Well it’s 2019 cartooners, which means it’s been about 50 years since I hooked up with Jule Huffman’s outfit and starred on the Mr. Cartoon show. Some will tell you that I’ve been a clown from that day forward. Ignore them. Those people are the jealous type who probably don’t know a thing about show business.
As I think back to that day on the set, I recall my disappointment having learned that members of the live audience didn’t actually get to see the cartoons. To my horror, once the cameras panned away from us live nerds, we basically found ourselves in what seemed like a dead, toon-less time-out. Left to shoot the bull with Jule and his sidekick Beeper while my buddies back home watched Foghorn Leghorn and ate Crunch Berries, I felt as if I was Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.” I was like a full-fledged member of Little Orphan Annie’s Secret Society, finally decoding the first secret message with the long-awaited decoder ring, only to learn that it was an advertisement for Ovaltine. I’d been hornswoggled by Hillbilly Hollywood, merely whooping it up for the camera on cue, just to sell some Ovaltine! What a rip off. Or so I thought at the time.
In hindsight, being afforded that dose of wholesomeness in what seemed like a faraway West Virginia studio was a chance of a lifetime. Mostly because there’s no decency to be found these days, no matter how far you drive. So if you’re too young to have ever seen the Mr. Cartoon show, or you just don’t care, you’re actually the one who’s been ripped off.
Trust me, having no clue who Jule Huffman was while knowing Stormy Daniels’ real name is no way to have to go through life. But let’s face it, decency doesn’t sell anymore. And if poor old Jule Huffman could come back to spin his classic cartoons today, some liberal would find a way to call him a racist anyway.
It seems like we take ourselves too seriously these days. For the upcoming new year, maybe we should all take a step back and lighten up a little, tell a joke on ourselves for a change. Jule “Mr. Cartoon” Huffman served in the Air Force and was married to the same woman for 70 years. But the man chose to make his living by making fun of himself and making kids laugh. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel refreshingly insignificant.
Yes, it’s 2019. After 50 years, I remember going to see the Mr. Cartoon show live as if it was yesterday. I’m not only man enough to admit that my mom took me to WSAZ to see the show, I’m cocky enough to brag about it. I’d do it all over today given the chance. Because there’s a hell of a lot worse things a man could be up to these days than shooting the bull with Beeper.
Happy New Year everyone.