Old Cartoon Characters Saying Unforgettable Things

Old Cartoon Characters Saying Unforgettable Things

Before Churchill’s inspiring wartime speeches, before the Beatles and the Hey Jude lyrics, old cartoon characters were there to inspire the vernacular.

From Fred’s end of the shift joyous celebration to Droopy’s cry of war, to Homer Simpsons’ low key grunt, to the moralistic quotes of the 1930’s black and white American cartoon characters, their century-old squeaks, yelps and whimpers are today’s memorable catchphrases.

Popeye- ‘I am strong to the finish… Cause I eats me spinach.’

If you’re in a pickle, grab a spinach. This method to defuse both hunger and anger is well and tirelessly tested in around 220 episodes by Popeye, the greatest sailor to sail the seven seas of old cartoon characters.

Of course, this was happening before the days of Snickers chocolate bars and green food getting a nasty reputation with children. Although, and we can only assume that, if spinach isn’t as hated as broccoli nowadays, we have Popeye’s addiction to thank for.

In 1933, Fleischer brothers adapted E. C. Segar’s comic strip characters into a series of ‘Popeye the Sailor’ designed to catapult Paramount Pictures into the big league of animated cartoons. The 1930s promised a golden age of American animation, with Disney, Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera productions all queueing up to the start line.

Displaying the rough seaman’s manners and a pipe-obstructed speech, Popeye remains the quintessential reliable and fearless 20th-century knight. This beloved old cartoon character fights Sindbad, Ali Baba and his team of forty thieves and any other villain who dares stand between him and his damsel in ever distress, Olive Oyl.

Fred Flinstone- ‘Yabba-Dabba do!’

Any self-respecting bronto-crane operator knows that the end of a working day’s shift calls for a specific outburst of joy. Let’s all say it together! Yabba-Dabba do! Now Fred is ready to roll on home, or rather frantically push his way home, on the latest of Stone Age technology. The wheel.

The foot-powered car is not the only anachronistic feature of the old cartoon. Check the baby woolly mammoth employed as a vacuum cleaner or the pelican complaining about his long hours as a washing machine.

Yabba-Dabba do indeed! No wonder this catch phrase went viral before viral became a thing. A Hanna-Barbera production, The Flinstones broadcasted on ABC in 1960 and were the first old cartoon characters to make it to primetime American Television.

The show held the record for the most financially successful animated franchise and Fred Flinstone wore the hero crown of the blue-collar workers everywhere for three decades, until… guess who? Homer Simpson took to the throne.

Homer Simpson- ‘D’oh!’

Do not indulge in binge-watching with this particular series or you’ll find yourself in a big D’oh! by the end of the night. The Simpsons, 20th Century Fox debut in animation, is currently airing its 27th season!

The show is the longest-running American sitcom, a record mainly due to Matt Groening’s talent to tell emotional gripping stories in the guise of the everyday Joe.

Homer Simpsons is not the wisest of old cartoon characters, but certainly one to quote for a laugh. He’s the patriarch of a TV-addicted, couchbound family and the embodiment of the American, can I say it? Republican working class stereotypes. He’s a chubby, bald, lazy, simple-minded beer-hugger and he sometimes takes it all on his son, Bart who, let’s face it, deserves a good thrashing now and then.

However, at the end of the day, Homer completely turns the wheel around and proves his qualities outnumber his hillbilly tendencies.

Droopy- ‘You know what, that makes me mad!’
Droopy Dog picking his nose
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If barking dogs don’t bite, is the opposite true? Well, Droopy does it without the tough talk. Behind his lethargic voice and sleepy gaze lies a dormant beast which, depending on creator Tex Avery’s vigilante predispositions that day, can take on the role of a cowboy, a deputy, or a Mountie.

If it’s something to blow Droopy’s orange hairy top, that’s an adversary mocking his meek stature and defenseless attitude. Still, don’t let yourself be fooled by the basset hound. The ears might droop to the ground, but Droopy has the hidden strength of Hulk and The Force combined.

Dick Dastardly- ‘Drat, Drat and Double Drat!’

An occasional Triple Drat is hissed from under the infamous waxed moustache. Full name Richard Milhous Dastardly, Dick, one of the old cartoon characters of Hanna-Barbera production team, is possibly the most endearing and enduring villains ever.

Dick Dastardly makes his first memorable appearance in the series Wacky Races, where paired with his sidekick Muttley- a wheezy laughing mutt with street smarts, he tries a string of elaborate cheats and ingenious schemes to win the competition.

Unfortunately for him, all his tricks and evil plots backfire. Dick might be the true despicable me, but he’s yet to hear of the boomerang effect.

Dee Dee- ‘Oh, what does this button do?’

Faced with a curious thing, Alice in wonderland would give a dismissive shrug of her shoulders and express her puzzlement thus. ‘Curioser and curioser.’ A century and more later, a similar blonde haired blue-eyed girl named Dee Dee would try a different approach.

Pushing her genius brother’s buttons, both literally and figuratively, Dee Dee is unique among the wrong-doers of the genre. She doesn’t seem intent on destroying or ruining Dexter’s experiments. Rather, she does it all out of ignorance, kind of like a mindless tornado sweeping through farm country.

Dee Dee loves ballet, singing birds, unicorns and generally depicts all the stereotypes of a little American girl. Moreover, she displays a kind of emotional intelligence that Dexter is incapable of applying stuck as he is among his screws and robots.

Marvin the Martian- ‘This makes me very angry!’

Marvin the Martian Old Cartoon Characters
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Seeing how Mars will probably end up colonized by human beings once we pay Matt Damon enough money to star as a real-life astronaut, we should get to know our future neighbors.

Meet Marvin the Martian, the defender of the Red Planet, and the quietest of the Warner Bros villains. When director Chuck Jones designed Marvin he thought Looney Tunes needed a counterpart to balance the fast and prank-prone Bugs Bunny.

Marvin fit the bill. Sporting a Roman’s gladiator helmet and skirt, and devising clever plans to destroy his antagonists, this mouthless Martian completes the galaxy of unforgettable old cartoon characters.

Well, that’s all folks!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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David Williams

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