Waaaaay back in the day when I was a small boy one of the few things that could numb the pain of day to day routine was watching half an hour of cartoons in the evening. Yeah we only got half an hour because Television Maldives (TVM) used to start at 5:30 pm and the prayer call for Magrib would usually be around 6:15pm. With the recitation of the Holy Quran for the first ten minutes we’d only get a solid half an hour.
The endless episodes of Tom & Jerry, Tintin, He-Man, Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker provided me with many an evening of bliss, hypnotized to the tube. This half an hour of enjoyment was never guaranteed though. Maldivians being Maldivians they do find ways to mess it up. They’d start showing a long ass boring cartoon which I knew would take the whole week to end.
I really don’t think the folks at TVM really understood what they were showing. Cartoons were cartoons right? There really was no call to censor or regulate those funny, drawn creatures they were showing to young, impressionable kids.
Here is a list of the way freak things they used to show, some with graphic violence and some bordering on pornography.
The last unicorn
The Last Unicorn is about a unicorn who, upon learning that she is the last unicorn in the world, goes on a quest to find out what has happened to the others of her kind. Once this one starts I practically knew the whole week was shot cause it was really long (running time 92 minutes but for a kid that seems like forever).
The worst scenes would be Schmendrick the Magician writhing to get free, when stuck in the fat rolls of an old hag, who’s also a huge tree. The fearsome flaming red bull whose job it is to drive all the unicorns into the sea and the dull and dreary castle of King Harggard.
The cartoon does have a kickass soundtrack though. The ‘Last unicorn’ is still one of my favorite oldies.
Water ship down
The cartoon tells the story of a group of rabbits journey as they escape the destruction of their warren to seek a place in which to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way. There is a really long, graphic drawn out scene somewhere in the middle of a rabbit getting its neck stuck in a barbed wire fence and bleeding to death. Some of my friends in DMU have also told me that they remember this particular scene and found it particularly grotesque.
Written by George Orwell the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. It was a satire about communism!!. I guess the good folks at TVM figured ‘Hey it’s a cartoon, it has farm animals. Oh ok. We can show it. Maybe a 100 times every year’. Gah
There are scenes of a Donkey being overworked to death; The same donkey being sold to a meat factory by the greedy pigs that run the farm. The fat anthropomorphic pigs sitting around the dinner table stuffing themselves; while the hungry starving animals of the farm look forlornly in through the window.
I know this is a Disney cartoon. Even so it is seriously messed up. It’s about Bambi , the deer and how he becomes the great prince of the forest. The film has its great comedic scenes. The scene where Mr Owl explains to the animals why spring is the season where animals get twitterpated is classic. His demonstration is of how twitterpation occurs is especially hilarious.
The disturbing scenes would be
– Bambi’s mother getting shot while they were looking for food in the harsh winter
– The whole damn forest catching fire and the animals fleeing for their lives while being chased by hounds.
Really Disney? What were you thinking?
Wind in the willows
The story well told well guess. But its so looong and depressing. The characters are drawn so… so hideously. Huge protruding foreheads and eyes. The cartoonist must have surely been on drugs
Speaking of drugs, If this cartoon isn’t a vivid description of an effed up psycho trip taken by a drug addict I don’t know what is. Made during the psychedelic sixties when the Beatles surely must have been experimenting with LSD. This cartoon is an explosion of color, art and alternate images. When I googled this cartoon just now I read that almost all viewers had nothing but praise for this great artistic achievement of a cartoon. As a young boy though this was one of the most messed up things I’ve ever watched. The fact that I could not understand the thick British accent and that people and characters and the environment kept changing shapes and color throughout the movie was too much for me to comprehend.
There is one way to preserve fond memories of watching cartoons as a kid though. Keep it as it is. A memory. Never ever look it up on youtube. The cartoons that I do have good memories of wactching, that seemed larger than life to me then, when watched on youtube seems so… lame. Yeah lame. Better to keep the fondness alive.