Something else to make Spumkin jealous:
Erhrm. Okay. Today as I sat idly bored at work I started to think about what my earliest memory was. I had thought for a long time that it was when a tornado blew the roof off of our trailer while our babysitter freaked out and tried to make my brother and me stay down on the floor with our hands covering our necks but there's other odd things that come to mind if I think back very hard. They're almost surreal dream-like memories though and don't make a whole lot of sense.
(I have a very freaky memory of sleeping at what I think was my grandma's old house and watching her plush animals scurry around the sides of the bed which was most likely a dream. I hope.)
Then I started to think back to what would have been the first cartoon I remember watching and I came up with two from when I would have been three or four years old.
The first is the animated version of Charlotte's Web. I think we had it on VHS tape but it seems to have vanished somewhere down the line (along with my Ren and Stimpy comic books).
Charlotte's Web, despite the happy singing animals, is actually a pretty dark movie. The cartoon starts off with a cute little piggy being born on a farm. The pig is generally happy until the other animals explain to him that eventually the happy smiling farm family will kill and eat him for dinner. The pig does what anyone would do in such a situation: he runs off crying and hides in the barn where he's found by a friendly female spider. The spider saves his life by making the simple-minded hicks think he's got weird powers. The pig is happy again.
Then the spider dies.
THE SPIDER DIES!
I suppose it's good for kids to learn about loss and everything...but wait, she laid an egg sack! Now the pig has lots of friends! Oh Joy! But wait...they're leaving! Hey, come back! That's not fair! *sob*
A few do stay behind but it was still a huge wallop for a kid that had just learned not to poop himself. So yes, I learned about death from a cartoon where a rat eats garbage at a state fair. Sigh.
Then there was this cartoon called The Velveteen Rabbit. I really don't remember much about it except that this kid had a bunch of toys that would talk when he left the room. Then the kid got sick with some weird disease and everything in his room has to be destroyed, including his toys.
The only scene I can really recall is the scene where all his toys are getting shoved into a furnace. His happy talking toy friends are getting burned and just before the rabbit gets thrown in he says, and I never ever forgot it: "Oh, so that's what burned means."
Eeeeh, yeesh! I don't know if it's just looking back on it as an adult through the haze of very early childhood but damn that creeps me right out.
I have no idea what happened after that, I think I blocked the rest of the cartoon out.
At least I can sort of pinpoint why I've always been obsessed with horror and the macabre, thanks for the cartoons Mom!