I don’t think I’m overstating myself when I call them my heroes, the children’s television stars from the 1950s and 1960s who guided my young life.
I remember the names, Captain Kangaroo, Ms. Frances’ Ding Dong School, Uncle Looney, Discovery, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Cactus Joe, Sweetie, “Little Biddy Pete,” all names of Saturday and Sunday morning television personalities or programs.
Mr. Rogers and his peculiarities came along later, but I managed to catch his act every once in a while for a good laugh.
My generation benefited from the moral lessons taught in these programs by these personalities, and I think nowadays those lessons may be clouded over and tilted to reflect certain viewpoints.
I come from a time where cartoons were fun, not instructional, and what child of my generation wanted to have a finger wagged at him or her on Saturday morning after a week of school?
I say that in a positive way, we needed a time to chill and relax, and cartoons of the coyote chasing the roadrunner and falling over a cliff with the resulting puff of smoke at the bottom didn’t bother me.
Those type of cartoons were so heavily censored later on that you didn’t see the puff of smoke any longer.
As a result, those cartoons were edited to the point where they ended up with half the original footage and with all of the “violence” removed.
That happened so often in later years, cartoons lost all of their entertainment value to me.
As the son of a World War II veteran and someone who has seen multitudes of war films over the years, I still have never picked a fight in my life or been physically aggressive in anything.
Censorship of cartoons, in my humble opinion, can lead to censorship of other types of media, but I think I can handle a little television violence.
As naïve as I was growing up, I still knew a cartoon was a cartoon and not real, and I can safely assure everyone that my classmates were no more naïve than I was.
I can never know what our veterans endured and still endure as combat soldiers or even on standby to defend our freedoms at any given moment.
Still, I’m forever grateful that I had a chance to be a kid and act like one, and even happier that I was able to get away with it.