Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Psychotronic Paul Ponders . . . Heroin Addiction and Ready-To-Eat Cereals

Among my too many questions about mid-20th century pop culture: did William S. Burroughs start his day with a healthy breakfast starting with Kellogg's Sugar Smacks?

Uh. . . probably not. In actuality, the kids born a few years after notorious wordsmithWilliam S. Burroughs, would have been the target audience for such print advertising as this 1928 campaign for Kellogg's Pep.

Burroughs, novelist, junkie, provocateur and originator of punk rock literature 20 years before the term existed, was born in 1914.

The kids who were glued to the boob tube for the original late 1950's telecasts featuring Ruff N' Ready, Quick Draw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss were the post-WW2 babies, the Andy Kaufmans of the world, the offspring of what news anchorman-author Tom Brokaw termed The Greatest Generation.

Were The Beats, by that time home with children watching The Flintstones (and then listening to Art Pepper's Smack Up after the snot-nosed brats were in bed) the target audience for the following?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not. . .

My friends who are ten years younger than me were the audience for the following hilariously fraudulent commercial, no doubt heartily endorsed by the Future Diabetics Of America.

Shifting gears but staying somewhat on the topic of kidvid, today would have been the 90th birthday of stop-motion animation guru Art Clokey (1921-2010).

Clokey was an immensely creative soul who, in a way few in literature or animation come close to doing, succeeded in tapping into a genuinely childlike innocence and sense of wonder. This pre-speech consciousness permeates the very earliest Gumby cartoons such as the following - and would vanish not far into the series, once the main characters started talking and the "let's go to the moon" or "let's explore toyland, Pokey" scenarios got replaced with more conventional storylines.

Any doubts that Art listened to far-out cool jazz while thinking up clay animation ideas are dispelled by the following, his first film, Gumbasia.

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