Slowpoke Rodriguez Rocks!
Today I am thinking about how much I love Slowpoke Rodriguez – lesser known cousin of Speedy Gonzales. I find Speedy a mildly irritating character, and yet he has appeared in a whole series of cartoons, as well as films and video games. Slowpoke, on the other hand, got just two cartoons. Two! What gives?! Slowpoke talks in a lazy monotone, seems completely unafraid (or perhaps unaware) of the dangers around him, carries a gun and, very probably, has a marijuana habit. What’s not to love? I can’t believe Warner Bros didn’t do more with him.
Nowadays, of course, you have the whole “politically incorrect” minefield. The problem is that most cartoons are at least a little bit politically incorrect (if they’re any good). But I far prefer the cartoons from the 1930′s and 40′s to the God-awful modern day creations like the teletubbies. A lot of kids’ TV now seems like bland, sickeningly sugary fluff. I can’t bear to watch modern Winnie the Pooh when the old ones were so much better - sometimes even scary (especially the one where they got sucked under the bed). Some of the stuff I’ve seen my little cousin watch on TV is actually quite horrifying. The animation is cheap, the story is nonexistent, the characterisation is so dire that I almost feel she should be forbidden from watching such tripe on principle. It’s not even clear what species the main character is supposed to be half the time. Is it a bunny? Is it a child? Is it a talking scarecrow? Who can tell? Better to stick with DVDs of the old classics instead. Or, better yet, watch a few episodes of Mr Ed (it’s fun watching how enthralled a seven year old is at the sight of a talking horse).
But even DVD box sets of the old classics aren’t free of political-incorrectness-phobia. The complete Donald Duck box set we have is peppered with constant assurances from a bespectacled, anxious looking Disney spokesman that Disney does not – not - approve or condone the use of guns in the cartoons. Well, duh! Still, I suppose it’s better than editing the gun out altogether, as often happens to Slowpoke in Mexicali Shmoes.
But whether he’s politically correct or not, I love that little stoned mouse. I really, really love him. And I want a soft toy of him to put on my desk. But though I have scoured the internet, I have been unable to find one. Maybe none were ever made. But I’m going to keep checking Ebay at regular intervals – just in case.