History of Cartoons

Brace yourself for a loaded question. What is your favorite cartoon? Okay. Maybe it is not a loaded question for you, but I bet that most everyone has a core memory of sitting in front of a television set completely engulfed in the cartoon-based action on the screen. Cartoons have changed dramatically in the past 30 years. They used to be very original and eye catching. But in the last 10 years or so they have become stale redos of ideas already had. But that was not always the case. 

The earliest cartoons had simple sketches with no voice acting and mainly slap-stick comedy-based themes. Mickey and Looney Tunes are the perfect examples of such cartoons. Growing up, I had the luxury of a mixed exposure of both new and old cartoons. I may have only known titles like TMNT or Pokémon but for Netflix and the convenience of the click of a button.

Back in the 80s and especially before, it was not so simple. Cable was just gaining heavy traction and cartoons were being pumped out with toy lines to back them. In the 80s and before there was no “watching it later.” There was only running home from school, staying up late, or waking up early to watch a favorite cartoon. It was this way until DVRs, and other recording devices came about, which opened up a brand-new world of watching shows at “one’s convenience.” 

Cartoons and the way of watching them have had major changes to say the least. The simplicity and humor have had a rise and fall since the early 2000s. One can hope that there will be another stretch of creativity coming soon. Change, however, is not always a bad thing. It introduces both positive and negative aspects. Cartoons first gained depth but then lost it. DVRs and other recording options allowed for convenient viewing, which continues even more so now with streaming services. Cartoons of any kind and any era can now be viewed at the touch of a button. Does that take the excitement and sense of urgency and appreciation out of it? Arguably so. But that is another question for another time. Stay tuned. 


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