Memorial Day began as Remembrance Day. A day to remember and give honor to the fallen of the Union Army during America's Civil War.
By the time we got around to make it an official National day of remembrance, we had a few more wars under our belt and it became a day to honor and remember those who gave their lives in battle in all wars.
It's often declared that it's for the men who fell in service of our country. But that's not quite right is it? In spirit and heart and in action they were "men". But chronologically they were boys. And in our modern age, girls as well.
Boys and girls who give everything...make the greatest sacrifice possible...for what they believe in. For the country they believe in.
I hope we never stop remembering that what we oft-times take for granted in our lives was paid for by the blood and actions of these boys and girls.
Remember once in a while. Not just on the last Monday of May. Remember them for what they did...and are doing...every day.
There are soooooooooooo many old bad musician jokes just begging to have a pig thrust into the middle of them. Here's another!
Be sure and check out the original dueling banjo pigs (ongoing) between Guy Francis and Stacy Curtis for a lot of great cartooning...also with links to we bystanding knuckleheads that have joined the fray. Really a lot of great takes on a theme.
Oh...and to tie it all together, today is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of the great Mel Blanc, voice of probably the most famous cartoon pig in the world.
Happy birthday Mel...and a great 3 day Memorial Day Weekend to all the piggies everywhere!
Today marks the anniversary in 1933 of the original theatrical release of Walt Disney's Silly Symphony about The Three Little Pigs.
This was a seminal moment in Walt's career. He had previously hit it big commercially and critically with Mickey Mouse of course and made huge strides in developing story and animation and even adding color with his Silly Symphony series.
The Pigs, though...really made an impact.
Here was a Silly Symphony which didn't hit you over the head with technical innovations like some had done (though this one had a few too), the Pigs gave us leaps ahead in storytelling and characterization. A simple story which everyone already knew at the time, Walt and his team gave us all rock solid clear cut characters from the get go. We understand who each of the pigs is as well as The Big Bad Wolf.
And then there was that song.
Walt truly hit the big time here, and he didn't even need Elton John to do it. This cartoon became a sensation and this song a true phenomenon right out of the gate. These cartoons were usually released with the intention they would be in theatres for a week or maybe two and then never seen again. This one (at the request of theatre owners everywhere) was asked to be held over.
To the point where 6 months later, the short cartoon with it's catchy tune was being billed over whatever transient feature film was being shown.
As always, the weakest part of my blog is when I embed videos from other sources here, especially ones with copyrights held by watchdogs like the Disney Co. (remember my stance...there's a HUGE difference between Walt Disney and the disney co.) so I post these well knowing that they may be taken down without notice.
But for today...enjoy. And just TRY and get that damn song out of your head afterward. Not even with a crowbar people. I also post a few sequels to the cartoon which are solid as can be, but just didn't have the staying power of the original, which prompted Walt to quip as he moved on to other great ideas, "You can't top pigs with pigs."
A timely sidenote veering back to what else is in my head today: Guy Francis over at his blog "So, Cat Tacos?" apparently just bought himself a banjo and has been inspired to draw banjo playing pigs...there I said it. He's thrown the gauntlet down with his buddy Stacy Curtis from "Stacy Draws Stuff" in a banjo playing pig drawing showdown...there, I said it again. They've also called out for anyone else to play along that wants to.
I'm off to draw pigs playing banjos now...I'm getting used to saying it.
The blogosphere has been abuzz of late with news of the death of the great Howie Post this last week. Howard Post (Nov. 2, 1926-May 21, 2010) was probably the most cartooniest of all the Harvey comics artists. His characters had a very alive quality and truly seemed to want to jump off of the page.
Unfortunately it's been the tradition in humor comics NOT to list credits to the artists and writers and the travesty is, though we all knew his work most fans (including me till recently) never knew his name.
To all the comics snobs out there who look down their noses at Hot Stuff and Spooky and the rest...you know you read these, you know you loved these...you didn't just spring from the womb and start main-lining Jack Kirby. People like Howie Post were a gateway drug.
I wanted to do my fair part and celebrate Howie's art.
Kristi Nelson is a singer songwriter from Orange County, California and now residing in Bellingham, Washington, who's abilities and sensibilities seem beyond her youthful appearance. A simultaneously deep and whimsical lyricist combined with a guitar style that reminds my of folk/blues/country players like Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb or Bukka White...she don't know it, but she's sung and played right into my heart.
I've been following her on YouTube for a few months now and always get excited when I see she has a new song to share. "Following on YouTube"...that's not the creepy kind of stalking is it? No of course not! Just another of my perfectly healthy long distance/one sided romances.
If I had a therapist, they would say it's OK. I'm pretty sure anyway.
Check her channel out in the hyperlink above, and here's a few teasers for you...some of my favorites.
If you'd like to read more about this great voice and mind adding to the "Things Worthwhile in the World" check her website here!
I hope to hear lots more from this woman. Her guitar, voice and words are the kinds that make your hearts smile!
Born May 23, 1925 it's the 85th birthday of the great Mac Wiseman.
Mac Wiseman is one of the true architects of Bluegrass music along with Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. His light tenor voice and incredible relation to the songs he sings are instantly recognizable. I feel he's the one who brings the humanity to this music, relating the lyrics as a person rather than just singing and playing the notes and bringing a little humor to the oft tragic stories in these songs.
His lilting voice and substantial size lead someone to say about him, "He looks like Gene Vincent sounds and sounds like Earnest Tubb looks". Truth is, he's a true natural original.
Here's some Mac Wiseman:
Thanks Mac! For letting the humanity in the music.
Born May 22, 1915, it's the 95th anniversary of the birth of cartoonist George Baker.
George Baker created a character for Yank magazine back during World War II called "The Sad Sack", humorously honoring the average G.I. Joe who was out there saving the world from ruin.
Here's a few of those great pantomime strips collected into book form.
Go Sad Sack, go.
Beautiful ideas clearly communicated without words.
I'm coming off of 2 week work binge (probably adding to the ruination of the world) of 10-12 hour days and clocking 900+ miles on the odometer. Last night I hit some old haunts with the Crowley boys and Co. and started feeling human again...after falling into deep Sad Sack mode
Thanks be to places like Joe Jost's, Mother's Tavern, The Irish Mist, Harpoon Harry's and Hy-Roy's from all us Sad Sacks for giving us a place to breathe once in a while.
And thanks George Baker for showing us it's OK to be a sad sack.