Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Scarred by Classics (ON: Darby O’Gill and the Little People vs. the Disney Channel... 25 years later.)

Sometime during the mid 1980s my mother was getting ready for ger cousin’s wedding and I was left along with the television. Usually this was not the case. We grew up on a steady, strict diet of PBS and not much else. So to have the run of the Colorado (or Southern California?) Hotel’s myriad cable channels was a miracle, and mother was too busy running around with curlers in her hair to care much about whatever daytime television we might be poisoning ourselves with – and this is the moment I encountered Darby O’Gill and the Little People.

Sure, the fantastical 1950s Disney drama was – well – Disney, but lest we forget this is the same Disney era which brought us the wiskey-soaked knife and shotgun fights of Davy Crockett and full-length animated features in which the main characters actually DIED.

Apparently it was ok for life to be a bit more brutal back then… and brutal, as I remember it, was Darby O’Gill’s main gig.

The story goes: Darby’s 20-something-year-old daughter dies and the coach of death (throw in a screaming banschee) comes to collect her but Darby goes instead but jumps out and somehow ends up under a mountain with some trickster leprachauns and that is all I can remember. Every couple of years afterwards I would remember the film and shudder, and then last week I noticed that it had been released on DVD in Germany and could be purchased at Karstadt for a mere €8,99.

That’s right, for a mere €8,99 another generation could be scarred by one of the Classics… because you know Disney will never ever again put that shit on TV – not with the goofy, brain-meltingly idiotic kids# shows lineup they have going. Darby O’Gill would be like a blowtorch in the face of these kids to just want to watch other kids acting stupidly and cracking some of the worst wah-wah one-liners known to mankind (or uttered since Schawarzenneger’s Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin.)

Amen and Yikes, folks.

But this is the thing… I have noticed over the years that the films of previous generations – in my case things such as the Dark Crystal or Goonies – these films are seen as too brutal or innapropriate for the youth of the 21st century. These sensitive creatures can only handle happy happy sicky-sweet sugar-coated crap in the form of film, even though once we swith to the medium of video games: anything goes.     

What the heck?

At least with Bambi or Pinocchio the weight of the moral world is weighed, and the viewer is asked to think and feel – but with shooting-spree video games another life just goes SPLAT and you laught it off and keep running and shooting.

There’s something missing here. 


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