Growing up, I loved watching cartoons on Saturday morning. My absolute favorites were the Looney Tunes. They always made me laugh. Now that I’m older, I’m struck by how many small things went over my head. Bugs Bunny as the Barber of Seville is one example of the timeless quality that Chuck Jones put into all of his cartoons.
I compare the Looney Tunes to what passes for comedy and humor on television and in the movies. The latter usually come up short in comparison. “There’s only one test of a great children’s book, or a great children’s film, and that is this: If it can be read or viewed with pleasure by adults, then it has the chance to be a great children’s film, or a great children’s book,” said Chuck. (link)
I know there’s value in creating entertainment specific to children or adults. But I think we undervalue entertainment that appeals to both children and adults. The books that have stuck with me are, in many cases, the books that appealed to me as a child. I still love the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and the Anne of Green Gables series.
It takes a special talent to craft a book, a cartoon, or another medium and have it appeal over the life of its audience. It takes a particularly bold individual to even attempt to appeal to both the child and the adult. And the boldest won’t need special effects to succeed.