled subconscious. Then one bored Saturday afternoon a quick search on YouTube game me horrific vindication for my sanity. It was Charlton Heston on the beach at the end of Planet of the Apes ("Oh My God!...We finally really did it!...You maniacs!). There it was, the lamest PSA ever recorded. Don't do drugs, stay in school, drink your milk, don't talk to strangers...and don't go in the DAMN dryer!

Although I mock it now, who knows? Maybe my fuzzy memory of it in the back of my mind in the long run saved me from a tragic end, bloodied, broken, and burnt in the extra loads section. Maybe some kid today will run across the clip and it'll make him think twice about looking for a cheap thrill down at the local strip mall. One can only dream.


  1. Maybe if they had warned against ordering Malibus & Pineapples, it would've taken better.

  2. ok, a few things...

    1. mama's family...solid.

    2. i too was a fan of the slapsticky humor of "adventures". oddly, considering my fascination with post-apocalyptic scenarios in my later years, "sonic" never caught on. i have to also say that garfield and friends, especially u.s.a acres, was far better. especially since that show took jim davis' extremely lame three panel cartoon that was essentially "peanuts" but with cats and some perpetually unemployed loser (what did liz ever see in him?) and took it to new heights of hilarity

    3. You failed to mention the most surreal and hallucinatory PSA experience of any child who watched it-the infamous "Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue". Please update your posting with the following link:


  3. The cross-licensed horror show that was "Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue" is an entry in and of itself.

    In my opinion, although its intention was to scare kids away from drugs it mostly scared kids away from cartoons in general.

    If only cartoon Alf taught Willie Tanner about the dangers of smoking crack.

  4. Willie: Alf? Where the hell were you when I was blowing coke and homeless men?

    Alf: Willie, jeez! What can I say? Hollywood Squares called! Kate and I are sharing the center square!

  5. Victor, given your flagrant flaunting of my blog's year-end voting edicts, I am given no choice but to INSIST that you vote in the year-end polls (aside from your cursory JCM pimping), lest I cease commenting in this blog altogether.

    So unless you want your commenting populace to shrink by 50%, I suggest you get on that shit. And stop deriding Lenny Dykstra's lust for life while you're at it.

  6. That is a threat, sir. And from what they apparently teach me in law school I can get a frivolous law suit out of it.

    I may get around voting when I have the time. But let me say I denounce your Puffy-esque "Vote or Die" mandate.