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Me and Magoo

April 7, 2015


Footnote: Foster Brooks was a talented man who made a living impersonating a drunk. He was a regular on the Dean Martin Roasts. To this day, when I pretend that I’ve had too much to drink, I’m pretty much doing a Foster Brooks impression. When the movie Arthur (with Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli) came out, everyone packed the theaters and laughed uproariously at the antics of the cute, little drunk man, me included. Then something happened between Arthur and Arthur 2—Candy Lightner and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). In a mere seven years, public awareness and sensibilities were changed. I went to see Arthur 2, and found the character more pitiable than funny, and spent a lot of time fidgeting uncomfortably in my seat. Drunks being funny and cute was a thing of the past, and so was Foster Brooks’ career.

This cartoon wound up highlighting three things that used to be considered funny and entertaining—making fun of peoples’ physical infirmities (Ben Turpin was a silent film comedian who had a highly successful career because he was “cross-eyed,” and even, they say, had his eye insured in the event it ever corrected itself); making fun of race, color and creed (Archie Bunker of TV’s All in the Family did this on a weekly basis); and laughing at drunks (hey, everyone my age and older, remember Otis on The Andy Griffith Show?).

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