I watched some of a wildlife programme about Yellowstone Park last night, and it’s all wrong, you know. It is, and will ever be, Jellystone Park to me. Much of my childhood was shaped by Hanna Barbera cartoons. You could keep worthy numbers like Blue Peter. I liked the cartoons, and the odder, the better. So, Yogi Bear (hey, hey, hey, how’s it with you, Boo Boo? I’m … smarter than the average bear. Is that a picanic basket?), The Flintstones (Yabba Dabba Doo, but it was really rather ruined once the babies Pebbles and Bam Bam joined them, though Betty Rubble was ever a complete babe) and, most of all, Huckleberry Hound, who had a Southern drawl and sang snatches of My Darling Clementine, were always my chosen viewing. Of course, I watched British cartoons too. Noggin the Nog (and Nogbad the Bad), Captain Pugwash et al, some of which I can’t think of right now.
Then there was one about a lion king, whose name I seem to remember was King Leo, originally enough, and the hero was an advisor or courtier called Odeo Colonie (accent on the second O in the second word, as in cologne-ee), both loyal and true blue – he was a skunk, but I remember nothing else about it and there was a bird called Yackey Doodle Duck, and we named a budgie after him, but I don’t remember much about him either. I remember him as yellow, but I must either have had a book or imagined it, or it was his description, because there was only black and white television in those days.
The other favourite was Top Cat, which was marvellous. Then there was Tom and Jerry of course. I also appreciate that some of the cartoons weren’t Hanna Barbera. I’m not sufficiently bothered to check which were and which weren’t.
I read a lot and was quite pretentious there – I read A Pilgrim’s Progress when I was about 8, which was the hardest going I could have imagined – I slogged through it determinedly at the rate of a page a day – and then started on Shakespeare with The Tempest. I’m not sure why, I read them in bed on my own, but I was certainly an odd child. But in television watching, I was as lightweight as they come.