When I was just a young lad, I loved Saturday mornings. I would always get up early, my mom or dad would make me a good breakfast, and I'd plop myself down in front of the tv for a few hours of cartoons. I loved the staples of the time, such as Scooby Doo (before Scrappy), Spiderman, Tom & Jerry and many others. But my favorites were, and still are, Looney Tunes. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and the rest were on for an hour and a half every Saturday morning. I remember that I cried once when I got up late and missed them.
When I watch Looney Tunes now, I realize that I learned a lot without even knowing it. There were many references to World War 2, food rationing, classical music and even opera. I developed a liking for the William Tell Overture that was heard so many times when a landscape panorama was shown. I saw the cartoon versions of many of the stars of the time, such as Jimmy Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. Later, when I watched their films I saw how right on the cartoons were with their mannerisms. But I didn't learn more from any other cartoons than I learned from the Schoolhouse Rock cartoons.
Many of you may remember Schoolhouse Rock. The short cartoons came on later in the morning and taught us math, English, science and government. I can still remember singing along with particular ones, such as "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here" or "Conjunction Junction". Another of my favorites was "I'm Just a Bill", where we learned how a bill becomes a law. I was reminded how much I learned from these cartoons, however, when I was watching the History Channel last night. The show had a short picture of the Constitution, with the first words of the preamble "We the people" in large letters. I started to try to recite the preamble, and soon found myself singing it, just like I had learned one Saturday morning so long ago.
I don't see Looney Tunes on much anymore. Now, it's mostly some action figure turned cartoon that is just awful. But when something like that little song passes through my head after almost 35 years like it did last night, I think back to how much we really were taught by the cartoons of our youth.