Secret Pop

Oct 23, 2002

"Haven't you guys eaten that dog yet?"

Suck down a beer while watching The Story of G.I. Joe. I highly recommend it. Especially if you can do it with my dad. Who will tell you all about the quest to take Monte Cassino and add plenty of color and charm. If you're lucky and you're watching the movie on Turner Classic Movies at the same time I was -- in the past -- you can stick around afterwards for a wartime Looney Tune featuring Daffy Duck, a Cockney paratrooper, parachuting behind Nazi lines to antagonize a boorish Nazi duck officer. The story starts with a swastika flag flying outside a field barracks. Inside, mock German is being sputtered frantically. It ended with Daffy playing human cannonball and landing in a packed stadium where an animated Hitler (!) is addressing a crowd of his minions. Daffy hits him on the head with a mallet -- a recurring theme in the episode. And...fade to credits.

An animated Hitler. Wow. And it wasn't a very good animation. Not nearly as smooth or caricaturistic as the Looney Tunes versions of stars of the day such as Frank Sinatra, Peter Lorre, and Robert Mitchum. I guess they must have wanted him to look half-baked. Poor Hitler. No one is ever going to look at a photo of him and say, "Hey, Hitler looks really good in this shot." Or, "What a cute picture of Hitler. He looks so young and carefree."

I remember watching an old episode of The Family Feud many years ago, and the survey was about who you would expect to see in hell. The devil was top of the list. But Hitler was like number two. And I remember watching that episode as a small child and recognizing the name but not knowing why he would be someone I should expect to see in hell. It's odd to look back and realize that I was ever a naive little girl with no mountain of cares. I used to do exercises with my mom while she watched Richard Simmons. Or we would watch Mike Douglas. And then we would fold laundry or something like that. Sometimes, I forget those shows were ever even on the air. I used to watch David Letterman when he was on daytime. It only comes back to me in flashes. Then I realize that my brain was once much blanker. I'm just as curious as I used to be. But I tend to be surprised with less frequency. The first time someone played 52 Pick-Up with me, I laughed with delight. That wouldn't be true today.

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